Quote of the Day postsMonday June 25, 2018
Tweet of the Day
The Actual President of The United States of America. https://t.co/KCvdgJrwS8— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) June 25, 2018
I‘ve said that the U.S. is going to be apologizing for Trump for decades; Andrew Reed countered with forever. I think he’s closer to the mark.
BTW: Gervais' is an evergreen tweet. You can use it on half the stuff Trump posts. We should. We can't shame him into acting more presidential but at least we can remind ourselves what a president should and shouldn't sound like.
Present at the Destruction
From George Packer's brief, “Donald Trump Goes Rogue”:
Dean Acheson, President Truman's Secretary of State, called his autobiography “Present at the Creation.” The title referred to the task that confronted American leaders at the end of the Second World War and the start of the Cold War, which was “just a bit less formidable than that described in the first chapter of Genesis,” Acheson wrote. “That was to create a world out of chaos; ours, to create half a world, a free half, out of the same material without blowing the whole to pieces in the process.” A network of institutions and alliances—the United Nations, nato, the international monetary system, and others—became the foundation for “the rules-based international order” that the leaders in Charlevoix saluted. It imposed restraints on the power politics that had nearly destroyed the world. It was a liberal order, based on coöperation among countries and respect for individual rights, and it was created and upheld by the world's leading liberal democracy. America's goals weren't selfless, and we often failed to live up to our stated principles. Power politics didn't disappear from the planet, but the system endured, flawed and adaptable, for seventy years.
In four days, between Quebec and Singapore, Trump showed that the liberal order is hateful to him, and that he wants out. Its rules are too confining, its web of connections—from trade treaties to security alliances—unfair. And he seems to find his democratic counterparts distasteful, even pathetic. They speak in high-minded rhetoric rather than in Twitter insults, they‘re emasculated by parliaments and by the press, and maybe they’re not very funny. Trump prefers the company of dictators who can flatter and be flattered. Part of his unhappiness in Quebec was due to the absence of President Vladimir Putin; before leaving for the summit, Trump had demanded that Russia be unconditionally restored to the G-7, from which it was suspended over the dismemberment of Ukraine. He finds nothing special about democratic values, and nothing objectionable about murderous rulers. “What, you think our country is so innocent?” he once asked.
Kim Jong Un is Trump's kind of world leader.
It's a short read, worth it.
Quote of the Day
“On the Texas side of the Mexican border today, thousands of children, by order of the Trump Administration, are learning what it is to be objects of deliberate state-sponsored cruelty. In a heartless act designed to arouse the furies of his electoral base, the President has ordered children to be separated from their parents and stowed in tent cities and cages and a hollowed-out former Walmart. The Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, justifies this act of ”zero tolerance“ by quoting from Scripture: 'I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order. Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.' This is the political leadership of the United States—at once cruel and sanctimonious. And it is on this platform of division, fear, and cruelty that the President has chosen to lead his party into the 2018 midterm elections.
”Some pundits have suggested that what is happening now in Texas will be ‘Trump’s Katrina.' But, without excusing the racism and the indifference shown by the authorities in that horrific episode, it ought to be pointed out that at least the federal government did not order the flooding of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. What is happening now is purely gratuitous, a deliberate act of cruelty intended as leverage to build a ‘beautiful wall.’ And it is a wall intended not only to block Mexicans and Central Americans from making their way into the United States but to divide the United States itself, in order to retain power.“
David Remnick, ”Trump's Cruelty and the Crying Children at the Border,“ The New Yorker. Today, Trump signed an executive order to finally rescind that ”zero tolerance" policy of breaking up families at the border as a way to warn others from ever arriving. But it did more than that. It tarnished for a long time the image of America as a shining city on a hill. I‘ve said it before: We’ll be apologizing to the rest of the world for Donald J. Trump for decades.
Trump's Delusional Reality Show
It's hard for me to choose a good quote from Andrew Sullivan's latest New York magazine piece, “Trump Is Making Us All Live in His Delusional Reality Show,” because it's all good; it's all quote-worthy; it all gets at the stinking heart of Trump and his followers. So you should read it all.
I mean, this was me on Wednesday:
I'm afraid I cannot forgive or forget Trump's praise for the most hideously totalitarian regime on the planet, for a bloodthirsty scion who conducts regular public hangings, keeps his subjects in a state of mind-control, holds hundreds of thousands in concentration camps, and threatens the world with nuclear destruction. To watch an American president give his tacit blessing to all of that, to laud Kim for being “rough” on his people, right on the heels of attacking every democratic ally, is an obscenity.
Sully's graf on the week that wasn't is also superlative. It's refreshing. It's realizing, YES, someone feels exactly like I do:
This past week was a kind of masterpiece in delusion. It was a long version of that surreal video his National Security Council created for Kim Jong-un. It was crude, crass, and absurd. I can't begin to unpack the madness, but it's worth counting the bizarre things Trump said and did in such a short space of time. Trump clearly believes that Canada's milk exports are a verifiable national security threat to the United States. He thinks Justin Trudeau's banal press conference, reiterating Canada's position on trade, was a “stab in the back.” And he insists that the nuclear threat from North Korea is now over — “Sleep well!” — because he gave Kim the kind of legitimacy the North Korean national gulag has always craved, and received in turn around 400 words from Pyongyang, indistinguishable from previous statements made to several presidents before him. For good measure, he took what was, according to The Wall Street Journal, Vladimir Putin's advice — I kid you not — to cancel the forthcoming joint military exercises with the South Koreans. More than that, he has offered to withdraw all U.S. troops from the peninsula at some point, before Pyongyang has agreed to anything. He regards all of this as worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize, his Reagan moment. And he is constructing a reality-television show in which he is a World Historical Figure.
But this may be the most important graf, since it gives us a framework for today and tomorrow and battles ahead:
The president believes what he wants to believe, creates a reality that fits his delusions, and then insists, with extraordinary energy and stamina, that his delusions are the truth. His psychological illness, moreover, is capable of outlasting anyone else's mental health. Objective reality that contradicts his delusions is discounted as “fake news” propagated by “our country's greatest enemy,” i.e., reporters. If someone behaved like this in my actual life, if someone kept insisting that the sea was red and the sky green, I'd assume they were a few sandwiches short of a picnic. It's vital for us to remember this every day: Almost no one else in public life is so openly living in his own disturbed world.
Again, read the whole thing.
Tweet of the Year
But my emails. https://t.co/G7TIWDEG0p— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 14, 2018
It's funny but in a “and now I‘ll stab myself” way. It’s funny cuz then she lost and now the president of the United States lies 20 times a day, bullies the cowards in his own party, makes enemies of our allies and embraces murderous dictators. His mere stupid presence dumbs down the world. All of the people who made this happen can go fuck themselves.