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Bullied by Ann, Stymied by Nancy: Deflating an Inflatable

Credit: Trump Baby/Cover Images

The Twilight Zone nailed it. I have been waiting a long time to write about this episode. Now, finally, the time is right. Although the details are not an exact match, there is enough in common with the present situation to do so. It’s all about facing fears and then deflating a hot-air balloon.

The episode appropriately enough is entitled The Fear and was televised on May, 29, 1964. It was the second to last televised episode of the series. It has not ranked among the best of the Twilight Zone episodes but it still turns out to be useful today. (Information on The Fear from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0734638/reviews?ref_=tt_ov_rt)

Opening Narration

The major ingredient for any recipe for fear is the unknown. And there are two characters about to partake of the meal: Miss Charlotte Scott, a fashion editor, and Mr. Robert Franklin, a state trooper. And the third member of the party: the unknown, that has just landed a few hundred yards away. This person or thing is soon to be met. This is a mountain cabin, but it is also a clearing in the shadows known as the Twilight Zone. 

A New York City fashion editor has sought refuge in the woods after suffering a nervous breakdown. She is full of anger and belittles the “hicks” that live in the area. She resents having to have any contact with these lesser beings but the necessities of food [drone delivery via online ordering had not yet been invented!] forces her to speak to them in person and exchange pleasantries. One such passing comment leads the state trooper out to the remote cabin 30 miles from the nearest village to investigate suspicious lights and sounds.

The conversation between the red-state male and blue-state female does not go well. But he manages to cut through her pretensions by quoting Shakespeare. Serling adds small details which are not essential to the storyline itself but have an importance in their own right. Even her accent is refined haughty. Just when it looks like there may be a communication breakthrough, the lights and sounds from the surrounding forest begin again this time even stronger. This one isolated patch of civilization in the midst the wilderness is about to have a close encounter of the first, second, and third kind.

The source of this disturbance to the cosmic is, WAIT FOR IT, WAIT FOR IT, WAIT FOR IT, ILLEGAL ALIENS.  They are not only illegal aliens to the United States, they are illegal aliens to the planet earth. During the course of the night they subject the puny humans to one fear-inducing moment after another. Communication with the civilized world is severed.  The illegal aliens seem to be everywhere even on the roof!

Somehow despite all this commotion, the two humans then go to sleep. When the state trooper awakes his clothes are unmussed and his face is clean-shaven. Her clothes similarly are unwrinkled and her makeup is still perfectly applied. Oh well, it is after all the Twilight Zone!

In the light of day, the two tiny humans go outside to confront their fears. As far as special effects, the illegal alien is not very special and not very effective…except in terms of the story. If you have been to or seen the Macys’ Thanksgiving parade you were not likely to have been frightened by the hot air balloon towering over you. Nonetheless, within the context of the story, we are to imagine these people in dread fear of the illegal alien standing before them.

Some of the dialog leaves a little to be desired.

He calls her a charter member of the insufferable snobs.

She replies that not only is a charter member she is founder of the society of frightened people who cannot face the world.

He responds that being frightened is a normal natural human function. It is how you react to fear that really counts.

Is that What You Were Afraid of? (https://m.media-amazon.com/images)

He reacts to seeing the illegal alien by firing his hand gun. He shoots the inflatable again and again and then is nearly blown away by the air rushing out of it.

It’s a balloon. It’s a balloon.

Is that what we have been frightened of?

The scene then shifts to the small alien saucer responsible for the hot-air balloon. Amazingly, even though the now larger humans tower over the spacecraft, they can now hear what is being said inside. And lo and behold, these illegal aliens speak English. They hear the illegal aliens reporting back to the home office on the failure of the entire operation. They were unsuccessful in getting the humans to be frightened. They request immediate permission to depart.

Saucer must report failure entire operation ended by earthman’s failure to be frightened. Request permission from Great Leader to depart from earth.

In fact there is a desperate urgency to their plea.

Oh please Great Leader, let us depart now.

And depart they do only to find jobs at the nearest Trump resort.

Closing Narration

Fear, of course, is extremely relative. It depends on who can look down and who must look up. It depends on other vagaries, like the time, the mood, the darkness. But it’s been said before, with great validity, that the worst thing there is to fear is fear itself. Tonight’s tale of terror and tiny people on the Twilight Zone.

No this episode is not about the illegal aliens from Central America in their caravans invading the United States. They are not the hot-air inflatable. The big bag of wind is THE DONALD, the professional wrestling persona Little Donnee Wanee created so people would think of him as a swaggering macho man, the world’s greatest negotiator, the world’s greatest deal maker, the world’s greatest manager, the smartest person in the room, a very stable genius, the only one who can solve our problems. And then Ann bullied him, Nancy stymied him, and the great lie was exposed. All the hot air dissipated until what was left a deflated balloon who had been exposed as Caveman.

There is a scene in Inherit the Wind where the William Jennings Bryan character experiences the same moment of comeuppance.  He had arrived in town to great fanfare and celebration. All the people praised him. Say Hallelujah! Then he faced something that never occurred during the Republican primary presidential debates or the presidential debates in 2016: a moment of truth when he had to go into the arena and battle 1:1 with an adult who knew his stuff. By the time the Clarence Darrow character was through with his cross-examination, the people in audience had laughed at him and then stood in shock as they witnessed their hero deflate. “They laughed at me. They laughed at me,” he said.

Can you imagine what would happen if Mueller cross-examined Person #1? By comparison Whittaker would seem prepared and polished.

The air has been let out of THE DONALD and all that is left is Little Donnee Wanee.

My prediction as I previously wrote was that the government Trumpdown would end when Republican Senators decided to end it by providing veto-proof legislation. In an interview (“Mitch McConnell Got Everything He Wanted,” by Charles Homans, New York Times Magazine, January 27, 2019), Homans

had asked him {McConnell] whether, if a hypothetical shutdown-ending compromise had landed on his desk that would command a veto-proof majority in both his Senate and Pelosi’s House, ending the standoff over the protests of Trump but without the need for his signature, he would bring it up for a vote. “No,” he said.

By the time the article was published that assertion had proven false. Six Republican Senators had voted to end the government Trumpdown and more were likely to. Game over.

Elected Republicans are starting to look ahead instead of over their shoulders. They know what another “red wave” and “great victory” as they just had in 2016 would mean for them in 2020. It’s no fun being in the minority in the House of Representatives. It’s no fun losing the Senate majority either. Every Republican candidate in 2020 will have the toxic Trump taint on them like a veritable mark of Cain. Even without Mueller, the deflated inflatable bullied by Ann and stymied by Nancy has been exposed as weak, as a loser. The world already laughed at him in the General Assembly; what happens if the Republican base catches on that it has been conned?

There is a narrow window of opportunity for the Republican Party to attempt to right the ship. A party based on Robert E. Lee will never become a national party. Nor will a party based on fear. The Republican Party came in second in the presidential races in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2008, 2012, and 2016. It is gearing up to do so again in 2020. Even with Obama voters shifting to Republicans in 2016, Russian assistance, and a subpar Democratic candidate, the Republicans still lost by 2.8 million votes in 2016. Since then it has made no effort to expand its support and every effort to reduce it. There was an almost 9% spread in the House vote in 2018. Based on the House vote in 2018, the Electoral College vote would be 329 to 206 in 2020.  That is too big a gap to overcome for a minority candidate. Their Lord and Savior has been bullied by Ann, stymied by Nancy, and exposed by the Republican Senators who ended the government Trumpdown. Even rats know better than to stay on a sinking ship. But my prediction now as it always has been is that the Republicans will remain onboard even though THE DONALD has been exposed to be the Little Donnee Wanee he really is.

Rorschach Test: Exonerated or Did the Trump Hit the Fan?

In Which Reality Do you Live? (Yahoo.com)

We are blessed to live in a world where on a nightly weekday basis we can observe alternate realities. The question is which alternate reality is the real world and which is not. I am referring to the three evening cable news talk shows. If one were to channel surf from one network to the other, one would scarcely know that all three are covering the same event…and sometimes they cover different events which is news in itself.

Let’s examine some of the recent events from the perspective of these alternate realities in anticipation of the voters eventually choosing which version is the real world to the majority of Americans.

1. November Elections

There was a red wave coming and the results were a great victory (for the President and the President  alone). Republicans picked up two seats in the Senate as Nanchuck were just reminded of. Republicans only lost 40 seats in the House, a far better result than Obama’s loss of 63 seats in his first term as Sean Hannity reminded everyone again and again.

Without gerrymandering the losses would have been in the 50s but that is still less than Obama lost.

What station do you watch? What station does he watch?

On a national level, the spread between the two parties is in the 8-9% range. So far I have yet to see the application of the individual state totals for the House vote to the Presidency. In other words, if one examined the total vote for the House elections and awarded the Electoral College vote to the winner of each state, what would the aggregate be? Did the House vote if considered as presidential votes mean the Democratic candidate would have won both the popular vote as well as the electoral vote? Perhaps someone reading this blog can gather the data and make the calculation.

2. Double OO O.J. License to Kill

The double 00 O.J. license to kill is one of the most coveted awards the United States can grant a foreign leader. Recently MBS joined Putin as a recipient of the license to kill. We all recall the scene of the two recipients high-fiving in recognition of their having been bequeathed this designation by the President of the United States. MBS deserves a lot of credit for not only instigating the murder but making preparations for the body chopped into pieces and disposed of. Evidently, he is a great fan of the slasher movies. Shocking as it may be to believe, there are even Republican Senators shocked by this outrageous display or murderous intent. If the Senate can vote unanimously on this outrageous violation of decency and the law, when else might it do so?

A lesson to be learned here is that nothing trumps making money for this President. No President in American history has been easier to buy. This awareness helps shed light on what Putin supposedly has on his poodle (see below).

3. Nobel Prize for the Denuclearization of North Korea

Who would have thought that Little Rocket Man would enable the President of the United States to win the Nobel Prize for Peace? Ever since their historic meeting, his North Korean lover has worked vigorously to remove and deactivate his nuclear arsenal. The claim by the Deep State intelligence agencies that North Korea has in fact been moving full speed ahead to expand its nuclear arsenal is FAKE NEWS!  Our immature child president operates on the basis if you can’t see it then it doesn’t exist. After all, has anyone ever seen Israel detonate a nuclear weapon, launch a missile, or test a missile with a bomb? The answer is of course not because everyone knows that Israel does not have nuclear weapons.  Perhaps Little Rocket Man deserves a Nobel Prize for playing Little Donney-Waney for the buffoon that he is. Does even Sean Hannity think North Korea is denuclearizing?

4. Trade Wars Are Easy

After a careful study through the reading of many books and journal articles of all trade agreements from the Canadian burning of the White House during the War of 1812 to the destruction of Yugoslavia by the Baltic States, the Very Stable Genius concluded that NAFTA was the worst trade agreement ever.  The world’s worst negotiator then decided to take matters into his own hands to produce [ARE YOU READY FOR THIS?] NAFTA II, the greatest trade agreement in the history of the United States. As those manufacturing jobs come pouring back into the country who can doubt the reality of NAFTA II being testament to the brilliance of America’s A+ president.

And what can you say about Tariff Man’s triumph over China? Add another notch to the belt of the winner who never loses.

What station do you watch? What station does he watch?

5. Make America Rake Again

It’s sad watching so-called experts making such fools of themselves. Here we have an extended tragedy engulfing huge portions of California where millions of illegal people voted multiple times for Crooked Hillary denying the rightful popular vote victory to the legitimately elected president.  How can these experts not see what even a child could figure out? What good are all these experts if they can’t see what is staring them in the face? They should all be fired for incompetence. These Crooked-Hillary loving Deep State experts are wrong about global warming, are wrong about Rushian violation of America, are wrong about MBS. Why even keep them on the payroll? How much money are the taxpayers wasting by not simply letting the Very Stable Genius, the smartest person in the room make the decisions? Someone with even with no government experience can accomplish more than any American President except maybe Lincoln and he had a war to deal with!

6. The Witch Hunters: Locked and Loaded

And then there is the witch hunt. There were a lot of expectations about the Michael Flynn sentencing. People were waiting with baited breath to hear what the witch hunters had concocted in the Fake News witch hunt that should be directed against Crooked Hillary and her Rushian collusion. And when the transcripts of the sentencing were released it was a big nothingburger. There was no collusion. There was nothing to indict the President. Is it any wonder that the Flying Monkeys who defend against the Witch Hunter and his mob of angry Democrats were high-fiving live on national television? There was no there there. What a waste. Individual 1 is exonerated.

Or is this beginning of the end? Is it now possible to imagine the end of the current administration? Did he dilute the Ukrainian provision in the Republican platform, seek to weaken the sanctions against Russia, and brag about firing Comey to his Russian friends just in the hope of building a Trump Tower in Moscow? Is it all about the money and his vanity?

What station do you watch? What station does he watch?

The real news of the day was the investigation into the fraudulent Clinton Foundation. The real news of the day was that the Congressional investigation will expose the fraud. The real news of the day was the upcoming testimony by Deep State Comey that would blow the lid off the conspiracy. The real news of the day was the entrapment of the American military hero by the Deep State operatives. The real news of the day was the fraudulently obtain FISA warrants.

What station do you watch? What station does he watch?

And how about that weak Michael Cohen? For years that liar pulled the wool over the eyes of the world’s greatest manager. For years the weak Michael Cohen who deserved to have the book thrown at him colluded with the Trump Organization chief financial officer to steal from the company to make payoffs that never needed to be made and were not authorized…or do you believe that lying David Pecker, too? All those people around the President are weak liars and rats. Only people with the last name Trump tell the truth.

What station do you watch? What station does he watch?

7. NanChuck versus Little Donney-Waney

Perhaps the greatest example of the dual reality seen nightly on the cable news shows occurred with the showdown between NanChuck and Little Donney-Waney. The latter’s preferred venue of choice is the professional wrestling arena. In this scripted one-sided venue he is free to mock, insult, and demean people to his heart’s content. He can say whatever he wants and no one will fact check him. He is always the winner there, it is his favorite reality show.

The showdown at 1600 Hundred Pennsylvania may not rank with the thrilla in Manilla but it certainly ranks with one of the great putdowns of an American President in history. Now he can say that no President was as publicly humiliated live on TV by congressional leaders of the opposing party as he was when he attempted to stage a reality show with people who actually live in the real world and not his alternate reality. Welcome to the rea world when you lose 40 Congressional seats because your name is toxic. Who would have thought that a woman putting on sun glasses would go viral as the symbol of woman emasculating the immature child grabber? He can’t even be called a man! Who would have thought that the red dress would be sold out? [Note one day someone will write a history of the baby-boomer era presidencies from stained-blue dress to red dress with shades.] Suddenly the Congressional leadership is not a bunch of Mike Pences. They are animated. Their noses aren’t brown.

Sean Hannity said the showdown in the arena and demonstrated who had the right stuff: “[Nanchuck are] blithering idiots, way out of their league.”

What station do you watch? What station does he watch?

People anticipate more and more indictments and revelations of the tawdry life of this reprehensible person. So what? Assume every charge is true, a reasonable assumption given the past decades. So what? Decades ago Democratic Hannitys claimed “vast right wing conspiracy” launched a witch hunt against the legitimate duly-elected President to which there was no truth. When the truth became known, Democrats responded with “So what.” Republicans have already started this process. So what if the Republican President instead of knowing nothing about the payments masterminded everything?

Will Republicans will keep saying “so what” through every exposure of the violation of the law Mueller, the SDNY, and the D.C. prosecutors bring to light?

Is it possible that the vote condemning Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi means that Republican Senators have a breaking point?

Is it possible Republican Senators will not support a government shutdown despite the President’s assertion to own the shutdown for national security?

Is it possible Republican donors are catching on that the isolated, weak, and dishonest con artist has met his match with the Department of Justice?

Remember when Spencer Tracy cross-examined William Jennings Bryan and his supporters who had voted for him three times (in three separate elections) laughed at him when the truth was exposed?

Will the cheer in 2019 become “Lock him up; lock him up; lock him up”?

Will the real world trump the alternate reality?

It’s only going to get worse. The trump has hit the fan.

Does Coh-nafort Trump the OJ Trial: Has the Witch Hunter Struck?

Gemma Arterton Locked and Loaded in Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters

Where were you when you learned that OJ had gotten away with the murder of two white people? Do you remember exactly where you where and what you were doing?  Did you then shout for joy and start dancing in the street (for real and not like the fake news Jersey City celebration)? Did you wring your hands in anguish and let out a big moan?

The OJ trial riveted the nation…for weeks. There had been nothing like it. For cable TV it was a godsend. Some of the people who made their media mark then are still going strong today. Now we were dealing with not one but two trials. And we are wondering about the big one to come. Although not directly related, the 1990s gave us two trials which changed the national media: the OJ and the impeachment. Now here we are two decades later seeing some of the same people on screens of various sizes.

August 21, 2018, is an historical day of multiple pieces and alternate realities. To begin with there were the trials – “what actually happened” asks the historian. Perhaps not since the deaths of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence have two such similar events to each other of historic significance occurred so closely in time.

What Actually Happened

The study of what actually happened is only just beginning. We are now starting to learn the full story. As someone who served on a jury trial where there were 18 charges and we convicted on 6, acquitted on 1, and were hung on 11 all by an 11-1 vote, I am fascinated by this unfolding story what went on behind closed doors. Our case lasted three months and became very intense. So far there are some preliminary conclusions which can be reached:

1. In general jurors do take their responsibilities seriously.
2. Tainted witnesses are not a prosecutors’ strong point but physical evidence is.
3. The tainting of the jury pool by the President and his Flying Monkeys did not succeed in the Cohen case of at least one juror who went public but the jury is still out on why the one holdout held out.

Undoubtedly in the days and weeks to come, we will learn about the group dynamics and psychology about something that may well be destined to become a case study in psychology, history, and law courses.

What’s Next?

Second, the two sets of decisions raised additional questions which cannot yet be answered but which will be in the course of time.

1. Who were the other people in the Trump organization with whom Michael Cohen colluded?
2. Will charges be brought against them and will they implicates others in the conspiracy?
3. What other information will Michael Cohen share?
4. What other information will be gleaned from the documents of Michael Cohen seized by the FBI?
5. When will Paul Manfort be rewarded for his loyalty by the narcissist for whom loyalty is everything?

Undoubtedly the answers to some of these question will lead to further actions so in that sense, these two trials were a beginning and not an end.

The Presidential Performance

Third, on the same day as the verdicts, the President of the United States performed as a professional political wrestler at a rally in West Virginia. Based on the performance one would scarcely know that just hours earlier his longtime fixer and short term presidential campaign chair had been found guilty. Instead it was entertainment as usual with the perennial Republican favorites: Lock her up! Lock her up! Build a Wall! Build a Wall! Fake news. And the new one since the 2016 campaign: rigged witch hunt by 13 or 17 angry Democrats. Indeed, the greatest swamp builder in American history even called for draining the swamp precisely as the legal system had begun draining the very swamps he had built. As with climate change, there is no awareness of irony among Republicans.

The Impact of Pro-Trump Jurors

Fourth, what happens when the Trump supporters on the jury who voted to convict begin interacting with the Trump supporters cheering to drain the swamp? At this point, it is too early to tell. The initial juror foray into the public arena occurred on the President’s propaganda network but not with one of the Flying Monkeys.  The juror’s belief that evidence is evidence and that truth is truth may not play well with them.

Republicans, like the Chinese, only get their news from government approved outlets. They do not include CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. There is a danger in interviewing jurors on the one network they watch if those jurors contradict the party line. There is a disconnect between “the evidence was overwhelming” and “Manafort is brave.” What are the consequences if Republicans start to listen to the jurors who convicted Manafort instead of to the President who defends him? The 11 jurors know Manafort was guilty of everything. He is not a hero. If the jurors who support the President see that he does not realize that, then when else is he wrong? Why believe him on anything? The jurors who live in the real world may be Achilles’ heel to the people who live in the alternate reality. They have seen the truth. They will speak the truth. They have courage and integrity. They are not Republican Senators and Representatives.

Don’t Become Fox Fodder

Fifth, people who hyperventilate and become Fox Fodder are not doing their cause any good. There is no constructive purpose to be served by going into emotional overdrive about traitor Trump who is turning the United States into a banana republic through an authoritarian denial of freedom of speech. I am talking about you Carl Bernstein. I am talking about you John Brennan. I am talking about you Ralph Peters. When your heartfelt spiel becomes Fox Fodder you know you are being ridiculed. And that is the message being communicated to the Republicans you want to reach.

Chill. Freedom of speech has not ended. We have not become a banana republic. Could these trials have happened in Russia? Could these trials have happened in China? Could these trials have happened in North Korea? Need I go on? We are not “Z.” When the world does not come to an end as you describe you lose credibility and become a laughingstock on Fox.

Do not think of Trump as an adult who is evil. Face the reality that he is an immature child and knock off the over-the-top vitriol. Kim Wehle, former Assistant United States Attorney, Associate Independent Counsel in the Whitewater Investigation appearing on MSNBC referred to our President as almost like an adolescent smashing all the crystal in the house because he is not getting what he wants. Exactly right. She was angry when she said it but she was not hyperventilating. She will not become Fox Fodder. Similarly former Congressman Joe Walsh also was furious when he said of the elected Republicans that they have to watch him like a ten-year old child but are afraid to say it publicly. He will not become Fox Fodder. The more you talk about him as the immature child that he is the less likely you are to become quoted on his network and become a joke for your over-the-top comments.

Hush money is not illegal. Do you really think unreported hush money will qualify as high crimes? More is needed and as it turns out there is more to come. “Dorothy” Mueller has plenty of buckets of water. We have to wait. Hopefully only until September 1 for the next indictments.

Alternate Reality

Sixth, part of the reason why the old campaign refrains still work in the professional wrestling arena is because they are not old. Quite the contrary, practically every night, Republicans hear about Crooked Hillary, her collusion with the Russians, and her exoneration because of the Deep State coverup. For the Republicans chanting “Lock her up!” it’s not old news, its current events.

On August 21, I wanted to make sure at 9:00 Eastern time, I heard from Trump’s Brain on the events of the day. Hannity said he was going to provide us with the news and perspective not found elsewhere.  The lessons of the day were straightforward and he heartily endorsed them:

1. Pay your taxes.
2. Do not lie on bank applications.
3. Do not lie to the FBI.

Then, did we really need Robert Mueller’s Witch hunt to tell us that? And because we have a corrupt two-tier justice system where Democrats can get away with what Republicans go to prison for there is another lesson:

4. Do not be a friend of Trump

Zero collusion. Zero conspiracy. Zero Russia. One might even think that White House staff were doing cartwheels of joy now with the target President high-fiving everyone. Sometimes he seems like the person who jumps off a ten-story building and at the eighth floor says, “so far so good.”

The Iceberg and the Titanic

Speaking of disasters, it is Chris Matthews who keeps asking how long the Trump Titanic can stay afloat after hitting the Mueller iceberg. We do not know how much Mueller knows. But if the jury was impressed by the documents presented in the Manafort case, one can only imagine how the jurors will react to the mountain of evidence dumped in the next round of indictments …or if the indicted Russians are ever extradited.

Perhaps Matthews should slightly change his metaphor. Instead of focusing on how many staterooms can be flooded, watch the rats. The swamp builder is known for the company he keeps and that company includes rats. Michael Cohen served Trump for many years but he did not take a bullet for him. He ratted. In the tape of the hush-money conversation with his co-conspirator, he mentioned needing the help of the longtime Trump organization financial officer whose ties go back to Trump’s father. Does that person want to spend the remaining years of his life in jail? Does he want his life earnings to go to lawyers instead of grandchildren? What will the co-conspirator publisher do (we already know)? If you surround yourself with rats, guess who will desert the sinking ship once they see it has hit iceberg Mueller? It’s even possible to imagine the Attorney General to grow a pair.

The trials mean the trump has hit the fan and he has no good news in sight.

Critical Thinking: Fox, FISA, and Facebook

“He is an egomaniacal, narcissistic buffoon. The MAGA agenda is but a vehicle for him to continue his years-old self-aggrandizement campaign,” said Michael Rubino, a top Trump advisor in Virginia who is close to Corey Lewandowski, the president’s former campaign manager. (“In Senate Bid, A Provocateur Evokes Trump,” NYT 6/18/18)

Critical thinking is one of those skills we pretend to consider to be desirable for citizens in a democracy. Theoretically, students are educated in this skill as part of the k-12 curriculum. In the beginning, students would be provided a document or primary source and then asked questions about it. Initially, all the questions asked can be answered solely from the data presented. No additional knowledge is required.

Over time, the process becomes more challenging. There may be multiple related documents such as the speeches of one individual. There may be multiple and contradictory documents such as opposing speeches. Students may have the option to draw on knowledge not presented in the class. There may be open-ended questions. Of course, there may be open questions about the War of Northern Aggression or should presidents be able to say they can kill someone in broad daylight on 5th Avenue and get away with it?

Situations requiring critical thinking occur frequently in the real world without always being designated by that term. For example, jurors are expected to be able to weigh often contradictory and incomplete data and arrive at a verdict. Voters also are asked to think but we know loyalty to one’s team often takes precedence over anything else.

I started thinking more about this issue on May 24 based on the front page of the New York Times, the newspaper that is home-delivered to me and read with two hands the way newspapers are supposed to be read. Three articles on the front page in particular caught my attention as examples of the way critical thinking does and does not occur.

Deep in Desert, Iran Quietly Works on Missiles: Researchers See Sign That an Old Program Has Been Revived

This article was good old-fashioned research and digging in the tradition of Sherlock Holmes to discover the truth. In fact, the article states some American weapon researchers watching Iranian TV “stumbled on a series of clues that led them to a startling conclusion.” It turns out that a second and secret facility in the remote Iranian desert had been constructed for the purpose of extending the range of Iranian missiles beyond the Middle East. The construction of this site was contrary to the public announcements of Iranian officials. The purpose here is not to detail the investigatory work which went into piecing the discovered data together, but to acknowledge the process. The situation was not a jury case where people are presented with a problem to resolve. Instead, it reflects an accidental initiative due to the chance of well-trained and knowledgeable people being alert to what was going on around them (in contrast, for example, to clueless wrestling coach Jim Jordan, who asserts he had no idea what was going on around him, an apparently chronic condition – added information not in the article).

Sandy Hook Suits Fabulist and Online ‘Post Truth’ Culture

This article from the same front page is about Alex Jones labeled “an online conspiracy theorist.” Alex Jones employs a method of investigation the exact opposite of Sherlock Holmes. In this instance, the question was his claim that the so-called Sandy Hook massacre was really an elaborate government-invented hoax supported by “gun-grabbers.” In other words, in the battle over the Second Amendment a staged event was perpetrated on the American people at this elementary school (just as it would be years later at a Florida high school – added information not in the article). The reporter notes that this fabulist has been praised as having an “amazing” reputation by the president of the United States (who has trumped over 3000-and-counting times since he became president –added information not in the article). Now the parents of the murdered children are seeking to hold accountable this individual in our “post-truth” world.” Subsequently (July 3 in my hard copy), the same reporter wrote an article “Lawyers of Neo-Nazi to Defend Fabulist.” More recently, CNNMoney reported on July 26: , Facebook suspended the personal profile of controversial InfoWars founder Alex Jones on Thursday, and removed four videos associated with his namesake page and that of InfoWars, a spokesperson for the social media company said.

The classroom activity in this example is to determine whether or not Alec Jones is telling the truth. As part of critical thinking skills, a student here might draw on an almost identical scenario involving a suit against Fox News and America First Media Group. These suits derive from the concoction of the Seth Rich conspiracy hypothesis: he leaked Democratic emails during the 2016 American presidential election. One is in awe on how Sean Hannity was able to piece together this story that none of the U.S. intelligence organizations were able to discover. Truly he has a beautiful mind. For students and voters seeking the truth, there is an excellent example to observe how the conspiratorial mind works in contrast to the weapons researchers in the previous example.

All Must Rise for Anthem, NFL Insists: Players Can Stand or Stay in Locker Room

With this type of issue, one moves from the more factual ones to the more open-ended one. The task here is not to determine whether or not Iran built a secret facility to improve missile range or whether Alex Jones (and Sean Hannity) should be held accountable for their concoctions, but what decision should be made on a cultural/social issue. The United States was born in debate. Our founders debated whether or not we should declare our independence. When we succeeded, they debated how we should govern ourselves. The writings from those debates as well as they documents they produced are part of American history studied not just at the k-12 level but into adulthood. In this issue, adult citizens have the opportunity to avail themselves of the great debates of American history. It could be considered a teachable moment for an intelligent discussion. I am sure our President is eager to lead such a discussion if only Fox and Friends would present the information to him. That way it wouldn’t just be a professional wrestling arena scrum as it is at present.

The critical thinking skills noted above have real-world implications. The three events in the articles all involve actions to be taken or not taken. What should the United States do about the secret facility Iran built to develop missile range? Should people be held accountable when they make up stories? What will happen in the NFL this season?

I raise these point because there are some serious political questions to be asked and answered on a legal basis in the national arena. We are witnessing the birth and development of source documents that will become lesson plans, essay questions, and term papers in the future perhaps even in law schools as well as in history and government classes. We have the opportunity to examine a series of documents and observe how different people responded and interpreted the exact same material.

The leading examples in question so far are:

1. The Nunes 4-page memorandum
2. The Senate testimony of Don, Jr.
3. The FISA applications

The Nunes and FISA documents provide excellent examples for a critical thinking exercise. In both cases, the existence and contents of the documents are not in question … although full disclosure of the latter has not occurred as of the time of this writing. In both cases, the interpretations of these documents are available and not in question. The blogs, op-ed pieces, media interviews, late-night comedian rants all exist for future students in a critical thinking class to examine.

Those students will discover that people today have responded to the exact same documents with diametrically contrary interpretations.

1. According to one view, these documents reveal one of the greatest corruption scandals in the history of the United States. They provide proof positive of the Deep State. For some of the fiercest advocates of this conspiracy theory, these documents vindicate the months of investigation into the workings of the Deep State. The entire witch hunt is based on unverified Russian lies fed to a Democrat-paid for spy. Ironically, Sean Hannity has admitted that he no more has proof of this hypothesis than Alec Jones has for any of his hypotheses. In fact, Hannity has urged Robert Mueller, witch hunter supreme, to do his patriotic duty, and prove that the real collusion was between the Russians and the Democrats just as the President claims. Hannity can’t prove that the Russians provided Steele with any information – he wants Mueller to do that. Hannity can’t prove that the information is lies – he wants Mueller to do that. Hannity doesn’t know that the information is unverified – he wants Mueller to do that…without realizing that Mueller may already have proven whether much of it is verifiable or not. On the Bulltrump network, this passes for the application of critical thinking skills. It has been exceedingly successful with one segment of the American population.

2.According to the second view, these documents are nothingburgers. They demonstrate two things: professional government officials at work performing their jobs in a responsible matter and the willingness of Flying Monkeys to see what they need to see and do what they need to do to prevent Robert Mueller, witch hunter supreme, from being successful.

Over time, as additional information becomes available and additional people are indicted, the material for this classroom exercise examining the interpretations of the exact same documents will increase.

A similar development transpired with the testimony of Don Jr. On one hand, his masterful testimony confirmed that there was no collusion or obstruction and obviously he had not perjured himself. On the other hand, the testimony seemed useless he was setting himself for a perjury charge.

The performance of Scott Jennings on CNN is instructive. He is a Republican but not a Flying Monkey. He took pains to repeatedly assert that people under oath should be given the benefit of the doubt and the testimony should be accepted as true. Here is where I fault Don Lemon for the inadequate job he did as a moderator. In response to Jennings protestations about a person being under oath, he should have asked Jennings to think like a juror where every witness is under oath. He should have asked Jennings to do some critical thinking where he can draw on additional information to render a verdict.

As a juror, what should Jennings have noticed about the testimony had he decided to think about it?

1. The witness had been counseled to say he didn’t remember again and again so he wouldn’t fall into the perjury trap.
2. The witness had been counseled to affirm that the only thing he did remember were the “facts” that revealed this was all a witch hunt: he never spoke to his father about it and the meeting was a nothingburger.
3. The odds are Mueller knows to whom Don Jr. made the phone call after the meeting.
4. The odds are Mueller has testimony from Hope Hicks who definitely does not want to go to jail ever.
5. The odds are Mueller has additional and alternate testimony from the other attendees at the meeting.
6. And everybody knows, Don Jr. ‘s father always knows what is going on in his building. The idea that he didn’t is prima facie absurd.

And all this is even before the Fixer decided to tell the truth.

Facebook has offered some “Tips to Spot False News.”  The last one is:

Some stories are intentionally false. Think critically about the stories you read, and only share news that you know to be credible.

Imagine if this rule applied in the White House.

Witches in America: A Tale of Three New Yorkers

Witch Hunter? (https://adamhartung.com)

Witches are in the news and three New Yorkers have tales to tell. From Queens to Ithaca to Chittenango, New Yorkers figure prominently in the witch stories in American history. And there is Broadway too. So let’s examine the status of witches through the lens of the New York experience.

Queens

Today the big noise about witches comes from a new source. It is the tale of a child from Queens who lives a great white house when he isn’t playing golf. He talks about witch hunts all the time. In his use of the term, he implies that he is the target of a witch hunt. How one reacts to that assertion depends on three factors: whether or not witch hunters are heroes or villains, whether or not the target of the hunt is a witch, and whether or not the witch is a good witch or a bad witch.

Ithaca

These pronouncements about witch hunts led to a response by Professor Mary Beth Norton, Cornell University, acting in her capacity as the president of the American Historical Association (AHA). As an historian she is the author of In the Devil’s Snare, a book I own, about the most famous outbreak of witch-hunting in American history, the Salem Witch Trials. She reports that she has been teaching an undergraduate seminar at Cornell focusing exclusively on the Salem witchcraft, a course which has a robust enrollment. She also occasionally comments on my posts.

In the May issue of Perspectives on History, a publication of the AHA, she authored a column “From the President” entitled “An Embarrassment of Witches: What’s the History behind Trump’s Tweets?” She begins with the presumed consensus among historians that witches did not exist in the past so that therefore anyone who is the target of a witch hunt automatically is innocent (of at least that charge). She concludes that the use today similarly is meant to assert a declaration of innocence as the persecuted victims of the witch hunts were centuries ago in Essex County, Massachusetts. Her comments leave open the question of whether those engaged in the witch hunt genuinely believe in the existence of witches or simply using that charge to cover up the true motives of the hunt.

Norton continued by noting the persistence of the Salem witch hunt story in American life. Case in point is the Arthur Miller play The Crucible (1953). It was written during the time of Senator Joe McCarthy’s investigations through the House Un-American Activities Committee of suspected Communists and traitors, people who were colluding with the Soviet Union to violate the United States. That play has become a staple of American education. During National History Day, Norton receives multiple inquiries annually from students about the historical event.  For the remainder of the column, she discussed some of the enduring myths and historical questions about the witchcraft crisis of 1692.

Chittenango

The small community of Chittenango is home to the person who perhaps created the most enduring image of witches in America. I am referring to Frank Baum. The Wizard of Oz is a beloved part of the American cultural heritage. Every year it introduces young children to a slice of Americana and reminds older Americans of this venerable triumph of innocence over evil. Its music, dances, and scenes have become iconic symbols in the American culture.

So beloved is the movie that it has fostered an annual conference, the Oz-Stravaganza. [From the organization websiteIn 1978, librarian Clara Houck set out on a mission to acknowledge the history of the Village of Chittenango as the birthplace of author L. Frank Baum. Clara organized the very first celebration. Local children dressed up as OZ characters and paraded around the library parking lot on May 15th. Then they went inside, had birthday cake and sang Happy Birthday to L. Frank Baum. A lot has changed since then. The festival became a multi-day event. Changed names from Oz-Fest to Oz-Stravaganza, and saw crowds increase from a few hundred for the parade to several thousand for the festival. The event is now run by the International L. Frank Baum & All Things Oz Historical Foundation. Nearby is his home in Fayetteville where he lived as an adult.

Baum actually wrote multiple OZ stories. Dorothy would return there for additional adventures. So perhaps one day there will be multiple sequels as with other superheroes.

The Munchkins used to attend the festival in numbers but they have dwindled in ranks over the years and the conference last summer may have marked the end of a longstanding tradition.

But there is more to this sweet innocent girl of the Midwest than you might suspect. She was after all a serial witch killer. In the first instance, she dispatched the Wicked Witch of the East with great force. All one can see of the dead witch is the ruby red (not orange) items attached to her feet (not head). After her death is verified, the people erupt into a joyous song and dance of “Ding dong, the witch is dead” as if it were V-J Day (which hadn’t yet occurred when the movie was made) itself. Celebrate! Celebrate! Dance to the music!

However Dorothy’s work was not yet done. There was still another wicked witch to kill. This one even more formidable than her departed sister. This witch fought back to destroy the one who would slay her. The closer Dorothy came the more enraged the witch became, erupting into spasm after spasm of focused fury against the innocent Dorothy and her little dog Toto (tweets hadn’t been invented yet). She warned of the pending destruction of the witch-killer but to no avail.  At last as Dorothy pressed on step by step in her quest, the Wicked Witch unleashed her flying monkey minions to rid her of the threat to her wellbeing. If you look closely enough even today you can even recognize from the faces of the flying monkey minions who they are in the real world.

Then at last, the moment of truth arrived. Just as the witch was ready to burn down those who threatened her, Dorothy reached for the waters of purity against which there is no defense. (Note – she couldn’t use the lasso of truth because it hadn’t yet been invented either.) As the vanquished witch began to dissolve into nothingness until only the item on the top of head remained, she shrieked those words which have become the dying cry of all witches dispatched to the great beyond: I’M MELTING. I’M MELTING.

Storytellers have more options than historians to create alternate facts. In fact, it is possible to tell a story from the perspective of the Wicked Witch of West as has been done on Broadway in Wicked.

Baum has raised two issues of importance in the quest to ascertain the true meaning of witch hunts:

  1. there can be good witches, Glenda the white-costumed witch, and wicked witches, the green-skinned wicked witch of the west
  2. witch hunts can be a something good if a wicked witch is the target.

 

As it turns out, witch hunters can be heroes. Consider these examples in addition to the aforementioned Dorothy.

The Last Witch Hunter is a 2015 American dark fantasy action film starring Vin Diesel as an immortal witch hunter who must stop a plague from ravaging New York City (Wikipedia)

 

Hansel and Gretel are bounty hunters who track and kill witches all over the world.

If there were Americans acting on behalf of the Soviet Union in the 1950s, then it is understandable why someone seeking to identify them would be a hero. Of course, if the hunter went too far, abused his power, and falsely accused people then he would have forfeited his claim to be acting for the good of We the People. Still, we should be cognizant of the fact that in American mythology and storytelling, being a witch hunter can be heroic. The trick is to know if there really is a witch to hunt, if the witch is a good witch or a bad witch, and if the hunter exceeds his mandate.

So when we look at America today, what is the situation involving witches and witch hunters? Did Americans support the violation of the 2016 election by Russia and obstruct the effort to reveal the truth? Or are the pure and innocent being falsely accused in hoax by a witch hunter who has overstepped his bounds: “there is no there there”? If the latter is true, then we have a new Joe McCarthy and The Crucible should be updated. If the former is true, then we should hope the musical shout of “Ding-dong, the witch is dead” will rise to the heavens and people will rejoice as if it was V-J Day all over again.  The witch killer will have prevailed, the witch hunt will have been successful, and once again there will be peace in the shire.

So is Robert Mueller Dorothy or Joe McCarthy? What about his target? Who is he?

Is Robert Mueller “Dorothy, Witch-Killer”?

(thewizardofozmovie.com)

The Wizard of Oz is a beloved part of the American cultural heritage. Every year it introduces young children to a slice of Americana and reminds older Americans of this venerable triumph of innocence over evil. Its music, dances, and scenes have become iconic symbols in the American culture.

So beloved is the movie that it has fostered an annual conference, the Oz-Stravaganza. [From the website] In 1978, librarian Clara Houck set out on a mission to acknowledge the history of the Village of Chittenango as the birthplace of author L. Frank Baum. Clara organized the very first celebration. Local children dressed up as OZ characters and paraded around the library parking lot on May 15th. Then they went inside, had birthday cake and sang Happy Birthday to L. Frank Baum. A lot has changed since then. The festival became a multi-day event. Changed names from Oz-Fest to Oz-Stravaganza, and saw crowds increase from a few hundred for the parade to several thousand for the festival. The event is now run by the International L. Frank Baum & All Things Oz Historical Foundation. Nearby is his home in Fayetteville where he lived as an adult.

Baum actually wrote multiple OZ stories. Dorothy would return there for additional adventures. So perhaps one day there will be multiple sequels as with other superheroes.

The Munchkins used to attend the festival in numbers but they have dwindled in ranks over the years and the conference last summer may have marked the end of a longstanding tradition.

But there is more to this sweet innocent girl of the Midwest than you might suspect. She was after all a serial witch killer. In the first instance, she dispatched the Wicked Witch of the East with great force. All one can see of the dead witch is the ruby red (not orange) items attached to her feet (not head). After her death is verified, the people erupt into a joyous song and dance of “Ding dong, the witch is dead” as if it were V-J Day (which hadn’t yet occurred when the movie was made) itself. Celebrate! Celebrate! Dance to the music!

 

However Dorothy’s work was not yet done. There was still another wicked witch to kill. This one even more formidable than her departed sister. This witch fought back to destroy the one who would slay her. The closer Dorothy came the more enraged the witch became, erupting into spasm after spasm of focused fury against the innocent Dorothy and her little dog Toto (tweets hadn’t been invented yet). She warned of the pending destruction of the witch-killer but to no avail.  At last as Dorothy pressed on step by step in her quest, the Witch unleashed her flying monkey minions to rid her of the threat to her wellbeing. If you look closely enough even today you can even recognize from the faces of the flying monkey minions who they are in the real world.

Then at last, the moment of truth arrived. Just as the witch was ready to burn down those who threatened her, Dorothy reached for the waters of purity against which there is no defense. (Note – she couldn’t use the lasso of truth because it hadn’t yet been invented either.) As the vanquished witch began to dissolve into nothingness until only the item on the top of head remained, she shrieked those words which have become the dying cry of all witches dispatched to the great beyond: I’M MELTING. I’M MELTING.

“Hail to Dorothy, the Wicked Witch Is Dead”

There was no singing and dancing in the movie when the wicked witch of the West breathed her last words of condemnation and despair. In the real world, I suspect when the witch hunt is over and our witch is finally removed from his lair of evil, once again the musical shout of “Ding-dong, the witch is dead” rise to the heavens and people will rejoice as if it was V-J Day all over again.  Robert Mueller, witch killer, will have prevailed. Once again there was peace in the shire.

 

Hannity versus Mueller: Who Is the Better Dot Connector?

Two Down, One to Go (livetradingnews.com)

We humans need to bring order to chaos. We need to make sense of the universe we perceive. The challenge to do so is a never ending one as the universe changes. It has grown bigger in space, longer in time, more different in peoples, and more complicated in technology. Those who can connect the dots that make sense of the chaos have a revered place in human culture from Sherlock Holmes to Albert Einstein.

Now we are facing a political challenge to connect the dots. The Mueller investigation revolves around the ability to tell a believable story that connects the most dots. In this post, I present the examples of three different people with three very different abilities to connect the dots. At some point, We the People may be asked to decide who did it best and what the truth is.

The Two Dot President

About a year ago during an international conference, the President of the United States wandered off to chat with the Premier of Russia. It was an unscripted unplanned exchange with no aides participating. What did the leaders of these two nuclear powers talk about? According to the American leader the subject of their discussion was adoptions. The Russians had restricted the ability of Americans to adopt Russian babies and the American President sought to discuss that issue with his Russian counterpart. It certainly sounded innocent enough.

As it turns out like father, like son. The son also had had a meeting with the Russians and guess what? The topic he addressed also was adoptions. Here we had two meetings and both involved not collusion, not the removal of sanctions, and not the refusal to enforce sanctions, but a sincere effort to help unfortunate (white) Americans who can’t have children to adopt (white) children from Russia. What could be more noble and inspiring than to have the father and son team pleading for the Russians to help these Americans?

Two dots had been connected. When the President of the United States concocted this coverup story he did so by connecting two dots, his meeting with a Russian and his son’s meeting with a Russian. We would be remiss if we ignored how proud he was to make this connection, to have connected these two meetings into a single story. The Very Stable Genius was practically beaming with joy at this display of his mental prowess. All by himself, he had fabricated a story that linked two dots.

For our Two Dot President, this story represents the limit of his mental skills. He can’t go beyond the two-dot limit. It is the maximum of which he is capable. Think of his transactional foreign policy. It’s not just that he is incapable of a policy of win-win, two plus two equals five, and synergy, it is that he is limited by his mental capacities to only being able to think in binary terms. He genuinely is incapable of exceeding his two-dot limit. For higher order thinking to make sense of a large world, the Very Stable Genius needs to outsource his thinking to someone capable of connecting more dots, to Sean Hannity.

Sean Hannity, Multiple Dot Connector

Sean Hannity is highly skilled in the art of connecting dots. In his opening monologues, he exults in the number of dots he has connected. He invites the viewer or listener to come along with and as he connects the dots. What might appear to be a set of random or isolated points of data become part of a single chain or tapestry that he links and weaves together for those stay tuned to his show. His ability to connect the dots is truly remarkable. Perhaps not since future Nobel-Prize winner John Nash employed his mathematical genius to connect the dots for the U.S. intelligence service has any one individual been able to connect as many dots as Sean Hannity has done in revealing the mother of all conspiracies.

He is so good he was able to transform the unfortunate murder of a Democratic staffer into the key to unraveling the true conspiracy which has and is occurring. His ability to connect the dots makes the DaVinci Code seem simplistic by comparison. Is it any wonder that our Two-Dot President has outsourced higher order thinking to one so gifted as multiple-dot Sean? He must watch the show in breathtaking awe as Hannity explains what is really going on. Think of John Kelly informing the uniformed President who didn’t know that Lincoln had been a Republican that there is a river separating much of the United States and Mexico. Now magnify that impact a thousand fold. Naturally he suspected Crooked Hillary somehow was behind it all and with the aid of Sean Hannity, multiple dot connector, he can see clearly now.

Robert Mueller, Dot Collector Tsunami

With Robert Mueller, the situation is different. Now we are dealing not just with an individual but with a team of dot collectors. This team is gathering data on a scale that would make the head of the Two-Dot President spin. He has financial records. He has the testimony of those who have pleaded guilty. He has the testimony of those who haven’t but still may. He has the testimony of decent people who decided telling the truth was the best course of action to prevent being indicted. And he has the documents. He has mountains of evidence that roll like a tsunami (to mix my metaphors) over the Two-Dot President.

If there ever is an exchange whether as an interview or under subpoena, it will be one for the ages. It will rank with Daniel Webster and the Devil, with Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan, with Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson, with José Ferrer and Captain Queeg, and with Atticus Finch in to Kill a Mockingbird.

If there ever is an exchange between the Very Stable Genius and the Dot Collector Tsunami,

HOW MANY TIMES WILL THE PERSON WITH THE WORLD’S GREATEST MEMORY CLAIM HE DOESN’T REMEMBER?

HOW MANY TIMES WILL THE VERY STABLE GENIUS CLAIM EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE BECAUSE THE INVESTIGATION IS A WITCH HUNT AND A HOAX?

HOW MANY TIMES WILL HE PLEAD THE FIFTH?

Has the betting line been established yet? Why not?

I wrote “if there is an exchange” because it is quite possible there will never be one. While Mueller has been collecting his tsunami of data mainly in secret, Hannity has been openly proclaiming his conspiracy with great gusto and vehemence. So far in the public arena, Sean Hannity is winning the battle of connecting the dots. His conspiracy theory is working. Now he has his first casualty in F.B.I. Deputy Director Andrew G. McCabe.  He promises more to come. The countdown on Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has begun. Members of Mueller’s team may follow. Republicans are running for the hills into retirement, voting with their feet to save themselves.  Soon the Republican Party will be completely dominated by Rhinos.

Hannity is in his glory now. His advice trumps that of the lawyers. Why should the President of the United States play ball with the Special Counsel?

The President of the United States will defy a Congressional order to apply sanctions against Russia.

The President of the United States will defy a subpoena to testify since there is no there there and the hoaxed witch hunt is bogus and of no validity.

The President of the United States will reopen the whitewashed investigation of Crooked Hillary with the intention to lock her up.

The Republican Party will support the President of the United States in whatever he chooses to do and whatever he chooses not to do.

The President of the United States could stand in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue and shoot somebody and he wouldn’t lose any Republicans.

It’s no longer a reality show, now it’s real.

 

Don Lemon: What Grade Are You In?

Naughty Child Judge Trelane (William Campbell) in Star Trek: “The Squire of Gothos.” (johnkennethmuir.wordpress.com)

“[M]ocking Kim Jong-un’s weight and height in a tweet was like a snippet of peevish dialogue from a middle-school cafeteria.” (Frank Bruni, NYT, January 21, 2018)

“If you examine him through the lens of playground politics, you will recognize Mr. Trump as thin-skinned bully…” (Annie Pfeifer, NYT, January 21, 2018)

By now, huge numbers of people are well aware that our President is a child. The Trophy Wife knows it. The White House staff knows it. Book authors know it. Anyone who has tried to have an intelligent conversation with him knows it. Practically everyone knows it except his actual children and the Bull Trump network.

However he isn’t just a child. He is an immature child. He is a narcissistic immature child with no sense of empathy or sympathy and limited attention span. One can be a child without necessarily possessing all these other characteristics as well. Because he is a child, then to judge him based on adult standards isn’t fair since he isn’t one. Yet this is exactly what the chattering class routinely does. It makes fun of him for his childlike behavior and then judges him as if he were an adult. The result often is absurdly ludicrous jabber jabber that causes one to change the station, kill the sound, or, dare it be said, turn off the device.

Let’s look at some examples of how even people who know he is a child nonetheless treat him as an adult.

Division of Powers

Lately there has been a great deal of discussion about the division of powers sometimes referred to as the separation of powers. The focus of the debate revolves around the relationship between the office of the President and the Department of Justice, specifically the FBI. Talking head after talking head, often with a legal or historical background, castigates the immature child president for not adhering to the time-honored traditions and rules of law about the proper conduct between the leader of the state and the justice organs of government, He should recognize the wall of separation. After all we are not a trumphole country, are we?!

These pronouncements are so funny it is all one can do not to laugh. The separation of powers is an adult idea. An immature child does not have the mental necessities to grasp its meaning. We do not have a president who has chosen to violate or ignore the separation of powers or breach the wall of separation. We have a president who genuinely does not understand the concept. How can he understand it? How can a talking head mock him for being a child and then reprimand him for not acting like a responsible adult? It’s not fair to judge him by adult standards since he isn’t one.

Office of the President

To differentiate between the office of the president and the person who is president also is an adult idea. He is not capable of understanding that distinction. He can understand someone face-to-face confronting him and telling him he will quit if he does violate that separation, but he can’t understand the abstract concept or that the loyalty of the chief counsel is to the office and not the person.

Loyalty Oaths

Speaking of loyalty, loyalty oaths and oaths in general have been in the news as well. Loyalty to the Constitution and to the American people are adult concepts of no meaning to our immature child president. He genuinely does not have the mental necessities to understand such abstractions. At his level, there is only loyalty to an individual person and not to any values beyond putting oneself first. When he asks who is his Roy Cohn, he is announcing that he has no awareness or recognition of the concept of an oath to the Constitution or to the Office of the President instead of to the individual President himself. There is no such thing as career people or civil servants, only team players and on his team. Who did you vote for? Are you loyal to me? Once again he his not choosing to violate the legal rules of the game, he really is not capable of understanding them in the first place. It’s not fair to judge him by adult standards since he isn’t one.

The Truth

According to media counts he has told over 2,000 trumps in his first year. One day, instead of a Vietnam Memorial with all the names of the Americans who died in the Vietnam War, there will be a monument, a really big one, with all the trumps he has told as president inscribed on it. As one reads the various oped pieces and articles and listens to the various talking heads on the lamestream media, again and again one hears that he is a trumper who can not tell the truth.

Here again one may witness people who mock him as a child then applying adult standards to him. There are reasons why children aren’t tried as adults. The biblical tradition sets a 20-year age as to when people should be expected to know good from evil. Children live in a world of make-believe. Children live in a world of fantasy. Children live in a world of pretend. And children live in a world of sometimes trying to play grownup.

If you recognize that he is a child, then you need to recognize his ideas about truth are those of a child…and an immature one at that. For our president, the truth is whatever it takes to get him out of any predicament he is in. There is no inherent or intrinsic truth or set of values to which he subscribes except those benefit him in his current situation. If he can get away with an action by claiming something then what else matters? Once again, the elitists who mock him for being a child, then apply adult standards to him and find him wanting. It is not fair to judge him by adult standards since he isn’t one.

Firing Mueller

Another silly idea conventionally stated by highly educated people without any understanding is that the firing of the Special Prosecutor would precipitate a constitutional crisis. Put aside the fact that if this President had sex in the Oral Office with a pornstar live on cable TV as a fundraiser, the current Republican Party would do nothing. Once again we are dealing with abstract concepts about responsible behavior that are irrelevant to an immature child. In a decision to fire Mueller, constitutional concepts will play no role whatsoever. It is possible that adults in the White House would try to talk him out of it, but let’s remember the Bull Trump network already has called for shutting down the Mueller investigation in quite vehement terms. [Note – I actually wrote these lines before the last breaking news about him ordering the firing of Mueller. I did however have to update the next paragraph from what I originally wrote.]

If [When] he decides[d] to fire Mueller, he will do [did] so solely because he thinks Mueller is a threat to him who needs to be stopped NOW!!! So far he publicly avows that there is no there there so he has no need to fire him. He has asserted that there is nothing to tell because it is all a hoax and witch hunt. As long as he believes he will not be caught or punished, he can allow the Mueller investigation to continue on its present course. [Apparently he believed right from the start that Mueller would be successful in exposing him.]

When the moment of truth comes and he realizes he does have something to lose, it might be too late to fire him [now]. At his point the very stable genius is quite confident in his ability to handle Mueller. After all, he doesn’t need diplomats since he is the smartest person in the room. He doesn’t need accountants. And he doesn’t need lawyers to handle Mueller in a one-on-one professional wrestling arena smackdown.

Obstruction

Unfortunately for him, the showdown will not occur in his favorite venue: the professional wrestling arena or on the Bull Trump network, it will occur in a legal setting. When he is asked how did he fight back against the witch hunt hoax, he will end up describing how he obstructed the investigation without realizing that he is doing so. Obstruction is another adult term he doesn’t comprehend as is collusion.

Even though he has the world’s greatest memory, he will claim he doesn’t remember. When that gets repetitive, he will exert executive privilege. He will throw in some pleading of the 5th Amendment as well. He hasn’t even told his own lawyers the whole truth and nothing but the truth so why should he start with Mueller? He will do what he thinks needs to do to escape the trap right now. To understand his decisions, one should focus on what the terms mean to the immature child and not on what they mean in the adult world. Consequences to one words and actions are an adult concept.

The elitists with their legal background think Mueller has the upper hand here since he can subpoena the President. If it should come to that as a followup to the interview, would the President obey it? On what basis do you think so? Because that is what an adult would do. But he isn’t one so what’s to stop him for defying a subpoena? Try to be serious.

Can Mueller Redeem the Republican Party?

Image from mapledanish.com

Can Robert Mueller redeem the former party of Lincoln? That’s a tall order for any individual especially when it is not even part of your job description. Nonetheless, he may end up being the one who restores the Republican Party.  It is a party in flux struggling to define itself with an uncertain outcome.

RINO Steve Bannon has declared war on the Republican Party. He is focused like a laser on the evisceration of the former party of Lincoln. He is doing so in the name of his patron leader who last year used the Republican Party as his vehicle to become President by exploiting the fears and insecurities of the people politicians ignore.

Thanks in part to these efforts, for Republicans, the Commonwealth of Virginia has become the New Lost Cause. Which state will be next?

Despite the setbacks, the RINOs are proceeding full speed ahead regardless of the consequences. Who cares if Arizona votes Democratic as long as Flake is out? Who cares if Nevada votes Democratic as long as Heller is out? That will show those weak Republicans who is boss. So what if the Senate is Democratic?

Now we may observe a cause of the problem. We need to stop here and examine how the brain operates. If we want to understand the decision-making process that at first glance seems self-destructive, we need to study how the mind works. For example, why do young people pay higher automobile insurance rates? Why are young people in more accidents?  When something goes wrong why do young people so often respond, “I didn’t think of that”?

The answer quite simply is this is what immaturity is all about – the inability to consider consequences or even to be aware that there will be any for actions taken for the moment. The brain hasn’t developed to the point where it is capable of recognizing what adults naturally do (most of the time). To do so is part of the growing experience.  The immature mind simply isn’t capable of making adult decisions.

As it turns out, Time Magazine addressed that exact issue in the national political arena without intending to. In article in the November 6 issue “We Need to Talk about Kids and Smartphones,” the magazine honed in the problems adolescents face because of their use of smartphones. “(W)e understand enough about young people’s emotional and developmental vulnerabilities to recommend restricting kids’ escalating phone habits.”

The specific area of concern relates to the adolescent brain still in a stage of development and not yet fully-formed.  The lower gray-matter volume in the brain’s anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) involving emotion processing and decision-making is critical according to the researchers. “We know for a fact that teens have very underdeveloped impulse control and empathy and judgment compared with adults.” The prefrontal cortex is another area of concern. That area of the brain is essential for focus and interpreting human emotion. Teenagers don’t have a fully-developed prefrontal cortex and hence have problems with self-control and judgment. So if you yank a 13 year-old smart-aleck/dumb-aleck from school and dump him in a military school your hopes that the changed environment will lead to maturity may be for naught. It is possible that the adolescent brain in question will remain locked into its present state without ever developing a fully-developed anterior cingulate cortex or prefrontal cortex. As a result person never develops into adult maturity capable of empathy or impulse control as a brain scan would reveal. Such an individual would always focus on the immediate, on the moment, without being aware of consequences. For example, “I have a great memory” becomes “I forgot” when faced with the consequences.

The Russians used this knowledge of how the brain works when it interfered in our presidential election. As reported in an article “The Drama of Reality TV, Brought to You by Russia (NYT 11/9/17), the Russians drew on the lessons of reality TV shows that are geared to our adolescent mind. A reality show producer observed that the key to manipulating contestants into acting a certain way was to “tap into their fears, passions and ego.” In this regard, Facebook was a godsend since people had revealed exactly those conditions. For the reality show producer, Facebook was like an instruction manual for the exploitation of people. The Russians realized this and used that knowledge in their campaigns to manipulate the fears of Americans based on race, religion, and politics. The article asks if these Russian trolls caused these insecurities or simply provided an easily-accessible vehicle for people to openly express them and act out.

In other words, a person doesn’t need to believe that Barack Obama is a foreign-born Moslem to manipulate people through that phrase and become the center of attention. Like a reality show producer or a Russian troll, a person only needs to know that the targeted audience will respond to a product that channels those insecurities and fears to his own benefit. Like a reality show producer or a Russian troll, a skilled 7th-grade smart-aleck/dumb-aleck can hone in on the emotional state of his marks and produce amazing results.

By coincidence, the same day as the article on reality TV, the NYT also published an article on “Are Mass Murderers Insane? Usually Not, Researchers Say.” Instead, one should focus on anger of the disgruntled and the aggrieved that eventually is unleashed in violence in response to some perceived humiliation. Using a database based on four killings as the minimum number for a mass murder, the researchers determined that the majority of the killers were disgruntled workers or jilted lovers acting on a deep sense of injustice. A contributing factor is long-term stress such as from failure in school, to keep a job, or from a disabling injury. Sooner or later something may trigger that rage to become violent. Certainly a skilled politician in a professional wrestling arena knows how to push that person’s buttons to produce the desired result.

In light of the above, it is important to recognize the role of the condescending arrogant self-righteous elitists in fostering deep-rooted fears and insecurities which could be exploited by the opposition. Indeed, these people helped create the very vote that boomeranged on them. Consider two of the most common expressions of fear and insecurity by people the coastal elites look down on as inferior subhumans:

Barack Obama is a foreign-born Moslem.

We’re talking back our country.

When Jesse Jackson ran for president was he accused on being a foreign-born Moslem? Is there anything in those words that identifies a person as black? If people had wanted to make racist comments against Obama couldn’t they have done it without resorting to the fantasy that he is a foreign-born Moslem? So why use this term which technically isn’t even an insult but a simple description? Is “foreign-born Christian” an insult? Why did this phrase resonate?

The second phrase clarifies the concern. People are scared. People are scared for themselves. People are scared for their families. People are scared for their community. People are scared for their country. And instead of addressing those fears and insecurities politicians either ignore them (the Republicans) or stoke the flames (the Democrats).  The condescending arrogant self-righteous elitists responded to these two expressions by saying “Yes, you subhuman degenerate 47%-ers, you should be afraid, you should be very afraid. The demographic deluge is coming. The demographic deluge is coming for you. The demographic deluge is the dawning of the Age of the Hyphens and you are the losers in the new world order. And then the Democrats wonder why these scared people voted for an immature child who played on precisely those fears. For highly educated people, either the condescending arrogant self-righteous elitist are still stupid even one year after the election or they have complete confidence in the demographic deluge.

The counter to the false claims about the demographic deluge remains Lincoln just as it was in the mid-19th century. It is easy for Republicans to refute the threat if only Republicans realized that they have nothing to fear but fear itself. With RINO Bannon and his minions stoking the fears it may be easier for Republicans to succumb than to overcome. It is easier to terrorize than to inspire.  Unless, of course, Mueller can provide Republicans with the opportunity they need to take back the party of Lincoln by cutting off its current head. Sometimes Moore is too much.