Writer’s Lounge – 11/13/2020
Trump – Delusional, Angry And Shipwrecked In Sore Loser Land
Donald Trump’s sense that his presidency has been hijacked by inept, indifferent and disloyal subordinates is driving him to new levels of vexation and resentment.
He blames everyone imaginable for his looming one term status in history, but himself. And while he is in this state, he is disengaged completely from the responsibilities of his elected office. But that is not terribly unexpected.
On the list of scapegoats, we’ve already seen the media – (whom Trump wants to charge with conducting illegal polls), Democrats, minority voters, cabinet members, election officials (even Republican ones), Fox News and conniving postmasters. Of course, that was to be expected.
One example of the persecution complex that the soon to be former president is indulging in, is his reaction to the recent announcement that Pfizer will likely soon have an effective vaccine for COVID-19.
According to The Washington Post, Trump went Fukushima in a phone call with Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn following Pfizer’s announcement and demanded an explanation as to why the announcement was made after the election as opposed to before.
Trump called Hahn on Monday, WaPo reports and was “screaming at him” about the early morning Pfizer announcement, a senior administration official told the newspaper.
You might recall that back in August, Trump accused the Food and Drug Administration of being part of the imaginary “deep state” apparatus that was crippling his presidency, in this case, by slowing down the testing and approval process of a coronavirus vaccine.
TRUMP: “The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics. Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed, and saving lives!”
At the time, Hahn said his agency would not be influenced by political pressure from the White House or Trump and would make decisions “based solely on good science and data.”
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former FDA Commissioner under Trump, who was on good terms with Trump, until he wasn’t, appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation” at the time, pushed back on Trump’s accusation, saying, “I firmly reject the idea they would slow-walk anything or accelerate anything based on any political consideration or any consideration other than what is best for the public health and a real sense of mission to patients.”
Commissioner Hahn is someone that Trump has been knives out regarding for several months, mostly due to the fact that Hahn has serially refused to back various unfounded claims Trump has made about COVID-19 and possible therapeutics. One episode occured when Hahn, visiting CNN’s “State Of The Union”, refused to back Trump’s assertion that 99 percent of COVID-19 cases are “harmless.”
Certainly, Trump’s angry outburst about the vaccine news is by far not the most significant aspect of his state of mind, but it does illuminate it somewhat.
Of much greater concern is Trump’s petulant refusal to allow the President – elect, Joe Biden and his advisers access to critical national security briefings.
This, as many have correctly observed, places the United States in a precarious and vulnerable status and affords our adversaries, (Russia, China, North Korea and Iran) a rare window of opportunity to foment a crisis against a negligent and distracted lame duck president, without the incoming president being able to become grounded about the nature and severity of the threats.
And such a posture as Trump is adopting, is unprecedented in modern American history – definitely unseen in the nuclear era.
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Although I had not considered this before, it seems that the coronavirus pandemic may be in part, or in whole, not accountable to people not wearing masks, social distancing or assembling in large gatherings, no, no, no – but instead, it’s women conducting their affairs in a promiscuous fashion – scattering their virginity to the wind and allowing their suitors to sample the wares without the requisite visit to the wedding ring store and then to the local parson.
In March, according to Dallas News, apocalyptic prophecy televangelist Irving Baxter Jr., 75, explained to Jim Bakker on his program, while hawking “Pandemic Bundle” DVD books about the end times and how COVID-19 intersected with them – that he had been “thinking about … the sin of fornication.”
According to something he read “straight from the encyclopedia,” only 5% of new U.S. brides were virgins, leading Baxter, founder of Endtimes Ministries, to deduce most prophetically, that the rest were participants in the sin of fornication.
For those of you that are perhaps not steeped in the lexicon of biblical sin – ‘fornication’ is the activity of sexual intercourse without the benefit of holy matrimony – the iconic “missionary position” not withstanding.
Baxter told famous fornicator Jim Bakker and the audience that he had run the numbers on shacking up and that it had increased 138 percent in just a decade. That’s an impressive statistic. He went on to categorize the pandemic as a “wake-up call” from God. “This coronavirus may be a privilege.”
Evidently, the “privilege” of coronavirus has been extended to Reverend Baxter, because Baxter contracted the virus three weeks ago and succumbed to it in a Texas hospital on election day. The moral takeaway here? Cut down on the casual sex or more televangelists might be felled by an angry god. No, I’m not referring to Trump.
I do owe the good reverend a debt of gratitude for calling my attention to a valuable resource to incorporate into my research discipline – the encyclopedia. Internet search engines, be afraid, be very afraid.
The Impossible (2012)
Rated PG – 13 for intense realistic disaster sequences, including disturbing injury images and brief nudity.
Available on Netflix, and other streaming services
On December 26, 2004, a record-breaking earthquake triggered the tsunami that destroyed the coastlines of 14 south Asian nations, leaving death and destruction in its wake. But often, even in the middle of tragedy, the faint glimmer of hope can be still found.
“The Impossible” is one such story.
Based on true events, the film chronicles the impossible survival of the Bennet (Anglicized from the real life Spanish Belon family) vacationing in Thailand when the tsunami struck. Separated by the waves and circumstances, all five fight destruction, serious injury, and the lingering fear that this could happen again, to be reunited as a family.
The story focuses on the tense relationship between Maria (Naomi Watts) and her older son, Lucas (Tom Holland, in his first feature film role).
A growing boy, who prides himself on his bravery and independence, Lucas often pokes fun of his mom and younger brothers, Simon (Oaklee Pendergast) and Thomas (Samuel Joslin) for their cowardice.
Henry’s (Ewan McGregor) job is also not as secure as he’d like it to be. And, with Maria putting her medical practice on hold to raise their sons, cracks in this relationship are clear.
All this is forgotten the moment the Bennet family is separated the moment the tsunami strikes.
Maria is separated and severely injured – where the film’s PG-13 rating comes in – from the start. Although she risks her already fragile health to rescue her oldest son, she is and convinced her husband and their two younger sons are gone forever.
In a moment, Lucas and Maria become all each has left in the world.
Their relationship is deepened when Lucas, wide-eyed and trembling, clinging to the remains of a tree as the water and debris recedes around him, admits, for the first time in the film, that he’s terrified. Maria, clinging to the same tree, admits her own terror, as well.
Another moment of bonding comes as Maria, clinging to life at an overwhelmed Thai hospital, encourages Lucas to help those around them, “Lucas, look at this place. They’re so busy in here. You get to go and do something. Go help people. You’re good at that.”
Injured, though not as severely as his mother or half the patients, Lucas rises to the occasion. He helps keep his mother alive and unites a father with his missing son. Lucas’ actions are instrumental in reuniting himself and his mother with his father and younger brothers.
It’s in the end that we see the full scope of the destruction the tsunami has wrought. It’s not only an incredible reminder of the power of nature, but also the scale of the odds.
Although a difficult film to watch at times, “The Impossible” is another much needed and timely reminder that, no matter what we face, hope is never too far away.
What IS Trump thinking? Is he thinking at all? Does he ever think?
Whenever I find someone who has already explained a situation as well, if not better than I could, it occurs to me that it is futile to attempt to improve on the wheel.
Such a case exists with the gentlemen at Electoral-Vote.com, in terms of their analysis of what might be going on with Trump right now, as he clings by his fingernails to the presidency that is irrevocably lost to him. So, credit for the following goes to V (short for “Votemaster”) and Z (short for Zenger – a pseudonym for Christopher Bates), who maintain semi-anonymity with those abbreviated nom de guerres:
The President, and many in his orbit, continue to insist that he won the election, that he will remain president through Jan. 20, 2025, and that the federal government will proceed on that understanding. So, although Trump himself is doing virtually nothing these days, his underlings are apparently hard at work (or, at least, are claiming to be hard at work) on their plans for next year.
The real question is, what exactly is going on here? What are Trump & Co. trying to accomplish? It would appear that there are four basic possibilities:
- It’s a Hard Coup: For at least a couple of years, and perhaps longer, many on the left have worried that if and when Trump is defeated, he will put on his tin-pot dictator’s hat, and will simply refuse to yield power. Following the dismissal of Mark Esper as Secretary of Defense, followed by several other personnel changes at the Pentagon and in the NSA, there have been a number of pieces, like this one, warning that a hard coup is underway, and that the Trump administration is setting itself up to remain in power through the use of violence.We, and in particular (Z), remain extremely skeptical of this particular read on events. Finding half a dozen civilians who are willing to kiss the ring, and to tell the President that he doesn’t have to stop being president if he doesn’t want to, is not so difficult. Finding enough generals and admirals and troops who share that view is very difficult, indeed. And that is before we consider the fact that Trump has not shown himself to have this sort of iron nerve. He’s a blusterer, not a conqueror.It’s also worth noting that the behavior of the administration, and of the Trump family in particular, is not consistent with this notion. If they were really plotting a takeover, the President would not spend all day sulking in his private quarters, would not be bothering with a bunch of useless lawsuits, and, most importantly, would not be laying the groundwork for a 2024 run. After all, if he’s dictator-for-life, there’s no need for a 2024 run.
- It’s a Soft Coup: The notion here is that, instead of using military force to remain in power, Trump and his allies will utilize constitutional trickery. Specifically, they will take their best shot with various lawsuits and, when those fail, they will lean on several GOP-controlled legislatures to override the election results and to award their states’ EVs to the President.This is more plausible than the hard coup, but not much. However, the reasons are complicated enough that we’ll give the matter its own item (see below).
- It’s a Temper Tantrum: This is the likeliest explanation; that Trump is angry that he has been repudiated, depressed that 80 million Americans voted against him, and so is engaging in a combination of denial and lashing out. This would be consistent with his moping and his hands-off approach ever since losing the election, it would be consistent with his firing certain underlings who displeased him, and it would be consistent with all the tweets he’s been sending out. If there was something more substantial than a temper tantrum going on here, then surely key insiders like Jared Kushner and Melania Trump would not be pushing The Donald to concede.
- It’s a Grift: This is also pretty plausible, and is not incompatible with “It’s a temper tantrum.” As Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom discovered, there’s sometimes a lot of money in being a loser. Since Trump’s loss became evident, his campaign has been raising money hand-over-fist to fight back against the election result.
However, as The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank first noticed, the fine print of those solicitations tells a different story. Namely, most of the money goes not to the “OFFICIAL ELECTION DEFENSE FUND,” but instead to the RNC and/or to Trump’s personal PAC. That will allow him to use the money on all sorts of personal purposes, from supporting his future runs for office to paying himself and his family members fat salaries as directors of his PAC.
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