Sunday, August 20, 2017


But everybody does it!

Cleanliness is not next to Godliness.  Geology is the same as Theology.  Virtue is not the same as propriety.  Madness is not the same as sin.  We get these concepts all mixed up.  This last in particular is a problem at the moment.

1.  Alzheimer’s victims only dimly know something is wrong.  To hide this, they lie, they fabulize, they rationalize, they mix denial with elaborate tales.  One in ten people in the US right now has Alzheimers.  it’s clear that Trump has this, though doctors are too afraid of lawsuits to say so.  “The symptoms of Alzheimer's disease worsen over time, although the rate at which the disease progresses varies. On average, a person with Alzheimer's lives four to eight years after diagnosis, but can live as long as 20 years, depending on other factors.”  It’s difficult to tell when onset is marked enough to justify diagnosis, so Trump could have had it for years.  He looks to me — entirely unmedically — like he’s pretty far along.  I would not be surprised if he suddenly died, but I'd be suspicious about the actual cause.  There are substances that might cause what looks like Alzheimer death.

2.  Trump’s basic character had evidently always been aggressive, belligerent and sometimes out of control but rarely physically violent that we know of.  His family seems cowed.  He is verbally abusive.  This kind of personality is only tolerated by society and certainly not admired except by the sort of person who shows up at a demonstration to enjoy the violence.  In addition, he is too clever by far, congratulating himself for achievements that are minor and of little use.  This seems to be a lifelong strategy, not a symptom of anything except a porous conscience and a poor grasp of reality.

3.  There is little question that quite beyond political treachery, Trump has probably been committing criminal financial acts that would justify arrest and incarceration all by themselves, regardless of how congenial he was in other regards.  I’m unclear about which felonies would over-ride any kind of presidential privilege or protection and which could be successfully deflected by an insanity plea.  Alzheimers, like rabies, can’t really be proven until there is an autopsy because it means taking samples of brain tissue.

The use of the presidential pardon would mean he was still in office and, of course, he would want to stay in office as long as possible, until his family in particular were charged, tried and convicted.  One can’t pardon someone who is not convicted yet, right?  But the nation is increasingly pressing to waste no more time since the potential damage he could do in office reaches as high as atomic warfare.  Already there is a LOT of damage that will take decades to rebuild, evidently mostly because Republicans are hoping to hang on somehow until they personally are re-elected.  So we’ve got a multi-dimensional game of chicken going on here.  Few are actually playing out a “long game.”

4.  The mixture of insanity with criminality with politics is very confusing.  For the last few decades we’ve been mixing them and moving their limits so that some urge compassionate limits on criminality and others urge destruction of innocent children who are the wrong color.  Personal motive is mixed with social disadvantage and social advantage is confused with entitlement.  Sexual invasion is portrayed as seduction and the wrong choice of words is considered rape.

People try to reduce their confusion about Trump or Nazis by simply hating without sorting.  It’s so much easier and more clear.  So much fun to mock and blame.  But it doesn’t suggest a pathway out of the mess.  Now that pathway is beginning to be cleared by panels of professional people qualified and — more important — entitled to read a consensus that would hold up in court.  In a country of laws, that’s essential.  In a country among other countries, it may help us seem more trustworthy, which is vital if a war gets started.  (What am I saying?  We’ve been at war on a slow simmer for presidency after presidency.)

We’ve all seen so many vivid depictions of people who are demonized beyond all justification or out of total misunderstanding, blamed though they are victims, that most of us are pretty reluctant to say Trump is plain old garden-variety nuts.  He must have a plan; there must be a committee of handlers; this is all a bad dream.  Maybe, we should hope, he’s a hoax.  That’s a good non-threatening label.  But what if it’s Russia?  (Is Russia a friend or foe right now?  Didn’t we like Gorbachev?  What’s that goofy Putin up to besides riding bears around while wearing no shirt?)

The smart people know what’s really going on, right?  Um, make that "correct"?  Maybe not.

Trump has a hate trifecta going: unfitness, criminality, and impolitics.  All three are immoral, though amoral fits better.  But they refuse to line up, partly because the criminality part is still submerged.  In fact, the investigation of that started way before Trump’s presidential aspirations and may have prompted his idea in the first place, given the Trumpian confusion between the presidency and King of the World.  It may have just looked like a safe place to wait out crimes.  Even facilitate them, since he would presumably be less a tool of Putin.  

So those who saw the criminal dimension, maybe the FBI, put off the machinery until after the election.  Maybe they just couldn’t gather the facts quickly enough, but a worldwide network of money crime that leads to Putin and that shows he cheats his own people, may be important enough to let Hilary be ditched.  That doesn’t say much for the rule of law, if it can be gamed by delays.  If this investigation succeeds, it may uproot a world-wide corporate conspiracy network.  But, like antibiotics, if the work is incomplete, it will make evil stronger.

My long-time friend from Portland was here a few days ago.  It gradually became clear that he doesn’t think along these lines.  “Where do you get this stuff?” he asked.  it sounded implausible to him, maybe over-the-top.  He gets his news via the liberal but conventional television channels, which evidently don’t touch "this stuff".  Neither does PBS.  His most radical source of news is NPR One podcasts. He enjoys Malcolm Gladwell.  He refused to believe that PBS now charges a “Passport” to watch dramas.  When I began to pound the table, he asked to change the subject.  So there you have it.  We are a divided people.

1 comment:

Mary Strachan Scriver said...

I looked up presidential pardons. It is possible for the POTUS to issue a pre-emptive pardon, but only after the offence is identified. A Governor also has broad powers but can't pardon treason. There's more.