A minor but nagging pet peeve: In our view, Andrew Sullivan has done good work in his Friday morning essays for New York Magazine.
That said, this new complaint activates a pet peeve, one we think is significant:
SULLIVAN (9/1/17): Even a week later, the stench of it hangs in the air. The pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio is one of the more chilling authoritarian moves that Trump has made so far. I say this not simply because Arpaio treated prisoners in his charge in barbaric ways; not just because the president described this brutality as Arpaio simply “doing his job”; not even because Arpaio proudly and constantly engaged in racial profiling, making Latino citizens and noncitizens alike afraid to leave their own homes. I say it for a simpler reason: because it is Trump’s deepest indication yet that the rule of law means nothing to him.We're puzzled by the constant outraged recitation of Trump's essential nature.
Does the rule of law "mean nothing to him?" People! Everything means nothing to him! That's the essence of the idea that he seems to be mentally ill.
It's our impression that Donald J. Trump seems to be some version of mentally ill. As we've said again and again, we think a more rational society would be discussing that possibility, difficult though such a discussion would be.
To us, it seems like the height of denial to keep expressing shock and surprise when he behaves as he does. He will always behave as he does. That's the essence of this deeply troubling state of affairs.
To his credit, Sullivan does see the ultimate danger here. He expresses it in this paragraph:
SULLIVAN: Is [the Arpaio pardon] also a signal that the president could pardon—even preemptively—anyone caught up in criminality in the Mueller investigation? I suspect so...An instinctual despot like Trump can find even the most benign of the president’s constitutional powers—the pardon—and turn it against the rule of law. We really need to remind ourselves of this on a daily basis if we are not to become numb to it: to advance his own interests, there is nothing this president would not do. If we enter, as we well might, a constitutional crisis, we have been warned all too clearly what this man is capable of.We agree with Sullivan's suggestion! When we see liberals yukking it up and popping the corn about the ongoing probe of Trump, we wonder if they've considered how dangerous the fellow could be if the walls do start closing in.
Something is wrong with Donald J. Trump. In various ways, we think we see a lot of people who haven't quite come to terms with this dangerous fact.
Somerby knows very little about psychology and probably even less about abnormal psychology (mental illness).ReplyDelete
He says: "Does the rule of law "mean nothing to him?" People! Everything means nothing to him! That's the essence of the idea that he seems to be mentally ill."
He is utterly incorrect that nothing means anything to Trump. Money means a lot to him. Status means a lot. Being respected by high status people means a lot. His own self-image means a lot and he is protective of it.
Somerby does not understand the criteria by which someone might be assessed as mentally ill. He refers to none of the usual ways of deciding. His evidence is that he doesn't understand Trump very well.
In our society, we are careful not to use our laws to impinge on the freedom of individuals, especially not using the excuse that they are mentally ill (due to past abuses of law). Somerby seems unfamiliar with that concern.
Unless and until Somerby is willing to grapple with clinical diagnoses and ways of determining whether someone is mentally ill, and our laws concerning that process, he needs to stop calling Trump mentally ill and take what Trump says and does seriously.
Trump is a liar. He is doing illegal things. He is abusing his power and our government. He colluded with a foreign government to manipulate an election and he continues to favor that government as a quid pro quo. Etc. These are acts he is fully responsible for because he is not adjudged to be mentally ill. He is in control of his actions, aware of what he is doing, and thus responsible for what he has done.
Something is certainly wrong with Trump. Something is also wrong with Cruz, Ryan, McConnell, and a bunch of other sane, not mentally ill Republicans. Something is wrong with Republican voters too, especially Trump supporters. It won't help anything to label them mentally ill.
Spot on, Anon. The funny thing is, Bob Somerby is engaging in exactly the sort of smokescreening he used to expose and deride coming from other writers. He has become what he used to oppose, failing to heed Nietzsche’s advice: He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster.Delete
Oh, so now you're running your own Two Minute Hate operation? And all that time your only concern has been that the establishment's non-stop Two Minute Hate campaigns were not effective enough? Nice. You really are an asset to your 'tribe'.ReplyDelete
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He moved on Princess Di too but he creeped her out so she rebuffed him and he got nasty and said ugly things about her.Delete
Bob Somerby may be a liberal, but he is certainly not guilty of tribal thinking, as some commenter implied above.ReplyDelete
Clinton pardoned Marc Rich for personal profit and political gain. Give me a break. Also, if Arpaio had profiled in the manner described, how come they couldn't prove it in court?ReplyDelete
"if Arpaio had profiled in the manner described, how come they couldn't prove it in court?"Delete
I'm pretty sure that's because "racial profiling" is just another liberal ruse, among their many other race-mongering 'outrages' and denunciations.
When the police stop someone, they either have a probable cause or reasonable suspicion -- or they don't. If they do, everything's fine. If they don't, they just did something illegal, but of course there's no good reason whatsoever to rave and rant about 'race'.
Probable cause - no problem. No probable cause - problem. 'Race' - liberal bullshit.
Your contention is bullshit. What "personal profit and political gain" was made?Delete
Funny. I don't seem to recall Clinton, or any other president, making a big show of his pardon, announcing it to weeping masses, using it as a giant policital football. It IS a signal from Trump, make no mistake.Delete
That was an example that jumped into my mind. If Trump's pardon of Arpaio indicates either that he is insane, despotic, or does not believe in the rule of law, then why doesn't Clinton's pardon of Rich prove the same thing?Delete
There are probably many other examples, but it's hard to get the details from the list of pardons or commutations.
How is this any worse than Bush's pardons of 6 people involved in Iran Contra? The media acts like this is unprecedented, worse than Hitler, etc.,etc.
There seems to be this tendency, this derangement if you will, to act as if almost everything done by Trump or said by him proves that he is crazy or a monster.
It's a tough call deciding what is crazy and what is not. If Trump is saying crazy things, they apparently were not crazy enough to keep him from getting elected. Could he do something if he feels the walls closing in? How is that different from anybody else? Before I fired a guy, I asked for his keys, because I did not want to battle for his keys after I fired him. When I got fired, they also seemed to feel I might be a danger. They had security escort me out of the building.
If people are gonna make the case that Trump is crazy, they ought to make a tighter case. For example, I listened to the Phoenix speech and did not find anything crazy about it. The CNN commentators supposedly did. Okay, what did I miss? Which part shows he was crazy? His BS about the cameras turning off? Well, that seemed to be a popular part of his act. How is throwing an applause line to an audience any crazier than, say, Hillary's claims about their debate which are contradicted by the video evidence?
Rich's pardon was done at the request of Israel and fulfilled a diplomatic agreement.Delete
"Okay, what did I miss? Which part shows he was crazy?"Delete
Well, he's 'crazy' for not playing the role assign to any president (or any other elected politician for that matter): acting as a puppet/PR talking-head of the establishment, the real owners of the country.
...as illustrated here, for example:
, which is inspired by the slogans (hope! change!) of Mr Obama, who indeed had never been anything but a puppet -- and therefore definitely wasn't 'crazy'.
Sheriff Joe interpreted Federal Immigration laws, human smuggling laws, and identity theft laws to mean he could use traffic stops, neighborhoods sweeps, and even vehicle breakdowns to arrest and detain people. The courts rebuked his interpretations and ordered him to cease and desist. He didn't. He was charged with contempt of court.Delete
BTW. The investigation of Clinton's pardon of Marc Rich was taken over by a young Deputy Attorney General named James Comey.Delete
This is the same Sully, questioning the pardon of the racist Arpaio, who turd-polished the racist Bell Curve? Somersby should start by commenting about that.ReplyDelete
I like what you are saying about Trump being insane. I believe he could get us all killed - the point that is being made is scary as can be. But, as you know, all but one congressman in Texas voted against Federal relief after hurricane Sandy. What were they thinking? I really think one senator from Texas is the personification of evil. (You know who.) If I believed in the devil, I'd think he was his employee. Are you sure that all current Republicans are not just a little bit mentally ill? (except one Congressman in Texas.)ReplyDelete
It's good to see that Bob has backed away from denouncing those who point out Trump's obvious deviances and mental issues to acknowledging they are real.ReplyDelete
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