MONDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2020
Thirty days from the end: We probably won't ever be able to link you to any videotape. We probably won't ever be able to provide a full transcript.
Aping the culture of Fox News Channel, MSNBC eliminated transcripts a few months back. The channel also cut way back on the amount of videotape it posts.
That said, the channel never did produce transcripts for Morning Joe, its most unusual program.
Morning Joe has walked a long and winding road since 2015. Midway through that year, we began to watch its opening segment on a daily basis because of the way Mika and Joe seemed to be fawning over Candidate Trump, with whom it turned out they were friends.
By our reckoning, they executed a full 180 with respect to Trump in early 2016, in reaction to the candidate's claim that he didn't know who David Duke was. As of now, the program produces the most instructive discussions across the sweep of MSNBC—and so it was this very morning when, at 6:18 A.M. Eastern, Mika offered this:
[The mental or psychiatric state of the current commander-in-chief is] "not something I should say on television yet."
So said Mika Brzezinski, this very morning. Translating, she was telling us this:
In her opinion, Donald J. Trump, the commander-in-chief, seems to be mentally ill. But the corporate suits who are her owners still won't let her say so.
Along with the rest of the network's employees, Mika and Joe are paid millions of dollars per year to do what the corporate suits tell them. (You aren't allowed to know how many millions of dollars per year.)
People paid so many millions frequently do what they're told. This morning, those people were telling us, without actually telling us, that they think their former friend is dangerously mentally ill—and the key word there is "dangerous."
Two minutes after Mika spoke, so did Michael Schmidt, he of the New York Times. Schmidt said Trump is becoming "more convinced" that he really did win November's election.
"Early on, it was performative," the AP's Jonathan Lemire said, almost exactly one hour later, of such victory claims by Trump. As with Schmidt, so too here:
Schmidt and Lemire seemed to be saying that Trump now actually believes that he won this year's election. They seemed to be saying that this growing conviction is fueling the growing lunacy of Trump's thinking and behavior.
We have no way to tell you if these assessments by Schmidt and Lemire are accurate. Several weeks back, we noted that, at least by our lights, Trump increasingly seems to believe his various crazy claims.
Is it possibly "dangerous" if Trump does believe his claims? Concerning that question, we transcribed a statement by Joe at roughly 7:20 A.M.:
"Without ay doubt, [it's] the most deeply disturbing political development of my lifetime. There's not even a close second."
So said Joe Scarborough, a thoroughly capable political observer, speaking of the situation which now obtains in the White House.
What were these people talking about on today's Morning Joe? They were talking about the recent reports about a White House meeting which reportedly happened last Friday.
On Saturday morning, the New York Times published its report about the meeting on page A28. The report was somewhat confusingly sourced to two or more people—apparently, more than two—who had been "briefed on the meeting."
(There was no indication that the Times had spoken to anyone who actually attended the meeting.)
How accurate is the Times' account of the meeting? We weren't present there either! But as to the possibility that the commander's current state of mind is potentially dangerous, the most remarkable part of the Times report went exactly like this:
HABERMAN AND KANNO-YOUNGS (12/19/20): During an appearance on the conservative Newsmax channel this week, Mr. Flynn pushed for Mr. Trump to impose martial law and deploy the military to “rerun” the election. At one point in the meeting on Friday, Mr. Trump asked about that idea.
Flynn, who seems to be out of his mind, had suggested imposing martial law for the purpose of staging a new election. According to the Times report, Trump "asked about that idea" during the tumultuous meeting.
Did Trump actually "ask about that idea?" Has he actually considered the possibility of imposing martial law for whatever reason?
We have no way of knowing! After the New York Times report appeared, Politico filed its own report about the tumultuous meeting. We note that Politico didn't report that Trump had said anything about Flynn's earlier public statement, or about martial law in general.
Is it possible that Donald J. Trump is mentally ill? Is it possible that he's dangerously afflicted?
Stating the obvious, of course it's possible! This morning, Morning Joe rocked and rolled with concerns about what may be happening. Quickly, we'll offer these points:
Three years ago, Dr. Bandy X. Lee put the word "dangerous" into the title of the best-selling book she edited, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump. Speaking as a medical expert, she explicitly said that Trump's condition would only get worse as his term of office continued.
Here at this site, we've been suggesting for several years that danger lurks in Trump's possible reaction to an impending election defeat, to to an actual loss. In fairness, we based our assessments on the extensive reporting we've received from major future anthropologists, who report to us from the years which follow the global conflagration they refer to, despondently, only as Mister Trump's War.
Mister Trump still holds the nuclear codes. He'll do so for (at least) the next thirty days, depending on whatever Vladimir has recently done inside our cyber systems.
As a matter of full disclosure, we don't exactly know what it means when people say that Donald J. Trump "holds the nuclear codes."
Explanation of such matters plays little role in our highly primitive culture. But several years back, during a brief burst of explanatory reporting, major new orgs reported that there is no "fail-safe" protection against a sitting president's decision to stage a nuclear strike.
Could Donald J. Trump possibly be that crazy? We have no way of knowing. As Mika made clear today, major journalist are still being told that they can't even suggest such possibilities, let alone interview someone who might bring professional expertise to bear on such a discussion.
These latter days are producing troubling glimpses of who we actually are. We human beings are deeply flawed, even over here in Our Town.
We war-inclined humans are deeply flawed. More on this basic biological problem tomorrow.
Tomorrow: Hoarding the world's vaccines