Wednesday, October 11, 2017

I hate everyone in this house! I'm running away!

This is the kind of chart they were looking at in a meeting with the Joint Chiefs last summer, when Trump apparently started complaining about how bad that blue line looks. Where, he wanted to know, did all our nuclear weapons go?! We hardly have any for Christ's sake! Why don't we have them like we did in 1960? We should have more than we had then!" When the news media says he demanded a "tenfold increase" in the stockpile, they're trying to make it sound like an idea. But he didn't do the math, believe me.

Video below is from back in September but I hadn't heard of it (savvy son told me), it doesn't seem to be on the radar, and I didn't want anybody to miss. This version is a little manipulated, with a wonderful looping sequence inserted, not to give you a false idea of what happened but to push its emotional point home.

A little thought here: I'd like to suggest that it's not wrong for Mattis to say that, with reference to the NBC story:
President Donald Trump said he wanted what amounted to a nearly tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal during a gathering this past summer of the nation’s highest-ranking national security leaders, according to three officials who were in the room.
Trump’s comments, the officials said, came in response to a briefing slide he was shown that charted the steady reduction of U.S. nuclear weapons since the late 1960s. Trump indicated he wanted a bigger stockpile, not the bottom position on that downward-sloping curve.
(Actually since the early 1960s, or thoroughly steadily since the mid-1970s, see chart at top.) That was allegedly the meeting after which old Tillerson referred to Trump as a fucking moron. I can't imagine what the HHS staff calls him, but the nothing he knows about nuclear weapons is actually pretty substantial compared to the nothing he knows about health care. 

I don't even think it's quite right to accuse Mattis of lying. Not that I doubt the man Donald Trump really said that, but that Mattis is distinguishing carefully between the President of the United States, head of state and head of government, who could not possibly say such a thing, and the troll with the weird hair, who could and did.

Because as I've been saying for a long time, the presidency is a committee—since 2012, to be precise, when I was using the idea to explain why the politician Barack Obama favored marriage equality so many years before the President of the United States was able to see the point of it. And in the present emergency, the anti-politician Donald J. Trump is incapable mentally and physically of pulling his committee oar, and whatever the committee gets done must needs get done without his active participation.

As I've been saying for a shorter while, Donald J. Trump is not authorized to speak for the White House, since he can't grasp its intentions or needs, and he can't control his outbursts of idiocy and spite. Although they can't stop him from speaking, they have various ways of clarifying that what he said is meaningless, from the presidency's point of view, and this case, where there's no video of him saying it, is one where a simple denial will do.

Mattis is not "playing unfair" with the Pentagon press corps, as Hennessey complains. Guess what? They already know Trump said that anyway; Mattis isn't hiding anything from them. He's simply refusing, for very good reasons, to say what they all know. Maybe Susan Hennessey should go find out about something we all don't already know and ask Mattis questions about that instead.

Also, this lament reported by Gabriel Sherman for Vanity Fair today:
According to two sources familiar with the conversation, Trump vented to his longtime security chief, Keith Schiller, “I hate everyone in the White House! There are a few exceptions, but I hate them!” (A White House official denies this.)

The end is near. Donald Trump on James Madison and his mean old First Amendment:

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