The Baffled States of America

I try to be respectful towards the Office of the President.  The next four years will be an endurance test, one unlike any that I’ve ever embarked upon in my time alive.  Let me set the record straight first and foremost.  I have no personal animosity towards President Trump.  None at all.  That said, let’s get started.

First, he’s not a politician.  That’s why many voted for him.  That was the “appeal” that many Americans saw.  He wasn’t an insider in Washington, and he said all the right things in front of the right crowds*.  People seriously thought that he was listening to what they wanted and needed from the head of the Executive Branch of our government and have not been getting for decades.  He’s the one who will fix everything as he claimed that he would do, right?

Well, I can say that I have not been dazzled by his brilliance thus far, even though it’s only been a month.  Actually, not even a full month yet.  It hasn’t been a full four weeks at this point, and we already seem to be witnessing a 2mph train wreck happening during the evening rush hour.

We got warned about this long ago, but we didn’t heed the advice.  Dr. Seuss showed us how to avoid being taken for everything by a con man, a bullshit artist.  Trump is that, and then some.  Look at his history if you don’t want to take my word for it.  He has a record of stiffing businesses out of money on already agreed to contracts.  He’s avoided paying taxes for decades by assuming liability for an absurd amount of debt.  He reminds me of the guy on the street corner taking people for their money playing three card monte.  The problem is that he doesn’t know when to turn the bs off and has no idea of how to not bs people.  If there’s any one job in this country that should not be filled by a bs artist, it’s the job of being president.

We’ve been witness to this through the outright lies and doublespeak coming from people within the administration.  The apparently thin-skinned POTUS has attacked people personally or through spokespeople from everything from the size of the inauguration crowd to the portrayal of him on Saturday Night Live.  This has also been evident from the attacks on the media, the intelligence community, and pretty much everyone around the world except for Russia and Putin.  As things are beginning to show, we’re getting a good education on why he hasn’t attacked Russia or Putin.  The problem with the “breaking news” stuff about Gen. Flynn is that the only thing that’s new about the reporting is that we now have actual names of people with government positions who were communicating with Russia.

There were early reports about Paul Manafort and a server in Trump Towers that was communicating with a server in Russia.  There have also been rumors and such of other people involved with his campaign that had ties to Russia.  The Secretary of State is well-known to have strong business ties to Russia and Putin.  Individually, the rumors and innuendo don’t amount to anything that points to outright malfeasance.  At the same time, you can create an avalanche when you get enough things piled on top of each other.

At this point, there is permanent damage that has been done to the credibility of people in Washington.  It’s not like there was a vast amount of credibility to begin with, but I don’t recall any administration in my lifetime having a beginning like this.  It hasn’t been a full four weeks yet, and there’s enough stuff floating around to do about 8 years worth of Congressional investigations.  I don’t expect to see Republicans do anything at this point, as they’re likely going to try to wait things out.  It appears that Trump tried to wait things out on Flynn, and look at what it got him.

It’s not wise to try to pick a fight with the intelligence community that has taken an oath to protect the Constitution of the United States.  Especially when the intelligence community is full of people who take their oath seriously.  In case people forget, foreign enemies are not the only ones listed in that oath:

I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

5 U.S.C. §3331

Those who focus more on the leaks than the information leaked should stop long enough to consider that oath.  If the federal employee thinks the actions rise high enough to be considered as an enemy act, they have a responsibility to take actions to defend the Constitution.  I’m not saying that leaking information is always a good thing to do, but we do have some whistleblower protections for a reason.  It’s dumb to think that you could communicate with foreign adversaries and our intelligence community wouldn’t pick up on those communications.  I also saw that some of our allies also picked up communications on their own, and they have their own concerns about American leadership as a result.

If Hillary Clinton’s email investigation was so important that we had to have a press conference by the FBI about it, why wasn’t the American public told about the communications between Trump’s campaign and Russia?  Remember, Democrats left a classified briefing on Russian hacking and were furious with Director Comey.  Middle, rural America elected trump because he said that he would bring jobs back to their communities.  If they’re farmers, they will have enough manure over the next four years to keep fertilizing crops for generations.  If they’re not farmers, there’s always a need for someone to shovel the bs.  If the first four weeks are any indication, we’re in for record amounts of bs in short order.

Welcome to the Baffled States of America.  This is what some of  you voted for, and this is what we’re all going to get as a result.

*I think it’s entirely possible to say the right things to the right people.  That still doesn’t mean that you’re correct in what you’re saying, or that the people who believe you are also right. 

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12 thoughts on “The Baffled States of America

  1. Nice fleshing-out of the “BS Artist” theme.
    Just one nit to pick–little editing error in the last graf; “they will have enough manure over the next four years to keep ing crops for generations.” Fertilizing, I think you meant?

    • I seriously believe that he’s nothing more than a wealthy flim-flam man. When you look at his past actions and behaviors, it’s like a glowing neon sign.

      He’s obviously in over his head at the moment. If, and that’s a yuuuggge if, he could surround himself with competent people, he still has a small window to turn things around and redeem himself. If he does that, he loses his “outsider” status because DC is so complex that it requires a level of insiders and bureaucrats to operate.

      Thanks for catching the error too.

  2. Very good! I’d make one small correction to this: “he said all the right things in front of the right crowds”
    I would say that he said the things the crowds wanted to hear. They weren’t the “right things” and a LOT of us knew that

    • I wasn’t suggesting that what he said was right. I think it’s completely possible to say the right things in front of the right crowds and be completely wrong.

      For example, spouting anti-Semetic or anti-minority rhetoric at White Nationalist convention would be saying the right things to the right crowd, but it would not be right or correct for society as a whole.

      Because of my job, I try to stay above the partisan political stuff, but I even broke my own rules by posting my personal views on Trump on different outlets.

  3. Trump has had 50 years of pretty much flying by the seat of his pants, making decisions that are pretty narrow in scope compared to what he’s faced with now, having minimal staff structure, having his edicts unchallenged, and choosing who he wants in on what topic.

    He’s finding out that isn’t the way to operate effectively in Washington. His efforts to bend Washington to his style, rather than adapt, leads to frustration, anger and blame.

    Fifty years. I do not see it changing.

    • His personality and narcissism won’t allow him to change because that would be an admission of defeat in his eyes.

      This should be the end of the idea that the government can be run like a business. The believers of that idea will find fault with everything except their premise.

        • How much the governmen tries to take on is not really a problem of the government as much as it is a failure of the private sector to do its job. When the private sector acts prudently and responsibly, there is no reason for the government to get involved. However, when the private sector fails to act, the government is usually the option of last resort.

          If the choice lies between collapse and government intervention, I don’t know of any sane person who would opt for collapse.

          • How do protective tariffs fit in to what you are saying?

            Was the private sector failing to do its job, or acting imprudently or irresponsibly, when it didn’t build transcontinental railroads as quickly as desired by people hung up on the country’s prestige?

            Was the private sector failing to do its job when war drove up the prices of some goods?

            Also, the more government intervenes, the harder it is for the private sector to do its job.

          • Protective tariffs are futile attempts to show efforts of saving jobs or failed efforts of protectionalism.

            The private sector failed to see the long term gains of the transcontinental railroad, therefore they were acting just like the government issuing protective tariffs.

            The private sector was applying market principles in relation to the costs of goods during a time of war.

            If the private sector did its job effectively and efficiently, then there wouldn’t be any need or opportunity for the government to get involved.

  4. Reply to
    Brosephus says:
    February 17, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Your first paragraph admits that some government interference is wrong.

    The question is not whether the transcontinental railroad should have been built at all, but whether subsidies should have been used to speed it up in an economically unsound way.

    Do you favor or oppose wartime price controls?

    There are many cases of government interference creating problems which are then used as reasons for more government interference. I gave three examples on Nov. 12 under “Election night thoughts”.

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