Bonkers

bonkers

Highly recommended this morning is Jonathan Chait’s book review of a new book entitled American Carnage, a detailed behind-the-scenes look over the last ten years, detailing how Republican leaders dropped their pretense at supporting balanced budgets and constitutional government, and adopted a pure strategy of white racism in support of the plutocratic agenda.

And now this, this morning. The plutocrats have sown the wind and they have reaped the whirlwind.

BIARRITZ, France — President Trump asserted on Saturday that he has the authority to make good on his threat to force all American businesses to leave China, citing a national security law that has been used mainly to target terrorists, drug traffickers and pariah states like Iran, Syria and North Korea.

As he arrived in France for the annual meeting of the Group of 7 powers, Mr. Trump posted a message on Twitter citing the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977 — a law meant to enable a president to isolate criminal regimes but not intended to be used to cut off economic ties with a major trading partner because of a disagreement over tariffs.

“For all of the Fake News Reporters that don’t have a clue as to what the law is relative to Presidential powers, China, etc., try looking at the Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977,” Mr. Trump wrote. “Case closed!”

Locating the Method in the Madness: The Fruitless Search Continues

sherlock

As our legislative solons, donning their deerstalker hats and holding magnifying glasses, continue their fruitless search for the Obamacare replacement bill, so also the pundits keep looking in vain for the method in Trump’s madness—which grows from strength to strength with each passing day.

Every day the voice of the Normality Bias whispering in our ear, “He’s not really nuts; he can’t be nuts; there must be some other explanation,” grows fainter and fainter.

Today, March 5, as I expect you know, Trump called on Congress to investigate his baseless claim of Watergate style wiretapping by Obama. As Karen Tumulty opines, “Donald Trump’s presidency has veered onto a road with no centerlines or guardrails.”

But why? What explanation can we give for this behavior? And, perhaps more to the point, what is the prognosis?

In Trump: Bonkers, paranoid or trapped? Jennifer Rubin steps up to the plate and takes a few swings. Her batting is workmanlike. Her piece is worth a read, but to summarize, maybe he’s out of touch with reality. Maybe he’s panicked, because of what he knows about what the intelligence community knows.

In Aardvark’s humble opinion, “bonkers” is the explanation that best fits the known facts. That’s because his rabid call for investigation of claims that, true or false, are closely related to the existing Russia/Trump investigations, only increases the salience of those investigations.

By contrast, a semi-rational strategy of distraction would have chosen an entirely unrelated topic as the focus of the distraction. Quoting Rubin again: “Trump inadvertently emphasized that at the core this is about whether the intelligence community has discovered the president of the United States is compromised.”

Covering much the same ground, at length and with interesting detail, the Economist compares Trump’s distractive behavior to a Chicago bar owner who, when questioned about mob associations, pulls the fire alarm and yells “Fire!” It adds,

[Some observers] see sincere rage, even paranoia. A conservative media boss and old friend of Mr Trump’s, Chris Ruddy, claims that the president believes his own allegations about wire-tapping with a fierce rage, telling him this weekend: “I will be proven right”.

Yup, he really believes in the five million illegal voters, and he really believes that he is and has been victimized by Obama.