Paranoia

Uriah Heep

Will Trump Dump Sycophant-in-Chief Mike Pence?

Trump privately asking aides if Pence is loyal: report

Why is Trump Freaking Out About Pence?

The latter article asks, among other things, whether

Trump is worried about whether he’ll survive whatever is coming from Robert Mueller and wants to know if Pence might be inclined to give him a quick shove out the door if the opportunity presents itself. It would not shock me, actually, if there is a pro-pence cabal forming in the aftermath of the midterm elections, so this is perhaps not that far-fetched.

And if you have any doubt whether there is any fire producing this smoke, this will infallibly answer the question: Trump, Pence Dismiss NYT Report That Trump Questions Pence’s Loyalty.

I think we have all figured out by now that Trump and Pence do not randomly lie, sometimes,  and tell the truth, sometimes. No, they pretty much lie all the time. Which makes things simpler. If they took the trouble affirmatively to deny the story, then it must be true.

Significantly, however, they lie in different ways. Trump lies like the drunken kook on the stool down at the end of the bar, with whom it’s impossible to have anything remotely resembling a rational conversation.

Pence lies like Uriah Heep—with insincerity, cloying humility, obsequiousness, and sycophancy. Pious Pence looks you straight in the eyes and lies with the straightest of straight faces.

But Trump knows this. And Trump knows that he is that most laughable of laughing stocks, the paranoid who actually has enemies. Trump doesn’t buy Pence’s act. Not even for a New York minute.

Que Probablemente Sera

It’s likely—not certain but, at this point, likely—that Trump will be hit with serious criminal charges. That will have lots of effects, one of which will be a further deterioration in Trump’s already fragile mental state, likely to the point that even the numerous Baghdad Bobs who surround Trump will have a really hard time pretending things are normal.

At that point, the more sentient among the Republican professional class will grasp that they can go down with the ship. Or not.

After that, events are likely to take one of two courses. One is a prolonged national agony—and a further split in the Republican base. In California the Republican Party has been wiped out. (RIP, California GOP.) A drawn out fight would bring about much the same thing in lots of other places.

The other possibility is successful action to take Trump out of the picture, and that right quickly. To accomplish that, the “evangelical leaders” would have to join the conspiracy, with a well laid plan to persuade their gullible followers that God has now chosen Mike Pence as their earthly savior.

As a former antitrust lawyer, I know much about conspiracies. One thing I know—and you won’t be surprised to learn it—is that your chances of success are greatly enhanced if not too many people know about the plot.

I think Mitch McConnell, Mike Pence, Jerry Falwell, Jr, and a few others among the publicly pious would be enough to do the job.

The pundit I quoted above allowed as how he would not be shocked to learn that the cabal has already been formed.

I, myself, would be shocked to learn that the conspiracy is not already in its initial planning stages.

Paranoia—and a “Civilization Warping Crisis of Public Trust”

As we all know, news comes in two categories.

Dog Bites Man

Lots of that this weekend: more Russian shoes dropping, lots of conflicting opinions about how the dropping shoes should be investigated, continuing legislative chaos.

You might think all of this would be outside the normal, except that it has become normal—as normal as a dog biting a man.

Man Bites Dog

The President’s claim, with no stated evidentiary basis, that his predecessor wiretapped him, in a scandal that is worse that Watergate.

Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska—a person who apparently minces no words

called the current political atmosphere a “civilization-warping crisis of public trust” after Trump said Obama ordered Trump’s phone lines tapped before the election and Obama’s spokesman denied it on Saturday. Sasse said if there were taps, it would have been either with a FISA court authorization or without — but either way Trump needed to publicly explain his tweeted allegations.

“The president today made some very serious allegations, and the informed citizens that a republic requires deserve more information,” Sasse said. “If without [an authorization], the President should explain what sort of wiretap it was and how he knows this. It is possible that he was illegally tapped.”

But Sasse said if there was a legal authorization for a phone tap, then Trump should disclose that application.

“If it was with a legal FISA court order, then an application for surveillance exists that the court found credible. The president should ask that this full application regarding surveillance of foreign operatives or operations be made available, ideally to the full public, and at a bare minimum to the U.S. Senate,” Sasse said.

Meanwhile, Trump’s immediate entourage is leaking like a sieve.

Prior to departing for Florida, where he is spending the weekend, Trump convened on Friday a group of senior aides in the Oval Office, including chief of staff Reince Priebus, senior adviser Jared Kushner, daughter Ivanka Trump, chief strategist Steve Bannon, communications director Mike Dubke, and press secretary Sean Spicer. …

The meeting on Friday got heated once it turned to the topic of Sessions. What, Trump wanted to know, was the logic of [Sessions’ decision to recuse himself]? The president made it clear he thought the whole thing had been handled poorly, and that Sessions shouldn’t have recused himself, according to sources familiar with the meeting. His exasperation was apparent. …

“There were fireworks,” said one person briefed on the events.

Priebus, Kushner, and Bannon all weighed in with their thoughts. “There was a robust discussion,” said a second person familiar what occurred.

Priebus, who was expected by some aides to go on this weekend’s trip to Florida, stayed behind in Washington after the president’s flare-up, according to two people familiar with the matter. …

After the meeting, Trump left for Florida, where he spoke at a Republican National Committee meeting on Friday evening. On Saturday morning, he sent out a number of tweets, some of which accused former President Barack Obama of tapping Trump Tower phone lines during the final days of the 2016 election, without citing evidence.

One White House official said he woke up Saturday morning to Trump’s tweets and grimaced. It was unclear, this person said, where the president had gotten the idea, but that it likely wasn’t from an official source. “It could have come from anywhere,” this person said.

Several other people close to Trump said they weren’t sure where he got his information for the posts. One of these people said most of Trump’s aides were back in Washington and woke up exasperated at the posts.

After making the explosive claims – and trashing Arnold Schwarzenegger’s TV ratings – in the Twitter rant, the president headed to the golf course near his Mar-a-Lago resort.

When the going gets tough, the tough go golfing.

Why Progressives Should Support an Investigation of Trump’s Bogus Voter Claims

reality

Aardvark has claimed that Trump was born in Belarus, but does not support an investigation of the tremendous controversy surrounding that claim.

But there are three reasons why progressives should support an investigation of Minority President Trump’s delusional claim concerning the five million illegal Hillary voters—and then do all they can to ensure that the investigation is fair and objective.

One of those reasons is not that investigation will prove to Trump’s satisfaction that he was wrong. That will not happen.

1. Opposing an investigation makes it look like you’re hiding something.

It will tend to reinforce delusions about illegal voting shared by a good slice of Trump’s base.

2. Supporting an investigation will show that you have nothing to fear, and may give an opportunity to ensure that it is fair.

3. Fear of new voter suppression does not justify opposition to an investigation.

On the voter suppression issue, progressives are paranoids who have actual enemies, so the paranoia is understandable. That said, you need to be as reasonable as you can be about your fears.

Trump’s bogus claim about the five million illegal voters is certainly a valid reason to fear that evil may be afoot. But Trump didn’t stop there. He also called for an investigation.

Think it through. Either there will be an investigation of there won’t be. If there is no investigation, then we have a talking point about how the lying bastard was afraid to seek the true facts.

If, on the other hand, there is an investigation, then either (a) it will show the claim to be bogus or (b) it will be a ridiculous flight of fantasy, such a put up job that everyone except those of the meanest intelligence will see through it.

I don’t think we have anything to lose.