This is Not Normal


All six of these things happened.

That’s why so many Americans can’t treat him as a normal President.  That’s why the response to him has been so widespread and deep.   There is a sense that he’s impulsive, insecure and dangerous.

Let’s go one by one:

1) Is the US as bad as Putin’s Russia?  Certainly some on the far left think so.  And the US has killed innocents in pursuit of its aims.  But at least so far domestic political opponets haven’t been jailed, poisoned and denied a voice.   Perhaps Trump is tolerant of Putin because he deep down would like to just stifle opposition and control things himself?   Republicans have been adamant that Trump’s moral relativism on this issue is wrong – they may be waking up to how dangerous this President can be.

2) A threat to “defund” California is bizarre.   As the graphic notes, California pays more in federal taxes than it gets back (the biggest receivers of federal money are the so-called red states, ironically).  Trump claims California is “out of control.”  Well – outside his control, as it considers making itself a ‘sanctuary state.’  But defunding California would be utterly unconstitutional and insane – the fact Trump makes that kind of threat shows he doesn’t understand the Constitution.  In fact, Trump could learn from how  Governor Jerry Brown took a state that was in financial crisis and turned things around.

3)  This is nefarious and dark.   Judges rule based on the law, and this conservative jurist, appointed by President Bush, ruled the executive order on immigration was likely unconstitutional, and thus put it on hold until it could be examined.  This means that the normal reality of the past decade continues – only well vetted immigrants can enter.  Yet Trump wants people to blame this individual judge if any kind of terrorism happens.  That’s an incitement to violence against the judicial branch.  To me, that statement is so dangerous and disgusting that it rises to an impeachable offense.

4)  Something like elevating someone to the National Security Council is a big deal.  If a President is going to do it, he should know he’s doing it.  If he does not, that suggests that he is lazy, letting others do the work, and simply being bombastic when his emotions get the better of him.   As Trump might put it:  Not good.

5)  The last economic collapse was caused by Wall Street.  It was a free market crisis, as unregulated mortgage backed bonds (as well as CDO’s and other ominous financial instruments) created an environment where loans were given to anyone, without regard to their ability to pay, and people fed into a massive speculative bubble.  If government regulations like those CFTC head Brooksley Born advocated in the 90s had been in place, this might not have happened.   The response since then has been meager; the banks still have the capacity to manipulate the system, and those who created the crisis have not been punished.  Trump’s actions take away even those meager protections and set up another bubble and financial collapse — but only after hundreds of billions of dollars are made on Wall Street by the financial class.

6)  Perhaps most disturbing is that the truth is irrelevant to Trump.  Anything negative about him is fake news.  He’ll claim his inauguration crowd was the largest in history, even though it’s laughable.   His world of “alternate facts” suggest it’s all marketing, a big con.


Telling was the response of Trump to McCarthy’s portrayal of Spicer. He was angered because he felt it made Spicer look weak to have a woman portray him. That speaks volumes.

The secret of the con is to keep up confidence (con man comes from confidence man).  That means never admitting one is wrong.  Simply lie, but do so persuasively, after creating conditions where the marks (victims) want to believe.   Trump has made a living doing this, the truth is irrelevant to him.  Now as President he’s taken this to a new level, but finds that the press investigates every claim and calls him on the carpet for falsehoods.  When he demands his spokespeople repeat the lies, they are mocked very effectively by satire, such as Melissa McCarthy’s devastating portrayal of Trump press secretary Sean Spicer.   Threatening the press has only made the press more intent on outing any administration misdeeds.

For those who say, “give him a chance,” or “pray for the President to do his best,” I reject that as abdicating our duty as individuals to be on watch for threats to the Republic.   Maybe President Trump will learn that this isn’t a reality show, and recognize that his current path is leading him to spectacular failure.  Maybe he will learn to make better choices.  But that won’t happen unless the opposition call him on his lies, explore and lay bare the consequences of his policies, and not be intimidated.

  1. #1 by Laurel Kaiser on February 9, 2017 - 17:40

    We’ve almost forgotten about the investigation into the role Russia played in the election process. I’d like to know if this is a scandal as big as watergate or not. I hope our press, etc is still working on that.

    • #2 by Laurel kaiser on February 15, 2017 - 21:16

      I guess it’s baaaack!! Lol

      • #3 by Scott Erb on February 16, 2017 - 00:05

        Yep. But Trump calls the New York Times “fake news.” Sigh.

  2. #4 by lbwoodgate on February 10, 2017 - 11:25

    Sidney Blumenthal recently wrote an exhaustive and informative piece about the marmalade prince entitled <a href=""A Short History of the Trump Family that’s worth reading

  3. #5 by EyesOfTheArchitect on February 11, 2017 - 14:43

    He is an archetypal personification of a narcissist, a psycho-spiritual condition at the center of the dark triad: Machiavellianism, sociopathy, and psychopathy. He is afflicted with the “disease of no conscience,” a condition psychologists widely regard as incurable, because the individual so-afflicted killed-off their true self as a child, and replaced it with a false-self that feeds on the light in others. Donald requires attention to validate his own existence, and it doesn’t matter if that attention is positive or negative. He will pursue any statement or course of action that feeds his irrepressable need to continually validate his false self.

    The real Donald is a 6 year old child trapped in a 70 year old man’s body, because that was about the age when he suicided his soul and created the false character he portrays himself to be. That is why his thinking is so facile, so infantile. Why his Tweets read like a child wrote them in tone and typos. You are witnessing that 6 or maybe 10 year old boy showing up, the man-child, the high chair tyrant, his true immature self hiding behind the mask of the outwardly successful old man. The outer excesses hide and are in proportion to, his inner failure and emptiness.

    The thing that really scares me about him is the lizards he’s surrounded himself with, people who inhabit only their reptilian brain. I’m also worried about those wee hours when the lights go dim at the White House and Donald finally totters off to bed upstairs. He’s all alone without his family, with no one for company but TV and Twitter. It’s that late time each night when he carries a snack plate to bed while dressed in his fluffy white bathrobe, that time when he is all alone with his thoughts and no one to distract him. When the advisors are gone, when the avoidance-stimulation of the day’s events is far away, and he prepares for his four hour nightly nap before rising at 4:00am to begin feeding on news and lobbing pithy childish Tweets at other world leaders who also have nukes, it’s that “all-in-alone-in-the-dark Donald” that makes ME sleep a little less easily at night. Because that Donald is a burnt-out shell at the top of the game, and if he begins to realize the emptiness of himself, if he realizes that there is no better thing he can achieve in life for his remaining days, there’s no telling what crazed path he might drag us all down. His affliction is incurable. He in incapable of learning of new way of being. His office make only amplify the craziness within him.

    Psycho-psiritual diseases of no-conscience are the seed of evil. They are call Wetiko in Native American culture, and most cultures throughout the ages have had their own special word to describe this transpersonal illness. I believe narcissism or wetiko (or whatever term by which it is named) has been the defining struggle of this planet, and if we are to survive as a species, we must all become acutely aware of what it is, how it manifests, and what we can change within *ourselves* to avoid creating more of the social and economic conditions in which it thrives. A good audiobook I listened to on this subject is, “Dispelling Wetiko: Breaking the Curse of Evil,” by Paul Levy.

    I believe it is the eventual destiny of our societies to overcome this pathological psychic illness, of which Donald is just one particular embodies example of hundreds of millions of living examples. I just don’t know how bad things will get before we collectively wake up and realize what’s been going on for thousands of years.

  4. #6 by EyesOfTheArchitect on February 13, 2017 - 19:10

    Coincidentally, this morning, journalist Andrew Sullivan finally wrote the first article I’ve come across that questions the president’s mental health in a piece entitled: “The Madness of King Donald” (

    Sullivan tackles the lying and “alternative facts” and goes on to say: “It’s less like living in a democracy than being a child trapped in a house where there is an abusive and unpredictable father, who will brook no reason, respect no counter-argument, admit no error, and always, always up the ante until catastrophe inevitably strikes. This is what I mean by the idea that we are living through an emergency.”

    • #7 by Scott Erb on February 13, 2017 - 22:32

      I read that Sullivan article the other day – in fact I shared it on Facebook saying “this is almost exactly what concerns me.”

    • #8 by timactual on March 5, 2017 - 17:01

      So he is finally done writing about Sarah Palin and Trig?

  5. #9 by thenewamericanlondoner on February 24, 2017 - 18:16

    Great read, Scott. It’s amusing, strange and fascinating in equal measure to watch this all from London, though the BBC and Daily Show/Late Show youtube clips. Melissa McArthy is great, but for my money, Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert are hard hitting and hilarious. Good to see you — and I mean this in the best possible way — showing some fire in the last paragraph. I was hoping you were not one of the McConnaghey, ‘let’s unite behind the freely elected president’ crowd. I’m glad.

  6. #10 by Alan Scott on February 25, 2017 - 20:20

    Poor Donald, people can say such terrible things about him and he can’t call them racists. Criticizing President Obama especially early in his Presidency got you called a bigot.

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