75 days

Discussion of the recent unfolding of history.

75 days

Postby iambiguous » Sun Nov 08, 2020 5:56 am

Let's assume that Trump's lawsuits fail and he actually does leave the White House more or less peacefully.

That still leaves him 75 days as the president of the United States.

What might he be capable of doing in order to vent the rage that he must be feeling right now?

That's what this thread is for. To keep track of what no one really knows is going to happen!

I've often imagined a scenario where someone like him becomes the lame duck with all the powers of the presidency at his command. What might he be capable of to "get even"? Who might he decide to take down with him in his final days?

And who might he pardon?

Here's one take on it: https://qz.com/1928887/the-damage-trump ... president/
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: 75 days

Postby Meno_ » Sun Nov 08, 2020 7:37 am

A basic fear pertains to a kind of self fulfilling prophecy, which drives thusly obsessed people to the very brink, the bottom line of which is truly terrifying.
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Re: 75 days

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Sun Nov 08, 2020 12:22 pm

one of the real questions of the last 75 days is this question
of pardons.... I assume he pardons his family, friends, associates,
but what of IQ45 himself? he could try to go the "self-pardon" route.
but that runs into legal issues...can the president really self-pardon?

a more likely scenario is to resign and have Pence pardon him,
but that requires Pence to commit political suicide because a
pardon of IQ45 will destroy any hopes of a future political career for pence...

it is possible that Pence agrees to pardon IQ45 and then after he is president,
change course in some attempt to save his career.. but that will destroy
any chance of getting IQ45 base to follow him....

in other words, Pence is screwed either way he acts... and I certainly
welcome with open arms any attempt to destroy Pence by any means
necessary including self immolation...

so that is one thing to be on the lookout for... pardons....

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Re: 75 days

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Sun Nov 08, 2020 4:34 pm

He could potentially, via proxies, negotiate for a pre-emptive pardon. Like Hey team Biden, you promise to pardon me in the name of national unity and all that and i'll make a nicey nicey transtion of power. And the rich hate to see rich get in trouble. They think they should be above it. So, it might work. Obama pulled some pardon the rich shit and reps and dems in general don't like to see the powerful and rich go to prison. And judges are following their lead and it is getting worse. Some have even argued that since they are rich prison will be a real shock for them, leaving plumbers and secretaries wondering why they won't be shocked by time in prison.
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Re: 75 days

Postby iambiguous » Mon Nov 09, 2020 5:19 am

How far will this sort of thing go? And what can be done to put a stop to it if Trump doesn't put an end to it it soon?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics ... story.html

A Trump administration appointee is refusing to sign a letter allowing President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team to formally begin its work this week, in another sign the incumbent president has not acknowledged Biden’s victory and could disrupt the transfer of power.

The administrator of the General Services Administration, the low-profile agency in charge of federal buildings, has a little-known role when a new president is elected: to sign paperwork officially turning over millions of dollars, as well as give access to government officials, office space in agencies and equipment authorized for the taxpayer-funded transition teams of the winner.

It amounts to a formal declaration by the federal government, outside of the media, of the winner of the presidential race.

But by Sunday evening, almost 36 hours after media outlets projected Biden as the winner, GSA Administrator Emily Murphy had written no such letter. And the Trump administration, in keeping with the president’s failure to concede the election, has no immediate plans to sign one. This could lead to the first transition delay in modern history, except in 2000, when the Supreme Court decided a recount dispute between Al Gore and George W. Bush in December.


Does this signal the possibility that Trump will refuse to allow the transition to unfold as it always has in the past?

The delay has implications both practical and symbolic.

By declaring the “apparent winner” of a presidential election, the GSA administrator releases computer systems and money for salaries and administrative support for the mammoth undertaking of setting up a new government — $9.9 million this year.

Transition officials get government email addresses. They get office space at every federal agency. They can begin to work with the Office of Government Ethics to process financial disclosure and conflict-of-interest forms for their nominees

And they get access to senior officials, both political appointees of the outgoing administration and career civil servants, who relay an agency’s ongoing priorities and projects, upcoming deadlines, problem areas and risks. The federal government is a $4.5 trillion operation, and while the Biden team is not new to government, the access is critical, experts said.

This is all on hold for now.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: 75 days

Postby Meno_ » Mon Nov 09, 2020 5:42 am

The very worst case scenario is , that if he exhausts all legal challenges, recounting, he can do more awful things like-being Commander in Chief, he will call in the military to stop eviction from the White House, declare martial law in case of civil unrest, declare the illegality of the Biden win, and even instigate a war, thereby provoking. wider conflict.

Has anyone thought of this, or is such too bad to even begin to think about?


I hated to say this, but listening to Mary Trump , was compelled to.


Now here is a twist. Perhaps it is not Trump's fault that we have arrived at a stage in American civilisation, that is so unhappy in the midst if plenty, that perhaps a man like Trump coming to lead the nation was inevidable. At least a combination of political and social psychological conflation.
Very troublesome to say the least, and appeasement of such a man has very sorry precedents.


Political correctness has trumpeted with the cry: None dare call it a conspiracy, or, even, perhaps the coming of Orwellian nightmares.
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Re: 75 days

Postby iambiguous » Mon Nov 09, 2020 11:31 pm

Is this just the beginning?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics ... lame-duck/

President Trump on Monday moved forward his rumored post-election purge. He announced via a tweet that he had “terminated” Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper. Pre-election reports indicated Esper had joined CIA Director Gina Haspel and FBI Director Christopher A. Wray on thin ice as Trump confronts lame-duck status.

And within an hour of his firing, we found out Esper had set himself up as a truth teller whose firing presages a grim two months ahead. Esper suggested in a preemptively conducted Military Times exit interview that he was fired because he declined to bend the knee to Trump. And in so doing, he warned of what’s to come.

“I could have a fight over anything, and I could make it a big fight, and I could live with that,” Esper said Wednesday, at a time when reports of his imminent firing were swirling. He added: “Why? Who’s going to come in behind me? It’s going to be a real ‘yes man.’ And then God help us.”


"Trump is dangerous"

One [point] is that Esper’s warning about what would come after him is now a very real and grim one — delivered in no uncertain terms. That one of Trump’s Cabinet officials would literally say “God help us” about a situation in which we now find ourselves should send shock waves through our body politic. Esper had a good idea what his fate would be at the time, yes, but this is still Trump’s defense secretary saying something pretty similar to what his first one, Jim Mattis, said: that Trump is dangerous.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: 75 days

Postby Ecmandu » Mon Nov 09, 2020 11:36 pm

Trump isn’t dangerous. Nobody is dangerous unless people aren’t educated. The thing that makes trump ‘dangerous’ is the Reagan era policy of crappy education for all US citizens. (If someone has an actual fact, who knows what they’ll do with it?!). People can’t be given facts! That will destroy the US!
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Re: 75 days

Postby Meno_ » Mon Nov 09, 2020 11:48 pm

Ecmandu wrote:Trump isn’t dangerous. Nobody is dangerous unless people aren’t educated. The thing that makes trump ‘dangerous’ is the Reagan era policy of crappy education for all US citizens. (If someone has an actual fact, who knows what they’ll do with it?!). People can’t be given facts! That will destroy the US!




He isn't yet perceived as dangerous. But anyone can become dangerous triggered by some event that is formed through denial. Very objective oriented people are triggered bu the very objectless contest, which can bring it on, and appeasement in such a context becomes useless , for the most part..

However, a self admitted genius like him is nontrollable and in this case, Jared Kushner and even Melania tried to press him toward conceding. So far the bait was not swallowed.


Hoping here that restraint rules here, if not? Don't forget, if what is assessed of his personality leaves little doubt .
What does surprises me is the other grand conspiratorial narrative, that has the 'mob' put JFK Doug , when he didn't do their bidding. I am not suggesting anything other, then all things considered, the guy has balls.
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Re: 75 days

Postby Ecmandu » Tue Nov 10, 2020 12:01 am

Meno_ wrote:
Ecmandu wrote:Trump isn’t dangerous. Nobody is dangerous unless people aren’t educated. The thing that makes trump ‘dangerous’ is the Reagan era policy of crappy education for all US citizens. (If someone has an actual fact, who knows what they’ll do with it?!). People can’t be given facts! That will destroy the US!




He isn't yet perceived as dangerous. But anyone can become dangerous triggered by some event that is formed through denial. Very objective oriented people are triggered bu the very objectless contest, which can bring it on, and appeasement in such a context becomes useless , for the most part..

However, a self admitted genius like him is nontrollable and in this case, Jared Kushner and even Melania tried to press him toward conceding. So far the bait was not swallowed.


Hoping here that restraint rules here, if not? Don't forget, if what is assessed of his personality leaves little doubt .
What does surprises me is the other grand conspiratorial narrative, that has the 'mob' put JFK Doug , when he didn't do their bidding. I am not suggesting anything other, then all things considered, the guy has balls.


He doesn’t have balls. The mob needs him. He needs them. When Joe Kennedy made a deal with the mob to give his son swing states, Kennedy won. Then, Kennedy and his brother attacked the mob visciously when they got into office. A promise was made, and the kennedys broke that promise. Bad form for mob code. That was the end of those two brothers.

Now here’s the deal, trump NEVER went against the mob. Trump is not a Kennedy. To say trump has balls is laughable.
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Re: 75 days

Postby promethean75 » Tue Nov 10, 2020 12:33 am

If the orange man refuses to concede we will take the White House by farce.

Until then we're just biden our time.

('biden' our time)
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Re: 75 days

Postby iambiguous » Tue Nov 10, 2020 9:11 pm

How far will this go?

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/09/us/p ... e=Homepage

President Trump’s refusal to concede the election to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has already affected Mr. Biden’s transition, particularly on national security issues.

Mr. Biden has yet to receive a presidential daily briefing, and it was unclear whether his team would have access to classified information, the most important pipeline for them to learn about the threats facing the United States.

Like previous presidents-elect, Mr. Biden is receiving Secret Service protection, and a no-fly zone has been established over his home in Delaware. But if Mr. Trump’s administration continues its refusal to recognize Mr. Biden as the winner, it could complicate his security until his inauguration.


How many days must pass before whoever can do something about it does something about it? Days? Weeks? All the way up to the swearing in ceremony in January?

Uh, if there is one?

Actually, it appears that Trump is not required to pass along the PDB to Biden:

Mr. Trump can prevent Mr. Biden and his aides from receiving the presidential daily briefing, the compendium of the government’s latest secrets and best intelligence insights, for the entire transition. No law states that Mr. Biden must receive it, though under previous administrations dating to at least 1968, presidents have authorized their elected successors to be given the briefing after clinching victory.

Will some "behind the curtain" begin to worry that this really could be detrimental to "national security" if Biden is left out of the loop?

Again, with Trump it's all new territory.

Note this:

In the aftermath of the contested 2000 election, while votes in Florida were being recounted, President Bill Clinton authorized George W. Bush to receive the President’s Daily Brief. As vice president, Al Gore already had access to the intelligence.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: 75 days

Postby Ecmandu » Tue Nov 10, 2020 9:26 pm

You know iambiguous...

I’ve now stated this 5 times on this board:

Donald Trump is the very first post-modern president, he is the very first post-structuralist president, he is the very first moral nihilist president and he is the very first psychopathic president. He is also the very first president in debt. Lots of firsts for Donald Trump.

ILP (from what I can gather) is split down the middle (just like the country at large).
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Re: 75 days

Postby Mr Reasonable » Thu Nov 12, 2020 2:11 am

So far like a dozen of his lawsuits have failed because unlike on the internet or fox or brietbart or the daily caller in a courtroom you have to bring evidence and your assertions have to be based on facts. His people don't look past the headlines.
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Re: 75 days

Postby iambiguous » Fri Nov 13, 2020 1:07 am

Consider this headline:

"How to cover a coup — or whatever it is Trump is attempting"

And, yes, in the MSM.

So, is it just scare-mongering to sell more newspaper subscriptions or, among other things, do the moves he is making at the Pentagon, actually signal an attempt on his part to refuse to leave the White House?

What I always come back to is the "for all practical purposes" reality of what can be done by those in the government to get him out of there.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyl ... story.html


President Trump lost. The nation knows it. The world knows it. And, although he won’t admit it, he certainly knows it, too.

But because he is claiming otherwise — with his Republican enablers joining the chorus — this past week has presented the reality-based press with a strange and extremely important challenge.

How do you cover something that, at worst, lays the groundwork for a coup attempt and, at best, represents a brazen lie that could be deeply damaging to American democracy?

“You don’t want to fearmonger. You don’t want to underplay something this dangerous, either,” Noah Shachtman, editor of the Daily Beast, told me.

The trickiest part: “Figuring out whether these bogus accusations are actually dangerous to the republic or just the last, lame gasps of a doomed administration.”

I’d argue that they’re both. Not because they pose more than a sliver of a chance of overturning the reality that Joe Biden will take office in January. Rather, because the constant drumbeat that the election was somehow illegitimate does harm all by itself.

In general, the press has covered this madness reasonably well. Even Fox News, Trump’s longtime cheerleader, quickly started using the term “president-elect” to refer to Biden. (Whether the network may have been shamed into this, early on, by a CNN story about its decision-making is a possibility, though Fox vehemently denies it.) And the mainstream press has given Trump’s mewling a lot of attention without giving it much credence.

Still, some of the worst tendencies of the media are on display, even if in muted form.

The two I’ve seen most frequently are the endless infatuation with dramatic conflict and the tendency to give equal treatment to both sides of any equation. Thus we get chyrons and headlines such as this one in Axios: “As Trump fights the transition in D.C., the world moves on to Biden.”

Feels about equal, right? With Trump getting the top billing.

And then there’s the straight-ahead repetition of dangerous rhetoric, as in this NPR headline about a startling statement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, one he may have meant as a joke: “Pompeo Promises a ‘Smooth Transition To A Second Trump Administration.’ ”
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: 75 days

Postby iambiguous » Sat Nov 14, 2020 9:29 pm

Could it all really be as simple and/or ominous as this:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/14/opin ... e=Homepage

WASHINGTON — Many see a wannabe despot barricaded in the bunker, stubby fingers clinging to the levers of power as words that mean nothing to him — democracy, electoral integrity, peaceful transition, constitutionality — swirl above.

One presidential historian sees something different in Donald Trump’s swan song. Michael Beschloss has been tweeting pictures of Hollywood’s most famous divas, shut-ins and head cases.

Norma Desmond watching movies of herself, hour after hour, shrouded in her mansion on Sunset Boulevard as “the dream she had clung to so desperately enfolded her.” Howard Hughes, descending into germaphobia, madness and seclusion. Greta Garbo, sequestered behind her hat and sunglasses. Charles Foster Kane, missing the roar of the crowd as he spirals at Xanadu, his dilapidated pleasure palace.

The president and his cronies are likely to do real damage and major grifting in the next two months. But in other ways, the picture of the president as a pathetic, unraveling diva is apt.


How will it all play out with less than 70 days to go?

Trump, who once wanted to be a Hollywood producer and considered attending U.S.C. film school, never made the pivot to being a politician. He got elected because he played a competent boss and wily megabillionaire on a reality TV show — pretty good acting now that we know he is neither — and he has stayed a performance artist and a ratings-obsessed showman.

As a growing number of Trump advisers and Republican Party leaders privately admitted the end was nigh...White House officials propped up Donald’s grand illusions. This, even as his lawyers deserted him and judges ruled against him.

“We are moving forward here at the White House under the assumption there will be a second Trump term,” Peter Navarro, the White House trade adviser, said on Fox Business Friday.

Kayleigh McEnany chimed in that the president would “attend his own inauguration.”


Stay tuned.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: 75 days

Postby obsrvr524 » Sat Nov 14, 2020 9:36 pm

Certainly no bias in that "news" report.
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Re: 75 days

Postby iambiguous » Sat Nov 14, 2020 9:52 pm

obsrvr524 wrote:Certainly no bias in that "news" report.


Huh? My whole point is that discussions and debates about things like this reflect the "political prejudices" of particular individuals who come to acquire their own biases in the manner in which I described mine here on this thread: https://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtop ... 1&t=194382

In other words, the part that an objectivist of your own ossified ilk does not have the intellectual honesty, integrity or depth to explore.

Otherwise you would take my challenge.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: 75 days

Postby MagsJ » Sat Nov 14, 2020 10:50 pm

obsrvr524 wrote:Certainly no bias in that "news" report.

From an official source:

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Re: 75 days

Postby iambiguous » Sun Nov 15, 2020 11:19 pm

A more, uh, amusing take on Trump's refusal to concede:

When a Leader Just Won’t Go
Wisdom from Shakespeare to Dickens to ‘Seinfeld’ on President Trump’s long non-goodbye.


https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/15/us/p ... e=Homepage

In Nancy Mitford’s comic 1960 novel “Don’t Tell Alfred,” the wife of the new British ambassador to Paris arrives at the embassy to find that she has a vexing problem: Her predecessor has refused to move out.

Indeed, Pauline Leone, the wife of the previous ambassador, is so unhinged by the prospect of a status-free future that she has set up her own rival court, grandly receiving a stream of visitors as if for all the world she were still Madame L’Ambassadrice, the social arbiter of Paris.

“At the beginning one thought it was a lark — that in a day or two she’d get tired of it,” a British official says crossly. But no. “She’s having the time of her life,” he adds, “and quite honestly I don’t see how we shall ever induce her to go.”

As the nation ponders the awkward case of Donald J. Trump, a president who will not admit that he has been fired, it is helpful to consider him through the experiences of other people, fictional and otherwise, who have been unable to accept the arrival of unwelcome developments in their personal and professional lives.

Is Trump like King Lear, raging naked on the heath and desperately hanging on to the increasingly diminished trappings of power even as they are stripped from him? Or is he more like Bartleby the Scrivener, the inscrutable model of passive resistance who one day declines to do any more work or indeed leave the building, declaring: “I would prefer not to?”

Is he like Nellie, the character in “The Office” who installs herself at the desk of the regional manager when he is out of town and unilaterally appoints herself boss? Or how about George from “Seinfeld,” who quits one of his many jobs in a huff, unsuccessfully tries to get it back, and reports to work anyway, as if nothing had happened?

Timothy Naftali, a history professor at New York University, said that one way to view Mr. Trump would be as a version of Miss Havisham, the jilted bride from “Great Expectations” who lives forever in the past, never taking off her tattered wedding gown even as her house decays around her.

“He’s wearing the cloak of the presidency and he’s stuck in his room, getting dusty, while everyone else has moved on,” Mr. Naftali said.

No president in American history has ever before refused for so long to concede an election he has obviously lost. But when it comes to hanging on to an alternative version of reality, Mr. Trump has plenty of nonpresidential company.

There was Eteocles, a son of Oedipus in Greek mythology, who remained on the throne of Thebes, reneging on his promise to share it with his twin brother, leading to a battle in which they killed each other.

There was Gov. Edmund J. Davis of Texas, a Republican, who refused to leave office after losing the election of 1873, claiming that he had several months left in his term and barricading himself on the ground floor of the State Capitol. (The newly elected governor and his supporters installed themselves on the first floor, using ladders to enter through the windows.)

There was the Hiroo Onoda, the Imperial Japanese Army officer who would not surrender after the end of World War II, remaining in combat-readiness in the jungle for 29 years until his by-then elderly former commanding officer arrived and rescinded his no-surrender order.

And there was the entire government of Moldova, which in 2019 decided not to make way for a new government, leading to a bizarre situation in which both groups claimed for a time to be in charge of the country. The impasse finally ended when the former prime minister grudgingly stepped down in the face of growing national outrage and international pressure.

While American presidential transfers of power have traditionally been smooth, well-run affairs, world history is replete with examples of dictators and strongmen employing nefarious means to remain in office. Sometimes such rulers refuse to accept the results of honestly conducted elections. Sometimes they throw out term limits, and just keep on governing. Sometimes they jail, torture, kill or disappear their political opponents. (Sometimes they do all of those things.)

Mr. Trump has spoken admiringly about at least some of these practices, saying, for instance, that he was “probably entitled” to a third term “based on the way we were treated.” (That was before he lost the election.)

But given the news wafting like the occasional smoke signal from the White House, where some of the president’s advisers and relatives are reportedly attempting various psychological techniques to get Mr. Trump to accept the fact that he is now a lame-duck president, his behavior seems less like a putsch and more like an extended whiny tantrum. As Dan Rather, an elder statesman of American journalism, said on Twitter: “Dude. You lost.”

He cannot bear being the loser and so now is doing everything within his power to assault the reality he hates,” said Joseph Burgo, a clinical psychologist who has studied Mr. Trump and written about his appeal to voters.

“Once he has exhausted all possible avenues to challenge the election, he will spend the rest of his life insisting the system conspired to deprive him of his victory,” said Dr. Burgo, the author of “The Narcissist You Know: Defending Yourself Against Extreme Narcissists in an All-About-Me Age.” “He will take refuge in blame, self-pity and righteous indignation to shore up his sense of self, thereby warding off the humiliation of true defeat.”

Meanwhile, many Republican legislators, loath to upset Mr. Trump, are helping to prop up the illusion that he is still somehow in power, in a way reminiscent of the courtiers who flattered, lied and enabled their way through the final days of Emperor Haile Selasse’s reign in Ethiopia in Ryszard Kapuscinski’s “The Emperor.”

Interestingly enough, there appears to be some precedent for this within the Trump family itself. When the president’s father, Fred, developed Alzheimer’s, the family reportedly conspired to help him believe that he still ran the Trump organization. According to Vanity Fair, the elder Mr. Trump would show up for work every day, signing blank papers and using an office phone connected only to his secretary’s line. “Fred pretended to work,” a family friend told the magazine.

With his vast coterie of enablers willing to believe his baseless assertions about the election, Mr. Naftali said, Trump might be better compared to the Wizard in “The Wizard of Oz.”

“Many of us assumed that Trump’s behind-the-curtain moment — when Dorothy arrived and, thanks to Toto, found out that the Wizard was a humbug — would come because of his handling of the Covid emergency,” he said. “But one of the reasons the president is able to continue this fantasy that he won a second term is that 73 million people don’t agree that he was a humbug. Even though the Wizard is on his way out, Oz still exists.”

Of course, angry people can be very dangerous when backed into corners, and Mr. Trump’s belief in his own falsehoods has already had damaging, real-life consequences. Some sympathetic right-wing media outlets and many Republican officials are refusing to acknowledge that Joseph R. Biden Jr. is the president-elect. Millions of people appear to believe Mr. Trump’s assertions that the election was stolen and that the coronavirus, now raging out of control, is not a serious problem. His supporters are marching in the streets to protest the election result, and it remains to be seen under what circumstances he will finally leave the White House.

All these things raise the question (asking for a friend): How do you get someone to face reality and get out of the White House?

For clients who have lost their jobs during this unsettling time, said Megan Walls, an executive coach and career adviser in Chicago, she works to help them accept what has happened and move on. “The reality is that we can’t control Covid or jobs or business — we can only control ourselves,” she said.

However, she added, Mr. Trump would not be a good candidate for the kind of coaching she offers.

“I won’t work with people who are avoiding the situation or acting like a victim,” she said. “Anyone who is digging their heels in — I can’t help him until they help themselves. Maybe they don’t need a coach; they need a psychotherapist.”

How about flattery?

On Twitter, the Trump-admiring journalist Geraldo Rivera compared the president to a heavyweight champion who knows he has lost but grittily fights on in case he can eke out a victory. His lyrical description — “Still, he’s going to answer the final bell, looking for the knockout he knows is a long shot”— inadvertently brings to mind the delusional Black Knight in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” who won’t surrender even after his arms and legs have been hacked off. (“Tis but a scratch,” the knight declares. “What are you going to do, bleed on me?” King Arthur responds.)

As for the former ambassador’s wife who overstays her welcome in “Don’t Tell Alfred,” embassy officials decide that the best way to evict her is to deprive her of the attention she craves. “We must bore her out,” an official says.

Finally, reluctantly, she leaves, taking on a diva-ish air of wounded glamour as she encounters a crowd of guests arriving for a party to which she has not been invited.

“She shook hands, like a royal person,” Mitford writes, “as she sailed out of the house forever.”


But then this part:

Of course, angry people can be very dangerous when backed into corners, and Mr. Trump’s belief in his own falsehoods has already had damaging, real-life consequences.

Trump still has "65 DAYS 18 HOURS and 34 minutes" to go down that route.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: 75 days

Postby iambiguous » Wed Nov 18, 2020 3:08 am

The football.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-54972269

Who knows what Trump is capable of with or without access to the codes?

But how far might he go before the folks in the military and the rest of the government refuse to obey the orders of the "commander in chief"?

I sometimes imagine a scenario where someone like Trump is in the White House, a lame duck. And, for whatever personal reason -- or because he goes nuts -- he decides to take all the rest of us with him. He launches a military strike on some important target around the globe resulting in, well, who the hell knows what it will result in.

Think General Buck Turgidson or General Jack Ripper or Dr. Strangelove. Only as Trump in his own rendition of the same frames of mind.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: 75 days

Postby Meno_ » Wed Nov 18, 2020 5:05 am

Would You think a technologically sophisticated country like the US would allow some scenario like the one You describe, go down? If he really goes bizerk, would it be conceivable that someone directly next in command wouldn't report it and use the Constitutional remedy to inactivate his command?

This was raised, I believe during the impeachment hearings.
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Re: 75 days

Postby iambiguous » Wed Nov 18, 2020 5:17 am

Meno_ wrote:Would You think a technologically sophisticated country like the US would allow some scenario like the one You describe, go down? If he really goes bizerk, would it be conceivable that someone directly next in command wouldn't report it and use the Constitutional remedy to inactivate his command?

This was raised, I believe during the impeachment hearings.


Truth be told, I don't know. What would be allowed or not be allowed to go down? I'm sure given my own rendition of the Deep State there are some sort of contingencies in place. The federal government's more "spontaneous" version of the 25th Amendment.

Here's a letter to the editor at the Los Angeles Times 2 days ago:

To the editor: Our Constitution has a mechanism in the 25th Amendment for removing the president if he becomes incapacitated. Is this not the perfect example of a time to invoke it?

President Trump has gone from narcissism to a state of delusion so bad that he is now installing loyalists in strategic positions as if he is planning some kind of coup or military action. If he was a member of your family you would not ignore this failure to accept reality.

Why wait to see what he is going to do next?

Vice President Mike Pence and the White House Cabinet members need to remove Trump from power. Pence can pardon Trump if he likes and let the transition to President-elect Joe Biden begin. How can the Republicans argue with that? Or are they afraid “the base” will object when it’s obvious that the president is not accepting reality?

This calls for an intervention. It’s not time just to “wait and see” if Trump descends further into delusion and endangers all our lives.

Virginia Roth, North Hills


Okay, but how much of this can actually happen? How would it all unfold?

And of course the bottom line is the military leadership. If they go along with Trump, what can Pence and the Cabinet do?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: 75 days

Postby iambiguous » Sat Nov 21, 2020 9:41 pm

So, where does the good news end here and the bad news begin? Is it more or less in the same place where bad news ends here and the good news begins?

Consider:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/21/us/p ... e=Homepage

Trump Using Last Days to Lock in Policies and Make Biden’s Task More Difficult

So, given that your own particular political prejudices [rooted subjectively in dasein] are in the general vicinity of mine, the possible good news:

Mr. Trump has spent the last two weeks hunkered down in the White House, raging about a “stolen” election and refusing to accept the reality of his loss. But in other ways he is acting as if he knows he will be departing soon, and showing none of the deference that presidents traditionally give their successors in their final days in office.

The possible bad news:

During the past four years Mr. Trump has not spent much time thinking about policy, but he has shown a penchant for striking back at his adversaries. And with his encouragement, top officials are racing against the clock to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, secure oil drilling leases in Alaska, punish China, carry out executions and thwart any plans Mr. Biden might have to reestablish the Iran nuclear deal.

On the other hand, if this is all he does with the remainder of his days in office, isn't that really good news too?

Compared to all of the far, far worse things that he might do instead?

For example:

They are upping tension in Iran, which could lead to a confrontation.

On the other hand, if Trump actually does believe that either him or one of the kids will be in the 2024 presidential election, he knows he can't go so far as to make that a bust.

Stay tuned.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: 75 days

Postby Meno_ » Sat Nov 21, 2020 10:13 pm

iambiguous wrote:So, where does the good news end here and the bad news begin? Is it more or less in the same place where bad news ends here and the good news begins?

Consider:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/21/us/p ... e=Homepage

Trump Using Last Days to Lock in Policies and Make Biden’s Task More Difficult

So, given that your own particular political prejudices [rooted subjectively in dasein] are in the general vicinity of mine, the possible good news:

Mr. Trump has spent the last two weeks hunkered down in the White House, raging about a “stolen” election and refusing to accept the reality of his loss. But in other ways he is acting as if he knows he will be departing soon, and showing none of the deference that presidents traditionally give their successors in their final days in office.

The possible bad news:

During the past four years Mr. Trump has not spent much time thinking about policy, but he has shown a penchant for striking back at his adversaries. And with his encouragement, top officials are racing against the clock to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, secure oil drilling leases in Alaska, punish China, carry out executions and thwart any plans Mr. Biden might have to reestablish the Iran nuclear deal.

On the other hand, if this is all he does with the remainder of his days in office, isn't that really good news too?

Compared to all of the far, far worse things that he might do instead?

For example:

They are upping tension in Iran, which could lead to a confrontation.

On the other hand, if Trump actually does believe that either him or one of the kids will be in the 2024 presidential election, he knows he can't go so far as to make that a bust.

Stay tuned.





And let's not forget this:





The New York Times

Defying U.S., China and Iran Near Trade and Military Partnership
The investment and security pact would vastly extend China’s influence in the Middle East, throwing Iran an economic lifeline and creating new flash points with the United States.


The partnership was first proposed by President Xi Jinping of China during a visit to Iran where he
The partnership was first proposed by President Xi Jinping of China during a visit to Iran where he met his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, in 2016.Credit...Ebrahim Noroozi/Associated Press
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By Farnaz Fassihi and Steven Lee Myers

Published July 11, 2020
Updated July 22, 2020

Iran and China have quietly drafted a sweeping economic and security partnership that would clear the way for billions of dollars of Chinese investments in energy and other sectors, undercutting the Trump administration’s efforts to isolate the Iranian government because of its nuclear and military ambitions.

READ MOREU.S. orders China to close its Houston consulate.

The partnership, detailed in an 18-page proposed agreement obtained by The New York Times, would vastly expand Chinese presence in banking, telecommunications, ports, railways and dozens of other projects. In exchange, China would receive a regular — and, according to an Iranian official and an oil trader, heavily discounted — supply of Iranian oil over the next 25 years.

The document also describes deepening military cooperation, potentially giving China a foothold in a region that has been a strategic preoccupation of the United States for decades. It calls for joint training and exercises, joint research and weapons development and intelligence sharing — all to fight “the lopsided battle with terrorism, drug and human trafficking and cross-border crimes.”



The partnership — first proposed by China’s leader, Xi Jinping, during a visit to Iran in 2016 — was approved by President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet in June, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said last week.

Iranian officials have publicly stated that there is a pending agreement with China, and one Iranian official, as well as several people who have discussed it with the Iranian government, confirmed that it is the document obtained by The Times, which is labeled “final version” and dated June 2020.

It has not yet been submitted to Iran’s Parliament for approval or made public, stoking suspicions in Iran about how much the government is preparing to give away to China.

In Beijing, officials have not disclosed the terms of the agreement, and it is not clear whether Mr. Xi’s government has signed off or, if it has, when it might announce it.


If put into effect as detailed, the partnership would create new and potentially dangerous flash points in the deteriorating relationship between China and the United States.

It represents a major blow to the Trump administration’s aggressive policy toward Iran since abandoning the nuclear deal reached in 2015 by President Barack Obama and the leaders of six other nations after two years of grueling negotiations.

Renewed American sanctions, including the threat to cut off access to the international banking system for any company that does business in Iran, have succeeded in suffocating the Iranian economy by scaring away badly needed foreign trade and investment.



In Tehran in May. Renewed American sanctions have succeeded in suffocating the Iranian economy by scaring away badly needed foreign investment.Credit...Arash Khamooshi for The New York Times

But Tehran’s desperation has pushed it into the arms of China, which has the technology and appetite for oil that Iran needs. Iran has been one of the world’s largest oil producers, but its exports, Tehran’s largest source of revenue, have plunged since the Trump administration began imposing sanctions in 2018; China gets about 75 percent of its oil from abroad and is the world’s largest importer, at more than 10 million barrels a day last year.


At a time when the United States is reeling from recession and the coronavirus, and increasingly isolated internationally, Beijing senses American weakness. The draft agreement with Iran shows that unlike most countries, China feels it is in a position to defy the United States, powerful enough to withstand American penalties, as it has in the trade war waged by President Trump.

“Two ancient Asian cultures, two partners in the sectors of trade, economy, politics, culture and security with a similar outlook and many mutual bilateral and multilateral interests will consider one another strategic partners,” the document says in its opening sentence.

The Chinese investments in Iran, which two people who have been briefed on the deal said would total $400 billion over 25 years, could spur still more punitive actions against Chinese companies, which have already been targeted by the administration in recent months.


“The United States will continue to impose costs on Chinese companies that aid Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism,” a State Department spokeswoman wrote in response to questions about the draft agreement.

“By allowing or encouraging Chinese companies to conduct sanctionable activities with the Iranian regime, the Chinese government is undermining its own stated goal of promoting stability and peace.”

The expansion of military assistance, training and intelligence-sharing will also be viewed with alarm in Washington. American warships already tangle regularly with Iranian forces in the crowded waters of the Persian Gulf and challenge China’s internationally disputed claim to much of the South China Sea, and the Pentagon’s national security strategy has declared China an adversary.

When reports of a long-term investment agreement with Iran surfaced last September, China’s foreign ministry dismissed the question out of hand. Asked about it again last week, a spokesman, Zhao Lijian, left open the possibility that a deal was in the works.



A tanker carrying crude oil imported from Iran at the Port of Zhoushan, China, in 2018. Credit...Imaginechina, via Associated Press
“China and Iran enjoy traditional friendship, and the two sides have been in communication on the development of bilateral relations,” he said. “We stand ready to work with Iran to steadily advance practical cooperation.”

The projects — nearly 100 are cited in the draft agreement — are very much in keeping with Mr. Xi’s ambitions to extend its economic and strategic influence across Eurasia through the “Belt and Road Initiative,” a vast aid and investment program.

The projects, including airports, high-speed railways and subways, would touch the lives of millions of Iranians. China would develop free-trade zones in Maku, in northwestern Iran; in Abadan, where the Shatt al-Arab river flows into the Persian Gulf, and on the gulf island Qeshm.


The agreement also includes proposals for China to build the infrastructure for a 5G telecommunications network, to offer the new Chinese Global Positioning System, Beidou, and to help Iranian authorities assert greater control over what circulates in cyberspace, presumably as China’s Great Firewall does.

The American campaign against a major Chinese telecommunications company, Huawei, includes a criminal case against its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, for seeking to disguise investments in Iran in order to evade American sanctions. The Trump administration has barred Huawei from involvement in 5G development in the United States, and has tried, without great success, to persuade other countries to do the same.

Moving ahead with a broad investment program in Iran appears to signal Beijing’s growing impatience with the Trump administration after its abandonment of the nuclear agreement. China has repeatedly called on the administration to preserve the deal, which it was a party to, and has sharply denounced the American use of unilateral sanctions.

Iran has traditionally looked west toward Europe for trade and investment partners. Increasingly though, it has grown frustrated with European countries that have opposed Mr. Trump’s policy but quietly withdrawn from the kinds of deals that the nuclear agreement once promised.



President Trump withdrew the United States from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018.Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times

“Iran and China both view this deal as a strategic partnership in not just expanding their own interests but confronting the U.S.,” said Ali Gholizadeh, an Iranian energy researcher at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei. “It is the first of its kind for Iran keen on having a world power as an ally.”

The proposed partnership has nonetheless stoked a fierce debate within Iran. Mr. Zarif, the foreign minister, who traveled to Beijing last October to negotiate the agreement, faced hostile questioning about it in Parliament last week.

The document was provided to The Times by someone familiar with its drafting with the intention of showing the scope of the projects now under consideration.



Mr. Zarif said the agreement would be submitted to Parliament for final approval. It has the support of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, two Iranian officials said.

Ayatollah Khamenei’s top economic adviser, Ali Agha Mohammadi, appeared on state television recently to discuss the need for an economic lifeline. He said Iran needs to increase its oil production to at least 8.5 million barrels a day in order to remain a player in the energy market, and for that, it needs China.

Iranian supporters of the strategic partnership say that given the country’s limited economic options, the free-falling currency and the dim prospect of U.S. sanctions being lifted, the deal with China could provide a lifeline.

“Every road is closed to Iran,” said Fereydoun Majlesi, a former diplomat and a columnist for several Iranian newspapers on diplomacy. “The only path open is China. Whatever it is, until sanctions are lifted, this deal is the best option.”


But critics across the political spectrum in Iran have raised concerns that the government is secretly “selling off” the country to China in a moment of economic weakness and international isolation. In a speech in late June, a former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, called it a suspicious secret deal that the people of Iran would never approve.

The critics have cited previous Chinese investment projects that have left countries in Africa and Asia indebted and ultimately beholden to the authorities in Beijing. A particular concern has been the proposed port facilities in Iran, including two along the coast of the Sea of Oman.

One at Jask, just outside of the Strait of Hormuz, the entrance to the Persian Gulf, would give the Chinese a strategic vantage point on the waters through which much of the world’s oil transits. The passage is of critical strategic importance to the United States, whose Navy’s Fifth Fleet is headquartered in Bahrain, in the gulf.



Jask, located at the entrance to the Persian Gulf, would give the Chinese a strategic vantage point on the waters through which much of the world’s oil transits.

China has already constructed a series of ports along the Indian Ocean, creating a necklace of refueling and resupply stations from the South China Sea to the Suez Canal. Ostensibly commercial in nature, the ports potentially have military value, too, allowing China’s rapidly growing navy to expand its reach.

Those include ports at Hambantota in Sri Lanka and Gwadar in Pakistan, which are widely criticized as footholds for a potential military presence, though no Chinese forces have officially been deployed at them.

China opened its first overseas military base in Djibouti in 2015, ostensibly to support its forces participating in international antipiracy operations off the coast of Somalia. The outpost, which began as a logistics base but is now more heavily fortified, is within miles of the American base in that country.

China has also stepped up military cooperation with Iran. The People’s Liberation Army Navy has visited and participated in military exercises at least three times, beginning in 2014. The most recent was last December, when a Chinese missile destroyer, the Xining, joined a naval exercise with the Russian and Iranian navies in the Gulf of Oman.

China’s state-owned Xinhua news agency quoted the commander of Iran’s Navy, Rear Adm. Hossein Khanzadi, saying that the exercise showed “the era of American invasions in the region is over.”

David E. Sanger contributed reporting. Claire Fu in Beijing contributed research.

Farnaz Fassihi is a freelance reporter with the International Desk based in New York. Before contracting with the Times, she was a senior writer and war correspondent for the Wall Street Journal for 17 years based in the Middle East. @farnazfassihi

Steven Lee Myers is the Beijing bureau chief for The New York Times. He joined The Times in 1989 and has previously worked as a correspondent in Moscow, Baghdad and Washington. He is the author of “The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin,” published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2015. @stevenleemyers • Facebook

Correction: July 16, 2020

An earlier version of this article misstated where an Iranian energy researcher is based. The researcher, Ali Gholizadeh, is at the University of Science and Technology of China

© 2020 The New York Times Company
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