Donald Trump is a fool.
No, we don’t mean he doesn’t have smarts. He clearly does, or else he would be headed to the White House.
But his overwhelming ego and his love of praise from folks who matter to him leave him easy prey to the really smart guys who exploit his vanity to accomplish their own ends.
That said, Trump has been mentored by some of the most duplicitous tricksters ever to appear on the American political scene, most notably Roy Cohn, the lawyer who got his start as Sen. Joseph McCarthy‘s right hand man during the years McCarthy was terrifying the American public with his made-up numbers of secret communists at the heart of American government. And, yes, there were Soviet agents in the government, which gave his spurious claims a germ of credibility.
You can see more than a little of McCarthy in Trump’s bombastic and contradictory claims made during the campaign. You can see more of McCarthy in Trump’s play to the deep and justifiable fears of many Americans that their country is being taken from them by a deep conspiracy of forces beyond their control.
And Trump, like McCarthy, pointed them away from the real conspiracy, that of the wealthy and powerful who have long controlled the American political scene and manipulate it to enlarge their wealthy and extend their power.
People, this is, just like Donald Trump.
As the New York Times reported in June:
For 13 years, the lawyer who had infamously whispered in McCarthy’s ear whispered in Mr. Trump’s. In the process, Mr. Cohn helped deliver some of Mr. Trump’s signature construction deals, sued the National Football League for conspiring against his client and countersued the federal government — for $100 million — for damaging the Trump name. One of Mr. Trump’s executives recalled that he kept an 8-by-10-inch photograph of Mr. Cohn in his office desk, pulling it out to intimidate recalcitrant contractors.
The two men spoke as often as five times a day, toasted each other at birthday parties and spent evenings together at Studio 54.
And Mr. Cohn turned repeatedly to Mr. Trump — one of a small clutch of people who knew he was gay — in his hours of need. When a former companion was dying of AIDS, he asked Mr. Trump to find him a place to stay. When he faced disbarment, he summoned Mr. Trump to testify to his character.
Mr. Trump says the two became so close that Mr. Cohn, who had no immediate family, sometimes refused to bill him, insisting he could not charge a friend.
And then there’s Roger Stone, self-described Republican Hatchet man, the dirty trickster who engineered the so-called Brooks Brothers riots during the 2000 election Florida presidential recount.
It was Cohn who introduced Trump to a young political operator named Roger Stone in 1979. Stone had cut his teeth in the Nixon campaign of 1972 where he posed as a student socialist who donated to an opponent and then made the contribution public. The fake scandal helped scuttle antiwar congressman Rep. Pete McCloskey’s presidential bid and ensured that Nixon was around to give America three more years of a disastrous war and Watergate.
Brilliant and perpetually aggressive—“attack, attack, attack” is his motto—Stone teamed up with Trump to create an ersatz presidential bid in 1987, and the two have been political partners ever since. Like Cohn, Stone is a risk-taker. He and Trump got caught breaking campaign rules as they fought the development of Indian casinos and state officials levied a hefty fine. Stone counsels clients to “Admit nothing, deny everything, launch counterattack.” He once told a reporter that it was his practice to always, “Get even.” “When somebody screws you,” he added, “screw ‘em back—but a lot harder.”
Trump’s version of the Stone credo, as he told me, is to “hit back 10 times harder” whenever he feels attacked. Like McCarthy and Cohn and Stone, Trump loves to gossip and trade in information. He too cultivates an air of menace to keep his opponents off-guard and he hates to apologize, or back down. And, like Cohn, he insists that the kind of talk his critics consider offensive is really just the truth expressed without the social amenities. This is an ingenious tactic for someone who wants to be free to say almost anything, even if it’s insulting, and get away with.
Both Cohn and Stone played Trump, enhancing their own power while boosting Trump’s ego.
Trump, an ignoramus of the first order
Trump is perhaps the most profoundly ignorant man ever to win the White House.
He reveals his ignorance at every turn n statements uttered with absolute conviction.
And because he is both immensely rich and profoundly angry, he is a man few dare contradict face-to face.
His wealth, power, avarice, arrogance, and ignorance make a powerful and dangerous combination, especially when harnessed by others more cunning and eager to advance their own agendas.
And there are no forces more powerful than banksters and Big Energy.
And they have found their perfect tool in the the Vulgarian-in-Chief, who is setting out out to destroy climate change science in this country.
From the Guardian:
Last week, Donald Trump’s space policy advisor Bob Walker made headlines by suggesting that the incoming administration might slash Nasa’s climate and earth science research to focus the agency on deep space exploration. This caused great concern in the scientific community, because Nasa does some of the best climate research in the world, and its Earth science program does much more. Walker suggested the earth science research could be shifted to other agencies, but climate scientist Michael Mann explained what would result:
It’s difficult enough for us to build and maintain the platforms that are necessary for measuring how the oceans are changing, how the atmosphere is changing, with the infrastructure that we have when we total up the contributions from all of the agencies … we [could] lose forever the possibility of the continuous records that we need so that we can monitor this planet.
Walker’s comments set off alarm bells for another reason. Were it simply a matter of transferring Nasa’s climate and earth science programs to other agencies, what would be the point? Such a transfer would be logistically difficult, and if the research funding weren’t cut, it wouldn’t save any taxpayer money. And it’s not as though the branches doing Nasa’s climate research are distracting other branches of the agency from conducting deep space exploration.
The suggestion does however look a lot like a Trojan horse whose true purpose is to cut government-funded climate research, perhaps transferring some of Nasa’s programs and budget to other agencies and simply scrapping the rest.
Bob Walker’s politicized science
In an interview with The Guardian, Walker accused Nasa of “politically correct environmental monitoring” and “politicized science.” Carol Off from CBC’s program As It Happens conducted a follow-up interview with Walker and asked for examples to support his accusations. Walker cited the example of Nasa’s announcement that 2014 was the hottest year on record, claiming:
The fact that they have reported temperature that they said was the highest temperatures…in history…it turned out that they were only 39% sure of that figure. Well that’s a press release, not a scientific kind of statement. I’m interested in scientific integrity. I’m interested not in scientific analysis that goes to a politically correct outcome.
The reason Walker knew that Nasa estimates gave 2014 a 38% (not 39%) chance of being the hottest year on record (Noaa put its odds at 48%) is that Nasa and Noaa included this information in their announcement. There is uncertainty in every scientific measurement. That’s why scientific theories and conclusions aren’t proven; they’re only supported or disproved by the available evidence.