In his Foreign Policy Speech, Trump Calls for “Extreme…

vetting.”

People are anxious for details.

The campaign has released this backgrounder.

Second Update: Women’s Vote

“[We] asked people who aren’t voting for Donald Trump, would you consider voting for him? And among women, with whom he is down almost 20 points anyway, women who are not voting for him, the number who say, yes, they would consider it is zero.”

**************

First update here.

Where’s the long form?

After Newsweek asked for a copy of the IRS audit letter sent to Trump, a campaign spokesperson last week pointed to the campaign’s website and the letter that was released by Trump’s attorneys at the Washington, D.C., firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. A follow-up query to the campaign asking for a copy of the actual IRS audit letter itself has gone unanswered. Newsweek offered to accept a redaction of any personal information that might be in the letter, such as a Social Security number, although generally audit letters contain just a name and address, which in Trump’s case is well known to be Trump Tower.

In lieu of producing the audit letter, there’s really no proof that Trump is being audited.

True-Blue Ubu

He’s the one who never asks you a question, talks endlessly about himself — and has nothing to say. He doesn’t read, has no original ideas and thinks he knows more than you do because he once heard something on the news…

Trump hasn’t bothered to learn anything more about the Constitution, or the government, or government policy than he knew a year ago. His campaign still consists of test-marketing insults one rally at a time. Occasionally he tries to impersonate a devoted churchgoer, or an antiabortion activist, or an NRA believer, but he usually botches the role because he hasn’t prepared. And he hasn’t prepared because he’s not really interested in what anyone else believes — not Christians, not anti abortion activists, not gun enthusiasts. He has only one interest.

… His extreme self-regard is one of the qualities that make him unfit to be president… But it also explains why, even as we follow his campaign minute by minute, we feel almost demeaned. All this time, all this attention, and what will we have learned?

The true trademark of the insufferable bore is the conviction that he is doing you a great favor by spending time with you. Trump brings this to his campaign every day — his conviction that he is doing the entire country a great favor, that serving as president would represent an enormous sacrifice.

*******************

[At] a meeting at Trump Tower between Mr. Trump and governors from around the country, Mr. Trump offered a desultory performance, bragging about his poll numbers, listening passively as the governors talked about their states and then sending them on their way.

Mr. Trump never asked them for their support, three people briefed on the meeting said.

Death of a Salesman

Mr. Trump’s mood is often sullen and erratic, his associates say. He veers from barking at members of his staff to grumbling about how he was better off following his own instincts during the primaries and suggesting he should not have heeded their calls for change.

He broods about his souring relationship with the news media…

[Associates also] described their nominee as exhausted, frustrated and still bewildered by fine points of the political process and why his incendiary approach seems to be sputtering.

He is routinely preoccupied with perceived slights…

[Trump is still] relying impulsively on a pugilistic formula that guided him to the nomination…

Saturday Hootenanny

We are the RNC, we stand for loyalty
To goons and chumps and Donald Trump’s yuge landslide victory
We went to convention hall when a meeting it was called
And when they shouted Kill the bitch
We thought it quite a stitch.

Oh the RNC is sticking to delusion
It’s sticking to confusion
It’s sticking to illusion
Oh the RNC is sticking to delusion
Til the day it dies.

The RNC is wise to the tricks of Hillary spies,
We won’t be awed by voting fraud, we’ll organize our guys.
We know we’ll get our way upon election day
Our fists we’ll pump for Donald Trump
And this is what we’ll say

Oh the RNC is sticking to delusion
It’s sticking to confusion
It’s sticking to illusion
Oh the RNC is sticking to delusion
Til the day it dies.

Imagine there’s no polling…

It’s easy if you try
No Hill above us
Only you and I
Imagine all the people
Tweeting U-S-A

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Only white America
Not too many Jews
Imagine all the people
Banished from our shores

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
Don’t forget to bring your gun

“He … has shown dangerous authoritarian tendencies…”

Seventy prominent Republicans call for an “immediate shift of all available RNC resources [away from Trump and] to vulnerable Senate and House races [in order to] prevent the GOP from drowning with a Trump-emblazoned anchor around its neck.”

I think we can put him in the “No” column.

Trump sounds like a 12-year-old — a willful and abusive braggart. He is remarkably ignorant and uneducated about the world that we face and the means we may use to defend ourselves.

Breakfast, lunch, and afternoon.

On other campaigns, we would have to scrounge for crumbs,” says a senior Clinton adviser. “Here, it’s a fire hose. [Trump] can set himself on fire at breakfast, kill a nun at lunch and waterboard a puppy in the afternoon. And that doesn’t even get us to prime time.”

The Constancy of Cruelty

Of all the denunciations of Donald Trump, UD finds most eloquent Senator Susan Collins’ set of reflections on his cruelty.

UD likes in particular one phrase Collins uses — his constant stream of cruel comments — because it is rather poetic and also quite simple. It assumes – correctly – that Collins does not need to define cruelty; it takes for granted the fact that all of us recognize cruelty when it occurs – in speech, in action – because we are all vulnerable human beings who have ourselves, in the course of our lives, suffered cruelty. We know intimately, deeply, historically, how it feels to be the object of someone else’s cruelty. That feeling never goes away.

(We have all inflicted cruelty too, and, if we are decent people, our recognition of our capacity to be cruel in the way of Donald Trump provokes things like shame, apology, and reflection on why we behaved that way.)

There is indeed something obscenely, intimately knowing in the way Trump stimulates Americans – even feeds them – with his cruelty, and makes his cruelty theirs. Commentators talk about the “nihilism” of Trump’s tea party followers, but don’t people really mean their cruelty? Trump leads them into a thrillingly disinhibited realm of communal disgust, horror, and violence – SHOOT THE BITCH – and the reason people attach “nihilism” to this is that, when you actually examine it, there’s nothing there. Nothing political. (This explains why his followers don’t mind that Trump also is a political black hole.) What’s there is inchoate inner rage, exteriorized into pleasurable cruelty by a charismatic sadist. (Pleasurable vindictive cruelty, as when Eliza Doolittle, having hurt Henry Higgins very badly, says triumphantly Ive got a little of my own back, anyhow.)

****************

In his poem, “A Ritual to Read to Each Other,” William E. Stafford notices how easy it is for human beings to give up the struggle to understand one another:

If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the
world
and following the wrong god home we may miss
our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break …

That nihilistic shrug says I’ve tried to understand you – really understand you – but it’s too difficult or threatening or something so I’m going to betray you and my better self by letting the fragile human intercourse between us, our tentative conversations in the direction of mutual comprehension, break. I’m going to retreat to “a pattern that others made,” to regress to whatever my parochial upbringing might have been in regard to people outside my circle.

Cruelty, the root of cruelty, says the poet, is willful blindness to the vulnerability and complexity of the human beings around you. It’s the decision to shrug off the moral imperative to be careful what you do and say with vulnerable and complex people:

… I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something
shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should
consider—
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the
dark.

This makes me think of Trump’s “Second Amendment people’ dog whistle the other day, his knowing what was occurring but deciding not to “recognize” it as it got transmitted to a fragile and complicated social world. He shrugged and “fooled” people rather than considering the darkness into which, with his careless words, he led them.


For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to
sleep;
the signals we give — yes or no, or maybe —
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

Update: Trump, Women’s Vote

Turns out you can’t attack a female reporter … for reporting, and a grieving mother … for grieving, and make death threats against the first female presidential nominee who’s kicking your ass in the polls — and still get as many women as you’ll need to win.

Scroll Down to the ‘How the Odds Have …

Changed’ graph, and note
how the shape of the future

matissewoman

looks just like a woman.

This presidential election just took a turn toward the dangerous…

… with Donald Trump today coming close to suggesting Hillary Clinton should be shot.

*******************

UD thinks it’s time to roll out the term Kafkaesque to describe what this nation will be going through until the beginning of November if the Republican party is unable to figure out a way to replace Trump as their candidate. We are experiencing, for the first time in our history, the presidential campaign of a person who exhibits signs of serious mental disturbance.

***********

Michael Hayden thinks the Secret Service should interview Trump; UD thinks instead that the relevant security outfit should interview his personal physician. Trump behaves like a person with an opioid dependency. (“He’s almost like someone with an addiction who can’t stop,” [one Republic political operative] said. “Until he gets help and admits it, he won’t be able to change.” — UD would suggest that he may indeed be a person with an addiction…)

***********

For anyone who cares about the future of American politics, the comment represents a dwindling commitment to politics itself, to the notion that, through rhetoric and competition, we might find a common way as a people. Instead, the Republican candidate made a casual nod to the final force of arms. At this stage, so little that Trump says shocks us, but, now and then, it is worth stepping back and regarding the full damage of it all: the wounds to our fading global image of openness and generosity; the stomping on our admiration for intelligence, eloquence, or honesty; and now the blithe contempt for safe and civil government.

*******************

UD thanks Greg.

I laughed out loud at the following numbers (Trumper Warning):

#7.

#8.

#10.

#16.

#23.

#26.

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