Persona Non Grata

Persona Non Grata

To say Thursday was a rough day for Donald Trump would be a "big league" understatement. Indeed, the 45th President of the United States is in trouble. Deep, deep trouble. Of course, being in deep trouble isn't new to Trump. By many accounts, he spent virtually his entire business career in some manner of financial distress, even if it wasn't apparent to the public. And he spent almost every, single day of his presidency staring down investigations of all sorts, up to, and including, allegat
Subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content.

38 thoughts on “Persona Non Grata

  1. I am almost positive that he indeed will be in Putin’s care before the 19th. I see zero upside for him attempting to remain in the USA and see how a self pardon plays out.

    1. More likely his son-in-law will orchestrate a decamping to Saudi Arabia or Israel. Calling in favors to Mohammed bin Salman or Bibi. (Remember the scene with the undertaker in the Godfather?)

      I recently teased an old colleague in Israel about the soon-to-be opened Trump Golan Heights Golf Resort. But he answered that I was being delusional: “The Golan is too rocky for a golf course.” But we know that Trump is a “master Builder”. He told us that.

    2. I don’t think he could endure a break with his money and assets located over here. His wealth and his psyche are totally enmeshed. He’ll stupidly stick around like his pal Ghislaine.

  2. Hm. I hope you’re right but, as long as he’s got 50 millions of die hard fans on his side, I fear there’s only so much shaming GOP leaders will tolerate… Though, again, I’m kind of pleasantly surprised that, in the very end, Barr, Mulvaney and Graham balked at destroying democracy. They should still be indicted with something but get some leniency in their sentencing.

    Social media banning him. Will that not just push his people further onto the alternative platforms that have emerged already? Thus ensuring in the most absolute manner that we live into 2 separate info bubbles?

    1. I do not remember who said it but, once the ruling fascist is ultimately vanquished, all those loyal supporters and enablers (not your usual rank and file) suddenly say that they never liked him. Screw everyone of them!

      1. Agreed. I still think they should be tried and jailed. I’m just being fair and balanced.

        I mean, imagine Pence had tried to overturn the confirmation of Biden or Georgia officials had caved in and “found” 11,800 votes somewhere (well, declared 11,800 votes for Biden null due to some technical details)?

        After so much tolerating of Trump’s rhetoric and behaviours that are, ultimately, quite far from ‘traditional’ GOP small c conservative values, I’m kind of surprised there was a line they weren’t willing to cross.

      2. I’m a bit worried that most Trumpers will remain loyal. I unfortunately know quite a few in my family and the excuses are never ending. Not necessarily the politicians though they’ll steal any talking points that seemed to work on his base like Tedric Cruz.

  3. I never expected the decent into Autocracy would be linear so the push /pull of this power struggle between the ruling Oligarchy and whoever and whatever else continues… There are moving parts in this equation yet to be noticed by almost everyone.. Obscurity is the enemy we should all fear the most…

  4. I’ll believe Mr. Trump in his role as president is in “deep, deep trouble” when I see either Republican members of the House voting for the articles of impeachment, or I wake up to hear about the invocation of Amendment XXV. A vote along party lines in the House, or even including some some Republican House members, e.g., Illinois 16th, is not enough to remove the danger for the next 12 days.

    Public statements by the Senate majority leader, and a couple of other, key, Republican senators in support of removal from office would be encouraging. The media I follow hasn’t published any calls of this nature from Republicans. In fact, we haven’t seen any votes on the floor in the Senate regarding the junior Senators from Texas and Missouri. (…these would be natural targets to take the wrist slap, it seems, if only the majority leader cared enough about our nation.)

    Until such time, Mr. Trump retains the trappings and power of the office. Hypothesization on TWTR about an Air Force general refusing to accept an order, or Mr. Pence being referred to as the 46th president, is idle discussion.

    As far the Senate’s next moves, it’s still just as likely that the Senate would, for example, vote on additional Trump-nominated judges (using this as an example only) than a vote on even a statement of censure of Mr. Trump.

    1. Oh, ok, “deep, deep trouble” is more Heisenberg Report sarcasm because it’s just Pelosi and Schumer calling for discipline of the orange baby. The hemisphere of my brain that is helpful for working on statistical modeling and database migrations is more dominant today than usual. My apologies.

      1. After what happened yesterday, would you want to work at the jail where they’re holding Trump? Do you think that his supporters wouldn’t march on it in the name of “protecting the country” or “freedom”? Honestly, can you even rule out that they would attempt to storm the jail? And if they did, what are the odds that at least some of the guards are on his side.

        I think most people have no appreciation for exactly how dangerous things have now gotten, and suffer from a serious lack of imagination for how bad this can actually get.

  5. So far today, Republicans seem to fall into three groups – unreformed MAGATS (the Senate 7 and the House 126), Trump supporters who have suddenly had a case of the vapors (Lindsay Graham, Elaine Chao), and those who have gone silent, like McConnell and Pence (who wouldn’t pick up the phone when Pelosi and Schumer tried to speak to him). I don’t see any of them taking a lot of action, regrettably.

    1. Trump did what he’s always done his entire life. He blew up everything around him and then walked away to watch it burn. The Republican stronghold is dead, the party is shattered, their supreme leader a pariah. This is what we (Every non-Trumper) have been saying would happen from the start. They chose to embrace an authoritarian and that authoritarian destroyed them when he didn’t get what he wanted.

      They have no one to blame but themselves.

  6. I would argue that Trumpism, at least as it pertains to having any realistic designs on governing again, dealt it self a lethal blow yesterday. That doesn’t mean that his support base will melt away, far from it. But the idea that he or his acolytes could plausibly put together another winning coalition of votes is now, and for the foreseeable future, a non-starter. Ih the end, the (relatively) lax security around the Capitol helped focus minds on the consequences that so many have been mocked for predicting. How’s that for irony?

  7. I really don’t think you have to worry about trump ending up eating lunch with Putin. I’m betting Putin doesn’t really want anything to do with Trump. How do you respect someone who you play so easily.

    1. yeah, also Putin does not seem to have much use or tolerance for sore losers.
      Somehow I cannot imagine a guy like Putin entertaining somebody whining 24/7 about how he lost “the greatest election of all times” or whatever.
      Once Trump is no longer in office and no longer of use, I would not expect too much support, neither explicit nor implicit.

      1. I mean, why would Putin even tolerate Trump in Russia? Once a master spy is done with his/her tool, he/she doesn’t exfiltrate or coddle him/her – he/she sacrifices her/him, ideally in a useful manner but otherwise just dispose of him/her and move on…

        1. I mean if I were Putin having a pet American president would be a pretty rude gesture. Kind of like having a pet nuclear tiger. Not to mention Trump could continue to incite his fanbase freely. I don’t think they’d be friends but a useful tool is not something I see Putin overlooking and he’s probably better at the game than I am.

      2. “Once Trump is no longer in office and no longer of use, I would not expect too much support, neither explicit nor implicit.” The same can be said for Mitch and other top Republicans who used Trump over the past four years. They may not publicly put the knife into him; still being concerned with base optics et al. However, they’ll conveniently be unable to render aid when Schumer, Pelosi and Biden plunge their blades in. A win-win for all sides as Trump no longer looms large over Republican leadership for the next four years.

  8. The Tech wreck I’ve been predicting is probably coming this year now. It took Trump actually inciting a mob takeover of the Capitol building to do it, but we are finally getting recognition that Tech, and specifically social media, has been his enabler. Sure, it was a great run for them, they monetized hate and misinformation for 6 or 7 years way beyond what anyone ever expected. But now that we in the US see the real world impacts of an unregulated social media that has caused overthrows and attempted coups in smaller countries, I expect the hammer will drop, hard.

    As far as Trump pardoning himself, there is a very good write up in the Atlantic about this. It is unlikely to work for him because the precedent was set in 1974 that a president cannot pardon himself. For him to change that precedent for 2 weeks (or less barring actually impeachment) and then have the following administration and just department agree with the previous precedent would be a very dangerous road for the SCOTUS to go down. They would essentially be giving every future president a pass to commit crimes at will based on the 2 week precedent of a single president in our history. The author, and I agree, think that’s very very unlikely.

    1. I disagree on your take re. social media. The US allows pretty unfettered freedom of speech, compared to much of the rest of the world b/c it couldn’t conceive of a time where the ‘public square’ would not be controlled by gatekeepers and b/c it could not conceive that, in a fight between truth and lies/misconceptions, truth doesn’t end up the winner.

      Social media is tech that allowed to bypass the gatekeepers to the public square. Their role and position isn’t enshrined in either laws or nature. So bypassing/destroying them is fair game. As to the second point, social media just revealed that people prefer lies to truth and thus will make sure that lies and liars prosper while truth and truth tellers gather dust.

      Social media is just revealing the human condition to ourselves and the truth is that most of us are unworthy, unreliable and foolish morons.

      What we now need to do is accept that fact and find a way to protect ourselves from our own stupidity. That is doable. We do it all the times in lots of different fields. But that means accepting the first amendment is wrong… Are you ready to go there?

      1. I don’t think you fully understand social media’s role in the propagation of misinformation. This is not merely a free speech issue. The objective of any social media product is to drive user engagement. The more user’s are engaged with their platform, the more ads that the platform can serve to that user, and the more ad space the parent company can sell. What social media discovered early on is, that people would remain more engaged with their platforms if they served them up more inflammatory content. They wrote algorithms that drove that content to their user bases which resulted in profits that no one ever expected them to achieve. The algorithms thoughtlessly pushed dangerous content out not because the social media service was maliciously trying to infect people with hate, but because this was the most profitable approach.

        So take the QAnon conspiracy for example. That was propagated almost entirely by social media algorithms designed to maximize the ad space of their users. That is to say, QAnon becoming mainstream was a complete accident on the part of social media. At this point, the major platforms have banned QAnon, but the damage is already done and those conspiracies are now spreading on every new startup social media outlet.

        This leads me to Donald Trump. Donald Trump is and has been violating every single social media company’s fair use policies since before he became president. Why has he been allowed to continue posting? Well, they claim it’s to serve as a public record for the future. The reality is, whether you love him or hate him, he drives user engagement. His tweets and re-tweets are the basis for millions of user interactions. His constant barrage of misinformation leads to both pro and counter arguments and thus more engagement. He’s been quite the money maker for Facebook, Twitter, etc.

        This leads me to the regulation argument. Facebook has already been in hearings for allowing hate speech on their platforms to run wild. That hate speech has been far more damaging in small countries like Myanmar than it has been here. They claim they are “working on it” but also that they don’t need regulation. Now I don’t know about you, but, if the Washington Post was creating content that led to actual genocide, I’m fairly certain they would be shut down. The problem here isn’t that this is a difficult problem to solve. There already exist large numbers of content filtering solutions that can eliminate hate speech. The problem is, Facebook makes lots of money off of that hate speech. Therefore, without regulation forcing them to filter that content out, they are disincentivized to do it themselves.

        And finally to everyone’s favorite argument, the first amendment. Freedom of speech is absolutely important and I’m not saying that it is wrong. What I’m saying is that…

        Forcing misinformation down people’s throats as a means to monetize your platform is at a minimum unethical, if not a complete betrayal of the public trust.
        If elected officials are allowed to spread misinformation from a position of authority through social media without consequence, then how is the public to know what truth is anymore?

        #1 Is the crux of social media hiding behind the shield of free speech and what has led people to go so absolutely insane with rage that they attacked the United States Capitol in a mob.

        #2 Is the reason 47M people still support a president who is so beyond the pale bad for this country that everyone else in the world is absolutely appalled by him. It’s also the reason why we will probably not be able to fix the mess that they created for at least a generation.

        For more information on the dangers of social media I recommend a documentary on Netflix called “The Social Dilemma” which was created by the engineers who build the algorithms driving content delivery for social media.

        1. You’re deploying a powerful narrative and I used to be convinced just like you are that FB/TWTR weren’t very good for us. Yet research does not bear this out :

          https://www.forbes.com/sites/petersuciu/2019/11/04/social-media-isnt-actually-creating-anxiety-or-depression-in-teens/

          https://rusi.org/commentary/Social_Media_and_Social_Problems_A_Complex_Link

          “So young people, who otherwise may be deemed vulnerable to radicalisation and indoctrination into violent ideologies online, simply by being on social media, may not be affected as much as we fear, and the background chatter is not polarising their beliefs, although admittedly young people may be singled out for indoctrination and recruitment by violent organisations.

          This counterintuitive conclusion reached by the National Bureau of Economic Research paper is not an isolated case: Michael Beam from Kent State University in the US arrives at a similar place. He found that ‘Facebook news use was related to a modest over-time spiral of depolarization’. ‘Depolarization’ is the effect of users moving towards more politically moderate views. What Beam seems to be arguing is that, despite the persistent argument that social media creates ‘echo chambers’ where beliefs a user has are repeated and amplified, the truth appears to be that Facebook does provide counter-attitudinal news feeds which have a depolarising effect”.

  9. Maybe we should take another look at the 25th amendment to make sure that it’s actually possible to remove any future “Trumps”. My sense is that the current version never contemplated this situation, and wouldn’t actually be sufficient to remove the current Bozo.

  10. Just be careful in applying the 25th. You’re giving the reins to the Vice President. Are you that sure that you would be happy with Mike Pence as President?? Mind you, it’s hard to believe anyone would be as bad as Trumplstitzkin.

  11. If the Democrats and Trump haters are smart they’ll put down their torches and pitchforks and do what any self-respecting tree does when it gets infected, wall the problem off, isolate it and get on with being a tree. There are only 12 days left here. Chaos is not good. Impeachment is no good because you get Pence and he is pure evil. Same with the 25th Amendment. Just isolate the idiot and get to work. The only thing that will reduce the support of Trump’s base is for the Dems to become real leaders doing real stuff. Running around whining about how horrible Trump was and trying to put him in jail is a waste of precious time. The Democrats only have this one year to fill all the important jobs and do real work, as real leaders. Frankly I don’t think they will do it. They will spend their time crying about how they are so badly treated, thus enabling the MAGA folks the time they need to regroup. The Democrats aren’t Trump but they haven’t proved to me that they are all that different except they’re blue instead of red. They still haven’t learned to live up to their oaths of office and actually lead by solving the problems we all face. The Dems just don’t have the talent either. One of the reasons Clinton irritated the Republicans so much is he new how to steal their agendas and get them enacted on his watch under his banner. He was at least trying to look out for all of us. Nobody since has been doing that.

    1. I dunno. I think forgiving Bush 2 (and his top henchmen) for the Iraq War has a lot to do with what you’re seeing in the world and in the GOP.

      To the world, it was proof that might is right and all the democratic values blabla the US keeps on pushing is nothing but wind, an easy way to try and grab the moral high ground and self justify. Indicting GWB for war crimes would have gone a long way to answer Putin’s/authoritarians’/right-wingers’ “whataboutism”-s.

      To the GOP, it was proof that, if you have a strong enough base, you can get away with anything.

Speak your mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

NEWSROOM crewneck & prints