The Apocalypse Will Be Tweeted

OK, that headline is a bit over the top. But last night, our President — who constantly tells us he doesn’t watch TV — tweeted this out ten minutes after Fox News did a segment on North Korea’s nuclear button:

The reaction to the tweet has been, as the reaction to Trump’s tweets always is, a bit hysterical. He’s not about to plunge us into war. He doesn’t literally have a nuclear button nor is he likely to push it anytime soon. This is Trump being Trump: always having to be the center of attention, always having to tweet about something he sees on TV, always saying things partially in jest, partially in anger and partially because he can.

However, the continual childishness, pettiness and silliness of the President is something to be concerned about. It always has been. Julian Sanchez:

A lot of Trumpers are trying to make the case that the President has had a great first year because he cut taxes … eventually. And he got judges approved — although an unprecedented number have been rejected by his own Congress for being grossly unqualified. And he cut regulations — although many of those were actually cut by Obama. I can see that. But Trump hasn’t done anything really revolutionary. He’s basically adopted the Republican agenda. There are few Republicans out there who wouldn’t have signed off on a tax cut or appointed judges. And there are many who made have made the tax cut less fiscally reckless or had an actual health reform plan. But sure, fine, you got a tax cut. And the world hasn’t burned up. Yet.

But … here is my concern. I feel that over the last year, the President eroded many of the political, diplomatic and legal norms that hold our world together. There is a human tendency to take things for granted and to start nitpicking at the minor concerns of the things that keep us safe from major concerns. For example, anti-vaxxers fret about the possible side effects of the vaccines that protects us from diseases that have killed millions. Anti-NATO people worry about the cost of an alliance that has maintained the longest peace in Europe … ever. We become spoiled. We expect the world to just function without a continuous ongoing effort to maintain the status quo. We forget that the Four Horseman are always ready to ride and that barbarism is only a few weeks away at the best of times. Political, social and cultural norms can sometimes be wrong, misguided or unnecessary. But they do not spring from holes in the ground; they are the result of decades of trying to make the world work better.

At some point, Trump’s erosion of norms going to bite us in the ass very hard. At some point, we will need to alert the world to a serious geopolitical threat and they won’t listen to us. At some point, we may need to engage in military action and people will think it’s just Trump being a toddler. At some point, we will lean on those norms that hold our civilization together and, instead of propping us up, they will yield.

Just because we haven’t yet paid a price for having a President who spends half the day watching Fox News and rage-tweeting about it doesn’t mean that price won’t have to be paid.

7 comments:

  1. richtaylor365

    As mentioned before, whenever put in  a position of defending Trump, afterwards I always feel that I need a shower given my loathing for his moral failings, but this is nothing more than your usual TDS polemic, short on substance, and long on personal angst over an election loss.

    A few bullet points;

    Obviously you did not read WVR’s link last week on Trump’s accomplishments first year. Here is another one, probably won’t read this one either.

    Re: the tweets, we have been over this. Yeah, he tweets too much and over silly shit, but he likes to tweet, live with it. He clearly likes living in the head of you guys rent free and being the cause of continual bed wetting. Just look at all the bellyaching last week over a parked truck (White truck no less, the racial implications cause the head to spin) blocking access to reporters taking photos of him golfing.

     He’s not about to plunge us into war. He doesn’t literally have a nuclear button nor is he likely to push it anytime soon.

    Thank God for some sanity.

     And he got judges approved

    Ah, if only it was that pedestrian.

    But Trump hasn’t done anything really revolutionary.

    What would you have him do, jump out of a cake? I think taking the obvious stance of not giving money to our enemies, or expecting some sort of quid pro quo from aid recipients (something no other president has done) is pretty revolutionary. Allowing average folks to keep more of their hard earned money is pretty revolutionary. Hell, even not bowing to the sacred cow of national monuments and allowing the individual states more say in how these lands are used, damn revolutionary if you ask me.

    There are few Republicans out there who wouldn’t have signed off on a tax cut or appointed judges.

    And there were few democrats who wouldn’t have signed off on Obama’s agenda of nationalizing healthcare, reducing America’s influence around the world, regulating the shit out of US banks and businesses and the internet, all sacred cows for the Democrats, so what?

    But … here is my concern. I feel that over the last year, the President eroded many of the political, diplomatic and legal norms that hold our world together.

    You think just maybe Trump got elected because many folks were tired of the status quo “political, diplomatic, legal norms”? We had a UN continually hostile to US and Israeli interests, a lethargic foreign  policy that sent mixed messages, appeasing enemies and chastising allies, red lines drawn and erased at the drop of a hat, ISIS is just contained, a president who re acted (often wrongly) instead of acting, a diminishment of American ideals and leadership thru out the world. Trump is taking a different tack. You said yourself, he is not insane and will not start wars needlessly. We get it, you don’t like his style, I seriously doubt this is keeping him up at night.

     

     

     

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  2. Hal_10000 *

    Obviously you did not read WVR’s link last week on Trump’s accomplishments first year. Here

    I did. And I responded. Almost all of that list is things Trump “declared” rather than actually did, Obama stuff he’s claiming credit for, vague credit for economic conditions that are … not as good as pre-2017.

    For example, the economy, where Trump’s performance is the best.

    “Passage of tax reform bill and repeal of mandate” – I blogged about this. And it isn’t tax reform since the code isn’t any simpler.

    “Increase of the GDP above 3%.”  – Obama had multiple quarters above this. 2017 Q1 came in at 1.2%. Overall 2017 growth is likely to be in the high 2’s, basically consistent with the economy for the last five years, an economy you guys used to describe as terrible but is now suddenly good.

    “Creation of 1.7 million jobs”. This will actually come in below the last few years and is likely to be the weakest since the Great Recession. He’s trailing Obama’s last few years by a few hundred thousand jobs.

    “Saw the Dow Jones reach record highs” – it rose faster under Obama. And I’m not convinced that either of those rallies is something to brag about.  We’ve seen bubbles before.

    “economic confidence to a 17-year high” – True enough.  It’s also been rising steadily since 2009 and has been basically at the same level since mid-2014.

    “new executive order to boost apprenticeships” – remember when Republicans didn’t believe in micro-managing the economy? Good times.

    “Move to boost computer sciences in Education Department programs” – see above. Also, Obama asked for twenty times as much. But that was when this kind of thing was seen as evil liberal spendthriftism.

    “prioritizing women-owned business” – again, this is the sort of thing that was evil PC nonsense when Obama did it.

    So in that list you have multiple things Obama did too, multiple economics measures that are either comparable to or slightly worse than Obama’s and a giant deficit blowout.

    Woo-hoo. What a revolution.

    The rest of the list is equally devoid of thought. Trump is frequently credit with things Obama did (such as my link above on regulations) or given credit for “calling for” things or “demanding” things that haven’t happened yet or continuing policies that Obama started.

    I’ll agree. He hasn’t run the country or the economy into a ditch. Yet. But that record is the sort of thing that usually got Obama pilloried as a loser communist.

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  3. richtaylor365

    And it isn’t tax reform since the code isn’t any simpler.

    Sure it is. By doubling the standard deduction over 90% of all filers will be able to use the 14 line postcard tax return, doesn’t get any simpler than that.

    I don’t put much credence in Trump’s early GDP numbers (wait for the new tax cuts to kick in) or DOW records. Yes, Obama broke records to, but you are confusing accomplishments with unique accomplishments, both had a good stock market run. Trump has only logged one year of GDP growth, but you have to admit, it wouldn’t take much to best Obama in this area;

    With Thursday’s final revision of fourth-quarter GDP growth to 2.1 percent from its previous 1.9 percent level, President Obama is the only president since Herbert Hoover to not have guided the US economy to 3 percent growth in any year he was in office.

    The US economy grew 1.6 percent in 2016 from the previous years, according to the Commerce Department, which tracks GDP

    .

    Woo-hoo. What a revolution.

    That was a list of Trump accomplishments, not things he has done that I found revolutionary, I already gave you some of those above. Neutering the NLRB, Devos overturning Obama’s kangaroo court sexual harassment policy, her halting of the Obama era student loan forgiveness, or the dismantling the whole regulatory process. More on that, from my link;

    Signed an Executive Order demanding that two regulations be killed for every new one creates. He beat that big and cut 16 rules and regulations for every one created, saving $8.1 billion.

    And this.

    So, since you are quibbling with half a dozen items, can I assume that all the other 81 accomplishments you think are valid? I didn’t think so.

    Let me suggest this, your morose, doleful, triggered self would best be served by trying to be objective. Praise him when he does something good, and rip him when he does…….what he is so apt to do, step on his dick. You know tomorrow will bring another round of blog fodder, the material will never dry up.

    But that record is the sort of thing that usually got Obama pilloried as a loser communist.

    Again, the guy has only been in office one year, why are you in such a rush to string him up?

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  4. Hal_10000 *

    Sure it is. By doubling the standard deduction over 90% of all filers will be able to use the 14 line postcard tax return, doesn’t get any simpler than that.

    Nope.

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  5. Thrill

    But … here is my concern. I feel that over the last year, the President eroded many of the political, diplomatic and legal norms that hold our world together.

     

    The argument I would put against this is that those norms are no longer holding our world together.  Nations engage in nuclear proliferation without fear for legal consequences.  Great powers ignore sanctions and suffer no diplomatic consequences for it.  From my perspective, all that matters to the world is the presentation of American power, military and economic.  Trump uses the threat of both fearlessly.  I favor that approach.

    In the past, the “legal and diplomatic norms” demanded that we offer concessions to North Korea to stop its nuclear program.  That hasn’t worked out so well.  We offered millions in aid to the Palestinian Authority in exchange for agreeing to peace talks.  That’s sucking wind as well.

    When Trump reminds Kim Jong Un and other international thugs that there is a price to be paid for threatening the US or simply pissing us off, I like it.  They don’t recognize any of your cherished “norms” so why should we?  Let them face the consequences for their own actions.

    I just don’t agree with your characterization of Trump as a “toddler”.  I think he knows exactly what he’s doing by illustrating to Kim that the United States is insanely powerful and that he will lose badly if he keeps ratcheting up tensions.  Kim Jong Un rarely has to tolerate anyone mocking him so publicly and the President of the United States is the one man on Earth who can do it without fear.  It’s GOOD for Kim to be reminded of that fact.  He should be reminded of his place in the world.

    Hal, to understand the Trump Administration, you have to recognize that it was born out of a sense that the legal and blah blah norms you’d like to see upheld have failed us.  It was already obvious during the Obama years.  That’s the perception of many Americans and they’re happy to see it challenged.

     

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  6. richtaylor365

    Nope.

    Doubling of the standard deduction will allow some (not sure how many, will have to wait until they actually file) filers to use the 14 line postcard, for those folks, yes, it will be simpler.

    And from your own link;

    The Republican tax bill means most Americans will keep more of the money they earn.

    So, are you now ready to admit that  all your “tax brake for the rich” nonsense was nothing more than Chuck Shumer talking points?

     

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