Thursday, February 16, 2017

Donald Trump & Captain Queeg

The Caine Mutiny 1954 Humphrey Bogart Court scene - YouTube
Donald Trump: “Who Ate the Strawberries?!”


Watching an hour's interaction between Donald Trump and the press this afternoon during his contentious exchange with the media reporters gathered in the room was reminiscent of one of my favorite films:  The Caine Mutiny.

In the film version of Herman Wouk’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel of 1951, Humphrey Bogart plays Captain Queeg, the deranged and delusional leader of the Navy destroyer S.S. Caine, leading his ship through heavy seas.  The Captain’s increasing and frightening paranoia finally ends in a takeover of his command by some honorable and some self-serving lower officers of the deck.  

Think of “heavy seas” as North Korea firing missiles, Iran threatening to restart its nuclear warfare program, Afghanistan in danger of losing ground to the Taliban, Russian low-level flyovers of our fleets again in the Baltics, European concerns that NATO agreements may not be honored, an over-heated Wall Street bubble-like response to the initial euphoria of a Trump win, the increased polarity of a nation uneasy with the new leadership, and much more.  Bigly. 

The ship? Well, you get it. 

If you’d like a good look at where we are headed (or perhaps already arrived), it won’t be the now newly popular 1984 by George Orwell.  Life was miserable for poor Winston Smith, but at least the Inner Party actually operated like a 'well-oiled machine.'  One could count on a strict re-education plan with an unexpected mask of rats as a surprise for thinking outside the party’s edifice of false political catechism.

Looking back, the Party and O’Brien may have been sinister, but they weren’t crazy.

Captain Queeg, on the other hand, is demonstrably “crackers.”

And the Inner Party weren’t so delusional as to describe an administration grinding and chafing with thoughtless executive orders and politically reckless cabinet picks as “a well-oiled machine.”

Queeg’s journey into a self-made mare’s nest concludes in a bizarre self-defense based on “geometric logic” and the overabundance of “disloyal officers” he cannot trust.  Sound familiar?

The news conference today was also “crackers.”  Geometric logic declares over and over again “I was the winner, not Hillary.”  The number of Electoral votes continued to be regurgitated to demonstrate his eminent and unshakeable position.  “I got 306…”  

Trump finds the leaks illegal, not the actions of his Security Advisor. 

Questioned about recently resigned National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Trump was quick to point out that Flynn’s firing was for not telling Vice President Mike Pence of his misdeeds – that is, for unadvisedly contacting Russian government officials regarding sanctions before Trump’s inauguration into office. 

In fact, Trump was unable to find any culpability in Flynn’s actions at all. 

“I fired him because of what he said to Mike Pence…very simple… I would have directed him (Flynn) to do it, if I thought he wasn’t doing it…but I didn’t, but I would have directed him because that was his job…no, I didn’t but I would have…if he didn’t.”

Like any amoral argument, I am only guilty of you catch me.  And even then, I can’t see myself as guilty of anything. Ever.

It goes on…and on.

“The news is fake…I don’t mind bad stories.  I can handle a bad story better than anybody.  As long as it’s true.  Over the course of time I’ll make mistakes and you’ll write badly, but I’m okay with that…but I’m not okay when it’s fake.”

“The public doesn’t know if it (news reporting) is true or false.  Because they’re not involved.  I’m involved.  I’ve been doing this stuff all my life, so I know when you’re telling the truth or when you’re not.

“I’ll tell you what else I see.  I see tone.  The tone is such hatred.  I’m really not a bad ,person by the way.  The tone is such…I do get good ratings; you do have to admit that. 

“I’m changing you (pointing to a knew reporter) from fake news to ‘really’ fake news.” 

Particular media stations are “full of anger (at me).  My favorites (Fox and friends) are very honorable people.

"Nobody mentions Hillary’s cheating.  If I (did that) it would be the electric chair…”
…”we do have other people (to talk here)…and your ratings are not as good as the other people..”

“I could shoot that ship (Russian) that’s 30 miles off shore if I wanted to... I’m not going to tell you what I’m going to do (to that ship).”

Abuse of reporters from other nations:  “Yeah, I know…you’re a beauty… (to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation representative).”

“Russia is a ruse…”

To an African American reporter: “What’s the CBC?  Why don’t you arrange a meeting with them for me (Congressional Black Caucus).  Your people lock themselves into apartments…”

Blustering about the Senate Minority Leader: "Schumer?…a Lightweight."

But the feeble comparison of film to reality falls far short of the absolute terror anyone should feel for our nation and its Rule of Law, having witnessed the performance of the imbalanced and narcissistic pendragon in today’s news conference. 

Only the ball bearings are absent.  


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