1. And today’s anti-Trump freakout topic is…The complete media/”resistance”/Democrat social media meltdown over whatever President Trump thought he was doing yesterday was typical of what we were talking about in the threads on Monday’s Warm-Up. It’s all so boring and predictable. It’s predictable that the President will say things he shouldn’t; it’s predictable that the people who have already made it clear that they hate is guts will erupt with over-the-top condemnation; it’s predictable that the social media echo chamber will adopt whatever unscrupulous Democratic Party talking point that is launched—yes, yes, Facebook Friend, yesterday proves that Putin “has something” on the President like Nancy Pelosi says. Did she call him “Bush” this time?—and that anyone who tries to point out that the reaction is wildly out of proportion to reality is a Trump-loving racist Nazi. I seriously don’t know how a responsible commentator who isn’t out of his mind is supposed to react. Ignore it, because some new hysteria will be right along, like Leo Slezak’s swan. (Don’t you know this story? It’s one of my favorites! Leo Slezak, a famousautobiography.)
2. Obligatory freakout notes: a. All that matters is what, if anything, comes of the summit. The President (obviously) has his own theories of negotiation. Sometimes they work. b. John Brennan’s statement that the Putin-Trump press conference was “treasonous” was two things: 1) the most ridiculous thing said yesterday by anybody, including the idiot who lives down the street here who said, reportedly, “Rpeterbokle?“, and 2) immediate confirmation of why the President said that he doesn’t trust American intelligence agencies any more than he trusts Putin. c. If anyone can point me to an unbiased authority who can explain how leaders holding joint press conferences help their nations by insulting each other, please do. d. John McCain should either show he can do his job, or he should resign and let someone able do it. Right now, apparently his only role is to snipe at the President. e. Gee, I wonder why President Trump doesn’t trust the FBI, after watching a smug FBI agent who texted about insurance policies against his Presidency and how “we” would “stop” him lecture Congress about his lack of bias? f. Nixon said much nicer things about China and Chou En Lai when Dick made his famous visit. FDR affectionately called mass murderer Stalin “Uncle Joe.” President Bush (absurdly) said that he had seen Putin’s soul, and pronounced it pure. JFK feted the Butcher of the Ukraine and Hungary, Nikita Khrushchev, during a visit to America without condemning him in a pres conference. President Obama whispered to Putin that, in essence, he was going to play tough but would be accommodating after the election. Conclusion: As usual, this President is subjected to a double standard, and it is wildly hypocritical. g. Yes, Trump’s comments were unpresidential and inappropriate. This, however, is no longer news.
3. Of all people!…Rand Paul, a reliable Trump critic (who was the closest one among the GOP debate participants to try to use a “Have you no decency?” line on him), was the voice of reason yesterday, perhaps because he is a professional iconoclast. He told a disappointed Wolf Blitzer, who was looking for some raw meat,
“I think people have gotten over top on this and lost the big picture. The big picture is that we should be engaged with Russia. We should have conversations with Russia. We have serious conflicts in various parts of the globe. It would be a mistake not to have open lines of communication with them. And I can tell you what I have told the Russians who were here in the United States when I conversed with them. Hacking into the election if they did it and all likelihood the evidence looks like they did, it has backfired because it’s made relations worse. And so, if they want to have better relations, there should be a great deal of incentive as time goes for them not to do it again because it’s made relations so much worse. And so, my hope is that we will push the issue and that over time those incentives will be apparent. Instead of making this about everything’s about Trump and accusing Trump of collusion with the Russians and all this craziness that’s not true, we should try to protect the integrity of our elections. Nobody is talking about protecting the integrity of the elections. How would you protect the integrity of the elections? Make sure they’re decentralized. Make sure there’s very good controls from the precinct on up. Make sure we’re not storing the data in a central area where there aren’t checks and balances at the local area. There are a lot of ways to make sure our election is not tampered with.Also, it’s important when you say the Russians meddled, they hacked into Hillary Clinton’s e-mail, and revealed some truths about her that weren’t very popular. I agree they did that. But the thing is is nobody’s alleging that votes were changed, that they got into our electoral system.”
Now watch Paul get attacked by another neighbor, who is probably a Facebook friend of mine.
4. A loving daughter’s cognitive dissonance problem. I am fascinated by the plight of figures like Gudrun Burwitz, who died in May (though her death wasn’t announced here until last week.) She was Himmler’s daughter, loved her father, and was pushed by the cognitive dissonance scale and loyalty to spend her life defending Hitler’s architect of the Final Solution, and supporting the remnants of the Nazi cause. Was she tragic? Evil? Doomed from the start? Is having to choose between a father you loved and universal verdict that he was a monster an ethical conflict. or an easy call? She never wavered from her rationalizations of her father’s conduct, and suffered greatly for it. Is that admirable, or does it mean that she was a monster too?
Someone should write an opera about her. But no swans…