Trump’s Leverage:
Insensitivity to Human Suffering

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/01/trumps-leverage-government-shutdown-border-wall-pelosi-meeting-nihilism.html

2019-01-03
Trump’s Leverage in the Shutdown Fight: His Own Nihilism
By Eric Levitz

[…] Trump has repeatedly indicated that he sees his own insensitivity to human suffering as a vital source of leverage over Democrats. He explicitly framed his administration’s sabotage of the Affordable Care Act as a strategy for forcing Democrats to cooperate with the law’s repeal and replacement. He has repeatedly suggested that he doesn’t want to make a deal on Dreamers while a court order protecting them from the threat of deportation remains in effect — because he believes he’ll be able to secure larger concessions once that population is thrown into peril. […]

In a nutshell: The man is evil. And seemingly the present US society is providing him with an environment in which being evil helps him.

How the Tories Failed

The WALL, a Mnemonic Device

 


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Alice-themed Brexit Caricatures

Putin & Trump, Helsinki, 2018-07-16

The White House tried to manipulate the transcript.

== VOX ==
PUTIN: […] We have solid reason to believe that some intelligence officers, guided these transactions. So we have an interest of questioning them. That could be a first step. We can extend also it. Options abound. They all can be found in an appropriate legal framework.
REPORTER (Jeff Mason from Reuters): President Putin, did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?
PUTIN: Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.
(Source: VOX, by @jennieneufeld)

== White House (as of 2018-07-09, “Issued on: July 16, 2018 […] 5:56 P.M. EEST”) ==
PRESIDENT PUTIN: (As interpreted) […] We have solid reason to believe that some intelligence officers, guided these transactions. So we have an interest of questioning them. That could be a first step. We can extend also it. Options abound. They all can be found in an appropriate legal framework.
Q[uestion:] And did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?
PRESIDENT PUTIN: (As interpreted.) Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.
(Source: White House)

== White House (as of 2018-08-09, but still “Issued on: July 16, 2018 […] 5:56 P.M. EEST”) ==
PRESIDENT PUTIN: (As interpreted) […] So we have a solid reason to believe that some intelligence officers accompanied and guided these transactions. So we have an interest of questioning them. That could be a first step, and we can also extend it. Options abound, and they all can be found in an appropriate legal framework.
Q[uestion:] President Putin, did you want President Trump to win the election? And did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?
PRESIDENT PUTIN: (As interpreted.) Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.
(Source: White House)

 
The White House had to correct the official transcript. The error seems to have been caused by technical problems. But as for the issue date, the White House keeps providing wrong information: The final transcript was not issued on July 16th, 2018. The corrected version was issued on August 9th.

Don’t Let Anyone Think Anything Different

YouTube (uploaded 2018-06-15, see also Twitter):

[Trump] Hey, he’s the head of a country — I mean he’s the strong head, don’t let anyone think anything different — he speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.
[FOX NEWS] Well, just before you met with him, he cleaned house. Three of his top generals, some of the hardliners, he fired. Then you go over there. You took some heat over saluting one of the generals.
[Trump] I think he fired at least —
[FOX NEWS (didn’t get Trump’s joke attempt)] Three do we know of.
[Trump] — may be “fired” “at least”. “Fired” may be a nice word.

In his exercises in sarcasm, Trump actually made fun of Kim Jong Un. As Trump later didn’t dare to crack such “jokes” about Mohammad bin Salman, Trump probably takes the prince more serious than the North Korean “strong head”. Also Trump’s courage has limits, and experimental irony isn’t always good for business.

Then again, was Trump joking? In order to be on the safe side, Trump’s people did sit and stand in attention. For some of them it wasn’t safe enough, therefore the image of Trump with his people is outdated. (In the end perhaps only Pence will remain).

Trump image: Getty Images.
Kim image: KimJongUnLookingAtThings.com (see also kimjongunlookingatthings.tumblr.com). Twitter: @kjulat.