Tag Archives: dictator

Understanding Trump

If you are a logical person or a reasonable person Mr Trump may be hard to understand. His decisions, the way he treats people, his lies, his tweets may all seem the rantings of a loon.

After 3 years of campaigning and watching him on the stage I have come to some understanding of why he makes the kinds of decisions he makes. While on the surface they make no sense, if you can put yourself in his mind (and there is plenty of room) you may be able to make sense of him.

I was trained as an anthropologist, which is important. What an anthropologist tries to do is understand people who think in ways that are quite different from what we might consider “normal” in our society.

For example, the Yanomami (or Yanamamo) have a ritual they perform when someone dies. They cremate the body and mix the ashes of the deceased into a “stew”. The family then passes around the stew and everyone takes a drink. On the surface this is pretty disgusting and makes no sense.

However, to the Yanomami this action shows the highest regard for the dead. The dead become part of the living.The dead person becomes one with those who are still alive. It is the ultimate spiritual and physical connection. Odd behavior to us, but completely “normal” under their belief system.

So, when we look at Trump’s decisions we should not assume he holds the same values, beliefs, life experiences, etc. as a normal American. We should instead, an an anthropologist, try to understand his motives and beliefs by his actions. We should assume nothing, but rather look for a pattern of behavior to better understand the motives of that behavior.

For example, Trump is obsessed with destroying the ACA, also called Obamacare. Now, this program provides health insurance to millions of Americans. When the GOP tried to destroy it the outrage was so great that they could not do so. People like it. It guarantees health insurance for the working poor and supports the private insurance industry. Yet, Mr Trump insists he wants it ended, with no plan to help the 20-40,000,000 Americans who would lose insurance if he succeeds.

A logical person might ask: Why? Why try to destroy a popular program that is working? Now, if a better alternative was offered there might be a reasonable discussion. But there is no alternative offered, just the end of Obamacare.

Combine this with his other illogical actions concerning the border wall. His call for an investigation of Smollett, the black guy in Chicago, his history of discrimination against African-Americans in housing, etc. and a clear picture emerges.

He is a racist. Anything Obama did, no matter how helpful to the citizens, he is intent on undoing. While he criticizes black Americans and calls for all kinds of “investigations”, he never criticizes white supremacists or calls for investigations of police who kill blacks.

If you look at Mr Trump’s decisions and take the view that he is a racist, they all make perfect sense. His attacks on the people of Puerto Rico , Mexicans, ripping brown children from their parents, saying he wants more folks from Norway, etc. The overall , inevitable controlling factor, from the point of view of an anthropologist, is that this man makes policy decisions based on skin color.

Another area where Mr Trump’s decisions seem incomprehensible is his relationships with various foreign leaders. While he “loves” Kim Jung Un and respects Putin, he criticizes the leaders of democracies.

Why would an American president humiliate himself before Putin. Why kowtow to the dictator of Saudi Arabia? Why talk about his love relationship with Kim Jung Un? All three of these men are vile dictators who murder their political opponents. They kill newsmen. They destroy all critics. All three have raided the wealth of their own people and live like kings while so many in their countries have nothing.

What is the underlying attraction these men have as far as Trump is concerned? What is it about his value system that makes them attractive to him?

The conclusion I have reached is not that they “have anything on him”, like “compromat”. Rather, he admires brutality and physical strength. He sees the way these men “control” their populations with terror and he admires that. He sees that as a positive value. Leaders who are feared and bowed down to. Above questioning.

Why has he gone through so many cabinet members and advisers? He needs “yes men” around him. People who will tell him he is the greatest thing on Earth. Sycophants. Anyone who would disagree with him is put in his place or fired. No opinions other than that the the supreme leader can be allowed.

So, any decisions he makes must be unquestioned. He values complete loyalty to him and a disregard for any legal or normative structures. He losses the battle for the wall, so he simply says he will violate the law and build it anyway. If his political opponents disagree they should be destroyed. The free press must be destroyed, as well. There can be no exchange of ideas, only capitulation. In his world view that is the way a “great leader” acts.

Now, I am not justifying Mr Trump’s actions. Only trying to make sense of them. He does have guiding principles, even though he is probably not even cognizant of them himself.

He believes in strong man rule and the inherent superiority of light skinned people. If you keep in mind those 2 principles all of his actions, tweets, speeches, violations of the law and norms make sense.

It also helps one understand that so many Americans share that world view. After all, Mr Trump has plenty of support. You will never understand Mr Trump unless you understand that fact as well. He is not alone in his core beliefs. Admiration for authoritarian rule and racism. A lethal combination.

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Filed under ACA, african-american, blacks, Immigration, liberals, logic, obama, Obamacare, Politics, POTUS, president, racism, Society, Trump, United States

What’s Not To Like?

Donald Trump was on the Hannity TV Show the other night. They talked about Kim Jong Un. Here is part of the exchange:

“He was optimistic about the future: “Again, the relationship is very good,” Trump said. “He likes me. I like him.”

“Some people say, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t like him,’ ” he continued. “I said, ‘Why shouldn’t I like him? I like him. We get along great. We’ll see what happens.’ ”

Kim Jong-Un. What’s not to like?

He did allow the torture and murder of Otto Warmbier. But to be fair, Ottto broke the law. He stole a poster from a wall. He stole a poster . He stole a poster. Did you get that? And for stealing a poster he was brutalized. He was put on TV in North Korea where he tearfully begged for forgiveness for the high crime of stealing a poster. He seems ok on TV.  A little shaken.

By the time he was flown out of North Korea his teeth had been mangled. He needed IV tubes. He went into a coma. He stole a poster in Kim’s North Korea.

“He likes me. I like him.” What’s not to like?

According to a Newseek report: “Amidst political tensions, an estimated 18 million people across DPRK [North Korea] continue to suffer from food insecurity and undernutrition, as well as a lack of access to basic services,” the U.N. report said. “Furthermore, 10.5 million people, or 41 percent of the total population are undernourished.”

Kim is a little fat guy. He gets plenty of food. He spends almost 25% of the GDP of his nation on the military. 25%. And he allows 4 out of every 10 North Koreans to be underfed. Stalinesque. He gets plenty of food. Dines well. The average spending on the military around the world is 2% of GDP. Kim, while people he controls starve, spends 25%.

“He likes me. I like him.” What’s not to like?

From the British paper, the Mirror:

“It is hard to imagine a grimmer existence than that of an inmate in a North Korean prison camp.

Deprived of food, they are forced to eat rats and frogs to survive housed in cramped cells infested with lice. Regular beatings and potentially fatal torture are the norm. Then there is the hard labour, which includes pulling ploughs across fields for 12 hours a day….

An estimated 200,000 victims of Kim Jong-un’s despotic rule are thought to be living lives of utter wretchedness in his internment camps at any one time.

The camps are patrolled by guards equipped with automatic rifles, hand grenades and trained dogs.

Prisoners are routinely deprived of water and food torture includes ‘sleep deprivation, beatings with iron rods or sticks, kicking and slapping, and enforced sitting or standing for hours’, is routine,

Inmates are allowed just one set of clothes they live and die in rags without soap, socks, underclothes or sanitary napkins.”

Prison camps. Hard labor. For crimes such as ripping up a photo of Kim’s father. Or stealing a poster. Or being friendly with a Chinese man. Or , well, whatever Kim decides today is a crime.  The Korean Gulag.

“He likes me. I like him.” What’s not to like?

So, Mr President. You LIKE Kim.You admire him just like you admire all “strong” leaders. What’s not to like? If you are Donald Trump, evidently nothing.

ttps://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/03/01/trump-kim-jong-un-why-shouldnt-i-like-him/?utm_term=.aab4fe062177

https://www.newsweek.com/north-koreas-kim-jong-un-starving-his-people-pay-nuclear-weapons-573015

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/real-life-stories/north-korea-prisons-otto-warmier-10653494

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Filed under Foreign policy, government, Politics, Trump, United States