“Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Freedom” --Thomas Jefferson “And at the end they go crazy” --Giambattista Vico
John Adams, the second president of the United States, did a study on the life of Republics from their inception all the way to the 18th century. To his great surprise, he discovered that they all died, sooner or later. In other words, they were mortal. The ones who lasted longer were what he calls “republics of virtue.”
Coming from Donald J. Trump it was a remarkable speech, the measured tone, the presidential timbre ... plus it offered something to everyone. Increased military expenditure of $54 billion to establishment Republicans, immigration controls to the Tea Party wing, tax cuts and a repeal of Obamacare for both, and the sop of family leave to the Democrats.
Since the election victory of Donald Trump, many have tirelessly talked about populism. It is not a first appearance. This phenomenon has been recently experienced in Latin America, it has also been the spirit of the interwar period of fascism in Europe and it has happened in Russia in 1917. In fact, it has happened many times, in many different places.
President Trump’s first address to Congress lasted about an hour. He must have uttered some 5000 words, but not even one of those words was Russia. Not one minute was devoted to the successful enterprise of one of the main adversaries of democracy and stability in the world to undermine American democracy. The bear was there in the room, all right, but somehow nobody could see it.
Lately there have appeared in the media a plethora of columns and cartoons attempting a daunting task: to explain rationally what is almost by definition unexplainable: i.e., the irrational psychotic behavior of someone who lives in an alternate reality punctuated by inveterate lying. I am referring to President Donald Trump, of course. There is one such daily column in the on-line publication Modern Diplomacy dubbed “The Caligula Presidency.” That title ought to suggest its scope to the reader.
Adisheveled, unkempt, unclean Steve Bannon finally emerged from his warren this week to claim outstanding success for this administration in its first month in office. Disheveled, unkempt, unclean is how Mr. Bannon always looks. The American Psychiatric Association Manual of disorders DSM-IV defines a mental disorder as a "clinically significant behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern ...". Add Mr. Bannon's paranoid fulminations on Breitbart and there is cause to worry.
We still hear die-hard protestations of “fake news!” by assorted politicians (including President Trump, of course), journalists, and political pundits on the Flynn-Russia affair. They seem to have that denial ready-made for anything they don’t particularly like to hear, but the denial is no longer so credible and the story is fast gaining legs.