Plumbing the Plumbing

Now that Trump’s indicted, I’m suddenly OK with hearing all the Trump news, all the time. It turns out I really hate the guy, and am enjoying his pained writhings.

“Pained writhings” is projection, of course. Trump doesn’t give a shit, he’s got his head too wrapped up in his own agenda, and probably doesn’t take anything seriously that isn’t completely in line with his fantasy life.

This is what I’m listening to, right now, and I can recommend it; it’s some really fine writing:

It’s a dramatic reading of the 40-page indictment against Trump.

Midjourney AI and mjr: “donald trump in an oubliette” title, “your coat tastes like Brioni.”

I mentioned oubliettes in another thread. What a horrible way to dispose of someone. Although, I can understand why some feudal aristocrat would want to be able to actually be sure their opponent was dead – computer role-playing games are too full of memes where the hero gets locked in “Impossible Dungeon #23112” and finds a convenient hole in the wall leading to a sewer level, and a cave level, up some platforming into … the castle arsenal where all of my weapons have been stored for safe keeping.

Anyhow, if you have the time and interest, I do recommend listening to the indictment. It’s devastating. And it demonstrates some solid strategic thinking behind it, as well – clearly – all of the things mentioned in the document will be potentially backed up by reams of information if someone challenges any of its facts. And, a lot of it is Trump’s own words. Not that Trump cares (I doubt that he remembers what he says) he just blurts out whatever comes to mind in the moment – which is why the document leads off with a bunch of quotes from then-candidate Trump criticizing Hillary Clinton and bloviating about how the white house needs executives who understand the importance of protecting the government’s secrets. It’s not only a fairly good statement of the problem, it’s from the mouth of the defendant, and it indicates that he did, in fact, at some point, pretend to understand why secrets are secret.

Now, I’m going to go a little bit afield. Handicapping Trump is a popular activity and I think I’m going to weigh in with my $.02. There are popular theories about Trump being a malignant narcissist, an Adderal addict, etc. But, as Vincent Racagniello on TWIV likes to say: “you don’t necessarily have only one virus.” It’s possible to have the common cold and covid at the same time. Or, you can have the flu and COVID, take Paxlovid, and continue to have symptoms – of flu. My point is that it’s perfectly possible that Trump is a malignant narcissist who is addicted to Adderal, and suffering from dementia. As someone pointed out in a comment thread at DKos, “if you watch old videos of Trump testifying 10 years ago, he lied a lot more coherently.” And, that’s true – his cognitive decline is notable and obvious when you compare. I have some family history of dementia – pretty much everyone in my family tree has it, or died of it, or died with it. I, myself, have taken the GPCOG [gpcog] and … didn’t do very well. That’s the test Trump famously bragged about doing so well on. They literally could not get him to shut up about it. Well, it’s not a test that any neurologist gives to someone for shits and giggles, and – as you can see – it’s trying to get at some simple baseline factors about mostly short/long- term memory and long term recall. I’m going to assert that no neurologist would give the president of the USA the GPCOG unless there was some suspicion of alzheimers or dementia, or some other kind of cognitive damage going on. It could be stress, it could be psychological problems, it could be Adderal addiction – it could be a lot of things. But it’s a baseline test that they use to quickly eliminate cognitive damage as a possibility, or to explore it further. It’s possible that decades from now (I’ll probably already be dead, so someone hold a seance and notify me) we’ll learn that the famous rushed trip to the naval hospital was a minor stroke that was covered up because, seriously, the words “President Pence” are the stuff of nightmares.

There are other elements of Trump’s mental state that speak to me of cognitive damage. His famous slurring at random, when retrieving words, could be an indicator of cognitive damage. It’s hard to describe how it feels from the inside, but I’ll try: you know the word you are trying to get out, but it won’t come, so you mentally push harder and what comes out is garble. Then, you are shocked and dismayed but – if you’re typical, you recover and plow on. Trump’s speech, when he’s not cruising on drugs and and/or rage-psychosis shows signs of cognitive decline because his vocabulary is getting simpler (even simpler than before!) and he keeps looping back toward comfortable verbal themes where his brain has less trouble retrieving familiar concepts. I have talked with stroke victims and have noticed that, often, their brains establish common “ums” – speech patterns that the brain throws out as a kind of verbal filler to stall while it’s assembling a narrative – for me, it’s “OK, here’s a thing: …” perhaps for Trump it’s “Hillary Clinton…”

I remember on Alzheimer’s patient, my grandmother, who became convinced that someone at her care facility was stealing sheets. She confabulated a whole conspiracy that apparently there was an international operation to steal sheets. In fact, it was just the staff changing the sheets regularly. (I suppose it ended in money laundering, ba-dumptschhh) I believe the term for this is “idee fixe” (from the French, “fixed idea”) it’s sort of like an obsessive/compulsive self-reinforcing cognitive loop. Well, Trump’s got a few of those, one of which is that an election was stolen from him, probably by the deep state sheet-stealing cartel. Dementia patients can lock onto an idea that grounds them in their reality – like: boxes of classified briefings that ratify someone’s self-image of being important and of consequence – it can be incredibly hard to pry those items away from them, because – literally – it’s part of their self. When my grandfather began to suffer from the Alzheimers’ that eventually killed him, his luthier’s tools became emblematic of who he was, and it became difficult to get him to stop trying to repair violins. I think several violins were destroyed in the process. It’s hard to bear thinking about it. So, back to someone I hate: Trump’s identity is tied up in many of the things he felt were signs and symbols of his power as president, and he won’t let go of those unless they are taken from him by force. Those of you who are reading this, who are perhaps more humane than I am, are wondering if Trump should mount an insanity defense. Nah. Here’s the thing: when you drop someone in an oubliette, they’re going to lose their mind pretty quickly, especially after they start hunting rats to eat, or are unable to sleep because of fear of the rats eating them. [If we are really talking about feudal-era oubliettes, he’d probably have Rudy Giuliani and Lindsey Graham down there with him, and they could fight over each other as uncooked meals] It would make little difference if they were deranged, because they would be irredeemably mad in short order.

When I think of Trump’s cognitive landscape, I imagine that the inside of his brain feels like a wrestling match between a bunch of snakes, any one of which can grab control over his mouth at a moment and make him say something, or do something; the malignant narcissism wrestling with the cognitive damage, perhaps all overlaid with the paranoia brought on from too much Adderal. He’s not a happy man. Epicurus would reasonably ask, “if this is not making you happier, why are you doing it?”

75 million americans, or whatever the number was, voted for that.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    74.2 million, give or take.

    But just about all of them, lacking the information you provided and much you didn’t, voted for a business-genius hero working hard to protect them against multiple evils embodied by the two villains who stole that same election. Just ask them!

  2. kestrel says

    I think that’s an interesting hypothesis. In my family there are those who have died of Lewy body dementia, which is a form of dementia where – quite cruelly – sometimes the person seems perfectly normal, and then an hour later can not figure out how to use the coffee maker. Or where they are. So they kind of go in and out. Apparently there is no real test for this – they have to do an autopsy and look closely at the brain, and that can’t be done while the person is still alive.

    It does seem very plausible that DT is suffering from multiple conditions. I agree, he does seem to be getting worse all the time.

  3. lanir says

    I think the closest I’ve got for an experience analogous to mental decline is talking while very, very sleepy. Like telling a story and realizing after the fact that I’ve hit a spot where I’ve just been talking but the amount of processing my brain was doing was not keeping up with the content of what I wanted to say. So I’d end up saying maybe a sentence or two that made no real sense. And I wouldn’t remember what I’d said, either. This also popped up while running roleplaying games but not while playing them. Apparently playing in one takes less mental processing for me.

    I’m pretty sure that wasn’t dementia either as it tended to happen when I was in my early 20’s. Haven’t had an issue with it since. Maybe I’ve just gotten better about crawling into bed. Or ignoring it. One of those is probably likely. It doesn’t pop up when I type though, as my fingers just stop adding letters and then I snap out of it and I’m back to figuring out what I want to to type.

    As far as Trump goes, I understand the potential for a sympathy play but I don’t think he’s worth it. Trump is one of those people who is so aggressive about looking out for #1 that there’s just no reason to try and compete with him about that. He’ll take care of himself just fine and screw you and everyone you know over too, if you let him. It’s entirely possible to feel a touch of sympathy while still acknowledging the person you’re feeling it towards is such a rancid jackass that acting on your feeling is as good as kicking a bunch of other people in the teeth.

  4. sonofrojblake says

    “He’s not a happy man.”

    That much is clear, and it pleases me. I wonder if, even in principle, he ever could have been.

  5. says

    things I’m struck by in the dramatic reading –

    nothing about the aliens lol. if there was any secret Intel about that, u know damn well he’d have it. sorry to all the former skepticbros who’ve gone sideways lately.

    the musical repetition when velshi is reciting endless defense labels and dates is screaming out for a techno remix.

  6. Reginald Selkirk says

    Trump’s identity is tied up in many of the things he felt were signs and symbols of his power as president, and he won’t let go of those unless they are taken from him by force.

    If he wants to display the presidential seal prominently in his prison cell, I’m OK with that.

  7. Tethys says

    This is the first indictment, and the shrieking of the members of congress who allegedly sought pardons via Mark Meadows is increasingly hysterical MAGA slogans. Butteremails!!!

    The Pence subpoena in the Jan 6th case was partially unsealed too. I believe you can find a link to it at Politico? It’s heavily redacted, but between the scope of those questions and the indictment on Espionage charges, it looks like Jack Smith has them all panicking.

    I’m sure much of what Trump stole was intended to enrich him in some way. He has no other motivation than self-aggrandizement. He probably kept some of them precisely because he was told it was forbidden. Trophies, just like his wives.

    We haven’t heard about who may have gotten access besides various staff. It is rather curious the FBI hasn’t searched his NJ property, since they obviously know he has hidden some of the missing document’s there.

  8. says

    I’m sure much of what Trump stole was intended to enrich him in some way. He has no other motivation than self-aggrandizement. He probably kept some of them precisely because he was told it was forbidden. Trophies, just like his wives.

    And something to brag about (perhaps also just like his wives), or he’d have had the good sense to shut up about it.

  9. sonofrojblake says

    75 million americans, or whatever the number was, voted for that.

    Prediction: when the election rolls round, Trump will be the Republican candidate and no fewer than 50 million Americans will vote for him.

    I really hope I’m proven wrong, but would you bet anything substantial against this prediction?

  10. Tethys says

    When he is convicted, he will be disqualified from holding public office. I have now read the indictment and some J6 charging documents, and concluded that Jack Smith is an excellent lawyer who has meticulously built an outstanding legal case.

    There are several laws that could potentially cover such a situation. For example, the Espionage Act, which criminalizes the unauthorized retention of defense-related information that could be used to harm the United States or aid a foreign adversary, carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison per offense.

    But the law that has attracted particular attention is Section 2071 of Title 18 of the United States Code, which makes it a crime if someone who has custody of government documents or records “willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies or destroys” them. Section 2071 is not limited to classified information.

    If convicted under that law, defendants can be fined up to $2,000 and sentenced to prison for up to three years. In addition, the statute says, if they are currently in a federal office, they “shall forfeit” that office, and — perhaps most importantly, given widespread expectations that Mr. Trump will seek re-election again — they shall “be disqualified from holding” any federal office.

    They will also be disqualified from flying in commercial aircraft by the TSA, holding multiple forms of licenses, etc….

    Article was written pre-indictment.

  11. Tethys says

    This article from during the congressional investigation into J6 lists 12 current members of congress who are documented at the December meeting where they conspired with tfg to subvert the election with fake electors.

    Especially odd is the attendance of Moscow Marge, who hadn’t actually been sworn into Congress when the meeting was held.

    Pence, Giuliani, and Meadows also attended.

    I’m eagerly anticipating tomorrows episode. Will Jack slay the Giant? Will Judge Cannon live up to her name, and attempt to rat fuck the DOJ?
    Will anyone mysteriously fall out of a window?

  12. says

    “be disqualified from holding” any federal office.

    Basically an oubliette. I am giggling happily at the idea of Trump being barred from his addiction. As Sun Tzu says: defeat your enemy’s strategy. Which I always interpreted as blocking them from achieving what they want most.

  13. says

    Will anyone mysteriously fall out of a window

    I heard a rumor they may be casting Christopher Walken as The Window in next season. But only because Jean Reno can’t reprise as Victor Le Nettoyeur because of copyright reasons.

  14. Tethys says

    The Judge will not be loose Cannon, though technically she is still head judge.

    A magistrate judge will be presiding over the momentous Miami federal court hearing on Tuesday afternoon when former President Donald Trump makes his first appearance on charges of keeping classified documents at his Palm Beach estate and obstructing government efforts to reclaim them. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman — not U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who was randomly assigned Trump’s case — will be handling the former president’s arraignment and bond matters.

    I hope he does continue calling for civil violence and gets himself relegated to a comfy cell in Colorado with limited communication. Anybody else would have already been placed in maximum security detention awaiting trial.

    Olvidarse (I forget) is the Spanish form of oubliette. My French is poor, but it’s frequently close enough to Spanish that I can translate it.
    I don’t know if Spanish Castiles have specially built oubliettes. but his fascist influence on the world definitely needs some obliviating .

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