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.
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.