The Aliens Have Landed And Paranoia Reigns Supreme

01/31/2017 06:22 pm ET Updated Jan 31, 2017
Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

I will be the first to admit that I did not expect this from “Morning Joe,” and I thank Joe and Mika for speaking out.

As you may know, Trump deliberately made his proclamations about immigration and security without consulting or even mentioning it to his own military staff, including Defense Secretary General Mattis, Homeland Security Secretary and retired Marine General John Kelly, and nominee for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Why?

He used senior staffers on the House Judiciary Committee to advise and help draft the orders ― but they were forbidden to tell their superiors.

Why?

Because members of the Judiciary Committee, along with members of the Senate and Congress, would leak the information, causing thousands of terrorists to immediately apply for visas, immediately be granted them, and immediately board planes to enter this country?

Because our intelligence officers, military advisers, and elected representatives are such traitors that they would go behind his back and leak every illegal bit of his executive orders?

Maybe he was afraid they’d point out that the orders flout many of the things civics classes dwell on, things that most Americans hold dear. Maybe he was afraid they’d question his relationship with Putin and other terrorists. Maybe they’d try to explain that there are several long games being played here, games Trump appears unaware of, just as he’s unaware that as much as he may want to believe he controls the universe, he’s “only a pawn in their game.” 

The kind of rampant paranoia Trump exhibits is the same as that of every dictator in history, and it’s smart.

As Joe Scarborough keeps hammering throughout the show mentioned above, Trump, with acolytes Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon, has not only ignored his own appointees. He has also ignored the representatives we have elected, those we expect to protect and defend our rights, and our country. He’s spit in their faces, while Bannon smugly grins on the sidelines and says “The press should keep its mouth shut” and “The press are the opposition party.” Maybe Bannon was afraid one of them would explain to Trump that the job of the press is to report the news, not to agree with him.

Maybe.

Bannon has now engineered things so the chairman of the joint Chiefs of Staff, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Secretary of Energy have been removed from the National Security Council’s principals committee.

In their place?

Bannon.

In a time of unprecedented arrogance, ignorance, and just plain rudeness on the part of our highest elected leader, this goes beyond “unprecedented.”

His followers are trying to argue that David Axelrod had “access” to security meetings, that other presidents have allowed advisers to sit in. But they never had a formal seat at the table. Those seats have been reserved for people with actual experience and know-how. And, theoretically, for people who put America’s security above their own petty political agendas, realizing that our country is bigger than any party.

He has also ignored the representatives we have elected, those we expect to protect and defend our rights, and our country.

What possible reason could the president of this country have for putting a former “ship’s warfare officer” (read: Bannon knows how to navigate a Navy ship at sea) in charge of military and security decisions, over the experienced people Trump himself has praised in the past? This man, who can’t be bothered to shave, who looks like an alcoholic searching for a drink, is now more important to our national security than the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In fact, the Joint Chiefs have been downgraded because of Bannon’s elevation, and are now only “required to attend meetings specifically dealing with their areas of expertise.”

For that matter, what possible reason could Trump have to trust Stephen Miller, a jumped-up would-be intellectual with nothing to recommend him other than the ability to play Trump’s warm-up act on the campaign trail, over the brain trust so readily accessible to him now?

What reason? I’ll float a few...

1. Trump has made it a hallmark of his business, and personal life, to trust no one.

Tune into this video and watch Donald Trump Jr. describe, on film, a typical send-off when he was a 4-year-old schoolboy. It starts at around 0:55.

Seven o’clock in the morning, I’m going to school—hugs, kisses, and he used to say a couple things. ‘No smoking, no drinking, no drugs.’ I think a great lesson for any kid. But then he followed up with: ‘Don’t. Trust. Anyone. Ever.’ And, you know, he’d follow it up two seconds later with, ‘So, do you trust me?’ I’d say, ‘Of course, you’re my dad.’ He’d say, ‘What did I just—’ You know, he thought I was a total failure. He goes, ‘My son’s a loser, I guess.’ Because I couldn’t even understand what he meant at the time. I mean, it’s not something you tell a 4-year-old, right? But it really means something to him.

A man who calls a 4-year-old child a “loser” and thinks his son is a failure because the child wants to look up to him and trust him, is not a man who will ever trust anyone. He is a man who believes everyone is lying, all of the time.

2. The kind of rampant paranoia Trump exhibits is the same as that of every dictator in history, and it’s smart.

He’s a thug. He’s always been a thug, he will always be a thug. And thugs are always paranoid. They have to be, because there’s always a bigger thug in the wings, waiting to take them down. Unlike Putin, who’s clever enough to keep his thoughts to himself, Trump is incapable of holding back. Putin may trust no one, but he rewards his “friends” lavishly, and avoids alienating those he needs most until he no longer needs them. He may be a gangster by our standards, but he’s a gangster in a country that admires his steel-fisted rhetoric and “strength.” And. Putin is not living in, or ruling, a democracy.

For Trump, the word “democracy” doesn’t seem to resonate nearly as loudly as the word “me.”

Even those he appoints himself, those he calls “friends” and “relatives,” are subject to the whims of his adolescent fears. Trump only trusts the last voice he hears - the one whispering “You’re a king. You’re a god” in his ear. Bannon, and Miller are positioning themselves to make sure they’re it. With their collusion, major announcements were made on the Sabbath, a time when Kushner, an Orthodox Jew (and God help me, the supposed voice of reason), is not available.

That 24-hour period could have made all the difference. But Trump’s loyalty is only as good as your last sentence. If you challenge him, you go down. And the moment he finds out Bannon is telling people “Trump is nothing without me” and Miller is saying “I run the government, Trump can’t put two sentences together without me,” both will be out on their ears.

3. Trump can’t trust anyone, because he knows how untrustworthy he is.

As Goebbels famously said, “Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty.” Remember the flap over Clinton’s private server? But the Trump staff, including Conway, Kushner, Spicer and Bannon, are all using a private email server, per a Newsweek report from last Wednesday. (As an aside, the server is theoretically the RNC’s. One wonders just how much of that server’s security is coming from foreign sources, and why these people trust it so readily.)

4. Last but far from least, Trump can’t trust anyone in our government, even those he appoints, because they’re part of a system that is not permitted to bow down to him.

A system that should not, and can not, allow him to usurp the powers allocated to other branches of our government.

We’ve all seen what happens when Trump is challenged, whether it’s calling the director of the National Parks Service on a Saturday morning to demand he accept Trump’s “alternative facts” about inauguration attendance, or deliberately causing company stocks to tank by threatening them on Twitter, imperiling the very livelihoods of those he’s professing to save.

Trump spent his childhood in Queens, home of Archie Bunker, one of the most complicated, finely-written characters in television history. Mentally, and emotionally, Trump still lives in Queens. He’s never escaped it; Queens surrounds him like a prison wall.

All his young life, he dreamed of crossing the East River and finding acceptance in the Big Apple. Many of us held that dream close. But when Trump finally “arrived,” he discovered that the old New York guard (who might not even have money any more, but that doesn’t matter as much as their class) would never, ever accept him. That they found him an uncouth boor. That they couldn’t stand the way he treated women in public. They didn’t appreciate his bulldozing historic architectural sculptures wanted by the Metropolitan Museum of Art because removing them would delay the building of Trump Tower by two whole weeks - and that, after he’d agreed to sell the works to the Museum. They certainly wouldn’t then pose as a fake alter ego named “John Baron” to explain that the friezes were appraised and “found to be worthless.” That showed a terrific lack of understanding, and made it crystal clear that Trump would never, ever be a player.

Even more important, he lacked noblesse oblige. None of them, from Michael Bloomberg to those living on social security and the remains of their pensions, would ignore charitable causes. Not just causes that would trumpet their family names on the sides of buildings, but causes that would help the city, its infrastructure, its educational system. They watched as Trump pledged donations in public, then reneged in private, time after time.

This is well known among New Yorkers, just as it’s well known that the reason he won’t release his tax returns is because a) he doesn’t contribute what he says he’s contributed, and b) he is not wealthy - he’s not even “rich.” It’s questionable whether he’d have enough to keep him in designer suits, after the debts and personally guaranteed loans are paid off.

Why is Trump so ready to cost New York over three million a week for security, when he’s not even living there? Why is he planning to regularly fly in and out of the city , conservatively costing New York taxpayers half a million per landing? New Yorkers know he’s really doing it to punish the city, because New York wouldn’t bow down. They’ll never get all the money he’s costing them back from Washington, and he knows it, too.

Here is a man who thinks anger is courage, money is success, and the presidency is a part-time job.

“Trust no one” was the mantra of “The X-Files,” a science fiction-themed TV show watched religiously by conspiracy theorists. Who’d have thought we’d be living it now?

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