Living Large In Carson City: Same As It Ever Was . . . not! Edition

“I am brainy, too brainy. I am so brainy, it’s almost unbelievable.” Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s proclamations about his intelligence aside, the Orange one is doing little these days to burnish his mental chops. Dorian, the hurricane that would not go away, provided the world with evidence of just how loose the president plays with the truth and reality – again. As Dorian finally got off its rump and moved away from the beleaguered Bahamas headed toward the East Coast of the United States, Trump in his meteorological wisdom decided to include Alabama in his weather prognostications warning the good people of Alabama to feel the fear. Contrary to those who should know, the weather scientists, Trump believed The Heart of Dixie State was in for a scouring. As the  days following his announcement have made clear, only proclamations of nothing less than death and destruction (even where none exist) would assuage the president’s tiny ego.

Okay, the guy made a mistake. The right and sane thing to do would be to fess up, make an apology, and move on. Simple, right? Not for Trump. According to a a report by The New York Times, even his Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, threaten to fire officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) if they did not disavow a Tweet sent out by the Alabama regional office personnel an hour after Trump’s Tweet contradicting Trump’s claim that Alabama was in Dorian’s path. The Commerce Department called the statement false adding more fuel to an all ready out of control conflagration.

What is so odd about the Alabama/Dorian story is the fact that it was easily proven that the president was wrong. Factually wrong to boot. The media, politicians, business leaders, hell, even my three poodles knew he was wrong. Yet, Trump dug in and even altered the now infamous NOAA weather map by extending the impact zone that Dorian was projected to make by using a Sharpie to show the storm’s path jutting into southern Alabama. The question is “For what purpose?” The prevailing opinion of most is Trump’s penchant for never saying he is wrong. This Dorian Gate, however, blew up in his face and severely called into question the ability of the president to look at facts and make the proper assumptions. Will it affect the way his die-hard supporters view his credibility? Probably not, but the incident does make sane voters pause and wonder.

Then there was the Taliban, Afghanistan, and Trump secret meeting to be held at Camp David this week. Besides going against all norms of how foreign policy works, the idea of bringing a known terrorist group to Camp David shocked more than a few Americans including Republican supporters of the president. In retrospect, it appears that not only was it a bad idea, but Trump was basically willing to give away the farm to come to a peace agreement at all costs. The Taliban being the Taliban, who are sworn enemies of America, could be counted on to do what they do without regard to the consequences. The night before the meeting Taliban forces blew up a car bomb and killed an American soldier.

Trump seemed surprised that known killers of American soldiers would have the audacity to kill an American soldier. Americans and most of the world found out the next morning when Trump Tweeted,

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Unbeknownst to almost everyone, the major Taliban leaders and, separately, the President of Afghanistan, were going to secretly meet with me at Camp David on Sunday. They were coming to the United States tonight. Unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, they admitted to.…an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great great soldiers, and 11 other people. I immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations. What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position?

Uh, a terrorist organization like, I don’t know, the Taliban.

The secret modus operandi Trump is so fond of employing is getting old. Add to the confusion over cancelling the “secret” meeting, Trump seems to not realize the entire fiasco makes him look like a bush leaguer on the world stage. Yet, in his his skewed wisdom, he cannot stop himself from surrounding his actions with a secret aura that (if and when it ever works)  he believes it will make him look like a genius negotiator. The fact that he gave no thought to the horrible optics of asking known terrorist to Camp David only puts a even more clownish spin on the meeting.

One good thing that came out of the scrapped meeting was John Bolton was either fired or resigned depending on who is telling the story. It seems neocon John was getting on the president’s nerves by disagreeing with his almightyness over policy procedures, and well, inviting terrorists to Camp David. I have long been a verbal opponent of Bolton since the mid-nineties when he and a bunch of other old white men like Bill Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and others teamed up to create the Project for the New American Century. The guiding light behind the endeavor was an us-against- them mentality which held the interesting concept of attacking countries across the world to reshape them in our image while democracy spread like wildfire in the wake of destroyed infrastructures in the aforementioned countries. These guys even had a manifesto like all true terrorists and would have loved to put it into action. One could argue that the Iraq war was the beginning of their dream world. That didn’t work out so well.

Trump is now mired in so many outlandish dealings it is a wonder he even has time to actually do anything remotely resembling foreign policy. It appears that those who do delve in the foreign policy negotiations are often shunted away at the very end so Trump can jump into the fray to claim victory of his own. Meanwhile, North Korea is firing off multiple missiles capable of carrying sophisticated warheads that threaten both our overseas assets as well as the continental United States. An Associated Press article notes Iran is upping their capacity to enrich uranium beyond where they promised not to venture. The article states,

Iran on Saturday said it now uses arrays of advanced centrifuges prohibited by its 2015 nuclear deal and can enrich uranium “much more beyond” current levels to weapons-grade material, taking a third step away from the accord while warning Europe has little time to offer it new terms.

. . .

The move threatened to push tensions between Iran and the U.S. even higher more than a year after President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the nuclear deal and imposed sanctions now crushing Iran’s economy. APNews

Back in the clown car, yesterday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States is ready to meet with Iranian officials to discuss the two countries differences with “no conditions” attached. Uh, what about Iran never acquiring a nuclear weapon? This turn of events makes Barack Obama’s dealings with the rogue nation look like he is the Statesman of the Century. Wasn’t it Trump who once said of the deal supported by our major allies, “a horrible one-sided deal that should have never ever been made”? Now, America and the world are supposed to believe Trump and his ilk can come up with something better when they are going in without preconditions? Good luck with that scenario.

So it goes in the Trump presidency. Shatter the norm, criticize real negotiations others made in the past, and send in the clowns. What could go wrong?