Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Response to Vengeance and Destruction

(See: Just Above Sunset/Vengeance and Destruction)

The most famous scene in “A Few Good Men” is the courtroom confrontation between Navy defense attorney Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) and the GITMO base commander, Marine Col. Nathan R. Jessup (Jack Nicholson):
Kaffee: Colonel Jessup, did you order the Code Red?  
Judge Randolph: You don't have to answer that question!  
Col. Jessup: I'll answer the question! 
[to Kaffee] 
You want answers?  
Kaffee: I think I'm entitled to.  
Col. Jessep: You want answers?  
Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know; that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, SAVES LIVES! You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it! I would rather you just said "thank you" and went on your way — otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a DAMN what you think you are entitled to!  
Kaffee: Did you order the code red?  
Col. Jessup: I did the job I...  
Kaffee: [interupts him] DID YOU ORDER THE CODE RED? 

And then, to Colonel Jessup’s surprise, they place him under arrest!

What makes this scene work so well is that delicious feeling that comes from watching some condescending, know-it-all bully fall into a trap set by someone who he thinks is inferior to him, and then compound his own humiliation by having to ask someone else to explain the situation to him.

You want to see an example of this in real life?
“People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!”
He's god damn right he does!

Donald Trump’s apparently fed up with people not giving him what he wants, and with being told by underlings that he has to follow some politically correct script that he doesn’t even understand. 

Trump not only undercut his own spokespeople, who had been admonishing reporters to stop calling it that, but he also undercut his own Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who insists on calling it a “travel pause”, a temporary action until they can figure out what the hell they're doing, but especially all his Justice Department attorneys, who have been working like beavers to convince the federal courts that it’s not actually a “travel ban”, a term that seems to some to reek of unconstitutionality.

So far, the appeals courts don’t seem to have been buying the administration’s arguments, and this is causing the boss to lose his cool:
At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is "no reason to be alarmed!"
What is the matter with this guy? If he hasn’t anything helpful to contribute, can’t he just butt out? Does he not realize the damage he’s causing his country?

I know he doesn’t drink, but for his own sake, I think he should take it up, because he needs an excuse that might help explain his habit of acting like the drunken relative who shows up at the funeral and starts blowing out all the candles.

He kept insisting during the campaign that it was Hillary who was temperamentally unsuited for the job, not him, but if he is such a talented and capable guy, why can’t he seem to stop making a fool out of himself? Why can't he see what the rest of us see, that his popularity might actually go up if he only were to stop tweeting?

I have a theory. It’s something he learned during the primaries:

First, he gets a following by saying whatever stupid thing that pops into his head, but when he stops saying that stuff, he learns that he not only doesn’t expand his base, he loses his original following. He’s in a bind. While it may be hard to walk around with your foot in your mouth, at least it gets you attention that you wouldn’t get otherwise — which is apparently the best he is capable of.

Whenever he took the advice to stop acting like a jerk — to “ pivot”, so to speak — his numbers would drop, and when he went back to his old ways, his numbers would go back up, although not ever enough to achieve more than plurality status. If it weren’t for all those recalculating Republican “Never-Trumpers” switching to whom they saw as a low-life, he never would have won.

It’s a situation similar to Morton Downey Jr.’s old TV program. Although his outrageously tasteless show always seemed to have the highest ratings in its time-slot, it couldn’t find advertisers who wanted to associate their product with it, so stations stopped carrying it, and then it quietly disappeared. Sometimes the best you can do is still just not good enough.

Meanwhile, we’re stuck with him. At least if this were television, Trump would just quietly disappear from the schedule and be replaced by something that didn’t suck. Unfortunately, national governance doesn’t work that way.

Meanwhile, you would think that Trump himself would realize his problem with tweeting, that it really doesn’t do what he thinks it does:
“I can do messages around the media and get my word out, the way I mean my word,” he told the Christian Broadcasting Network at the end of January.
But the truth is, I myself have neither the time nor the patience to go searching through “social media” for some random person’s twitter droppings on the remote chance that one of them might be “newsworthy”. I let our “news media” do that work for me, which seems to work out just fine.

And as I imagine it is with most of the public, I never see Trump's tweets directly, I only read whatever is picked up by the media, and that only seems to happen when he says something arguably stupid — which, of course, seems to happen on a daily, if not hourly basis.

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(No trolls, please! As a rule of thumb, don't get any nastier in your comments than I do in my posts. Thanks.)