Saturday, February 18, 2017

Trump - alternative reality TV president

Authoritarianism 101 is for the authoritarian leader to control the news.  The Soviets had Pravda, North Korea has total control over the news, and Donald Trump is doing everything he can to discredit actual news, mainstream news from professional journalists, actual facts.

This, of course follows the example of Limbaugh, Fox News, and other right wing media, who are really doing nothing more than a marketing ploy to get to you stop watching other media and tune into them - it is a ratings increasing strategy.  Unfortunately, too many people actually seem to believe that real news is biased, or "fake', and the only way to find out what is really going on is to listen to them - successful marketing strategy, but disastrous effect on America.

So, when a right wing populist president also says that the news is "fake" and you should get all of your news from the right wing echo chamber, that becomes the fundamental strategy of authoritarianism - to control the news.  

What Fox and Limbaugh haven't realized yet is that Trump will have no more respect for them than he does for CNN.  His goal will to have everyone believe only his news.  He already has a news source set up to take over the news - Breitbart.   Indeed, it can be argued that the childish and ignorant Trump is dancing on the strings being pulled by Steve Bannon, former head of Breitbart, and Breitbart has already announced plans for ambitious expansion into Europe and other areas of news coverage.  Breitbart is the self proclaimed mouth of the Alt Right, which is a welcome home to white supremacists, and certainly a deadly foe of liberalism.  

Breitbart may think they are in the catbird seat, but I believe they too should be wary of the authoritarian in the making, Mr. Trump.  As I said, Authoritarianism 101 is to control the news, and Mr. Trump lives only in a world of alternative facts - facts that feed his Grandiose Ego.

What alternative facts does Mr Trump want us all to believe?

The latest example comes from his disturbingly rambling news conference a couple of days ago when he made this ridiculously untrue boast:

“There has never been a presidency that’s done so much in such a short period of time.”

So, is that true or just the ramblings of a man whose ego so isolates him from reality that he just believes things that feed his ego fantasies?  

Here are some comparisons to other recent presidents, as discussed in Fareed Zakaria's latest article.

" this point in his presidency, Barack Obama had signed into law an almost-trillion-dollar stimulus bill to revive the economy, extended health insurance to 4 million children and made it easier to challenge discriminatory labor practices. 

How many bills have presidents passed in the first 100 days?

  • Bill Clinton had passed 24 bills
  • John Kennedy, 26 
  • Harry Truman, 55
  • FDR, 76
Trump?  Probably will be less than 10?

Actually, the best thing about Trump so far is how ineffective he is.  He is good at what he is good at - getting TV ratings, dominating headlines, focusing nationwide and worldwide attention on himself - feeding his insatiable ego.

But he is not good at actually doing things.

The worst thing about Trump, of course, is the same thing - his insatiable and childish ego.  How will he react when there is actually something to do? when there is a crisis to make decisions about and actions to be taken?  That is truly a frightening thought.  He is still a 10 year old boy, as far as emotional and intellectual development goes, and he may very well respond as a 10 year old boy.

Speaking of 10 year old boys in charge of nuclear weapons - Kim Jong-Un of North Korea?  One shudders to think what can happen if these two decide to face off over some international crisis.

I am somewhat encouraged that we seem to have adults as Secretary of Defense - Mattis - and Secretary of State - Tillerson.  I strongly desire that they can guide him toward reality rather than fantasy, and toward maturity rather than childishness.

So, the reality TV show star has become the Alternative Reality TV president.  Which reality will we live in - the real world, or the "alternative facts" world of Mr Trump?