Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019 July 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Wednesday, October 04, 2017

King Trump visits with the peasants

by digby

For some reason, watching President Trump's visit to Puerto Rico on Tuesday brought to mind the scene in Charles Dickens' "Tale of Two Cities" in which the Marquis St. Evrémonde runs over a child with his carriage and without remorse or compassion declares, “It is extraordinary to me that you people cannot take care of yourselves and your children!" He throws a coin at the grieving father and another into the crowd, and as he moves on, one of the peasants on the street throws a coin back in the carriage, at which point the Marquis turns in anger and threatens to "exterminate" them all. The peasants hang their heads and say not a word, knowing what power the man has to destroy them.

Donald Trump didn't throw coins into the crowd in Puerto Rico, but he did throw Bounty paper towels. And he didn't scold the island's people to their faces for failing to take care of their children, but he didn't need to. He'd made it clear in his tweets that he thought Puerto Ricans had refused to help themselves because "they want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort."

Officials on the ground wisely behaved much as Dickens' peasants did. They kept their eyes down and parroted the president as he complimented his own leadership over and over again. This was more like an audience with the king, not a visit from a democratically elected leader who had come to forge a personal connection to what had happened.

Trump first insisted that the hurricane had hit exactly a week earlier, which wasn't even close. It made landfall two weeks ago today. Maybe he'd lost track of time, but it's more likely that this was a conscious lie to cover up the fact that his administration's response has been so slow and so inadequate.

It only got worse from there. Trump unctuously lauded his administration, starting with himself, of course. Then he went down the list, starting with FEMA director Brock Long, whom he gave an A-plus. He thanked Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke and DHS adviser Tom Bossert and praised his "fantastic general," Jeffrey Buchanan, saying, "No doubt about it. You are a general. No games."

He thanked Jenniffer González-Colón, Puerto Rico's nonvoting congressional representative, for "saying such nice things" about him. (She is also the state chair of Puerto Rico's Republican Party.) He lavished praise on Puerto Rico's governor, Ricardo Rosselló, because he "did not play politics" when "he was giving us the highest grades."

He thanked all the branches of the military in florid terms, although when he got to the Coast Guard there was this weird moment:

Trump: What a job the Coast Guard has done throughout this whole — [inaudible] They would go right into the middle of it. I want to thank the Coast Guard. 
They are special people. A lot of people got to see the real Coast Guard in this trouble. In Texas was incredible for what they did. Thank you very much. We appreciate it. We would like to say something on behalf of your men and women. 
Unidentified: I'm representing the Air Force.

Trump: I know that.

I'm going to guess that that Air Force representative received a tongue-lashing for that impudent remark.

Trump also celebrated the fact that, according to him, the Category 5 Hurricane Maria that hit Puerto Rico wasn't a "real disaster" like Hurricane Katrina. He asked the governor, "What's your death count?" When Rosselló told him 16 people have been confirmed dead so far, the president smugly replied, "Sixteen people versus in the thousands. You can be . . . very proud of what's taken place."

We know Trump is very proud of the whole effort. He tells anyone who will listen what a great job he's done and was happy to listen to local officials as they told him the same thing. And they did. One after the other expressed their deepest gratitude for his tremendous efforts.

He didn't ask the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz, to say anything, needless to say. She doesn't understand that the peasants must flatter and fawn if they wish to have bread and water. (He did shake Cruz's hand earlier in the visit and she told him "It's not about politics," at which point he reared up and haughtily turned away.)

The president is clearly annoyed that this relief effort is going to cost money. In fact, he can't stop talking about that. He has mentioned the island's debt and the cost every time he's addressed the disaster, and he didn't forget to do it on this occasion, saying, "I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, you've thrown our budget a little out of whack. We've spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico." He generously added that it was "fine" because they were saving lives, which is mighty big of him.

I don't recall Trump complaining about the money it cost for hurricane relief in Texas and Florida. In fact, Trump wanted it so much he was even willing to make a deal with "Chuck and Nancy" to get it done. This one seems to be a bit less urgent for some reason.

He finished the self-congratulatory photo-op and ring kissing ceremony and traveled around San Juan for a short tour, ending up in a church where they were delivering some supplies. He took selfies with the locals and then started throwing those paper towels into the crowd as if he were Elvis tossing one of his sweat-soaked scarves to the swooning ladies in the audience.

Afterwards, he actually said, "There was a lot of love in that room."

Mingling with the peasants is something he believes makes them feel uncomfortable. He once said:

I'm sitting in an apartment the likes of which nobody's ever seen. And yet I represent the workers of the world. And they love me and I love them. I think people aspire to do things. And they aspire to watch people. I don't think they want to see the president carrying his luggage out of Air Force One. And that's pretty much the way it is.

He believes people want to admire him from a distance, see him as bigger than life, as one anointed to leadership by dint of genetic destiny and special talent. But once in a while an ingrate will toss the coin he generously sent their way back in his carriage and he gets angry.

If you need something from the king, you'd better tell him how great he is and then ask very, very nicely.