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Trump's form of evil

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Trump's letter to Pelosi isn't 'sick,' it's evil

Opinion by Paul Begala

Updated 9:51 PM ET, Wed December 18, 2019 

See the most stunning lines from Trump's letter to Pelosi 01:38

 

(CNN)As the House debated impeaching the President of the United States, before eventually voting to do so on both articles, I read and reread the six-page screed Donald Trump sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday decrying his impending impeachment. Having helped defend a President against impeachment, I know something about the issue. I have read -- and written -- countless pages on the topic, from Alexander Hamilton to Andrew Johnson.

But I've never read anything like this.

So I read it again. Doing so has helped me see Mr. Trump more clearly. It made it harder to watch the debate, though, as I saw good people -- and many of the House Republicans are indeed good people -- kowtow to this malignant, malevolent man.

Trump's letter to Pelosi has been described in clinical terms. It has been called "deranged" or just plain "sick." But while I appreciate the need to understand Trump, I do not believe that understanding will be found in psychology.

 

Trump's wild tantrum shows his unfitness

There are a variety of reasons for this. First, I never even took freshman psych in college, so I am utterly unqualified to render psychological evaluations. Second, it is ethically dubious for trained professionals to diagnose public figures they've never met. Third, I do not want to stigmatize mental illness. Millions of people struggle with various forms of mental illness. Few of them behave as cruelly and criminally as Mr. Trump.

But most important, excusing Trump as merely ill lets him off the hook too easily. So, rather than leaning on psychiatry, I think we ought to dig deeper for a more meaningful, powerful, and accurate nomenclature. His letter is not sick; it is evil. His conduct is not deranged; it's tyrannical. I hope every member of Congress reads it.

In my multiple readings, one sentence, however, struck me more than the others. Perhaps because it's one of the few that I think is 100 percent honest: "I write this letter to you," Mr. Trump says in the penultimate paragraph, "for the purpose of history and to put my thoughts on a permanent and indelible record." This is Trump speaking to history. This is his manifesto.

 

Trump brought this upon himself

And his manifesto, of course, is shot through with lies, mendacity being Trump's native tongue. Like many people, Trump lies when it suits his purpose, but his assault on the truth, particularly in this letter, is essential to his mode of governing. Killing truth is not merely a means to an end for Trump; it is a vital end in itself.

Autocrats must attack the truth, because, once unmoored from facts, followers have no choice but to accept what the Dear Leader tells them. "In the end," George Orwell wrote in 1984, "the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their philosophy."

In 2019, Trump has reconstituted 2+2=5 as "I had a totally innocent conversation with the President of Ukraine." A "perfect conversation," even. Two plus two make five, echo the House Republicans. One after another, they wait in line on the House floor to bark their obeisance to Trump's falsehoods -- or, to use the White House's term, "alternative facts."

Trump's next battle is against anyone who has fidelity to the truth -- especially when the truth does not serve his agenda. He meets all checks and balances, all restraints on his power, with fire and fury. "The Articles of Impeachment," Trump writes, "are not recognizable under any standard of Constitutional theory, interpretation or jurisprudence."

 

'Except for getting impeached, we had a pretty good day.'

Any standard? Really? The 1,500 and counting historians, law professors and constitutional scholars who have signed onto a letter calling on the House to impeach Trump disagree. They say these articles of impeachment clearly meet the standards set by the Founding Fathers.

"Collectively, the President's offenses, including his dereliction in protecting the integrity of the 2020 election from Russian disinformation and renewed interference, arouse once again the Framers' most profound fears that powerful members of government would become, in Hamilton's words, 'the mercenary instruments of foreign corruption.' It is our considered judgment," they conclude, "that if President Trump's misconduct does not rise to the level of impeachment, then virtually nothing does."

The Democratic-controlled House itself is illegitimate, in Trump's eyes. "By proceeding with your invalid impeachment," Trump wrote the speaker, "you are violating your oaths of office, you are breaking your allegiance to the Constitution, and you are declaring open war on American Democracy."

And that was him only getting warmed up. "You dare to invoke the Founding Fathers in pursuit of this election-nullification scheme -- yet your spiteful actions display unfettered contempt for America's founding and your egregious conduct threatens to destroy that which our Founders pledged their very lives to build."

This of course, is not new from Trump.

His letter mirrored what he told Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales in a meeting Tuesday when he unloaded on House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, saying, "In Guatemala, they handle things much more diff -- much tougher than that." Trump appeared to be referencing Guatemala's tragic history of political violence: From 1960 to 1996, some 200,000 people were killed or disappeared. 

 

The one question to ask yourself about impeachment

Yet when Trump unsubtly threatened violence against members of Congress, not a single Republican member of Congress called him on it. You couldn't find a backbone in the House GOP caucus with an MRI.

And his letter reflects his understanding that every institution, indeed, every person, who challenges the Dear Leader must be destroyed.

The free press? An "Enemy of the People," he said -- the same day someone sent pipe bombs to CNN.

The FBI? "Scum."

The federal judiciary? "So-called judges" or the "Mexican judge" or "a complete and total disaster."

The US intelligence community? Their alleged leaks are, in Trump's words, "something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do."

Allies who shed blood alongside Americans are scorned. Dictators and strongmen are coddled. Putin is praised. All in a day's work for Mr. Trump.

The letter is Trump's governing philosophy distilled. He is a wannabe autocrat, who has made his goal clear: to remake America as he has remade the Republican Party -- turning a once-proud, strong party into a gaggle of sycophantic lickspittles. His rage for Speaker Pelosi is boundless because she stands up to him. His letter is a window not into a troubled psyche, but something much worse.

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Posted (edited)

Even though I too believe Trump is an evil, sick person, I do not want to see any type of political discussion on this site.  It greatly distracts from what this site is best at-- diversified self-discovery.  Any type of political bashing is something I do not want to see starting up again on this site. Please do not dedicate time and bandwidth to this pursuit.

Edited by moment
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5 minutes ago, moment said:

Even though I too believe Trump is an evil, sick person, I do not want to see any type of political discussion on this site.  It greatly distracts from what this site is best at-- diversified self-discovery.  Any type of political bashing is something I do not want to see starting up again on this site. Please do not dedicate time and bandwidth to this pursuit.

 

Correct, the previous thread, started by a Trump supporter, was closed on page two. This, even if from a critic, is really not necessary because people are going to bring up their defenses and it becomes worse than M__ P___.

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Posted (edited)

I agree that Trump talk in any form is not appropriate on this forum! Such talk will only be a magnet for alt-right sycophants to spew their hate filled agenda here!

 

There have been two alt-right lurkers on here this morning and both are still looking around at the moment!:angry:

Edited by ralis
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2 hours ago, moment said:

Even though I too believe Trump is an evil, sick person, I do not want to see any type of political discussion on this site.  It greatly distracts from what this site is best at-- diversified self-discovery.  Any type of political bashing is something I do not want to see starting up again on this site. Please do not dedicate time and bandwidth to this pursuit.

I agree.  Been there done that.  100's of pages worth.

 

I get the feeling that most news sites are preaching to their choir.   Is there a political forum that does discussion well?  On issues, facts and somehow gets away from people screaming accusations at each other.  Where they listen and respond to arguments? 

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8 minutes ago, thelerner said:

I agree.  Been there done that.  100's of pages worth.

 

I get the feeling that most news sites are preaching to their choir.   Is there a political forum that does discussion well?  On issues, facts and somehow gets away from people screaming accusations at each other.  Where they listen and respond to arguments? 


Before social media, maybe. 
 

Now? No.

 

Let’s close this thread.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, old3bob said:

Unfortunately it is a subject that is upon all of us in the present and also for any future human generations and other lifeforms which may (and some already have) outright perish under the evil malice which various people are pushing and getting away with and which can not be denied...so do we only talk about the environment going to hell and related health issues affecting many yet those issues are in many cases tied back to the pre-meditated evil malice that is gathering  mass and speed...And what do we tell our kids and grand-kids about the world condition that we are part of?  I'd say any spiritual master or school that only talks about good and ignores evil has lost its salt. 

 

Anyway and of course the moderator can shut down (or give an acceptable format) for this thread at any time but not that which is before us and will have to be faced on a personal level and more or less on most other levels.  Lastly are we saying discussions about forms of evil being brought up here are off limits because various mature adults may find it uncomfortable or "an inconvenient truth" which to me does mean the subject  has to devolve into only a tit for tat event of so called dirty politics?   (something which much of America has gone very far past during trump's reign)

For someone who went through that crap (until you were banned), you are taking a very immature view of things, also a denigration of many who are here. I understand the evil in the world, how dare you think otherwise. Most of us here move through the world trying to do good and we communicate just fine.  The fact that what people are saying here is going right over your head astounds me.  I will not participate in this thread any further because my time is more important than that.  Do you really think you have said anything here we do not already know? I suppose you may be able to milk this thread further.  Considering that you just came back recently, maybe that is what you are doing--an infantile way of being noticed.  Have at it.

Edited by moment
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1 hour ago, old3bob said:

Unfortunately it is a subject that is upon all of us in the present and also for any future human generations and other lifeforms which may (and some already have) outright perish under the evil malice which various people are pushing and getting away with and which can not be denied...so do we only talk about the environment going to hell and related health issues affecting many yet those issues are in many cases tied back to the pre-meditated evil malice that is gathering  mass and speed...And what do we tell our kids and grand-kids about the world condition that we are part of?  I'd say any spiritual master or school that only talks about good and ignores evil has lost its salt. 

 

Anyway and of course the moderator can shut down (or give an acceptable format) for this thread at any time but not that which is before us and will have to be faced on a personal level and more or less on most other levels.  Lastly are we saying discussions about forms of evil being brought up here are off limits because various mature adults may find it uncomfortable or "an inconvenient truth" which to me does mean the subject  has to devolve into only a tit for tat event of so called dirty politics?   (something which much of America has gone very far past during trump's reign)

 

Of course conversation about Trump is an important and worthy topic.  The problem is that when you talk about Trump as evil you unwittingly invite people to come along and say you have "Trump derangement syndrome."  You and I might wish to have a conversation that only involves discussion of Trump´s evilness but that´s like asking for a jar of pennies with only Heads.  Pennies always come with Heads and Tails.  

 

I don´t know about you, but I´m really tired of people talking about Trump derangement syndrome.  I´ve been worn down by the abrasiveness and the sarcasm and the endless belittling comments.  It´s a hard world out there and I want to protect my little corner of the internet where people talk about spiritual cultivation.  Some of the spiritual conversation we have here is rare and precious; conversation about Trump is commonplace, nearly omnipresent.  Let´s be good stewards of spiritual dialogue.  

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30 minutes ago, liminal_luke said:

 

Of course conversation about Trump is an important and worthy topic.  The problem is that when you talk about Trump as evil you unwittingly invite people to come along and say you have "Trump derangement syndrome."  You and I might wish to have a conversation that only involves discussion of Trump´s evilness but that´s like asking for a jar of pennies with only Heads.  Pennies always come with Heads and Tails.  

 

I don´t know about you, but I´m really tired of people talking about Trump derangement syndrome.  I´ve been worn down by the abrasiveness and the sarcasm and the endless belittling comments.  It´s a hard world out there and I want to protect my little corner of the internet where people talk about spiritual cultivation.  Some of the spiritual conversation we have here is rare and precious; conversation about Trump is commonplace, nearly omnipresent.  Let´s be good stewards of spiritual dialogue.  

"Some of the spiritual conversation we have here is rare and precious; conversation about Trump is commonplace, nearly omnipresent.  Let´s be good stewards of spiritual dialogue. "  --I had to come back to recognize this. Thank you very much for that.  Exactly right!  Commonplace!  Hopefully we can keep this as a an uncommon place. I could have done better in my response to bob and I thank you for doing so much better!

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14 minutes ago, old3bob said:

 

I can dig it...yet if discussions about forms of spiritual cultivation do not include dealing with the dark side then how spiritual is it really?   (for no place or time is unreachable by evil except for the subtle heavens where it can not reach)  I also posted this in the "rabbit hole" sub-forum where no one is forced to go (with everyone being able to go to  other forums of their choice)  Btw. and somewhat off the subject except in principle is that an important part of Taoism (namely particular schools and their priests) deal in very specific ways with evil which that has been part of Taoist teachings for thousands of years.

 

The problem with allowing Trump talk in any form is due to the absolute fact that it will be a magnet for alt-right Trumpsters to swarm in again and wreak havoc! Sean will not allow this to happen again!

 

 

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I don't think its good for us either.  Its too easy for us, well me, to obsess.  To let it push my buttons.  Whatever clever, witty, insightful or stupid thing I write on the subject is little more then mental masturbation.  The 'choir' will 'like' it,  for the opposition it stiffens there resolve and creates the necessity for an equal and opposite counter point.  To them we are insulting a hero that we will can't fully comprehend. 

 

Worse if we're writing the same thing and agreeing happily with each other.. it kinda blinds us.  That level of groupthink creates filters where you think every right minded citizen agrees with you, and are blind sided when the sad reality is they don't. 

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6 minutes ago, thelerner said:

I don't think its good for us either.  Its too easy for us, well me, to obsess.  To let it push my buttons.  Whatever clever, witty, insightful or stupid thing I write on the subject is little more then mental masturbation.  The 'choir' will 'like' it,  for the opposition it stiffens there resolve and creates the necessity for an equal and opposite counter point.  To them we are insulting a hero that we will can't fully comprehend. 

 

Worse if we're writing the same thing and agreeing happily with each other.. it kinda blinds us.  That level of groupthink creates filters where you think every right minded citizen agrees with you, and are blind sided when the sad reality is they don't. 


One look at the last two pages of the Flying Phoenix thread shows us how this is true with how it pisses them off, so really, let’s dump Trump talk. If we all agree he sucks and talking about him sucks, let’s focus on what’s relevant because he’s a symptom, not the issue itself with the world now.

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Trump threads are poisoned, leave them be. It is far more productive IMHO to do an analysis on how and why he came into power.

He is expressing something. A change happening in your society. Also the transition from Obama to Trump is puzzling to me as an outsider.

Taoism is change. Change is expected. Trump is part of the cycle. He will come to pass. Your mission should be to ensure a transition to someone better.

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8 minutes ago, old3bob said:

Tao and that which is against the Tao,

Nothing is "against the Tao".

You may post anti Trump articles. We just see no point in regurgitating the same old stuff.

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13 minutes ago, old3bob said:

if that is so can you explain the T.T.C. chapter where it says, "that which is against the Tao will soon perish"?

 

The Tao gave birth to everything so going against it is equal to non existing. Good and Evil are both part of the Tao.

14 minutes ago, old3bob said:

Btw. much of the "same old" destructive stuff is gaining new and greater mass and speed...not unlike the axis powers did back in the 30's and 40's....and if we don't learn from the past then we are doomed to repeat it.  (including on a greater scale) 

And?

Whatever is happening is beyond our control and even if it were i am not sure that the Taoist way is to go against reality rebalancing itself.

Enforcing one's will onto reality is selfish and implies that one has perfect knowledge of all outcomes. Do you?

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1 hour ago, old3bob said:

"For to be over-developed is to hasten decay,
And this is against Tao,
And what is against Tao will soon cease to be"

What does this have to do with good and evil? You only reaffirm what i wrote above that the Tao gave birth to everything so there is no way to oppose it and keep existing.

1 hour ago, old3bob said:

 

I'd say the duality of Yin and Yang and is not the same as good and evil as I'm alluding to,  such evil is premeditated malice and greed and is against the Tao and has no root in Tao.

 

The Tao doesn't define good and evil. Both are human definitions.

Doing evil has karmic implications. Trump is a kind of karmic backlash and he can't be stopped at the moment until the backlash has run it's course.

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