Sunday, October 2, 2016

Correspondence: Insanity & other maladies

Edited by Moristotle

We shouldn’t be focusing on and condemning Donald Trump. Sure, he’s a despicable man, out for himself and the public be damned, narcissistic, [racist,] misogynistic, bullying, fraudulent, a conman, inveterate liar, [cheat,] and fantasist. But he also appears to be clinically insane.
    The real problem we as a People have here is that an established political party’s system for selecting its nominee for national office could have elevated an insane person to serious contention for the office.
    There are further implications: might not Trump’s behavior be considered seditious and treasonable – and render him liable to arrest and indictment – if he weren’t protected by being an official political candidate?

    In one of those things that I am sent and delete after reading, it said that some “Second Amendment people” had given or were giving away an AK-47 as a prize for a fund-raising drawing, along with a paper with Hillary Clinton’s head on it as the target, and nothing was done. Are the Justice Department’s hands tied simply because Trump has the official endorsement of the political party that is other than the political party of President Obama (& Hillary Clinton)?

Please share this wonderful picture of the concourse of the original great Penn Station terminal by McKim, Meade, and Wight, that NY City demolished in 1963, the worst architectural decision of the twentieth century.
Interior of original Penn Station, 1911, demolished in 1963; source NY Times

Did you see the “SNL Debate: Alec Baldwin’s Trump Gets Trounced by Kate McKinnon’s Hillary” [Matt Wilstein, Daily Kos, October 2]?

We should watch this: “‘The Siege of Jadotville’ on Netflix Rediscovers a Faded Footnote” [Neil Genzlinger, NY Times, September 28]. Excerpt:
The Congo crisis, as it was generally known, is a historical footnote to many people now, but “The Siege of Jadotville,” a Netflix film that becomes available Friday, Oct. 7, makes a gripping drama out of one particular moment in the yearslong struggle for control in Central Africa. Jamie Dornan (“Fifty Shades of Grey”) plays the commandant leading a small Irish force of United Nations peacekeepers that was besieged in 1961 in the Democratic Republic of Congo by several thousand local troops from Katanga Province, which was seeking to secede. “By the fourth day, the Irish were down to their last biscuit,” The New York Times reported at the time. “They had gone for four days without sleep and two days without water.” Early in the film, before the Irish force deploys, someone asks the commandant if he thinks his men will see any action. “Who knows?” he responds. “I don’t think anyone’s clear what’s going on out there.” Those words prove to be quite accurate. [read more]
Go ahead, Donald, we dare you: “Trump threatens to attack the Clintons” marriage—Chelsea Clinton has the perfect response” [Walter Einenkel, Daily Kos, September 28]. Excerpt:
Well, my reaction to that is just what my reaction has been kind of every time Trump has gone after my mom or my family, which is that it’s a distraction from his inability to talk about what’s actually at stake in this election and to offer concrete, comprehensive proposals about the economy, or our public school system, or debt-free college, or keeping our country safe and Americans safe here at home and around the world.
    And candidly, I don’t remember a time in my life when my parents and my family weren’t being attacked, and so it just sort of seems to be in that tradition, unfortunately. And what I find most troubling by far are Trump’s — and we talked about this when you interviewed me the night before the Iowa caucus — are Trump’s continued, relentless attacks on whole swaths of our country and even our global community: women, Muslims, Americans with disabilities, a Gold Star family. I mean, that, to me, is far more troubling than whatever his most recent screed against my mom or my family [is]. [read more]
A timber company is bottling California water and selling it to Japan! Is it like Americans buying bottled Italian water? “Timber Company Tells California Town, Go Find Your Own Water” [Thomas Fuller, NY Times, October 1]. Excerpt:
The water that gurgles from a spring on the edge of this Northern California logging town is so pristine that for more than a century it has been piped directly to the wooden homes spread across hills and gullies.
    To the residents of Weed, which sits in the foothills of Mount Shasta, a snow-capped dormant volcano, the spring water is a blessing during a time of severe and prolonged drought.
    To the lumber company that owns the land where the spring is, the water is a business opportunity.
    Roseburg Forest Products, an Oregon-based company that owns the pine forest where the spring surfaces, is demanding that the city of Weed get its water elsewhere....
    For the past 50 years, the company charged the city $1 a year for use of water from the Beaughan Spring. As of July, it began charging $97,500 annually. A contract signed this year directs the city to look for alternative sources.
    Roseburg has not made public what it plans to do with the water it wants to take back from the city. But it already sells water to Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring, which bottles it in Weed and ships it as far away as Japan. Crystal Geyser is looking to increase its overall supply. [read more]
Sinkholes appearing worldwide is enough to give me nightmares.

Uh-oh! “Internal 'clock' makes some people age faster and die younger – regardless of lifestyle” [Hannah Devlin, Guardian, September 28]. Excerpt:
Scientists have found the most definitive evidence yet that some people are destined to age quicker and die younger than others – regardless of their lifestyle.
    The findings could explain the seemingly random and unfair way that death is sometimes dealt out, and raise the intriguing future possibility of being able to extend the natural human lifespan.
    “You get people who are vegan, sleep 10 hours a day, have a low-stress job, and still end up dying young,” said Steve Horvath, a biostatistician who led the research at the University of California, Los Angeles. “We’ve shown some people have a faster innate ageing rate.” [read more]
Grateful for correspondence, Moristotle


  1. Good stuff went down well with my cold beer.

  2. From Lynn Saeger, via Facebook:

    Mic Kim, Meade, and White also designed our beaux arts Mpls. Institute of Arts, of late known as Mia (reminds me of MOA - Mall of America). Due to lack of bucks or perhaps too ambitious a plan, the design was only partially completed. Subsequent additions have reflected the flavor of the day, the latest by Michael Graves. He did tone down his pink castles after local complaint. I wish they had completed the original!

  3. I probably should have included an editor's note at the top, to the effect that we apologize in advance to Trump supporters for the opening piece of correspondence, but can a serious conversation about the Republican candidate really omit the question of his sanity?

  4. Your opener is correct. Trump's mental health should be in question!

    1. Sharon, I think you would agree that the final word of this excerpt from the NY Times article "Donald Trump and His Allies Struggle to Move Past Tax Revelation" should have been edited from "temperament" to "sanity":

      "Donald J. Trump and his allies struggled on Sunday....

          "Mr. Trump’s campaign lurched between refusing to acknowledge that the 1995 tax records...were bona fide, to insisting that his not having paid taxes was evidence of his unrivaled business prowess....

          "At a rally in Lancaster County, Pa., that began shortly before the article was published, Mr. Trump seemed jarred by the pending revelation, shifting from topic to topic....

          "The performance capped a bruising week for Mr. Trump, who went from a widely panned debate performance against Mrs. Clinton on Sept. 26 to repeatedly mocking Alicia Machado, a former Miss Universe who is Hispanic, including with a string of Twitter posts around 5 a.m. on Friday. That Twitter storm raised new questions about Mr. Trump’s temperament..."

    2. Do you think Trump's erratic behavior comes from his "genius" or his insanity?

      "Trump hopes to revive campaign after tax discovery caps a week of ‘self-sabotage’" [The Washington Post]:

      "Donald Trump is scrambling to rescue his campaign after a week in which the Republican nominee’s White House hopes were effectively set ablaze by his own erratic behavior and the discovery that he may not have paid federal income taxes for as many as 18 years.

          "Reeling from a New York Times report that Trump may have canceled out years of income taxes by declaring a $916 million loss on his 1995 return, his allies mounted a vigorous defense Sunday by arguing that the revelation was proof of the businessman’s ­'genius'."

      By the way, it seems to be Rudi Giuliani who's touting the "genius" of Donald Trump. From the NY Times article cited above:

      "'The man’s a genius,' Rudolph W. Giuliani, a former New York mayor and a close adviser to Mr. Trump, said on Sunday on CNN’s 'State of the Union.' 'He knows how to operate the tax code for the people that he’s serving.'
          "In this case, Mr. Giuliani added, Mr. Trump had simply acted as any responsible American businessman would to save money for his enterprises. Mr. Trump’s investors, he added, could have brought legal action against Mr. Trump had he not taken advantage of the tax law’s provisions to avoid taxation.
          "But in an ABC News interview, Mr. Giuliani, sounding increasingly frayed, offered a remark that focused explicitly on Mrs. Clinton’s gender.
          "'Don’t you think a man who has this kind of economic genius is a lot better for the United States than a woman, and the only thing she’s ever produced is a lot of work for the F.B.I. checking out her emails?' he asked."

      Or is Giuliani insane?

  5. From Betty Gabbert Williams, via Facebook:

    "Each article interesting for sure. I especially like the first one about insanity. I have thought for a LONG time that something 'mental' must be causing Trump to behave as he does."

  6. But, as a friend remarked, Trump is "not the one we should worry about – his supporters are the big concern." They are whipped up and menacing. I myself feel hesitant to put a Hillary sign in my front yard, as I never did for President Obama. Trumpists (Trump's chest-thumpists?) seem poised to whip out their concealed (or unconcealed) "carries" and fire away.