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The Caligula Presidency: a Weekly Ovi Column - Week 10
by Dr. Emanuel Paparella
2017-08-19 08:49:15
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Week 10 - Columns 64-70 (August 13-19. 2017)
On: the people’ s report card, divisionary tactics, Fox news and the so called president of all Americans, Russian money Bannon and Dugin, FBI probe into ties to Moscow, the interference with the 2016 presidential election.


Column 64

People’s Report Card for the Caligula Presidency


Donald Trump’s Approval Ratings some two months after assuming the Presidency is down to 36% and sliding. One in three respondents gives him an “F” for his job performance as Commander in Chief.

Here's a comparison of Trump and Obama performance report  by the people at the same time of their presidency:

 Trump                              Obama

 A: 15%                             A: 23%

B: 22%                              B: 35%

C: 15%                              C: 20%

D: 15%                              D: 11%

F: 32%                              F: 11%

So far, 38% of registered voters said they approved of Trump's performance, while 51% said they disapproved, McClatchy reported. Trump is down 3 percentage points since mid-February — which equates to a substantially lower approval rating than other presidents in the past.

The poll found that 59% of voters surveyed were embarrassed by Trump's conduct as president. About 31% said his conduct made them proud, while 9% said they were unsure.

Additionally, 70% viewed Trump's habitual use of Twitter as problematic — which includes 45% of Republicans and 75% of surveyed independents. About 19% found his tweets effective and informative.


Column 65

A Vignette from the Caligula Presidency


Taking a page from the Caligula record of deranged behavior and antics, President Trump, in the presence of press reporters, recently staged a scene worthy of such an august persona from the era of the Roman Empire. He had arrived to one of the impressive White House Halls for the signing of some executive orders which he then loves to proudly display to the press, not unlike a three year old displaying his ability to write.

All was proceeding smoothly and on schedule, but suddenly: Trump got a bit hot under the collar and cranky when a reporter dared to ask him a non-expected question about Michael Flynn and his relationships with Russia. Instead of ceremoniously signing the orders, for which he had come there, he petulantly walked out the door leaving the documents unsigned and the guests wondering and embarrassed.

The subsequent hilarious scene of the vignette was that of a Vice President Pence running after Trump pleading with him to please come back and sign the executive orders; all to no avail.

Pence then proceeded to conclude the vignette: as a dutifuly Vice President, one of the various White House’s “pooper scoopers” and enablers, whose daily task it is to pick up after their irascible boss and rationalize his behavior, he proceeded to dutifully gather the orders in a pretty little folder, so that the president-emperor could sign them later at his own convenience, perhaps without the presence of the harassing press, the so called “enemy of the people”.

As he picked up the documents the Vice President was overheard to murmur in an undertone: “it’s fine, everything is just fine.” Indeed.

One can safely wager that most Americans are not greatly reassured by those apologetic murmurs and inane excuses meant to explain the unexplainable, but perhaps the more rational and sensible among them are finally beginning to perceive the rather obvious nexus between this impulsive 21st century presidency acting on guts and little if any coherent policy, and the reign of  a deranged emperor Caligula of Roman Empire fame.


Column 66

Diversionary Tactics: Follow the Tweets, not the Russia Probe


A devious way for Trump to divert Congress from the investigation of Russia’s role in the 2016 US election and any links between Moscow and the Trump campaign, is that of shifting the focus to the possibility of illegal leaks of classified information and whether Trump and his associates with ties to Russia were caught up in incidental collection by surveillance targeting foreigners.

Rep. Schiff, the ranking Democrat investigating the matter, declared recently that "I think his tweets tell the story, and the story is look over there - at leaks, and look over there - at anything the Obama administration we can claim did wrong on incidental collection or anything else. But whatever you do, under no circumstances look here, at me or at Russia."

Trump has repeatedly tweeted that the reports on Russian election meddling is as "fake news" and "witch hunts" and has denounced leakers of classified information on the issue. He is desperately attempting to divert attention to leakers and surveillance.

Meanwhile White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Sunday there was no evidence of Trump collusion with Russia to win the election. "It's time to move on," she told Fox News.

The plot thickens. Stay tuned. The White House’s “apprentices” are learning fast how to jump through loops of fire, and how to create alternate facts, but do they have enough time to avoid impeachment and/or jail?

There is already talk making the rounds suggesting that some will eventually go to jail and that impeachment procedures ought to be initiated. Some 51% of women in America think the sooner they begin the better. It is bound to get more dramatic even as many enjoy the comedic-like reality show being presently staged. Stay tuned for more vignettes on the Caligula Presidency.


Column 67

Fox News and the Man who promised to be the President of all Americans


 Last February Trump posted a tweet praising Fox & Friends while blasting CNN and MSNBC. Then a few days later he held a conference where he lauded the honorable people who work for Fox News and added that “They hit me also when I do something wrong, but they have the most honest morning show, that’s all I can say. It’s the most honest.”

Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade reciprocated the praise the next morning, saying Trump “looked bigger than the superpower which he’s representing.” Trump then, as the perfect narcissist he is, reciprocated by quoting an anonymous man who had stated that “Trump is the greatest president ever, and there will never be one like him.”

Days after the Carlson interview aired, FBI Director James Comey announced Trump’s campaign is under FBI investigation for possible collusion with Russia. The next morning, Fox & Friends told viewers who missed the House Intelligence Committee hearing where Comey made that announcement that they “didn’t miss much.”

Last week, Fox & Friends celebrated the U.S. military’s latest bombing of Afghanistan with a patriotic country music video. While the video was being aired showing a bomb dropping Geraldo Rivera of Fox news made a comment: “One of my favorite things in 16 years at Fox News is watching bombs drop on bad guys.”

During his first interview as president, Trump explained the importance of Fox News to his agenda, saying that evidence and facts don’t matter as long as Fox News hosts and the network’s “very smart” viewers agree with him.

Indeed, it sounds like the setting up of a mutual admiration society for the cultivation of mutual personal interests  in the era of post-truth, and to hell with honesty and truth.


Column 68

Trump, Russian Money, Bannon, Dugin and Eurasianism


It is gradually surfacing that Donald Trump may have borrowed Russian money to keep his property empire afloat. At the same time there are ongoing investigations into alleged Kremlin interference in the U.S. presidential election and a host of murky connections between Trump campaign officials and Russian hackers and spies.

One of those campaign officials is Steve Bannon who is still inside the White House but is fast loosing influence with Trump. It appears that the ideological honeymoon may be over. Like Trump he has praised Putin but also a sort of State ideology within the Kremlin which goes by the name of Eurasianism.

Eurasianism is a kind of prophetic vision envisioning Russia’s destiny as that of leading all Slavic and Turkic people in a grand empire to resist corrupt Western values. Its main proponent is Alexander Dugin. His philosophy glorifies the Russian Empire—while Bannon and the conservative website that he founded, Breitbart News, revived the slogan of “America first.”

What Bannon and Dugin have in common is the idea that global elites have conspired against ordinary people—and the old order must be overthrown. “We have arrived at a moment where the world is discovering a new model of ideologies. The election of Trump shows that clearly,” Dugin tells Newsweek. Eurasianism seems like a mutual admiration society: Bannon admires Dugin for placing traditional values at the heart of the nationalistic revival and he has said as much at a Vatican Conference he attended in 2014.

One may ask: which are the common enemies? They would be secularism, multiculturalism, egalitarianism and what both Dugin and Bannon dub the “globalized and internationalist capitalist liberal elite.” Which is to say the global ideological struggle will be between culturally homogenous—mostly white-homogenous groups founded on Judeo-Christian values and practicing a humane sort of capitalism, and the international crony-capitalist network of bankers and businessmen.

Both Bannon and Dugin wish to revive the nation-state. Hence their support for anti-European Union candidates from England and France to Hungary and Greece. They both are firmly against pan-European Union. In the US they have invented the Deep State or what they see an over-centralized government but paradoxically they’d rather have a strong state with an authoritarian personality on top, one that in effect ignores the freedoms as set-up by the founding fathers to be controlled at the local level.

In order to appear democratic and not ethnic chauvinists both Dugin and Bannon have declared that they believe in multi-civilizations which have their own identity and destiny and follow their own course. They have both described themselves as revolutionaries; Bannon has described himself as a Leninist who wants to destroy the State (i.e., the Deep State), while Dugin is the founder of the National Bolshevik Party which has been fomenting armed uprising among Russian minorities in former Soviet Republics.

So it comes as no great surprise that Trump’s election was greeted with enthusiasm in Russia. Trump would give Russia the respect it has so far been denied. St. Petersburg Cossacks have given Trump the honorary title of “captain” in case he decides to “make Russia great again.”

But this love-fest has been rather short-lived. Bannon has not advised to lift sanctions on Russia (imposed after Crimea’s annexation in 2014), nor to lift a travel ban on Dugin (imposed when he acclaimed Putin for taking over Crimea and invading the Ukraine) as he had previously hinted at. After all there are allegations making the round of contacts between Trump advisers in the White House and Russian spies. Suddenly Trump became “tough on Russia.” The appearance of collusion needed to be avoided at any cost, not to encourage FBI investigations, which continue to go on nevertheless.

Then came the travel ban on Muslims struck down by the courts, the failure of the repeal of Obamacare and the imbroglio of the Bannon-Kushner disagreements.  Bannon and the alt-right’s admiration for Putin has come into direct conflict with the White House’s new policies and so Bannon has fallen on hard times in the White House, but the worst is still to come at the end of the FBI’s investigations.


Column 69

The Latest on the FBI’s Probe into Trump’s Ties to Moscow


The FBI is has corroborated, and is now using the dossier that details Donald Trump’s ties to Russia. The dossier is a collection of memos gathered by intelligence operative Christopher Steele who spent 20 years spying for MI6 in Moscow. The FBI is now using the dossier to surveil Carter Page, an early foreign-policy adviser to Trump’s campaign who may have been acting all along as an agent of a foreign power.

The dossier, parts of which have been corroborated by the US intelligence community, alleges that Page was a liaison between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the campaign. It also alleges that while in Moscow in July, Page and his associates were offered the brokerage of a 19% stake in Russia's state oil company in exchange for the lifting of US sanctions on Russia.

Page was brought onto the Trump campaign in the spring of 2016. He has denied the allegations against him, calling them an "illegal" form of "retribution" for a speech he gave at the New Economic School in Moscow in July, in which he slammed the US for a "hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption, and regime change." That trip to Moscow raised new red flags at the FBI. The bureau sought and obtained the FISA order shortly after.

Page told Business Insider recently that he thought the FISA requests were "unjustified." But the government's application for the FISA order has been renewed more than once, and there were contacts Page had with Russian intelligence officials that he did not disclose, according to The Post.

The plot thickens as we speak. Trump’s ties to Russia may soon surface and then it will be a new game altogether. Some so called Russian experts continue to deny the importance of those latest revelations. One wonder if that is due to the fact that they may well lead to the surfacing of Trump’s ties to Russia and his financial and political deals with the same which go back thirty years. Then the experts will be duly surprised once again and find new denials, but the less naïve and more astute among journalists and investigators alike already suspect where this new game will eventually lead. It doesn’t take much imagination and political expertise to figure it out.


Column 70

Trump, Putin and the Interference in the 2016 US Election


Reuters has reported lately that the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies provided a framework for top Russian officials on how to sway the U.S. election. The institute is the Kremlin’s in-house foreign policy think tank.

It produced two documents. The first was released to the upper reaches of the Russian government and counseled that the Kremlin should launch a propaganda campaign on social media and Russian-backed news that stressed the point that the smart choice for president would be a candidate with a softer approach to Moscow. This was a classified document and called for state-backed news outlets to get the message out.

Later on, in October, when Hillary Clinton appeared to be gaining distance from Trump, a second document appeared suggesting that the message now should now focus on voter fraud and the attack on Clinton’s reputation.

The two documents have come into possession of US intelligence officials and have become the basis for accusing Russia for meddling in US elections. The reaction of the think tank to the Tass Russian News Agency is that the report is incorrect and slanderous and it is issued by those who perceive the world wrongly. That reaction is itself intriguing.

Both Putin and Trump have denied any interference and insist that those Kremlin activities did not play any role in the election’s outcome. The FBI meanwhile continues to investigate.


End of Week 10



Week 1 -Week 2 - Week 3 - Week 4 - Week 5 - Week 6 - Week 7 - Week 8 - Week 9 - Week 10 -


Check Dr Emanuel Paparella's NEW BOOK
"The Caligula Presidency: A Satirical Debunking Critique"
is online now and you can download it for FREE HERE!



Check also Dr Emanuel Paparella's other EBOOKS
Aesthetic Theories of Great Western Philosophers
& Europe Beyond the Euro
You can download them all for FREE HERE!


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