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The Caligula Presidency: a Weekly Ovi Column - Week 19
by Dr. Emanuel Paparella
2017-10-21 09:31:44
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Week 19 - Columns 126-132 (October 15-21)
On the subjects of: Removing a president, an unhinged president, Trump as a narcissist,
racist ad sociopath, considering the 25th amendment, Turmoil at the White House as moronic strategy,
speaking with the president of the US Virgin Islands, a method to a moron’s madness


Column 126

The 25th Amendment: Removing a President from Office


The search term "25th Amendment" surged after Donald Trump took office. But Trump himself reportedly has no idea what it does or what it is. When former adviser Steve Bannon told him it posed the biggest threat to his presidency, Trump said, "What's that?"

The amendment states that if the president dies, resigns, or is removed from office, the vice president becomes president. If there is a vacancy in the vice presidency for any reason, the president can choose someone to fill it.

Section IV is what some liberals have been searching for more information on, because it could be a way to legally remove Trump from office. It represents a legal loophole.

Under the amendment's fourth stipulation, it would only take 14 people to depose the president - Vice President Mike Pence and 13 of Trump’s 24 Cabinet members. It reads thus: "Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President."

However, senators who signed the provision into law specified that declaring the president unfit must rely on "reliable facts regarding the president's physical or mental faculties," not personal prejudice. Policy and political differences, unpopularity, poor judgment, incompetence, laziness, or impeachable conduct - none of that is intended to be covered by section IV. The president's own running mate is the one who triggers a "palace coup," in order to maintain political stability.

The vice president is the pivot in the whole process. Unless the vice president puts himself - maybe one day, herself - forward, no one else can really basically, at least within the 25th Amendment framework, proclaim an unwilling president 'disabled.'" The idea is that the Cabinet and VP are the president's closest advisers, so they would be the ones with the best sense of his mental faculties. They, and Congress, could also consult doctors to evaluate the president's physical and mental health in order to determine if he or she is fit for the job, though they don't have to.

The 25th Amendment is a separate process from impeachment, which allows Congress to remove a sitting president if a majority of the House of Representatives votes that he has committed treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors, and a trial in the Senate convicts him.


Column 127

An Unhinged President


Republicans are waiting to pass their tax-reform bill before they move to impeach Trump, a former Republican member of Congress reportedly told a former US labour secretary. Robert Reich said a former senator, an old friend of his, told him Republicans are "just praying Trump doesn't do something really, really stupid before the tax bill."

He said the US President's personal attacks on his own staff "got them to notice all the other things," such as his threats about North Korea. "Who knows what’s in his head? But I can tell you this. He’s not listening to anyone. Not a soul.

When asked what would happen if Republican leadership said Mr Trump was unfit to serve, the former senator said: "Bingo! The emperor has no clothes. It’s a signal to everyone they can bail. Have to bail to save their skins. He said once Republicans "start bailing on him, the stage is set" for impeachment."

Asked if Republicans would go that far, the senator replied: "Not yet. Here’s the thing. They really want to get this tax bill through. That’s all they have going for them. They don’t want to face voters in ’18 or ’20 without something to show for it. They’re just praying Trump doesn’t do something really, really stupid before the tax bill."

"Like a nuclear war?" Mr Reich asked.

"Look, all I can tell you is many of the people I talk with are getting freaked out," the former senator said. They’re worried as hell. They’re also worried about Trump crazies, all the ignoramuses he’s stirred up."

When asked what was going to happen, he said: "You got me. I’m just glad I’m not there anymore. Trump’s not just a moron. He’s a despicable human being. And he’s getting crazier. Paranoid. Unhinged. Everyone knows it. I mean, we’re in shit up to our eyeballs with this guy."


Column 128

Donald Trump as a 'malignant narcissist, a sociopath
and a racist' according to a UN special adviser


Professor Jeffrey Sachs (Colombia University)

Professor Jeffrey Sachs, an economist at Colombia University and special adviser to several UN secretary generals, has come out with a blunt characterization of President Trump, calling him “a malignant narcissist, a sociopath and a racist.

Professor Sachs also addressed the issue of Brexit, warning of potential negative economic consequences for the UK: “One of the biggest things of course that’s facing the UK at the moment is Brexit, and the IMF revealed very, very stark warnings about how it was going to be economic armageddon.”

He went on to say that both the UK and America are erroneously blaming many of their issues on external forces such as immigration: “It’s like in the United States Trump blamed America’s ills on China and Muslims and Mexicans, but the truth is that our ills are the profound inequalities of income within the United States, the fact that we have the super rich and the poor who are hurt and hit upon by the very powerful who own the political system, and this is not to be blamed on others but it’s an internal political disaster.”


Column 129

Considering the 25th Amendment


Is the time ripe to look at the options offered by the 25th amendment? Recent news stories about the Trump White House and mounting concerns on the danger of an unstable mind with the finger on the nuclear arsenal as a clear and present danger to the republic, have rendered the question urgent.

Senator Corker, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said in no uncertain terms that a handful of advisers such as Secretaries James Mattis and Rex Tillerson are the only people that "separate our country from chaos." In his subsequent interview with the New York Times, Corker also said that "I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it's a situation of trying to contain him and that his public statements could put the United States on a path towards World War III."

Sherman reports that, according to one former official, Chief of Staff Kelly and Secretary of Defense Mattis even discussed what to do if the President attempted to launch a nuclear war. Politico published a story based on interviews with current and former administration advisers, recounting how most of their time is spent managing the President and trying to make sure he doesn't act on some of the plans he barks out after watching television.

As if all of this weren't dangerous enough, there is the unsettling behavior that the nation has seen right before its own eyes. The manner in which President Trump has handled the escalating crisis with North Korea, including the kind of name-calling tweets one might expect to find on a child's smartphone, his reactionary comments about the white supremacists in Charlottesville, his making light of police brutality, the relentless attacks and direct threats on the news media, and the heartless comments that he made about Puerto Ricans as they are still recovering from a massive natural disaster, don't do much to reassure anyone that this is a president fully in control.

Ratified in 1967, the 25th Amendment aimed to establish clarity about the presidential succession of power in the aftermath of the tragic assassination of President Kennedy four years earlier. Since the Constitution did not fully elaborate on how a vice president became president when there was a death, a resignation, or when the commander in chief was unable to perform his or her duties in office. Section I of the Amendment stipulated that if a president vacated office because of death, resignation or having been removed, then the vice president would take over. Section 2 enabled the president to name a new vice president with the approval of Congress should that office be empty.

As would be expected, this is an incredibly convoluted and, by design, difficult process, and there are many points at which it could be halted. There is also considerable ambiguity in the language of the Amendment to challenge the circumstances under which it can be used (meaning to address the psychological rather than physical condition of a president).

Using the 25th Amendment based on psychological or mental grounds is in many ways an even bigger step than impeachment, given that this would be a dramatic action overturning the election based on criteria that would be difficult to determine with any kind of certainty. The measure can't be used because officials don't like who a president is or don't agree with what he is doing. The bar must be much, much higher.

But if the evidence continues to mount that our democracy has a president who is psychologically unfit to handle the duties of office, and thus too dangerous to be trusted with so much power, then those who are standing in the inner sanctum of power and witnessing this firsthand will need to take action.


Column 130

Chaos and Turmoil at the White House as a Moronic Strategy


Unable to completely erase his predecessor's signature initiatives, President Donald Trump this week turned to another approach at which he is an expert: wreaking havoc. Trump has long thrived on unpredictability, an attribute he views as a virtue.

Trump's back-to-back body blows against President Barack Obama's health care law and nuclear agreement with Iran demonstrated the president's embrace of turmoil as strategy. In both cases, he plunged a pair of policies with broad domestic and international implications into a state of confusion and uncertainty, hoping that the disorder will force Congress to take action.

As a businessman, a candidate and now as president, Trump has gravitated toward chaos. His campaign was rife with bitter internal rivalries, often stoked by the man at the top of the ticket. His West Wing has careened from crisis to crisis and endured more staff upheaval in nine months than some presidents experience in a full term.

Trump's approach, however, hasn't yet translated into success when it comes to making good on his vows to overhaul some of the cornerstones of Obama's legacy, including the Iran deal and the health care law, that have long loomed as targets for Republicans. As a candidate, he promised to rip up the Iran deal on his first day in office. He boasted that overhauling health care would be "easy."

Health care has proven to be anything but simple. Even with Republicans in charge on Capitol Hill, the GOP has been unable to muster the votes to muscle through an "Obamacare" replacement package. Lawmakers' impotence has deeply frustrated Trump and left him casting about for ways to undermine the law on his own.

Thursday's announcement halting the subsidies for insurance companies marked Trump's most aggressive move yet to chip away at the law. Eliminating the payments would trigger a spike in premiums for some Americans next year, unless Trump reverses course or Congress authorizes the money, a step that would almost certainly require the kind of bipartisanship that has been absent on Capitol Hill this year.

In a sign of the potential difficulties to come, Trump appeared to pre-emptively blame Democrats if no deal is reached, tweeting that they should "call me to fix!" And Democratic leaders made clear they would turn the blame-game back around on the president.


Column 131

Does President Trump Know that He’s the
President of the U.S. Virgin Islands?


In a speech last Friday, Trump said he'd recently "met with the president of the Virgin Islands" to discuss the recent hurricanes that have devastated Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the island. But Trump could not have spoken to the "president of the Virgin Islands" because, of course, he is the president of the U.S. Virgin Islands, whose residents are U.S. citizens. Which logically means that he discussed the matter with himself. That’s what narcissists do!


Column 132

Is there is a Method to a Moron’s Madness?


Some journalists and political experts are now opining that if Trump is a moron, he is a moron on a mission ― and with more method to his madness than it may seem apparent. The tweets may be a distraction to the demolition he is carrying out on federal policy and programs.

In quick succession, the president and his small but focused dead-end gang have used administrative diktats to wreak havoc on clean air rules, immigration procedures, Obamacare and the Iran deal. He does not seem to mind that these moves are not very popular.

Do Trump’s moves jeopardize the GOP’s control of the House or Senate (or both)? Maybe ― especially when it comes to health care, where premiums may rise and Democrats can blame it on Republicans and the president. But does he care? He’s already at war with his own party, and his renegade buddy Bannon is preparing the ground for the next stage of the nihilistic anti-everything revolution. If the Democrats take control of Congress, there will at least be some partisan consistency in Trump’s attacks on it.

Just because Trump tweets furiously and seems easily distracted doesn’t mean that he and the die-hards around him ― like Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, speechwriter/foreign policy agitator Stephen Miller and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt ― aren’t playing a long game.

Some journalists have also pointed out that Trump’s father sent him to a military school to instill some discipline into him so that he could eventually become a “killer” and a “king.” His father died at the ripe old age of 93. Trump will be 74 in 2020 and he is already a mad emperor.


End of Week 19



Week 1 -Week 2 - Week 3 - Week 4 - Week 5 - Week 6 - Week 7 - Week 8 - Week 9 - Week 10 - Week 11 - Week 12 - Week 13 - Week 14 - Week 15 - Week 16 - Week 17 - Week 18 - Week 19 -


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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