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The Caligula Presidency: a Weekly Ovi Column - Week 20
by Dr. Emanuel Paparella
2017-10-28 10:17:12
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Week 20 - Columns 133-139 (October 22-28)
On the subjects of: the silence of the Republicans, Trump’s accusation of Obama on Gold Star families,
Trump branded a disgrace to the White House, Trump and the FBI’s dossier on Russia’s Ties,
Putin advises Americans on respect for the presidency, the inappropriateness of criticizing four star generals,
the disapproval of questioning statements from generals declared un-American


Column 133

The inexcusable Silence of Republicans on Trump


It is conceivable to surmise that Trump’s public ambivalence toward white supremacists, together with his contempt for immigrants and refugees and for internationalism will end up rebranding Republicans as the party of the past. Former president Obama has already suggested that much when he declared that the issues we seem to be dealing with nowadays are those that everybody thought had been put to bed in the 19th century.

But Trump doesn’t seem to care much for what will happen to party after he’s gone, unless, that is, he plans to stay on as dictator for life, something that has probably crossed his mind. The party, after all, was always a means to an end for him.

So why aren’t more Republicans separating themselves from Trump, aside from senator Bob Corker who has been worrying lately that an unrestrained Trump might bumble his way into World War III? Lately we have seen Mitch McConnell, the majority leader whom Trump has repeatedly demeaned, standing in the Rose Garden as a complying enabler to Trump’s narcissism. Quite demeaning and puzzling too since it is not justifiable.

How does one begin to analyze this weird situation? One can conjecture that Corker, after all, has the luxury as a retiring senator to dispense with political calculations. But we also need to consider the fear of the entrenched Republicans that some no-name activist will decide to primary them, because they’ve somehow run afoul of extremists with followings on Twitter and Facebook, and you’ll have to spend all your time and money holding onto a job that you might very well lose. This is their nightmare, not very courageous but quite self-serving, which, come to think of it, is the primary example of the mad man in the White House.

Republicans are presently tightly wedged between conscience and job security, because their beloved president is constantly putting both in jeopardy. Our primary system wasn’t designed for an age when social media could supplant institutional loyalties, and at the moment it’s skewing the entire political process. So the question arises: what it is about the job of congressman or senator that makes so many politicians willing to sacrifice their integrity and self-respect?

While being grateful for the breath of fresh air represented by the likes of Corker, Jeff Flake and John McCain, who have managed to be true to themselves, we may have to resign ourselves to the villainous silence and dereliction of duty of most Republicans which abets the madness of the madman sitting in the White House.


Column 134

Trump’s accusation of Obama on Gold Star Families


In an attempt to defend his lack of public statements about four soldiers killed in Niger, President Trump falsely claimed that previous presidents did not call the families of dead soldiers — name-checking former President Barack Obama specifically as one of those who did not.

“I’ve written them personal letters,” Trump said at a press conference. “They’ve been sent or they’re going out tonight, but they were written during the weekend. I will at some point during the period of time call the parents and the families, ‘cause I have done that traditionally.”

“The traditional way, if you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls, a lot of them didn’t make calls,” he added.

Four United States Army Special Forces soldiers were killed and two more were injured in an ambush by Islamic extremists earlier this month. Trump’s comments notwithstanding, Obama did call the families of fallen soldiers.

Trump was later pressed on the false claim, but he declined to retract it.

“I don’t know if he did,” Trump said of Obama in particular. “No, no no. I was told that he didn’t often and a lot of presidents don’t, they write letters.”

“I do a combination of both,” he continued, referencing both writing letters and calling. “Sometimes it’s a very difficult thing to do, but I do a combination of both. President Obama, I think probably did sometimes and maybe sometimes he didn’t, I don’t know, that’s what I was told.”

“All I can do, all I can do is ask my generals. Other presidents did not call, they’d write letters. And some presidents didn’t do anything. But I like the combination, I like — when I can — the combination of a call and also a letter.”

A former Obama White House official rejected Trump’s claim in a statement, saying, “President Trump’s claim is wrong. President Obama engaged families of the fallen and wounded warriors throughout his presidency through calls, letters, visits to Section 60 at Arlington, visits to Walter Reed, visits to Dover, and regular meetings with Gold Star Families at the White House and across the country.”

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders was asked on Oct. 6 why Trump had yet to make any statements about the U.S. troops slain in Niger.

“I made a statement on behalf of the administration yesterday in the opening,” she said, according to a White House transcript. “Obviously, anytime one of the members of our great military are injured, wounded, or killed in action, that is certainly something that we take very seriously. Our thoughts and prayers are with those individuals.”

Former Obama aides Alyssa Mastromonaco and Dan Pfeiffer responded on to Trump’s claim, calling him a “deranged animal” and “a deeply disturbed ignoramus who is a pathological liar,” respectively. Another former Obama staffer, Ben Rhodes, also condemned the “outrageous and disrespectful lie.”


Column 135

Trump branded “A Disgrace to the WH” by a Gold Star Father


The father of a fallen U.S. serviceman said he wants to learn how to use Twitter just so he can call out President Donald Trump. Trump claims that he contacts the families of all soldiers who are killed in action. But Euvince Brooks, father of Sgt. Roshain E. Brooks, told the Washington Post that the White House never called him.

“I said to my daughter, ‘Can you teach me to tweet, so I can tweet at the president and tell him he’s a liar?’” Brooks told the Post. “You know when you hear people lying and you want to fight? That’s the way I feel last night.”

Sgt. Brooks, 30, of Brooklyn, died in Iraq on August 13. He and Spc. Allen Levi Stigler Jr., 22, of Arlington, Virginia, were killed in action in a “mishap.” Five other soldiers were also injured in the incident. Brooks’ father has told the New York Daily News that he and his wife haven’t been able to sleep since the death of their son.  Brooks has also called Trump “a damn disgrace to the White House.” 


Column 136

Trump and the FBI Dossier on Russia’s Ties


Donald Trump has suggested that the FBI may have had a hand in creating an intelligence dossier that alleged ties between Russia and Trump's presidential campaign.

"Workers of firm involved with the discredited and Fake Dossier take the 5th. Who paid for it, Russia, the FBI or the Dems (or all)?" Trump wrote on Twitter.

The FBI, as well as the Senate Intelligence Committee, is investigating Russian interference in the election and alleged contacts between Trump's associates and the Kremlin.

As the allegations contained in the dossier began appearing in news stories and the dossier itself became the subject of intense public debate, Steele became a publicly known figure and the FBI did not pursue further work from him, The Post reported in February. The FBI declined to comment on Trump's tweet.

When Steele started compiling the dossier in 2016, he was doing so for a Washington firm called Fusion GPS. Republican lawmakers have been pressing Fusion GPS for months to identify those who paid for Steele's work, but the firm has refused. Fusion GPS says they have promised confidentiality to their clients and to violate that obligation would harm their business model.

On Wednesday, a lawyer for Fusion GPS said the firm's employees refused to testify in response to a subpoena from the House Intelligence Committee, invoking their constitutional privilege not to do so. The firm's founder, Glenn Simpson, had previously given a 10-hour interview to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The dossier alleged, among other things, that associates of Trump colluded with the Kremlin on cyberattacks on Democrats.

U.S. intelligence had been independently tracking Russian efforts to influence electoral outcomes in Europe.

"Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years," Steele wrote in June.

Steele's information was provided by an intermediary to the FBI and U.S. intelligence officials after the Democratic National Convention in July, when hacked Democratic emails were first released by WikiLeaks, according to a source familiar with the events. After the convention, Steele contacted a friend in the FBI to personally explain what he had found.


Column 137

Putin Advice to Americans: Presidents are to be Respected


Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on U.S. citizens to stop disrespecting President Donald Trump, a trend that the Russian leader called a symptom of a poor political system in the U.S. Indeed, the Don of the Corleone family is also owed respect.

Putin, who U.S. officials have accused of swaying the 2016 U.S. presidential race in Trump's favor, broke a streak of hostile diplomatic exchanges between the two leading powers during a speech Thursday in order to defend his former political ally from what he considers unfair criticism at home. Speaking at the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi, Putin again denied any claims of Russian interference in last year's U.S. elections, asserting that Trump "won honestly" and that he and his supporters have behaved legitimately in response to the current U.S. political climate.

"Inside the country, disrespect is shown for him. This is a regrettable negative component of the U.S. political system, one can argue but one can’t show disrespect, even not for him personally but for those people who voted for him," Putin said.

As is Trump is the least popular president since at least the 1940s, possibly ever. Another poll in August has shown that, when asked the best solution to dealing with the president, most people chose impeachment. So the question arises: could Putin be talking about Russia and himself and the concomitant disrespect toward the media and  toward dissent when he alludes to the respect due to the presidency?


Column 138

It is Now Inappropriate for Journalists to Criticize a General


White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has told reporters that it would be “highly inappropriate” for them to question chief of staff John Kelly because he served in the military as a general. “If you want to go after Gen. Kelly, that is up to you,” she said. “If you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general, I think that is something highly inappropriate.”

The controversy arose over Kelly’s appearance at the press podium on Thursday, when he went after Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.). Wilson said she heard President Trump’s condolence call to the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, who died in a combat operation in Niger. Wilson was appalled at what Trump said: that Johnson “must’ve known what he signed up for”” when he enlisted in the military. The White House, including Trump, tried to cast Wilson as a liar. 

Johnson’s mother, however, backed the congresswoman up and said, “President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband.” 

The White House then shifted tactics, saying the congresswoman ― who is a close friend of the family ― shouldn’t have been listening in on the call anyway. Kelly then went after her as a publicity hound. To illustrate his point, he recounted an event in April 2015, when he went to the dedication of an FBI field office in Miami, which was being named after two agents who had died on the job: 

And a congresswoman stood up, and in a long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there in all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building, and how she took care of her constituents because she got the money, and she just called up President Obama, and on that phone call, he gave the money, the $20 million, to build the building, and she sat down. And we were stunned, stunned that she’d done it. Even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were stunned.

Kelly, either intentionally or not, fabricated what happened. His story is simply not true, as a video later showed. The only reason Kelly’s lies were exposed was because journalists did their job and looked at the veracity of what a powerful person said. That’s what a free press does. 

Under Trump ― who never served in the military ― generals have been given increased control and the military has taken a more central role. 

With Kelly serving as chief of staff, that trend continues. At Thursday’s press briefing, Kelly asked journalists if any of them knew anyone who had died serving in combat. If they did, they were entitled to ask him a question. So in Trump’s America a civilian does not have the right to question a four star general or hear a conversation dealing with military matters. Sinclair Lewis might have had a point with his famous book It Can’t Happen Here. 


Column 139

Jake Tapper declares Un-American the Disapproval
of Questioning Generals’ Assertions


Anchorman Jake Tapper said Thursday that White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders's statement that it's "highly inappropriate" to question the statements of military generals is "un-American." Tapper is CNN's chief Washington correspondent and author of "The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor," which details a deadly encounter between U.S. soldiers and Taliban forces in Afghanistan and the later questioning of the Pentagon over the purpose of the soldiers' operations there.

"I have tremendous respect for the military but the notion that no one can even question the statements of generals is un-American," said Tapper in reference to comments Sanders made at a press briefing where she defended the since-debunked claims of White House chief of staff Gen. Kelly. "In what country?" Tapper asked in another tweet.


End of Week 20



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 - Week 20 -


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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