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The Caligula Presidency: a Weekly Ovi Column - Week 23
by Dr. Emanuel Paparella
2017-11-18 11:35:52
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Week 23 - Columns 154-160 (November 12-18)
On the subjects of: Trump’s demand for impeachment, Mar-a-Lago and migrant workers, Trump’s Cult,
Russia’s collusion, why it’s much worse than we thought, why Trump has no dog.


Column 154

Fox News Removes the Ad for Trump’s Impeachment


Fox News has pulled an ad by San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer calling for President Donald Trump to be impeached, prompting questions about the motivation for Fox's decision.

The ads having been running across the U.S. for two weeks, and Steyer bought a second week of advertising in a prime time Fox News slot on October 27 as part of the $11 million ad buy.

In a statement Friday, Steyer said Fox News had stopped running the advert, which accuses Trump of obstructing justice and bringing the world to the brink of nuclear conflict. 

The decision to pull the advert followed President Trump, a regular Fox News viewer, criticizing Steyer on Twitter on Oct. 27, describing him as “wacky & unhinged."

Fox News confirmed it had pulled the ad. “Due to the strong negative reaction to their ad by our viewers, we could not in good conscience take their money,” the channel’s co-president Jack Abernethy said.

Steyer, a Democrat donor and environmentalist, accused Fox of buckling to pressure from the president.

“If Fox News is siding with Trump and trying to silence us, they must be afraid of what we have to say,” Steyer said in a statement. “It shows no respect for democracy.”

The advert urges supporters to sign a petition calling for Trump's impeachment. Some 2  million people have already signed it. 


Column 155

Trump's Mar-a-Lago Resort obtains visas for 70 Migrant Workers


The “America First” President has upped his tally of overseas staff at the club from 64 last yearwhile a Florida job placement agency has reported that it had more than 5,000 American workers ready for employment in the hospitality sector.

Mr Trump has previously stated his intention to “stand up for our companies and maybe most importantly for our workers”, adding that “ it’s time for a new policy, one defined by two simple rules – we will buy American and we will hire American”.

Challenged by Senator Marco Rubio last year over his hiring practices, Mr Trump said: “It’s very, very hard to get people. Other hotels do the exact same thing.”

Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka, a White House adviser, has also been criticised for manufacturing her fashion products abroad, given her father’s emphasis on “America First”.

The President’s own businesses were again under scrutiny this weekend as he visited Hawaii on the first leg of a tour of the Asia-Pacific region.

Experts accused his press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, of an “ethics violation” after she appeared to promote the Trump International Hotel Waikiki during an official briefing.

Asked why the President had stopped off there before leaving the state, she said: “It has been a tremendously successful project and he wanted to say hello and thank you to the employees for all their hard work.”

A similar misstep was committed by Kellyanne Conway, Mr Trump’s adviser, when in February this year she promoted Ivanka Trump’s fashion products live on Fox News – from inside the White House press briefing room.

It appears that in this WH what is good for the goose does not apply equally to the gander.


 Column 156

 A Political Movement or a Cult?


When Trump declared to his admirers that he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” and not lose voters, he was consciously or unconsciously declaring himself a cult leader of sorts. In fact, if one observes his political rallies closely one will soon notice that they have an emotional intensity typical of religious revivals with their ritualized communal chants.

Essential to any cult is a charismatic leader. Adolph Hitler jump to mind. The leader is elevated to near divine status and then the evidence of his blandishments is simply overlooked, for he receives instructions from on high that he himself understands gradually as events unfold. A sort of mass psychosis usually ensues. The leader simply cannot do anything wrong. In short, he is infallible in every respect. Competing ideas are ignored, they are demonic.

For example, Robert Jeffress, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, has informed his talk radio audience that Trump is a better presidential candidate than someone who “embodies the teaching of Jesus” because Trump fit the biblical preference for a “strongman” in government.

Trump has characterizes the media outlets as “fake news” or the lying enemy robbing people of their heritage, while he is the true source of information. The cult leader is generally believed to possess special knowledge. No matter how demonstrably false his pronouncements, they become, by definition, truth for his followers.

One of the ways a cult leader maintains his unquestioned authority is by creating a siege mentality among his followers and presenting himself as the antidote, the one who will drain the swamp. In Trump’s misguided view, the country is a wasteland of empty factories “scattered like tombstones” and crime-ridden cities that are more dangerous than war zones. “Our military is a disaster. Our healthcare is a horror show,” as he asserted during the campaign. And as Trump has repeated time and again, “I alone can fix it.”

This dark view of the U.S., in which honest, hardworking white Christians are under attack by hostile forces, has convinced Trump’s followers that they are among the most oppressed people in the country. In a survey after the protests in Charlottesville, Va., 45% of Trump supporters said white people were the most discriminated against racial group in the U.S., and 51% said Christians were the most discriminated against religious group.

Cult members tend to believe that they are taking part in a cosmic struggle of evil vs. good. Problem is that if “good” doesn’t win — if cold, hard reality overtakes the cult leader’s lies and fantasies — the whole enterprise may collapse, sometimes  very violently. Here again Hitler jumps to mind.

That some of Trump’s supporters view the president in cosmic terms is clear. A month after the inauguration, Pat Robertson announced that those who oppose Trump are “revolting against what God’s plan for America is.” Paula White, the pastor of New Destiny Christian Center in Florida and a Trump spiritual advisor, recently preached to her congregation that resisting Trump is tantamount to “fighting against the hand of God.” Indeed, this is genuine Apocalyptic stuff; it is the battle between righteousness and unrighteousness, light and darkness. It’s paving the way for the second coming. Enter Bannon with his Apocalyptic conspiracy theories.

And then there is this dire warning from Trump’s confidant Roger Stone: “Any attempt to remove the president from office will result in “a spasm of violence in this country, an insurrection like you’ve never seen.” This cultish fervor ready to follow the leader to his doom constitutes itself a clear and present danger for the whole country, given that if history teaches anything, it is that there is nothing more dangerous than a cult leader confronting martyrdom and portraying himself as a victim, something Trump does on a regular basis. Then enormous disasters ensue. That may not be a prediction of the future, given that we may still be able to reverse the trend, but it is certainly prophetic, in the true sense of that much abused word…


Column 157

Russia Was Helping Trump from the outset of the Campaign


A U.S. intelligence assessment earlier this year reported that Russian Twitter accounts began backing Donald Trump as early as six months into his bid for the presidency, but new data shows pro-Trump and anti-Hillary Clinton activity started within weeks of him entering the race.

In the three-month period after Trump announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015, tweets from Russian accounts pushed praise for him over criticism by close to a 10-to-1 margin, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of 159,000 deleted tweets from 2,752 accounts named during congressional hearings last Wednesday on Russian interference in the election.

The accounts, which Twitter identified as run by the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency, by equal or greater margins criticized Clinton and early Republican frontrunner Jeb Bush.

 In summer 2015, at least 40 Russian-backed accounts tweeted content favorable to Trump and only one spread strong negative opinions, according to the Journal’s analysis published on Monday. The U.S. intelligence assessment released at the beginning of this year had cited December 2015 as the earliest suspected time that Russian Twitter accounts rooted for Trump.

Kremlin preference for Trump ratcheted up as the November election neared. In the two weeks before the election, pro-Trump or anti-Clinton tweets numbered 236, versus seven that were pro-Clinton or anti-Trump, a 30-to-1 ratio, the Journal found.

The tweets analyzed represent only a fraction of those disseminated by Russian-backed accounts because Twitter removes posts from deleted or suspended accounts.

Trump has dismissed claims that Russians interfered in the election and tipped it in his favor as a “hoax.”

Why Russia supported Trump right off the bat, when many people doubted he would become a viable candidate, remains a mystery, but one possible explanation is that the Kremlin used him as a test to see how effective they could be in influencing American public opinion.


Column 158

A year later, it’s much worse than we imagined


In his short tenure in the office thus far, things most certainly have blown up, but it hasn’t been Obamacare. Instead, it has been the explosion of racist, sexist, ethnocentric policies and actions propelled by Trump.

Trump’s multiple attempts to institute immigration bans on countries in the Middle East highlighted a pervasive Islamophobic element of Trump’s rhetoric — drumming up intense nationalism within his base and within the GOP to create an America devoid of diversity, repelling foreigners who speak a different language or worship a different God as all having ties to “radical Islamic terrorists.” Trump has alleged that Islam hates America, and that somehow hate is embedded in the very essence of Islam. Unsurprisingly, the amount of tangible hate crimes against Muslims in America has spiked with the flow of Islamophobic rhetoric flowing out the White House.

Trump’s bigoted attacks haven’t stopped at denigrating. The hightest percentage of Americans since at least 1995 — when polls started officially tracing the population’s attitudes — say racism is a “big problem” in the country today. In the wake of white supremacist Nazi rallies such as Charlottesville, 58 percent of people believe Trump failed to convincingly condemn, have noticed and are concerned with the dramatic increase in white supremacist attitudes failing to elicit condemnation or consequences from an administration sympathetic to their cause. Trump’s America, far from being great, is gradually becoming a scary place.


Column 159

Is the 2017 Election Ominous for Republicans?


From the DC exurbs of Loudoun County (where Northam won by an eye-popping 20 points) to the conservative Richmond suburbs of Chesterfield County (where Gillespie appeared to eke out a win and then ultimately lost), voters have turned out in droves to send a clear message to Trump: We don't like what you're doing.

Almost six in 10 Virginians disapproved of the job Trump is doing as president, according to exit polling. Half of the Virginia electorate said that Trump was a major factor in their vote on Tuesday; of that group, twice as many said they saw their vote as a way to voice opposition to Trump as said they voted the way they did to express support for the President. There's simply no way to explain the demolition of Gillespie in the suburbs and exurbs other than a strong distaste for Trump among those voters.

What it means -- at least as of today -- is this: Trump remains a potent and powerful force in Republican primaries. But, he is a potentially toxic taint with the broader general electorate. Which puts Republicans -- especially those facing potentially serious primary challenges or who sit in swing districts in the general election -- in a no-win position. Run away from Trump and risk losing your primary fight. Run with Trump and risk losing the general election.

For members who remain on the fence about whether or not to stick around for another term, the Virginia results are worrysome. And, in turn, more open seats make for a more volatile political environment for Republicans. And the more open seats for Democrats to target, the better chance they have at making a very serious run at regaining their House majority next November. What is the saying: what goes around, comes around?


Column 160

Donald Trump does not have a Dog


Most presidents have a dog or two. The same cannot be said of our current president. He is the first president in more than 100 years to be without a dog. This is almost un-American. Why is that? One is left to speculate.

To be precise, the last president to be without a dog was William McKinley, who was commander in chief from 1897-1901. However, McKinley did have pets: he had a parrot, two angora kittens, and roosters. Does Trump have any pets? The Presidential Pet Museum does not believe he does.

The other president who did not have a dog was Andrew Johnson. He didn't have a dog, was impeached in 1868 and apparently "left flour out at night for a family of white mice playing in his room" amidst the political drama. Food for thought.

Trump has reportedly attempted to get a dog in recent months, specifically a golden-doodle named Patton. He was set to adopt the pup from his friend Lois Pope, but Pope kept the dog after forming a connection with it herself. Pope claims Trump listed his constant traveling as a reason why he'd be a poor owner.

Is Trump anti-canine? It appears so, judging from the way he loves insulting people by tweeting how they failed or choked "like a dog."

Given his failing disapproval ratings, getting a dog might help solve the problem somewhat.  In the first place, a presidential dog offers good publicity and bipartisan relatability, unless Trump decides to pin its party affiliation on him. Psychologists also reveal that dogs provide personal benefits like stress reduction and loyalty. The latter seems important, given the propensity of this president of throwing people he considers losers under the bus. But then again, one cannot teach old dogs new tricks and the dog itself might eventually get thrown under the bus. It’s a conundrum that remains to be solved.


End of Week 23



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 - Week 21 - Week 22 - Week 23 -


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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