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Friday, December 29, 2017

Trump in a nutshell

Donald Trump was in the news again this morning for having said “I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department.”

He misspoke, of course. The President has the right to pick an Attorney General who is like-minded. And every AG is, ultimately, answerable to the President. But the DOJ is, theoretically at least, an independent institution.

The DOJ administers the US Marshalls Service, the FBI, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the ATF, and the DEA. And each of those organizations not only enforce, but also adhere to the rule of law.

So Trump's statement, which implied emperor-like powers for himself, was quintessentially Trumpian: he just blurted out whatever came to mind.

After making that comment, Trump must have realized he had gone too far, because then he backtracked with, “But for purposes of hopefully thinking I’m going to be treated fairly, I’ve stayed uninvolved with this particular matter.”

That sentence, too, was Trumpian, at least in terms of grammar and syntax.

But in a roundabout way, Trump's blundering style also shows that he's not a sociopath.

Barack Obama obviously did, and Hillary Clinton obviously wouldn't have hesitated to, use the levers of power for purely political means, in an underhanded way.

But neither would ever have blurted out that they had that right. Both of them would have paid lip service to the rule of law, and would have expressed absolute abhorrence at the very thought that they might ever make a devious end run around it.

They are both natural liars, far too slick to make such a faux pas.

Trump, by contrast, is not nearly as schooled in the ways of Washington, where you never say what you mean and where blurting out the truth is considered the worst type of gaffe.

He may be a buffoon, but he's not sociopathic. And that makes him more trustworthy, if at times embarrassing.


Anonymous said...

Donald Trump has this bad habit of saying things quite literally and relying on pragmatics instead of speaking with a little pedanticity to avoid misinterpretation.

Like his quote on the Charlottesville riot. "You had one side that was bad and one that was very violent too", he meant probably something like "One side is very bad, the other side is not excusable even if they were up against bad people, I expect better from people"

That quote "“I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department.”
Is an example too, it's vague enough that his original intention was ignored.

If it were like Cantonese, you could add stuff at the end of sentences to avoid this:
Keui sihk fan gwo (It has eaten rice in the past (but may still or may no longer eat it)
Keui sihk fan hoi (It eats rice (It nowadays eats rice, unlike say dumplings))
Keui sihk jyu fan (It eating rice (like a machine that swallows rice 24/7))
Keui sihk gan fan (It is eating rice (right now, it will finish once the bowl is empty))
Keui sihk fan wo (I am surprised it is eating rice)

Trump needs to be explicit=.
The sentence for example
"He didn't win the race because of his bike" can mean:

"He lost since his bike sucked"
"He didn't win because his bike was better somehow"

Unless someone is in the room to hear his tone of voice, a sentence is open to as much twisting as possible when it is written down, and especially with the rest of the speech left out.

It can turn into a game of "Who's on first" by Abbot and Costello. And words with multiple meanings can also be twisted:
"I am liberal with money"
Can mean
"I like to spend a lot" or
"My beliefs on the economy are from the Democratic Party"

All this is being used on Trump, if they were honest, they would explicitly state what he meant to make up for his lack of speech giving skills, but Trump should still work on the art of good precise oration. Maybe he should read Cicero.


John Craig said...

Ga --
Unfortunately, Trump at age 71, is not about to change. He's not particularly articulate; my theory is that his ADHD prevents him from being that way, since he doesn't even have the patience to sit down and read his daily Presidential briefings, let alone anything else.

But you're absolutely right in your analysis. Ann Coulter put it best: she said that the Left takes Trump literally but not seriously. The Right takes him seriously, but not literally.

Anonymous said...

One problem is Donald trump may not have an inner monologue/voice due to ADHD. (Some however how neverending voices in their head, it's like one of the other)
This is typical for people with ADHD, I also have ADHD (my full diagnosis is ASD, they later found out I hate untreated ADHD for many years, and i have chronic depression and fatigue, some anxiety disorder, and I suspect I'm at risk of subclinical psychosis or aquired schizoid personality disorder (not related to schizophrenia). I only have bursts of words in my head I sometimes don't catch.

They say when growing up, a regular child self talks to regulate his behavior, but an ADHD child is impulsive and doesn't internalize this self talk. Dyslexia also has been implicated in lack of voices. But some people think in pictures, however a lot use neither and seem antsy and hurried a lot. His thought processes like many ADHD patients may be visual, emotional, abstract, and memory replaying. He may have great ideas but can't find the words or descriptions to communicate which hampers him.

I lost more of my inner talking as I aged from depression and worsening ADHD. Also aphantasia (inability to use the mind's eye) occurred when I got more depression and depersonalized/derealized. So I feel very little self agency or instruction. When I took adderall I could use more, but it's illegal in Hong Kong. Some of it is indifference too. When I see a big pink elephant suit I don't say "Wow that is a big pink elephant suit, I wonder what it is for!" I just feel no motivation to comment....on anything.

That isn't to say insight is impossible. Einstein was a visual thinker, but even without visual images he often said he had numerous thoughts but no words to describe them, they just came, a flash. If you want to know what I mean, have you ever woken up and made coffee? But not said "My name is John, I could sure do with some coffee!" you just sorta drag yourself to make it without verbalizing or using pictures, the burst in your head moves you to coffee, autopilot. Self speech (or images in some cases) is important for controlling behavior and agency and controlling behaviour, and forms of insight.

So far the only "inner speech" I have are autistic monologues on special interests to no one I find myself doing unknowingly. I think inner speech represents our outer talk, and since I am not a communicative person, though I may write a ton here, but in public im usually just staring at a person talking and spacing out, I am not narrating like JD from scrubs does.

It gets in the way, I often can't plan or self direct. I also miss being able to see images in my head, I sorta lost it from maybe playing too many video games,tv as a chil plus depression/dp which is common. However I may be image blind but I can imagine smells, sounds, and tastes.

Oh crap ASD/ADHD veering off! Well, Trump needs to work on self talk. There are therapies to do that, such as reading out loud passages, speaking out loud actions, and more to internalize speech.I can't afford this therapy, but he can, he should use all his resources to perfect himself even more. He can afford any medication or lesson he wants. He is a billionaire, he could go down as one of the most charismatic presidents if he bothered to take years of classes. (Though my dad once saw him when eating dinner in a lobby of a hotel decades ago, my dad said he didn't act unusual at all, perhaps some of Donald's mannerisms and appearance is just from being an old man now.)

How are your thought processes John? Are you a visual or verbal thinker? Or neither?
People with ASD tend to lack of have weak inner speech like ADHD, probably due to poor impulse.
Schizophrenics tend to feel a disembodied speech but little or no self directed speech, like another person is commanding them.
Bipolar people tend to have racing thoughts which have no coherence.



John Craig said...

Ga --
I"m not sure what the difference is between an "inner voice" and just having thoughts. So I don't know where I fall in that category. And I'm also not even sure if I'm a verbal or visual thinker. (As far as I know, I'm both.)

My mind does race ahead, but I THINK my thoughts are coherent. (Do any of us know for sure?)

One thing that occurs to me that might help you, given that you say you suffer from depression, is exercise. I'm sort of a depressive, that's definitely a part of my personality, but I rarely actually suffer from it because I exercise, hard, frequently. (At least every other day.) And having all those endorphins circulating tends to put me in a decent mood. I'm as bad as a junkie, but my vice is healthy.

Anonymous said...

Donald Trump has no filters. He obviously isn't the best communicator, but I think his heart is in the right place. He's not a politician. Why he wanted to be President of the USA is a mystery. I think that he's doing the best that he can with his personal limitations. God bless him and help him.

- birdie

John Craig said...

Birdie --
That's a good summation of who Trump is: no filters, not a great communicator, but doing the best he can. I hope he succeeds too.