Apparently, intelligence would cramp Trump’s style

If only George Smiley were available to brief him. And if only he'd listen...

If only George Smiley were available to brief him. And if only he’d listen…

Just to start off the week, which is worse?

  1. Trump deciding he doesn’t need the daily intelligence briefing — even though, you know, there’s never been a president-elect in our history more painfully in need of one. I have to admit I cringed right after the election when it was reported he would start getting these — the very idea of the least discreet man in America being briefed on the nation’s secrets — but Trump not getting such briefings is actually much more disturbing. I mean, if he gets enough of them, maybe, just maybe, he’d start to get a clue. And perhaps that’s why he doesn’t want to get them. Having a clue would cramp his style.
  2. Trump waving off the assessment by intelligence professionals that the Russians tried to hack our election to benefit him.

My immediate reaction, of course, is that absurdity No. 2 is the worse one, because what could be more dangerous than a president who says “No, they didn’t” to evidence that Russia was trying to do such a thing to this country, striking at the very core of our democracy? And of course, we know why he dismisses it: It suggests he is less awesome than he thinks he is, and that he needed help to win. Which makes his stubborn refusal to accept facts even more alarming — because what has concerned us most about Trump, if not his penchant for placing the stroking of his own fragile, unstable ego ahead of every other consideration?cia

If only someone could tell him the bad news in a good way — pointing out that no one is saying the Russians won the election for him (at least I haven’t heard that yet); we’re just saying that Putin may have committed an extraordinarily hostile act against this country, just by trying. Of course, even then, we’d run up against a key goal of the incoming Trump administration, which is to favor Russia — something of which we got another reminder via the nomination of the ExxonMobil guy for secretary of state. And once again, Trump is utterly uninterested in, and hostile to, any information that might contradict what he wants to believe. (He’s like his supporters in that regard, the ones who choose their own alternative-reality “news” sources.)

(A digression: On the radio this morning, someone was wondering why, if you want to cozy up to one superpower wannabe and tick off another, why choose moribund Russia to be your pal instead of the dynamic, growing China? Good question.)

But the more I think about it, the more I think absurdity No. 1 may be the bigger problem.

If I were president, or president-elect, I would consider the intelligence briefing the most important part of my day, most days. My temptation would be to let it take up more of my day, rather than less. On the days that the briefing was boring — just same-old, same-old — I would count my blessings. The worst briefings would tend to be the extremely interesting ones.

Because I have a better grasp of international affairs than Trump does (here we go — comments are on the way telling me he’s smarter than I am because he has more money — but this is one thing where I’m pretty confident, because a guy doesn’t need to know much about foreign policy to know more than Trump), I know how much I don’t know, and I would want to do everything I could to know more.

And as I said, our country has never had an incoming leader who needed these briefings more than this guy. If he had these steady, daily tutorials, he may even begin to develop something we might loosely term perspective.

But he doesn’t want that. He thinks he knows everything, when he actually knows less than Jon Snow — if he knew nothing, he’d be better off than he is “knowing” all the things he “knows” that aren’t true.

Bottom line — while within days I fear we’ll hear something worse and this will be toppled from it’s place of honor, these developments over the weekend I think are the most disturbing signs we’ve seen since the election of just how bad this is going to be…

17 thoughts on “Apparently, intelligence would cramp Trump’s style

  1. Scout

    He can’t maintain his attention long enough to get through them so he get’s bored so he delegates it. That is my guess.

    Yea, it’s a serious job. If he’s not willing to do it, he should resign.

    Can anybody say that to him?

  2. Lynn Teague

    Unfortunately we seem to have an administration that makes the W administration’s snide comments about the “reality based community” seem mild. Everything points toward the Trump gang believing that they create their own reality, whether in international politics or climate issues. Of course they do affect reality to the extent that they can do immense harm by ignoring the existing facts (which do exist – and how far don the rabbit hole have we gone when that point has to be made.)

    1. Doug Ross

      Doesn’t every administration put its own biased stamp on every agency? That’s how we ended up with wasting millions on Solyndra or stupid policies for public school cafeterias or picking and choosing which illegal immigrants to go after. They all have an agenda. Elections have consequences. Those in the new administration have won the right to try and push their agenda this time. And those on the opposite side will likely use all the same tactics that Republicans used to fight them.

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      That has a such a goofy sound to it — “reality-based community” — that it sounds more like a designated group in our Identity Politics, rather than something Karl Rove said. One of those slightly stilted-sounding phrases that the Ideologically Correct embrace, like “people of color” (which always makes me cringe slightly, partly because it’s stilted and affected, but also partly because we pretty much did away with “colored” in my youth, yet here’s this officially approved way of saying the same thing).

      Anyway, am I a member of the “reality-based community?” I probably am, since I eschew ideology. Does this entitle me to any special consideration? If so, I hope it’s something good. I hope it’s not just that I can use any bathroom or something. I mean, I hear that the ladies’ rooms are cleaner, which is a plus, but you have to wait in a queue… 🙂

      1. bud

        I eschew ideology.
        – Brad


        Good one Brad. I was having a bit of a down day so I needed a good laugh. We all have our ideological quirks. Doug worships Any Rand. Bryan praises the All Mighty Smith and Wesson. Brad you believe in the military deity. Me? I believe in pragmatism.

        1. Doug Ross

          “Doug worships Any Rand”

          You lie as much as Hillary does. I don’t worship Ayn Rand. I like two of her novels.

          You don’t worship anything. You just abhor success and initiative. You’re anti-excellence.

        2. Bryan Caskey

          Wait. Brad gets the entire military as a deity and I only get Smith & Wesson?

          No fair.

          If I only get a firearm deity, I’ll take John Moses Browning, thank you very much.


          1. Norm Ivey

            I saw Firearm Diety open for Reality Based Community at Music Farm just last weekend. I don’t get why everyone doesn’t support both of these bands.

          2. Jim Cross

            It’s not even Smith & Wesson anymore–it’s American Outdoor Brands Corp. (Yes, I know the firearms division will still go by the old name with “Corp.” appended to it, but I couldn’t resist 🙂 )

            1. Bryan Caskey

              Yeah. S&W made great revolvers (they still do) and the M&P semi-auto is nice, but it’s essentially their version of a Glock. Both of which are inferior to the best handgun ever developed in the history of the world. No, not the 1911 – that’s the second best handgun ever developed. The best one is the Browning Hi-Power, designed in 1935.

              I love my Hi-Power. Easy to be accurate, the modern 9mm cartridge is perfectly good, plenty of magazine capacity, easy to disassemble, and great for EDC.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Harrumph. A real AMERICAN gun uses ammunition that’s measured in calibers, not millimeters.

                And I don’t think of a semiautomatic as a real Smith & Wesson. That brand, to me, is about the revolvers…

                1. Bryan Caskey

                  “A real AMERICAN gun uses ammunition that’s measured in calibers, not millimeters.”

                  Ha! You sound like Maturin trying to discuss the weather-gauge.

                  Caliber is simply the diameter of the barrel. Accordingly it can measured in millimeters, fractions of inches, or whatever unit of measure you desire. Nothing is measured in calibers.

                  Saying that you want something “measured in calibers” is saying you want something “measured in length”..which is obviously nonsensical. 🙂

                  What you meant to say is that you prefer handguns that fire cartridges measured in inches, not millimeters, like a GI .45, or Harry Callahan’s .357 Magnum.

                  However, I regret to inform you that the United States Army currently uses the M9 as its standard issue sidearm. The cartridge is 9mm. It entered service before the first gulf war, replacing the venerable .45 caliber 1911. Oh, and the standard issue rifle, the ubiquitous M-16? That uses the standard 5.56 x 45mm NATO round. It’s similar to (and derived from the .223).

                  In any event, I do appreciate your engagement on the issue. Bonden and some Marines will be along directly to collect you. I wish you the joy of your learning.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Tell it to the Marines!

                    By “calibers” I referred not to a number of things, as with “inches,” but to different calibers for different weapons. If you consider .22 caliber, .38 caliber and .45 caliber, you have considered three calibers.

                    Or is that not right, either?

                    And yes, I know the Army replaced the .45 with a 9 mm sidearm.

                    I think that’s about when the decline in the nation that led to Trump began…

                    1. Bryan Caskey

                      “And yes, I know the Army replaced the .45 with a 9 mm sidearm.

                      I think that’s about when the decline in the nation that led to Trump began…”

                      I believe that the US Army is looking to replace the M9. With Mattis as SECDEF, I’m fine with whatever he picks.

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