Logic, the Last Resort
BILL URICH·MONDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2016
Logic is generally defined as reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity. The American suffragist, social activist and abolitionist Elizabeth Cady Stanton held “Human beings lose their logic in their vindictiveness.” Four-time English Prime Minister William Gladstone said “The heated mind resents the chill touch and relentless scrutiny of logic.” And of course, first officer Mr. Spock quipped “Insufficient facts always invite danger, Captain.”
As a humble service to that seven percent of the electorate still undecided, and for those who remain queasy about their choice for Tuesday, please indulge the Republic, quiet your mind, turn down your heat, release the vindictiveness and patiently fact-check and fact-chill for a few. Together we’ll examine the main footings of Trump’s foundation (not the sketchy charity one), take a final look at Hillary Clinton and we’ll not speak of this again ‘till Christmas.
Roll tape, please.
The Descent, or El Descenso
Going first to Trump’s original reason for being, has it really only been 16 months since he and wife number three, Melania, descended into our living rooms and declared war on Mexico? Feels more like 16 years. At this event the first footing for Trump’s campaign was laid, when in speaking of the job-killing, dangerous and illegal immigration flood from the south, Trump stated “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapers (sic) . . . .”
Pause it. First, I think the word, if applicable, is “rapists.” Secondly, Pew Research shows that there has actually been a net loss of 140,000 Mexican immigrants in the US from 2009 to 2014, and Department of Homeland Security data shows the current POTUS has deported more people than the sum of all the Presidents of the 20th century combined, more than any single administration in US history.
Third, as for the job-stealing rapers, a non-partisan study by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine concluded “We found little to no negative effect on overall wages and employment of native-born workers in the longer term.” And lastly on crime, the non-partisan American Immigration Council found that while our illegal immigrant population more than tripled between 1990 and 2013 to 11.2 million, “FBI data indicate that the violent crime rate declined 48%---which included falling rates of aggravated assault, robbery, rape, and murder.”
So under closer inspection, that first Trump footing won’t hold.
Food Fight, or Pelea de Comida
The second footing of Trump’s 2016 tower I call shambolism; a chaotic, scatter-gunning, spit-balling attack on convention, consistency, facts and logic. In shambolism, two entirely opposite ideas occupy the same space, truthfulness is rare, swift-boating reigns supreme and the process operates as sound cannon of illogic aimed at opponents, the press and voters alike.
You indeed have to admire the bold, feckless recklessness of a 70-year-old man showing no military, government service or tax records who pelts far more qualified GOP rivals in a hail of flying crap until they wither and retreat one by one. Doubly so if the same man is a confirmed draft-dodger, scoff-law, deadbeat, bankrupt, philanderer and serial liar, but wither his rivals did (credibly refute even one of the labels and win a prize).
Showing how he could make any fallacies the GOP had heretofore constructed even huger, better and gold-er, Trump grabbed dozens of debunked, hackneyed grievances of the right, blew them up into hordes of gargantuan, rampaging canards and produced a drive-in movie we can call Trumpocalypse. And when Politifact finds 71% of Trump’s statements false, and 72% of Clinton’s true, yet we’re at margin of error on election eve, we know shambolism works.
In this post-NAFTA nightmare construct of Trump’s, radical Muslims pour over our borders, China calls in our note and steals our few remaining jobs forever, ISIS occupies one-third of the planet, our military’s in a shambles, the Clintons padlock every factory in America, actual unemployment is near 50 percent, climate change is a hoax, any neighborhood of color is a war zone and the liberals are coming for all your guns. None of it’s close to true, but lock her up.
In the interest of economy, we’ll play some top hits. Refusing to release any full tax returns for any year because he’s “under audit,” it is likely Trump declared a $916 million loss of mostly other people’s money in 1995 in order to avoid any federal income taxation for the ensuing 18 years. Although every president since LBJ has released multiples of tax returns, Trump refuses his due to this unconfirmed audit, just as Nixon was under audit when that disgraced Republican released five years’ worth of returns.
Trump’s returns would tell us if Trump is truly a billionaire, if he’s truly donated multiple millions to charity, and if he’s truly paid any federal income taxes at all; the Clintons have released 23 years’ worth of returns, but lock her up.
On foreign policy, Trump’s robust plan is essentially “I would just bomb those suckers, and that's right, I'd blow up the pipes, I'd blow up the refineries, I'd blow up ever single inch, there would be nothing left.” Not less than 50 Republican foreign policy experts issued a written warning to America, stating “We are convinced that in the Oval Office, he would be the most reckless President in American history . . . He is unable or unwilling to separate truth from falsehood . . . He lacks self-control and acts impetuously.” In the absence of shambolism, this would be determinative, but lock her up.
Lastly, to save us all from the hell-scape we live in, Trump has a plan to slash taxes for individuals and businesses, balloon military spending, erect trade barriers and fund a $500 billion infrastructure rebuild. Twice the size of Clinton’s infrastructure plan, it is projected by the Tax Foundation, the Tax Policy Center and other experts to add $5 Trillion to the debt inside 10 years, raise taxes on the middle class and spark a job-killing trade war. So that footing won’t hold either, but lock her up.
Who is More Macho, or ¿Quién es más machista?
Much of Trump’s original and lasting appeal centers around his winning aggression, his telling it like it is, his feisty abandonment of grace, and this makes for the final footing here. In the late 1990’s, respected journalist Mark Singer asked Donald Trump if the then-gadfly developer considered himself perfect company. “You really want to know what I consider ideal company?,” Trump replied. “A total piece of ass.”
To be sure, reams have been written on Trump’s personality and its potential disorders for years. Dr. Dan P. McAdams of conservative Northwestern University’s psychology department recently authored two pieces, and found three reasons behind Trump’s problem in self-regulation. In sum, “Donald Trump is trapped by an angry, impulsive temperament that precludes his stepping away from the moment to survey what the situation demands of him. The trap tightens when the moment brings forth an insult to the self, no matter how trifling. And even when Donald Trump is able to emancipate himself from the moment and consider a situation from a more reasoned perspective, his philosophy of life manages only to reinforce his traits and his goals, imploring him to fight back ferociously, no matter how sympathetic or how tiny the opponent may be.”
We could continue ad nauseam about the Dunning-Kruger effect, the misogyny, the racist dog-whistles, the betrayals, serial lies estimated at one every five minutes and lengthy public record of ego-driven abject failures. To say nothing of that failed and final footing. But lock her up.
Madam President, or Senora Presidenta
To Trump and much of his base, “Crooked Hillary” is a scheming, murdering criminal who at best should be summarily locked up and at worst, permanently dispatched by “Second Amendment folks.” And while the complicity of the GOP establishment with the Trump phenomenon will make for fascinating post-game analysis, closing remarks are in order.
“She is extremely well respected throughout the world, handles herself in a very classy way and has a work ethic second to none,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in 2012. “A very effective Secretary of State,” said Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in 2013. “We’re very good friends,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in 2014. Wait, this is public enemy number one they’re talking about, isn’t it?
With less than 24 hours to go Hillary Clinton, twice cleared, horribly smeared and still revered, has garnered over 200 major daily newspaper endorsements, with unprecedented dozens from conservative papers. Variously described as a smart pragmatist, problem-solver and consensus-builder, The Baltimore Sun plainly stated “One candidate stands in the broad tradition of American leadership that has made this the greatest, most powerful and most prosperous nation in history. The other would have us trade that legacy for a cult of personality. The choice is clear.”
Please vote tomorrow, vote with both logic and conscience, and in the words of the best teacher I ever had, good luck to all good sports.