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Thread: How smart is Trump really?

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    OK I am totally stealing that, word-for-word. You should see a royalty check in the mail shortly.
    Ditto...FTW!
    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
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  2. #32
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    I stand corrected, as well as in awe.
    Never heard that expression before and it isn't very intuitive. I suppose one need not raise one's voice if confident. Hence polite

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    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    OK I am totally stealing that, word-for-word. You should see a royalty check in the mail shortly.
    No need. Happy to donate it to the cause free of charge. :-)

    Shortly after the financial crisis I heard an interview with a former Wall St trader. He had just written a book whose name I sadly don't recall. He was from a modest background, had done well at school & college & climbed his way up the greasy pole on ability. What he saw around him was a literal army of rich kids who had been gifted education, money and position without ever having had to lift a finger or take risk. No fear of failure because they were always shielded. 'Failing upwards' as it were. Some were brighter than others, but few had really got there on merit and few were anywhere near as smart as they thought they were. When the tide turned & everything went to shit they were spectacularly ill equipped to deal with it.

    Trump struck me as a variation on this. A different sort of operator & much more focused on public image & self promotion, but the same tribe.
    Last edited by Bigfella; 11 May 18, at 16:23.


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  4. #34
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    He who shouts loudest is very unlikely to be smartest.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    No need. Happy to donate it to the cause free of charge. :-)
    My thanks! I'll use it well :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    Shortly after the financial crisis I heard an interview with a former Wall St trader. He had just written a book whose name I sadly don't recall. He was from a modest background, had done well at school & college & climbed his way up the greasy pole on ability. What he saw around him was a literal army of rich kids who had been gifted education, money and position without ever having had to lift a finger or take risk. No fear of failure because they were always shielded. 'Failing upwards' as it were. Some were brighter than others, but few had really got there on merit and few were anywhere near as smart as they thought they were. When the tide turned & everything went to shit they were spectacularly ill equipped to deal with it.

    Trump struck me as a variation on this. A different sort of operator & much more focused on public image & self promotion, but the same tribe.
    That's one of the two things that absolutely baffles me about Trump supporters:

    Some extremely smart people that I know...consider him to be a successful business man, and therefore well-equipped to be President of the United States.
    I'm simply aghast at this conclusion when it, by any measure, Trump is exactly as you described: An extremely wealthy child of mediocre capability that has failed his way upwards.

    If they were talking about Warren Buffet, I would agree wholeheartedly with the first part, but still question the validity of the assumption posed by the second part.

    The other thing is a wholesale unblinking acceptance of Trump's moral cesspool of a past history and personality (something they would've taken to streets with torches over, in the case of a Democrat, and especially Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton) but something they are more than willing to smilingly overlook because of his "policies", brushing his deep and obvious reprehensible character flaws (which is far too mild of a way of putting it) as mere "buffoonery" or "rough around the edges".

    Truly remarkable. And truly sad.

    As an op-ed said almost exactly one year ago:

    Donald Trump is not fit to be president of the United States. He does not possess the requisite intellect and does not understand the significance of the office he holds nor the tasks associated with it. He doesn't read. He doesn't bother to peruse important files and intelligence reports and knows little about the issues that he has identified as his priorities. His decisions are capricious and they are delivered in the form of tyrannical decrees. He is a man free of morals. As has been demonstrated hundreds of times, he is a liar, a racist and a cheat.

    And in the 12 months, I've seen nothing to demonstrate any growth or change on Trump's part. But then, sociopaths in his position aren't really capable of change.
    Far better it is to dare mighty things, than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat ~ Theodore Roosevelt

  6. #36
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    I agree with the sentiments expressed by Tophatter and Bigfella in this thread.

    That being said, I have no skin in the game, I'm doing OK, I haven't been affected in a bad way by any of this stuff, and I'm mostly back to just laughing when I see the next big ridiculous thing on cable news.
    What I don't want to see is the Bills winning a Super Bowl. As long as I'm alive that doesn't happen.

  7. #37
    Defense ProfessionalSenior Contributor tbm3fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    My thanks! I'll use it well :-)



    That's one of the two things that absolutely baffles me about Trump supporters:

    Some extremely smart people that I know...consider him to be a successful business man, and therefore well-equipped to be President of the United States.
    I'm simply aghast at this conclusion when it, by any measure, Trump is exactly as you described: An extremely wealthy child of mediocre capability that has failed his way upwards.

    If they were talking about Warren Buffet, I would agree wholeheartedly with the first part, but still question the validity of the assumption posed by the second part.

    The other thing is a wholesale unblinking acceptance of Trump's moral cesspool of a past history and personality (something they would've taken to streets with torches over, in the case of a Democrat, and especially Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton) but something they are more than willing to smilingly overlook because of his "policies", brushing his deep and obvious reprehensible character flaws (which is far too mild of a way of putting it) as mere "buffoonery" or "rough around the edges".

    Truly remarkable. And truly sad.

    As an op-ed said almost exactly one year ago:

    Donald Trump is not fit to be president of the United States. He does not possess the requisite intellect and does not understand the significance of the office he holds nor the tasks associated with it. He doesn't read. He doesn't bother to peruse important files and intelligence reports and knows little about the issues that he has identified as his priorities. His decisions are capricious and they are delivered in the form of tyrannical decrees. He is a man free of morals. As has been demonstrated hundreds of times, he is a liar, a racist and a cheat.

    And in the 12 months, I've seen nothing to demonstrate any growth or change on Trump's part. But then, sociopaths in his position aren't really capable of change.
    Could use a Joseph Welch right about now because outside McCain and Flake there is no one in the Republican Party who has the guts or honor to call a spade a spade.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    Some extremely smart people that I know...consider him to be a successful business man, and therefore well-equipped to be President of the United States.
    I would not go that far but, from an outside perspective, he is far from being the worst President in US history. Jimmy Carter comes to mind.

    Presently, he has forced Canada and Mexico to renegotiate NAFTA to the benefit of the US. He has movement in North Korea. And he woken up Asian complacency by refusing to put them on the pedestal. The shift to the Pacific is dead in the water. It's by no coincidence that Trump's threats of war pushed action on the Chinese on North Korea and for the first time, serious talk about avoiding a trade war.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    I would not go that far but, from an outside perspective, he is far from being the worst President in US history. Jimmy Carter comes to mind.

    Presently, he has forced Canada and Mexico to renegotiate NAFTA to the benefit of the US. He has movement in North Korea. And he woken up Asian complacency by refusing to put them on the pedestal. The shift to the Pacific is dead in the water. It's by no coincidence that Trump's threats of war pushed action on the Chinese on North Korea and for the first time, serious talk about avoiding a trade war.
    I don't think they're interested in avoiding a trade war though, judging by their demands.

  10. #40
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    trump's not the worst President, true, but that's largely due to Congressional paralysis (which given current GOP dominance is by itself is a demonstration of his poor political capability to push things through).

    plus it's really, really hard to beat the likes of Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, and Harding.

    just to address the foreign policy aspect of this:

    Presently, he has forced Canada and Mexico to renegotiate NAFTA to the benefit of the US.
    where?

    He has movement in North Korea.
    and if you believe that means anything I have an Agreed Framework to sell you.

    his alliance management has been piss-poor, actively alienating key allies. death of TPP was a huge blow to American economic credibility in the Pacific. American withdrawal from JCPOA opens up further fissures with allies, gives Russia more oil money, and for what?

    that his foreign policy is lousy shouldn't be a surprise. as i wrote earlier, he was and still is pig-ignorant when it comes to policy of any sort, foreign or not.

    there's a reason why his own Secretary of State called him a "f*cking moron", his own Chief of Staff called him an "idiot", his own National Security Advisor said he had the intelligence of a kindergartner, and the Republican chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee calls the WH an "adult daycare center".

    right now the global economy is doing well and US economic performance is good. if he were even a half-decent President, he should at least be SOMEWHAT close to Bill Clinton levels of popularity and job performance approval. he isn't, for good reason. so no, not the worst President. but it sure isn't for lack of trying.
    Last edited by astralis; 13 May 18, at 05:42.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    his alliance management has been piss-poor, actively alienating key allies.
    A few weeks back Australia celebrated the 100th anniversary of some key WW1 battles where General John Monash commanded a combined corps including US troops to victory. We have been a battlefield ally for 100 years & a formal one for almost 70 and we still don't know when (or if) we will get an Ambassador.

    One was ready to start work, but he got shifted to the Sth Korean job. The reason that was vacant is because the Korea expert set to fill it got pushed out by Trump because he was in favor of talks with the North & opposed to military action. Seems like precisely the guy you might want right now.

    So, we get humiliated because the guy in charge lacks basic competence. I would describe Trump's appointment process as chaotic, but that suggests more structure than actually exists. We aren't the worst example of his incompetent handling of allies, but a good example of something that should be easy to fix but apparently doesn't matter.

    Anyone remember when it was the end of the world because Obama allegedly moved a bust of Winston Churchill or gave the British PM a DVD box set as a gift? Funny how all those people seem to have fallen silent while the Manbaby in Chief is doing real damage to important long term relationships.


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  12. #42
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    There are going to be some absolutely killer books released about this administration. Screw the long, boring accounts. These really are going to read like reality TV scripts.


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  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    we still don't know when (or if) we will get an Ambassador.

    I would describe Trump's appointment process as chaotic, but that suggests more structure than actually exists
    Yet more evidence that Trump never expected or wanted to win.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    The reason that was vacant is because the Korea expert set to fill it got pushed out by Trump because he was in favor of talks with the North & opposed to military action. Seems like precisely the guy you might want right now.
    That's funny, I heard that Trump solved the Korean problem all by himself.
    Far better it is to dare mighty things, than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat ~ Theodore Roosevelt

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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    From your own article, Trump already got concessions that were not there before. Plus, Canada and Mexico got far more to lose than the US.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    and if you believe that means anything I have an Agreed Framework to sell you.
    That American, Japanese, and South Korean promises were worth toilet paper? We got a bargin with the Agreed Framework. We delayed North Korean nuclear works for 3 three years without paying one single cent nor laying one single brick.

    As of right now, we could not have gotten the Chinese to act if they did not believe that Trump was hell bent on war. Beijing only agreed to sanctions as a means to avert war.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    his alliance management has been piss-poor, actively alienating key allies. death of TPP was a huge blow to American economic credibility in the Pacific. American withdrawal from JCPOA opens up further fissures with allies, gives Russia more oil money, and for what?

    that his foreign policy is lousy shouldn't be a surprise. as i wrote earlier, he was and still is pig-ignorant when it comes to policy of any sort, foreign or not.

    there's a reason why his own Secretary of State called him a "f*cking moron", his own Chief of Staff called him an "idiot", his own National Security Advisor said he had the intelligence of a kindergartner, and the Republican chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee calls the WH an "adult daycare center".

    right now the global economy is doing well and US economic performance is good. if he were even a half-decent President, he should at least be SOMEWHAT close to Bill Clinton levels of popularity and job performance approval. he isn't, for good reason. so no, not the worst President. but it sure isn't for lack of trying.
    I have news for you. The world did not elect Trump. You did. We just have to live with it and manage the relationship as best we can. The allies need the US far more than the US needs us.

    As for damaging allies, Trump ain't even close to Eisenhower when he kicked the Israelis, Brits, and French out of the Suez. So, this long term damage thing is extremely overstated.
    Last edited by WABs_OOE; 13 May 18, at 15:18.

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    I would not go that far but, from an outside perspective, he is far from being the worst President in US history. Jimmy Carter comes to mind.

    Presently, he has forced Canada and Mexico to renegotiate NAFTA to the benefit of the US. He has movement in North Korea. And he woken up Asian complacency by refusing to put them on the pedestal. The shift to the Pacific is dead in the water. It's by no coincidence that Trump's threats of war pushed action on the Chinese on North Korea and for the first time, serious talk about avoiding a trade war.
    I guess the lesson is, when out of ideas act like a bully and threaten war
    "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" ~ Epicurus

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