Author Topic: Trump is binary  (Read 3071 times)

TheDrake

  • Members
    • View Profile
Trump is binary
« on: July 19, 2018, 12:21:12 PM »
Over time, I get the impression that Trump's opinions are one-bit binary.

Jeff Sessions was a great guy, then he recused himself, and he's a disappointing, beleaguered guy who he regrets hiring.
NATO is terrible, obsolete, a waste of time. 24 hours later it goes to being wonderful.

I don't think Trump flip-flops as much as he rounds up to 100% and down to 0%. It's a toddler mindset, where there is no gray area. Everything is either the best thing that ever happened, or the worst tragedy imaginable. Where other people might ramp their rhetoric over time, like setting a pot to boiling, Trump is like hitting the pot with a blowtorch. Or dropping it in liquid nitrogen.

I think its why he can't bring himself to criticize Putin on anything, he's still rounding up to 100%. Should Putin do something to provoke his ire, Trump will immediately round down to 0%. Kim Jong Un was at 0%, a maniac, a madman, a sick puppy who deserved assassination. Then he crosses the threshold to round up, and he's talented, smart, and honorable.

Seriati

  • Members
    • View Profile
Re: Trump is binary
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2018, 12:41:14 PM »
Over time, I get the impression that Trump's opinions are one-bit binary.

Jeff Sessions was a great guy, then he recused himself, and he's a disappointing, beleaguered guy who he regrets hiring.

Any President would regret that pick.  You can't even imagine how happy I would have been if Holder had been forced to recuse himself from the things he buried for Obama.

Quote
NATO is terrible, obsolete, a waste of time. 24 hours later it goes to being wonderful.

You say something like this, but is it based on reality?  Or is it based on reading interpretations filtered through the media.  Take a look at this CBS rundown on Trump and NATO.  https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-nato-past-comments/

Is there somewhere you are grabbing terrible or waste of time?  Looks like a consistent message that NATO's costs are unfairly allocated.  That's just a fact.  And that's a policy position that every single person that wants the US not to be a global policeman and/or thinks we spend too much on the military should endorse.

Obsolete?  Beats me if he meant more than how he clarified it - with the reference to it's lack of anti-terrorism impact.  But that's not an unfair clarification, and again its more a fact than an opinion.

Is your criticism that the soundbite sounds bad?  Or is it that you disagree with the idea that NATO needed to do more to combat terrorism (different equipment and training for a modern world) and that other countries in the alliance should not have to honor their commitments?

TheDrake

  • Members
    • View Profile
Re: Trump is binary
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2018, 01:16:13 PM »
I am paraphrasing from Trump's own statements and words subject to my interpretation, not the inevitable respins. Trump did stop short from saying he would withdraw from NATO. Maybe I'm being a little binary in this instance. I could drag out a bunch of different negative quotes.

Regardless, the point is that there isn't much, if any nuance. If you prefer, NATO is a bunch of freeloading countries who won't do what they ought to be doing, and their mission is obsolete and should be changed. Or insert your own characterization.

With regard to Sessions, we're talking about a guy that has been hard core pushing Trump's immigration agenda, a strong early supporter, dropping cases concerning a number of areas in alignment with Trump. He's made this one decision - even stipulating for argument that it was a serious error, there isn't any acknowledgement that Sessions has been a model appointment in every other respect. Especially when you consider other cabinet picks by comparison. Is the Attorney General's primary responsibility really to shield the President? Does it deserve a drop from an A to an F?

TheDrake

  • Members
    • View Profile
Re: Trump is binary
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2018, 01:17:11 PM »
BTW, it is possible to agree with all of Trump's judgements on what is good or bad and still recognize his binary nature.

Seriati

  • Members
    • View Profile
Re: Trump is binary
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2018, 02:11:00 PM »
TheDrake, I don't know if Trump is really binary or not.  I think he's perceived as binary because Tweets don't allow for much more than soundbites.  When you get the fuller explanations they make a lot more sense.  Again, the fact that our media refuses to report in an unbiased (or even just moderately biased manner) has robbed us of a lot of ability to hear the full explanation from the administration.  Generally all you hear is a selective quote or an interpretation.

As far as Sessions, he's not my favorite.  He never was my favorite.  He's too extreme in many areas and too political in how he acts.  He has done some good things, but he's too big of a wimp to do many things he should.

I agree though the AG's job should not be to shield the President.  However, it'd be ridiculous not to acknowledge that that's exactly what they were expected to do and did in fact do with the prior administrations (plural).  Trump has every right to be disappointed after the way the position has been abused by previous administrations (with full buy in from the "objective" media).

TheDrake

  • Members
    • View Profile
Re: Trump is binary
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2018, 02:57:23 PM »
Cox didn't shield Nixon. Ashcroft didn't do much to shield Bush. Clinton certainly didn't get effective shielding, although Reno certainly tried. Anyway, I won't argue the point very strenuously as there are plenty of examples in various contexts.

As you say, it can be hard to know exactly how Trump thinks, we only know what he presents. He may quietly still think a great deal of Sessions, tell him in private it is all for show, and use his tweets to help fuel outrage about the investigation in general or other purposes.

I read his full transcript from the press conference recently, I didn't get a lot of gray area from that either. I've seen his public statements about negotiating with Democrats on immigration, and I've read some of his speeches. I do acknowledge the press will extract whatever they want to build a story, but Trump isn't a John Kerry whose statements were so gray and nuanced at times that he seemed to embrace all possible positions at once. Nor is he a Ron Paul, whose strong views rarely changed even when press tried to hit him with a gotcha to make him water down his position.

The fuller explanations are perceived by me as damage control by White House staff. This is essentially the communication problem that you get when you launch ideas via tweet - at best.

This binary presentation well preceded his political life, though. Everything is "the best" or "the worst". Society is rotting away. I think a handshake is barbaric. I'm very very very intelligent. Oftentimes when I was sleeping with one of the top women in the world...

Maybe the most revealing:

It’s been said that I believe in the power of positive thinking. In fact, I believe in the power of negative thinking.” (The Art of the Deal, 1987)

Isn't it possible to take from that that he believes that when he would think as far in the positive or negative as necessary to get the results he wants?

D.W.

  • Members
    • View Profile
Re: Trump is binary
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2018, 03:00:01 PM »
Quote
I think he's perceived as binary because Tweets don't allow for much more than soundbites.
You've got to be joking?  It's neither (his choice to use) tweets, or "the media".  The man himself uses non stop superlatives or non stop (whatever the antonym of superlatives is...).  Within the same spoken sentence he tends to use 2 or more absolute adjectives.  Nothing just IS.  It's the most something, the best something, really excellent or really terrible or the worst...

I wouldn't call him binary.  I'd call him an extremist.

Seriati

  • Members
    • View Profile
Re: Trump is binary
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2018, 03:10:24 PM »
I read his full transcript from the press conference recently, I didn't get a lot of gray area from that either. I've seen his public statements about negotiating with Democrats on immigration, and I've read some of his speeches. I do acknowledge the press will extract whatever they want to build a story, but Trump isn't a John Kerry whose statements were so gray and nuanced at times that he seemed to embrace all possible positions at once. Nor is he a Ron Paul, whose strong views rarely changed even when press tried to hit him with a gotcha to make him water down his position.

I'm trying to reconcile this thoughtful statement, with this completely unnuanced statement, that doesn't seem terrible accurate:

Quote
NATO is terrible, obsolete, a waste of time. 24 hours later it goes to being wonderful.

Maybe you can help me out.

That said, I don't object to the description of binary.  I was objecting to the specific and misleading application.  Showing that Trump is binary doesn't excuse misstating or misconstruing what he did say.  And if you're hanging your "binary" conclusion on misstatements, which is what you appeared to be doing, then I was curious if correcting the misstatements would change the conclusion.

TheDrake

  • Members
    • View Profile
Re: Trump is binary
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2018, 12:00:16 AM »
I read his full transcript from the press conference recently, I didn't get a lot of gray area from that either. I've seen his public statements about negotiating with Democrats on immigration, and I've read some of his speeches. I do acknowledge the press will extract whatever they want to build a story, but Trump isn't a John Kerry whose statements were so gray and nuanced at times that he seemed to embrace all possible positions at once. Nor is he a Ron Paul, whose strong views rarely changed even when press tried to hit him with a gotcha to make him water down his position.

I'm trying to reconcile this thoughtful statement, with this completely unnuanced statement, that doesn't seem terrible accurate:

Quote
NATO is terrible, obsolete, a waste of time. 24 hours later it goes to being wonderful.

Terrible, because they don't contribute anything, we're not getting value back for what we pay, we don't get any value. He never said anything about how NATO supported the US in Afghanistan, or any other action. They are bad because they don't pay 2%, in fact they should pay 4%. I think it would be interesting to figure out how many of our 3.5% actually support NATO missions. NATO doesn't have anything to do with our Pacific fleet, bases and operations in Japan, Korea. We aren't using NATO to fight terrorism, so it is a waste - even though it was never designed to do that.

Quote
That said, I don't object to the description of binary.  I was objecting to the specific and misleading application.  Showing that Trump is binary doesn't excuse misstating or misconstruing what he did say.  And if you're hanging your "binary" conclusion on misstatements, which is what you appeared to be doing, then I was curious if correcting the misstatements would change the conclusion.

It was definitely sloppy to paraphrase as loosely as I did, and I shouldn't have messed around that way. I would simply say his statements went from being almost entirely negative to being quite positive almost instantaneously by diplomatic standards. I think he would do well to remember how Europe also promised targets in Kyoto, and most if not all members missed the mark IIRC. He might also have noted and applauded the NATO countries that do meet the 2% standard.