21 questions for Donald Trump

In 2009 the Italian newspaper La Repubblica started to publish a daily set of ten questions to then Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The questions related to numerous allegations of corruption and Berlusconi’s evasive and inconsistent responses to them. The questions were never answered.

Although Berlusconi has been compared to Trump in terms of his populist appeal, his explicit corruption, his gaffes, vanity, sexual venalities and ongoing hairline issues, he was a much more astute and wily operator than Trump. Berlusconi was malevolent and arrogant, but not stupid or mad; Trump appears to present a perfect shitstorm of evil intentions and mental and emotional instability, together with profound and wilfull ignorance of the world, his role in it and how he is regarded by all thinking people.

If Trump were to be posed a similar set of questions in relation to his own crimes and the lies he tells to disguise them, he would struggle to understand the questions. His limited vocabulary, inability to concentrate and lack of attention to detail don’t appear to allow him to deal with matters of any complexity or depth, and his stupidity is such that he appears to have very little awareness of how his staggering dishonesty is apparent to all, for all that he is given a free pass by his supporters*. He is, to an extent, aided and abetted by those sections of the media which have sought to normalise his presidency, treating him as a legitimate holder of the office and – partly thanks to the understandable need of media organisations to maintain cordial relations with and thus access to the White House – rarely holding him to account for the outright lies that he espouses. Nonetheless, many have speculated about what might happen if he were to be truly put on the spot. I therefore present these questions – none of which, I feel with some certainty, he would be able to answer in a meaningful way – in an attempt to plumb the depths of his ignorance, for it is within that dark, dismal chasm that we now all dwell.

1. What is the capital city of Iran?

2. Which country is your present wife from?

3. What are the opening words to the US Constitution?

4. Can you name 3 presidents before Kennedy and give their terms of office?

5. What does the term ‘balance of payments’ mean?

6. What is the name of your predecessor’s autobiography?

7. When did you last see your grandchildren?

8. What is the current population of the United States?

9. When did Kim Jong Il die?

10. What is the address of the White House?

11. Why was the American Civil War fought?

12. Can you name any one of the four soldiers who died in Niger two weeks ago?

13. What is ‘Leaves of Grass’?

14. Who composed the national anthem?

15. Can you name three leading US newspaper columnists?

16. Can you describe how climate change is supposed to work?

17. What is the name of the current Prime Minister of Canada?

18. What is the name of the athlete who inspired the #takeaknee movement?

19. What does the word ‘nuclear’ mean?

20. What is the territorial status of Puerto Rico?

21. What do you remember of the Oath of Office?

*Of course there will always be a hard lump of supporters who will never abandom him, maybe best thought of less as deplorables and more as unflushables.

Curb Your Enthusiasm: That joke isn’t funny anymore

Although the title ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ was apparently randomly chosen, given that the show depicts the tribulations of a rich, white, straight man in a world where, to coin a phrase, Others’ Feelings Matter, perhaps an alternative title – one more in keeping with the world in 2017 – could be ‘Check Your Privilege’. While I’ve long been a huge fan of the programme, it’s sometimes felt like a guilty pleasure as I’ve noticed that it’s much more popular with male friends than with female ones. Similarly, ‘Larry David”s enjoyment of life is often constrained by the need to exhibit respect towards people different from himself. I was looking forward to the new series but judging from the response in The Guardian, from Limmy, and from a friend who’s somehow seen the first episodes (I’ve only seen assorted clips*), enthusiasm for the show is waning.

As a bluntly-spoken New Yorker living in California (not to mention something of a schlemiel), Larry constantly triggers fault lines among people who appear primed to take offence. In each episode he either gets stitched up or manages to stitch himself up as the bit of social fabric he has (often inadvertently) torn up tangles itself around his ankles. Adam Kotsko’s essay ‘Awkwardness’ addresses programmes such as ‘Curb’ and The Office’. He argues that although their protagonists are mostly affable and largely well-intentioned, such shows demonstrate that the process of adjusting to a post-1960s world ostensibly built on mutual respect is inherently problematic, and therefore, in an exaggerated form, excellent material for comedy. They show that the imposition of rules around language and etiquette leads to constant clashes, given that such rules are mostly unstated and thus can appear arbitrary and unfair. The fact that Larry David and Michael Scott seem to be emotionally stunted, often sociopathically reckless, selfish, egotistical, and grudgeful does not render them monsters. Rather, their fallibility represents our own vulnerabilities. This is a complex, messy world and we all behave or seem to behave like assholes from time to time. As Phil Harrison puts it, ‘there’s an exquisite agony about the finest episodes that stem from the suspicion that everything happening to Larry could probably happen to you on a particularly bad day’. Their plight is a universal one.

Thus, ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ was never a resentful diatribe against political correctness per se, but rather an intelligent satire. It is not demanding that the edifice of post-60s respect for other identities be blown up. There are limits on individual honesty and the satisfaction of our impulses, and sometimes our encounters with those limits are awkward and lead to more hurt feelings. That doesn’t imply we should all join the NRA and look up the quickest route to Charlottesville. Or, as the article puts it, ‘Maybe the world has changed without telling Larry David. Maybe Larry now simply feels too much like a rich, straight white man lumbering around shoving his demented, free-ranging privilege and entitlement in everyone’s face?’.

The extent to which curmudgeonly white men are no longer on the back foot is once again demonstrated, with unerring and dispiriting predictability, in the comments following Phil Harrison’s article. Their tone is largely resentful and humourless, anti-intellectual and personally spiteful, expressing fury against the media itself and the individual journalist as though the free press has no right to cover culture. Some of the commenters seem to regard the piece as an example of #fakenews.

The fact that the article calls the new series ‘catchphrase and slapstick’ put me in mind of a stage show I saw recently about the life of Benny Hill. Although I found it trite and distasteful, the rest of the audience, people mostly in their 60s and 70s, lapped it up. Tastes in comedy change very quickly, especially from generation to generation. The funny bone changes shape in tune with changing social mores. Butts of jokes turn out to have their own perspectives, to want to explain their own actions and maybe make their own jokes. Although Larry David is the same age as Donald Trump, he’s certainly no fan and his show is – or has been so far – much too sophisticated for your average deplorable. Nonetheless, there is something of Trump’s appeal in David’s comedy. (Plus his indiscrimate targetting of Muslims/Arabs/Iranians may explain why Steve Bannon apparently finds it so entertaining.) Thus in 2017 his particular shtick doesn’t make us laugh as it did five or ten years ago. As someone else who used to be amusing and is now little more than a source of embarrassment once sang, it’s too near the bone and it’s too close to home. Tl;dr: Crotchety old white men are not as charming as they used to be.

*Anyone unhappy that I’ve written this without watching the whole new series is welcome to track down somewhere I can stream it in Italy.

Murder on the Trump Train Express

The release next month of a new version of ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ may be, as we’ll see, timely, but I doubt the movie will have the same impact on me as the star-studded original did when I half-saw it while hiding behind the sofa at the age of eight or so. I found the film so upsetting because it’s a multiple murder mystery – the plot shows that the victim was such an abhorrent bastard that pretty much everyone he came into contact with had more than enough motive to stick a dagger deep into his guts. But how, you might ask, does that make the movie timely? Well…

Robert Reich yesterday posted the transcript of a conversation he had with an old friend, a Republican former member of Congress. His friend bemoaned the situation that so many Republicans find themselves in: on the one hand, they’re pretty much all fully aware that Donald “President” Trump is out of control and beyond all reason, a perfect human shitstorm of insanity, stupidity and evil who could, on a momentary whim in response to the merest slight his befogged brain might perceive via ‘Fox & Friends’, unleash a planetary catastrophe of unprecendented proportions – or, even worse, damage the mid-term prospects of the Republican Party. The bind that the poor Republicans find themselves is that although they are aware of all the above, and would – in at some least some noble cases – prefer the human race to survive, they also really, really want to give themselves a huge tax cut, and so are disinclined to disembark from the Trump Train for the time being. You can imagine their frustration. (Not for nothing did Noam Chomsky call the GOP the most dangerous organisation on the planet.) Then there are individual Republicans who have been betrayed and/or publicly humiliated, some of whom happen to combine a history of violence with proximity to their tormentor: former soldier John McCain (who’s going to die soon anyway); John Kelly, who has been wearing an army uniform and carrying a loaded weapon since the age of 3; erstwhile oil baron/mass-murderer Rex Tillerson; and Ayn Rand-worshipping psychopath Paul Ryan. All of whom happen to be firm believers in the primacy of the 2nd Amendment and thus subscribers to the notion that political violence can be both righteous and redemptive. The list of those insulted by Trump also includes: the entire populations of Mexico, Qatar, Iran, North Korea and Puerto Rico; pretty much all NFL and most NBA players; 800,000 DACA recipients and their friends and relatives; the families of the four soldiers killed in Niger last week; the entire surviving US military and anyone who respects the Stars and Stripes; all journalists and everyone with regard for the freedom of the press and the First Amendment; anyone who might need healthcare and/or isn’t a white supremacist; all those of us who care about our children; every single human being who doesn’t want to die in a nuclear holocaust; anyone who doesn’t share his profound contempt for the entire human species; Rosie O’Donnell; all women who are not Rosie O’Donnell, plus, obviously, Rosie O’Donnell again; Russell Brand; and, why the hell not, just for good measure, me.

Speaking of me, this is what I wrote last November:

The US Republican Party is now faced with the conundrum of managing a situation which is to all intents and purposes impossible. There may already be whispers in the arras that he could be forcibly removed…few rational people living or dead would be all that opposed to a good old-fashioned off-stage poisoning or stabbing. Or possibly an air crash? I sincerely hope that 1) there are still some Republican leaders out there who still have some measure of faith in the values they profess and the integrity to implement them and 2) that they have left no options off the table.

It’s also worth noting that at the end of the film, Monsieur Poirot (played by Albert Finney) gracefully declines to arrest the twelve people responsible for ridding the world of such a repugnant beast, declaring (with a knowing look to the camera) that he has the ‘honneur to retire from the case’ – after all, the victim had been ‘deservedly murdered’. I hope that whoever dons the pince-nez and the twirly moustache in the 2017 version is able to deliver such lines with similar panache and make its implicit message of blithe impunity clear to all those with the means to respond accordingly. As for the motive, everyone who’s not catastrophically deluded and/or criminally complicit has more than enough of those. As with that other ‘elderly, malevolent American’ ‘Samuel Ratchett’, no sane human being would mourn the more-than-timely death of Donald Trump.


How to speak better English than Donald Trump


Would you (or your students) like to speak better English than a “native speaker”*? Wouldn’t it be great if your command of the language could be superior to that of the most powerful English speaker on the planet? Granted, Donald Trump is not noted for his articulacy. Possibly as a result of a degenerative brain disease, his fluency, coherence and range of vocabulary have deteriorated considerably over the years, as this 1992 interview demonstrates and this article explains in detail. He used to be able to follow a train of thought; now listening to him is more like witnessing a syntactical train crash. Half-ideas cascade chaotically like carriages piling up on top of one another, deafening explosions of total incoherence reverberate down the track while anyone with any regard for their personal safety runs away screaming.

The very latest indication that Trump’s mastery of standard (or, rather, sane) English is slipping out of his tiny grasp came yesterday, in the tweet he posted in the wake of yet another NRA-sponsored massacre**. His tweet offered his “warmest condolences” to the victims (and, obviously, no condemnation of the culprit – Trump hasn’t expressed any anger at the killings). Cue howls of ridicule across social media: why? Well, no one talks about “warm condolences”. You might offer warm congratulations to a friend who’s just found a job, or sincere or heartfelt condolences to someone who’s just lost a loved one. But the adjective ‘warm’ just doesn’t go with the noun ‘condolences’. Or, in other words, it doesn’t collocate.

How do I know this? Well, I’ve spoken (and, more importantly, read) English all my life (and taught it for nearly 20 years). I’ve never seen or heard that expression before. The fact that Trump thought that ‘warm’ was an appropriate word in response to a mass shooting may be some indication of how such events make him feel deep down. But it’s also an indication that he’s not in control of what he’s saying. Maybe the fact that he boasts of never reading books has something to do with it.

So, how can you acquire a better command of the language than him? Well, you could buy yourself a collocations dictionary, which will tell you which adjectives are commonly used with which nouns, which nouns collocate with which verbs, etc. (Better language coursebooks also put a great deal of emphasis on what many now call ‘word grammar’.) Or, you could use this website. As you can see, it has a really simple interface, and is free. I urge all my students to use it, and it has an immediate and dramatic impact on the quality of their writing in particular. A smattering of collocations can easily raise any IELTS score from 6.5 to 7.0, for example. I’m sure Trump would struggle to write a coherent 250-word essay; he probably hasn’t composed anything longer than 140 characters since he was cheating his way through college. (As for writing in a foreign language, he’s probably barely aware at this point that such things exist.) In the speaking test, he’s probably get a 4.0: links basic sentences but with repetitious use of simple connectives and some breakdowns in coherence; can only convey basic meaning on unfamiliar topics; errors are frequent and may lead to misunderstanding and/or nuclear war.

*This is in inverted commas as it’s a highly problematic term, its use punishable by stoning in some quarters.
**Trump is also sponsored by the NRA, to the tune of more than $30 million.

Las Vegas killer ‘not a lone wolf’, says wolf 

The leader of a pack of wolves has spoken out against ‘ubiquitous‘ media descriptions of the perpetrator of the biggest ever mass shooting by a sole gunman on American soil as a ‘lone wolf’.

Speaking at a hastily-arranged press conference, the wolf, who refused to give his full name, expressed his ‘grave disappointment’ that such a term was being used to smear his species.

“Although there have, as we all know, been cases – often more mythological than actual – of wolves attacking groups of humans, this outrage was not perpetrated by one of our kind.”

He went on to point out that wolves do not possess the type of anatomical equipment necessary for the use of automatic weapons, and are also not conditioned by the same instincts of brutal, senseless cruelty which seem to have lain behind the slaughter in Las Vegas.

“We would like to make it very clear that the culprit in this case, lone or otherwise, did not belong to our pack, indeed was not a member of our species. In fact, he appears to be yet another example of a far more deadly creature: the white male human, armed not only with the kind of weaponry which should clearly be unobtainable for the ordinary citizen, but also with a deep-seated resentment against others of his species, indeed a contempt for the very notion of belonging to a ‘pack’. We would suggest that inquiries into how such an individual was radicalised, inspired and propelled to commit murder on such a massive scale might focus less on scapegoating the lupine community, and more on the role of media outlets such as Fox News (no pun intended) and Infowars. And should your species wish in all sincerity to address this problem, then call your NRA by its proper name: a terrorist organisation, one far more bloodthirsty than anything to be found in the animal kingdom.”

The wolf then excused himself, asking only that his “deepest condolences” be passed on to the victims of the massacre.

A prediction: Trump will tweet in favour of Catalan independence 

Maybe if Scotland had opted for independence in 2014 the international context would now be different. Maybe the Brexit vote wouldn’t have happened and Trump would have lost. In such a scenario, the prospect of Catalan independence would have a very different meaning.

Catalonia is a country with a distinct culture, its own political traditions, a (partially recent) history of brutal oppression by the Spanish state and (most importantly) a consequent desire to be independent. The fact that it isn’t already is a pure accident of history. Nation states come and go; a country is, someone once, a dialect with a flag. As it happens, Catalonia has a very attractive flag, one that makes it look like its national anthem should be composed by Manu Chao. Partly as a result, Barcelona is generally seen as a a left-wing city – it has a radical mayor (who, as it happens, opposes independence). However, especially outside Barcelona, Catalan nationalism is not necessarily a progressive force. The Catalan left has nontheless partly presented this referendum as a vote against austerity and neo-francoist Spanish nationalism. (The spectacle of violent repression has given credence to the latter claim.) Nevertheless, a huge vote for independence will not be interpreted in such terms internationally. Nationalism, by definition, always involves a narrow set of concerns. The fact that deeply reactionary forces outside Spain will celebrate the victory concerns me more than the impact on dynamics inside the Spanish state. In the country where I live, Italy, the result will encourage the far-right to renew their campaign for more autonomy for the rich regions of the north, who have long complained about the burden of having to sustain the filthy peasants of southern Italy. There have been echoes of this kind of rhetoric in the Catalan case.

Hence the support of the global far-right for independence. The Italian fascist leader Matteo Salvini and the British far-right party Ukip have expressed support for Catalan independence; should the vote be tallied and independence be approved, their allies such as Le Pen and the AFD will present it as another Brexit, a vote against the European status quo. The Kremlin’s propaganda outlet Russia Today has made no secret of its affiliation, some of Donald Trump’s few remaining non-bot social media enthusiasts have expressed principled, albeit somewhat selective, concerns about political violence, and Julian Assange has been busy spreading disinformation about events via Twitter. Then there’s Trump himself. As is well-known, Trump loves to be on the winning side. Regardless of his previous stated support for Spanish union, he, seeing his political allies celebrating, will be desperate to join in. Trump is nothing if not inconsistent: witness how quick he was to disavow his support for ‘his’ candidate in the Alabama primary this week. Of course, he’s far too stupid to understand either the ins and outs of the plebiscite’s legality or the consequences of explicit US support for an unofficial referendum over the break-up of a major European power. He won’t reflect on how his actions will affect countries from Turkey to Italy to the US itself (how much does Puerto Rico gain from its status?). Trump has no consistency, no ideology, no loyalty and no strategy, and is in endless need of new distractions. That’s why I believe that in the aftermath of the vote and the near-universal revulsion that the violence has provoked, he will, with no regard for the implications, in between bouts of attacking hurricane victims, berating black sports people and trying as hard as his tiny fingers will allow him to provoke an actual nuclear war, tweet in support of independence for Catalonia. If he does, I hope the Catalan independence movement tells him very firmly ves-t’en a prendre pel cul. That would be a great symbolic statement of the kind of country they would like to build.

First they abandoned the Puerto Ricans

I once tried to watch a documentary about the political status of Puerto Ricans. With all its myriad details of unincorporation vs statehood vs self-determination, it was considerably less entertaining than ‘West Side Story’. Now, for more than three million people, such issues may be a matter of life and death.

Donald Trump doesn’t know much about Puerto Rico either. He’s been told that it’s an island, and sort-of foreign and sort-of not, but he also knows that the people there can’t vote. He’d really rather just tell people things are going great and go and play golf. It doesn’t matter to him what happens to the people there. It’s an island, for Christ’s sake. Trump wouldn’t have the capacity to help even if he wanted to. He just has no intrinsic motivation to care about people who can’t do anything for him in return. (EDIT: The US has brought back Trump’s five predecessors to coordinate the reconstruction, due to the fact that the current office-holder so obviously does not give a shit.)

Trump also has no impulse control. Since he became president, he’s spent more than two months on the golf course. Although (as I wrote shortly after the inauguration) he’s the kind of leader that the US has imposed on so many other countries, it’s not so much that (as some claim) he’s following an authoritarian playbook; he’s too stupid, arrogant and lazy to read. Instead he’s an instinctive tyrant, his instincts conditioned by the crudest imaginable form of Social Darwinism. The notion that life is all about competition is a suitable ideology for someone who’d already been awarded the gold medal before they’d even drawn their first breath. This is not story he tells himself, of course. He just knows he’s entitled to go and play golf whenever he feels like it. His ideology, then, is Neoliberalism at its most basic: the market works for me, so it must work for everyone else. More competition is always good, because I’m the guy who owns all the starting pistols and the finishing tape. Now kneel before me – or, rather, stay on your feet or I’ll use the starting pistol on you.

Now, such a person has an instinctive understanding of threat posed by climate change. To people like Trump, the idea that society might – indeed, must – become more cooperative is worse than the reality that our habitat is collapsing. As Naomi Klein has cogently argued over the last few years, capitalism (particularly in its turbocharged, scorched earth variety) is simply incompatible with the continued existence of our species.

Of course, it’s easy to blame our leaders for our plight. There’s also the question of our own responsibility. We, as a ‘civilisation’, long ago collectively decided to ignore the implications. That is, after all why Trump was elected: there’s nothing less real than reality TV, so one way to escape from a frightening reality was to elect a reality TV star, someone who plays the role of a tycoon for the cameras. Facebook, Twitter have happened along, not quite by chance, at just the right moment to enable us to screen out those aspects of reality that make us uncomfortable. It’s no accident that Trump once declared that “All I know is what’s on the internet“. While Obama was the first black president, Trump is the first internet one. (Not to mention the “first white president“.)

Puerto Rico is an instructive case. It’s not like parts of Bangladesh, Houston, or Miami, i.e. part of a larger territory into which our perception of its suffering can be subsumed. It’s isolated, so presents a very stark test case of whether or not we actually give a flying fuck about our future. If we don’t respond to calls like that of the Mayor of San Juan, and not just with donations but with political action, we are truly lost. Every city on earth will face similar existential crises,often part of bigger ones, like the coming wave of crop failures. The market – the rising price of food and energy, which some are lucky to be able to afford – will only protect us so far. Its not just that our current leaders will let us starve or drown, they will actively ignore our plight just as they denied the circumstances that made it inevitable. We have to recognise that what is happening in Puerto Rico is a climate catastrophe, part of a much larger and even deadlier global transformation, and act accordingly by making sacrifices on behalf of those already suffering and by getting rid of political leaders who refuse to even acknowledge the nature of the crisis. We must build local and international solidarity networks and demand that those we elect to govern our cities develop infrastructure to withstand the inevitable. If we don’t do these things, there will be no one left to speak up for us.

Why isn’t Trump dead yet?

Around 15 years ago it became commonplace for anyone who spoke up in defence of basic human rights to be posed the following hypothetical dilemma:

You say it’s always wrong to torture people. That’s fair enough. But what about terrorists? What if the authorities somehow knew that a captured suspect was planning to blow up an entire city? Wouldn’t it be morally right to put pressure on such a terrorist in order to save millions of lives?

Of course, such questions were a red herring. There never has been or could be such a textbook case. No authority could claim foreknowledge which allowed it to abandon universally agreed principles of respect for the judicial process and for human rights. That doesn’t mean they don’t try, and this ubiquitous theoretical challenge to the foundations of human rights – at every level of culture, from the front page of Newsweek to ten or so series of the TV show ’24’ – was accompanied by a very non-theoretical assault on those principles, most spectacularly in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. This is how we arrived at the point where the most powerful political figure in the world can openly instruct police officers to exceed the bounds of legal conduct in the treatment of anyone they don’t like and/or suspect of (potentially) committing a crime.

As the previous paragraph made clear, I believe that human rights are inalienable. No authority has the right to exclude any individual from fair judicial processes or to negate their physical existence.

But there’s something about the current conjuncture which I find puzzling. The most powerful position in the world, one that grants immediate access to weapons that could annihilate human existence at the touch of a single button or at the posting of a single tweet, is in the hands of a man who is deeply psychologically, mentally and emotionally unstable, has no moral scruples which might serve to regulate his impulses, and no meaningful understanding or apparent sense of either the consequences of his actions for the human race. He has also repeatedly demonstrated that he has no respect whatsoever for the vast majority of that which his compatriots hold most dear, including – particularly if they happen to be black – their lives. This in a country which has huge numbers of very heavily-armed individuals who have been brought up by Hollywood movies to believe that it is right and good to use violence, up to and including self-sacrifice, to redress the moral balance of the universe, and that God has uniquely anointed the American people with this redemptive task.

As I say, I personally don’t believe in political violence, and I don’t believe that any institution or individual has the right to deprive anyone else of life. There are, however, many people who do believe such things, and who have the means and motivation to act on their beliefs, on our behalf.

Where are they?

(P.s. I’m well aware of the argument that those who focus on Trump as the exclusive source of the world’s problems and ignore the brutal history of American imperialism are guilty of naivety. As it happens, such notional individuals are not nearly as naive as those who, like Glenn Greenwald, argue that those who focus on Trump as the source of the world’s problems and ignore etc, etc, etc are patronising. Greenwald was, until recently, a fine and principled journalist; now, he’s working for the other side.)

21 facts that PROVE Donald Trump is NOT racist

  1. There are numerous photos in existence which show President Donald Trump in the presence of black people. Were he racist, he would have refused point-black to ever have his photo taken with any black people, punched them in the face and rapidly walked away from the camera. No racist on earth would ever think of not doing that, and it is absolutely inconceivable that Donald Trump could combine lifelong racist beliefs and behaviours with the occasional cynical photo opportunity for PR purposes. It’s also definitely the case that any black people who have been in shot whenever a photo of Donald Trump has been taken can be considered to have granted him unqualified support for anything he has ever said or done and will ever say or do. It’s like he owns them.
  2. A huge number of notable black people have expressed enduring respect for President Trump. Muhammed Ali called him ‘the greatest anti-racist activist that the world has ever seen’ on at least seventy-seven separate occasions, while Rosa Parks requested that the words “I would never have had the courage to sit at the front of the bus if it hadn’t been for the brave and principled leadership provided by President Donald J. Trump, truly the first black president” be chiselled on her gravestone. Rapper Chuck D even named his first three children Donald in tribute to President Trump. (N.B. Although there is no actual evidence of any of these things being true and it may well appear that we have made all of them up on the spot, we refer you to points 3, 4, 8, 9, 12, 13, 19 and 20. below.)
  3. Barack Obama once said something negative about white people, or something.
  4. Hillary Clinton allegedly used a private email server.
  5. The notion that Donald Trump is racist is part of a witchhunt orchestrated by the Deep State. The fact that there is no evidence suggesting the existence of a ‘deep state’ (an expression imported from Turkey) is conclusive proof that the Deep State is so powerful it has covered up all signs of its existence, (c/f ‘The Usual Suspects’). The current secret leader of the Deep State just happens to be…Lebron James!!!
  6. Racism doesn’t exist. Albert Einstein called the very concept “an absurdity, a transparent Frankfurt School fabrication and an attempt to disguise the natural superiority of the white race”. (N.B. This quote has also been attributed to Anders Breivik.)
  7. Slavery existed before the so-called slave trade, etc etc etc (see stormfront.org for more background on this).
  8. Barack Obama once said something negative about white people, or something.
  9. Hillary Clinton allegedly used a private email server.
  10. There is nothing ‘racist’ about believing that human beings can and should be divided on the basis of genetic differences which determine their innate abilities and characteristics, that white people occupy the highest position in the racial hierarchy and that their resultant socio-economic and juridical superiority may at times need to be enforced by violence.
  11. Donald Trump is himself married to an illegal immigrant who barely speaks any English.
  12. Barack Obama once said something negative about white people, or something.
  13. Hillary Clinton allegedly used a private email server.
  14. There were some crimes in Chicago, or something. (I can’t remember the details, it was on Breitbart.)
  15. It is President Trump’s repeatedly stated belief that heavily-armed self-declared nazis and KKK supporters bearing burning torches and screaming about the innate superiority of white people over blacks and Jews is unproblematic, even healthy, and that those who oppose racism and fascism are terrorists who deserve to be met with extreme force. Those who connect these beliefs with his family history of KKK affiliation and a series of 1970s court cases which conclusively proved that his family business systematically discriminated against black tenants, add in the fact that he used to keep a copy of Adolf Hitler’s speeches by his bedside, and draw the conclusion that he is and always has been racist, are somehow, for reasons we prefer not to go into, missing the point.
  16. Barack Obama once said something negative about white people, or something.
  17. Hillary Clinton allegedly used a private email server.
  18. Purported recordings of President Donald Trump repeatedly using the N-word while filming The Apprentice has been hidden by the series’ producer, a confirmed Trump supporter, so no one needs to worry about that. Phew.
  19. Barack Obama once said something negative about white people, or something.
  20. Hillary Clinton allegedly used a private email server.
  21. President Donald Trump is clearly absolutely massively racist, but his supporters can’t admit this to others or themselves, so they run around in circles performing logical somersaults, making up bizarre lies on the basis of utterly implausible hearsay and humiliating themselves beyond repair.


Is Donald Trump literally illegitimate?

I don’t just mean politically. Obviously he’s playing the wrong role, was swept into office on a frothing white tide, and is now a demented puppet of forces he couldn’t even begin to understand. I mean literally.

Clearly he had enough of a connection with his father to inherit his wealth and his hate-fuelled value system. But accounts of his life make clear just how insecure he is about his status in a range of fields. As President, he projects those insecurities onto others, tweeting and rabidly barking at his mirror-mirror-on-the-wall rallies about the illegitimacy of his political opponents. The force of his obsession with others’ illegitimacy was what took him to the White House. Of course, he focussed (and continues to focus) principally on Obama’s legitimacy as an American – maybe Trump, like many of his fellow racists, believes that all black people are literally bastards. As for Hillary, the fact that, as he flounders further and further out of his depth and the reality dawns even on him that he lacks even the most basic notion of what his rights and responsibilities as president are, his only consistent response is to whine about the illegitimacy of her defeat, is a clear sign that he knows that he is marooned in a role he is absolutely and uniquely ill-suited for.

I suspect that what lies underneath Trump’s almost crippling self-doubts about himself as a white heterosexual male is a fear that he is, in the deepest of senses, illegitimate. As he teeters on the edge of a full hysterical breakdown just at the moment when his emotional inadequacies may lead the world to an actual full-on nuclear fucking war, one way to send him gibbering away from the levers of power may be to state clearly to him what we all know: he is not only illegitimate as president, but also not the rightful heir to his father’s name and fortune. Not only is he pretending to be Commander-in-Chief; he is pretending to be the son of Fred Trump, and thus only pretending to be Donald J. Trump.

He tried to bring down Obama by casting down on his legitimacy, thus revealing his own Achilles’ (as he, less literate than any black high-school drop-out, would attempt to spell it) heal. Now’s the time we need to leave aside his tax returns just for a moment and ask: what are you hiding about your birth certificate, Donald? Could it be that the J actually stands for…Jamal?!

Maybe a good hashtag to use would be simply…#birther. Now, I wonder how we can go about getting Lebron James to tweet that?