Dotard vs. Rocket Man, and Other Feuds 

Loser! The Tweet Defeat of Donald Trump did not begin with “Liddle’ Bob Corker” and his oh-so-devastating viral tweet:


Impressive. But first blood was drawn by a cruder, pudgier authoritarian with bigger Daddy issues than our president. And it came in a classically Trumpian confrontation:

With a single mighty tweet, The Donald tagged North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-un with a memorable (and, I guess, derogatory) nickname: Rocket Man. He later prefixed that with Little. Hoo-ha, you’re it, ya little shit…


In responding, Kim consulted a seriously dated English phrasebook and hit back with Dotard, an insult so obscure that you had to look it up. But definitely derogatory.


Full disclosure: as a certified libtard, I recognized the word’s root and guessed its meaning easily.

SIDEBAR: A short history of ‘dotard’

If you think Kim flailed out a pathetic “I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I” response, you’re right. And wrong. He stumbled over his wording (as Trump does so often), but (as with so many of Trump’s “fatal” transgressions) public reaction transformed the flub into a magic insult. A huge positive. It caught an internet fire hotter than #covfefe. As it should: after all, Dotard J. Drumpf does roll nicely off the tongue.

The North Koreans also got off a couple of barking dog comparisons, rendering Trump’s madman comeback rather ordinary. He lost that game of tag. Trump is not often out-Trumped, especially by dumpy dictators or shorty senators.

I like the barking dog metaphor for both of them, actually. Howl all night, boys. At each other. At the Moon. At nothing at all. As annoying as that may sound, I pray for it. Because the reality of it should be a metaphor, but isn’t. The reality is two grown-up juveniles lobbing taunts at each across the Pacific Ocean. Oh, and just to make it interesting, they might start lobbing H-bombs instead.

It might even happen by mistake. Jeez. Telling those two apart is getting harder and harder…

It’s clear to just about everyone that Kim Jong-un should not be in charge of a country. Especially one with nuclear capability. But somehow, the debate over Trump’s mental fitness for his office rages on…

In this New York Times interview retiring Tennessee Senator Bob Corker ponders Trump’s diplomatic naïveté: “…he doesn’t realize that, you know, that we could be heading towards World War III with the kinds of comments that he’s making.

“…it’s like it’s an act to him…”

A week or two ago—an eon in Trump Years—Senator Corker began publicly questioning Trump’s fitness for the job. That has been shouted by his opponents since Trump declared in June 2015, of course. But for most Republicans (at least since Trump’s election), only whispered in private. Corker included. Now, questioning Trump’s sanity is becoming (to borrow a currently popular term) “normalized.”

This Washington Post review of three books has mental health professionals—and others—weighing in hesitantly. The books and the review itself ask the usual question, from several angles…

Is Trump mentally ill? Is America? And why not both? The books are:

  • The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump by Bandy X. Lee (ed.)
  • Twilight of American Sanity by Allen Frances
  • Fantasyland by Kurt Andersen

Kim and Trump just two dogs barking? If only. And if it was only them. I fear that the whole world has fallen into what I’ll call an Xtreme syndrome. Got to push the limit in every endeavor. I think ESPN pioneered it a generation ago with The X Games. Now all kinds of extreme (read: questionable) behavior is marketed as Xtreme-ly cool. You know, like cigarettes were during the Fifties and Sixties.

A current example is the “Eat Like You Mean It” fast food campaign designed to stuff bigger burgers, more bacon, et al., down your gullet. Be a man, overeat, proudly. But you know it’s bullshit when you can see that the bikini-clad models in those commercials aren’t really biting into those sloppy fat-burgers that are dripping sauce down their wrists. It’s all fake kabuki.

And now, The U.S.A. is led by a master of fake kabuki, a world class liar without any actual class. I think that the man lies more often than he shits.

It’s embarrassing. His narrative about post-hurricane Puerto Rico was little more than bragging how everyone thought the U.S. was doing a great job (which we were not). About Puerto Rican officials congratulating him personally on doing such a great job (which they were not).

And he seems to get away with these lies, at least he keeps telling them, even when they are so easily debunked in articles such as: San Juan mayor slams Trump administration comments on Puerto Rico hurricane response. But to grasp the lie you have to read those articles, and accept their truth.

Of course we saw Trump respond to criticism from the hard-working mayor of San Juan. She was out there obviously working her ass off, being visible in front of her citizens, demanding the federal disaster assistance that U.S. citizens pay for in taxes. Exemplifying a public servant.

Elsewhere, Trump sat comfortably behind a table—or on the fairway—lying about how wonderful the response has been, and questioning her leadership ability. At another location, he bragged about the size of a crowd gathered to seek food and water. And at still another, he tried to brag about lives saved and, with no teleprompter, wound up sounding like the Grim Reaper tallying the body count:


More evidence: on another day, in another universe, second man on the Moon Buzz Aldrin could hardly believe this doofus is president. But he put up with it anyway…

…because, well, the cameras were on.

…because, despite what we’ve all seen and heard in the past, Aldrin fantasized that the so-called leader of the free world would sound lucid during an official government ceremony.

…because saying out loud that the emperor has no clothes would be even more embarrassing.

Enter Bob Corker, unencumbered by the need for reelection.

Jennifer Rubin wrote in the Washington Post: “Aside from getting off one of the better retorts of the year—on Trump’s favorite mode of communication, no less—Corker in this exchange, and in previous remarks questioning the president’s stability and competency, underscored how different he sounds from the sniveling obsequiousness of fellow Republicans.”

It’s not just the naked emperor that Corker exposed. He exposed the naked enablers (the Republican establishment) for their complicity. And speaking of complicity, it’s alarmingly easy to draw an abuse-of-power parallel between Trump and Harvey Weinstein.

What those two sexual predators have in common: their violation of others has been ignored, even enabled, by associates, subordinates and watchdogs. Why? Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney explains:

“It’s not just Hollywood, I think it’s power in general. There’s a reason why the powerful escape scrutiny for so long—it’s because people want something from them. If you’re an actress, you want to get a role, if you’re a producer, you want a deal, and along the way people start making little compromises that end up being one big compromise. I don’t think it’s limited to Hollywood. We’re talking about Scientology, we’re talking about the Catholic Church. Wherever there’s power, there’s abuse of power, and there’s a kind of collective responsibility for allowing those abuses to continue.”

Of course it’s not just sexual abuse. Steve Bannon’s dream of “deconstructing the administrative state” is still on. Perhaps more “on” than ever, since he left the White House. Every day there’s a new attack on the norms of our country. These are not attempts to reform; they are moves intended to destroy. Trump’s recent threat to rescind NBC’s broadcast license underscores what is at stake. Can he do that? We must remain vigilant. We must be ready to fight!

OK, Stephen, just calm down. How about a thrilling ride on a roller coaster to distract your psyche? Spin the Wheel of Nuclear Misfortune, from the Union of Concerned Scientists. The site offers “Real-life tales of close calls, screw ups, and nuclear near misses.” Hmmm, I guess these guys don’t know that, grammatically, a “near miss” is a hit.

Read just a few of these close calls and you won’t be worrying about grammar. The list includes U.S. nuclear operators caught cheating on proficiency exams and abusing drugs, the rising moon mistaken for a nuclear attack, and a malfunctioning 46-cent computer chip falsely reporting a massive attack. Twice.

Every close call is a money quote:

“In January 2014, the Air Force announced that 92 missile launch officers at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana—nearly half the missileers at the base—were suspended and had their security clearances revoked for cheating on the monthly exams, primarily by texting answers between smartphones. Current and former launch officers claim that cheating is typical and has been a fact of life for decades.”


The Political Apprentice #13

PS: Did you notice? I never even got to the “moron” story. Sheesh.

Written by

Steve Schlich is retired after 35 years of writing fiction about software: “easy to use,” “does what you want,” and the like. Hobbies include webmaster for, writing songs and short stories. In 2004, he created, a website chronicling the naughty public art in Washington, D.C. He lives happily with his wife and cats, north of San Francisco.

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