Tuesday, February 14, 2017

No Fine Print: Unsettling Thoughts On A Sound Byte Presidency


The premise that President Donald J. Trump can barely read is growing by leaps and bounds.

In his OpEdNews piece, Is President Donald Trump Semi-literate?, Scott Baker relates Samantha Bee's take on his literacy, as well as The Forbes article stating that Trump's Wharton Business School tenure is very questionable (see the Funny or Die video below for laughs).
As the Full Frontal host said in a segment that premiered on Facebook Live, Bee began by reviewing tape of a recently unsealed deposition in which Trump was repeatedly asked to read from legal documents and refused, first saying he didn’t have his glasses and then using the excuse that he’s not a lawyer. “Objection!” Bee said. “How can you expect someone who isn’t a fancy-pants lawyer to read words?”

Also: how can you expect someone with a sketchy education to read extensively? His transcripts, like his tax returns, are not available. He was a shadowy figure at Wharton:

The Daily Kos
One former classmate in an Accounting class remembers, "He rarely showed up to class and “everyone” knew he bought the answers to the final exam. He spent little time on campus preferring to travel back and forth to New York City."
Now we know why whenever he says "I'm really smart" it sounds as if its coming from someone who just passed his GED on the third try. In fact, his campaign speeches had grammar just above the sixth grade - just about the same level as his followers on Facebook.

He said in a series of interviews that he does not need to read extensively because he reaches the right decisions “with very little knowledge other than the knowledge I [already] had, plus the words ‘common sense,’ because I have a lot of common sense and I have a lot of business ability.”

Sound Byte President

It may have been Chuck Todd who discovered that Trump lives on sound bytes:
Todd: Who do you talk to for military advice right now?
Trump: Well, I watch the shows. I mean, I really see a lot of great — you know, when you watch your show and all of the other shows, and you have the generals.
His love of the National Enquirer (which, btw, was his only major newspaper endorsement during the campaign) is noteworthy: the supermarket tabloid deals in the same kind of sound bytes as TV, but only on a more salacious level. And what can he "learn" from the Enquirer other than some celebrity's "brave last days" and the latest Jon Benet Ramsey scandal?

"Nobody reads the bible more than me"

The above evidence of Trump's bibliophobia leads to two very important questions: what has he NOT read and what will he NOT READ?


The Constitution - It's evident that Trump has never bothered to read the constitution and only knows right-wing talking points (First and Second Amendment - think Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and the NRA)

Legal Documents - they're boring and complicated and way too wordy. Trust others to read them and tell you what they are in two tweets - max.

The Bible - the above statement sent tidal waves of laughter throughout social media and the like. James Dobson of Focus on the Family* called Trump a baby Christian - a baby who hasn't learned to read and for whom the Bible is too heavy to pick up.

Trump has said that the Bible is his favorite book, but then again, he said that the last memorable read was All Quiet on the Western Front. So, which one is it?

It's obvious that Trump has never read the Bible - unless, of course, it comes in sound bytes. The sound bytes that come from him as heard by the Christian Right, however, seem to be okay: they've twisted themselves into knots turning this very faulty human being into a demi-god.


Comprehensive Security Intelligence Briefs
[W]hile Mr. Obama liked policy option papers that were three to six single-spaced pages, council staff members are now being told to keep papers to a single page, with lots of graphics and maps.

“The president likes maps,” one official said. Scary.

This getting too elementary, too unsophisticated. When will show and tell be part of the daily WH routine? Seriously, the thought that the National Security Council distrusts the Trump administration not only because secret documents and important intel have wound up at parties, but because perhaps they doubt the President will ever read them.

This article - Thank God!

*Dobson has 17 honorary doctorates hanging in Focus on the Family's lobby. Trump's only honorary degree (in Scotland) was revoked.

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