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Your president doesn’t read.

This explains so much. It’s from The Atlantic article about Trump’s reading habits.

Ironically, it was the publication of a book this week that crystallized the reality of just how little Donald Trump reads. While, like many of the tendencies described in Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, Trump’s indifference to the printed word has been apparent for some time, the depth and implications of Trump’s strong preference for oral communication over the written word demand closer examination.

“He didn’t process information in any conventional sense,” Wolff writes. “He didn’t read. He didn’t really even skim. Some believed that for all practical purposes he was no more than semi-­literate.”

Wolff quotes economic adviser Gary Cohn writing in an email: “It’s worse than you can imagine … Trump won’t read anything—not one-page memos, not the brief policy papers, nothing. He gets up halfway through meetings with world leaders because he is bored.”

This is related at length in Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury. No one has argued with the accuracy of this so far. The dude hates reading.

He gets all of his information from oral presentations. He doesn’t even like bullet point pages. He doesn’t skim. He curls up in bed with a good cheeseburger, not a book.

Even if you didn’t want a typical politician to shake things up in Washington, can we all agree that he should be able to sit down for five minutes and read his assignments??

The article goes on to discuss the briefing styles of former presidents and then suggests that maybe it’s because Trump is not a politician:

Meanwhile, Trump’s defenders could fall back on semi-plausible excuses, such as arguing that his information consumption was typical of the business world from which he had come. The AP reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis used charts and maps in the briefing on America’s role because that was “a way the businessman-turned-politician would appreciate.”


We’re doooooomed.

By the way, everybody who is anybody in Washington is at a meeting in Camp David this weekend.

Except for Jeff Sessions.


What does it mean? I have no idea. But let’s recall that Jeff recused himself on the Russia investigation. Also, Mueller may be ready to indict on obstruction of justice charges and there may be a succession crisis.

Or they all got together to drink cocoa and play Cranium.


There’s a new paper in Cell that finds that while human beings are unique as a species to prefer other helpful human beings, our close relatives, the bonobos, prefer jerks.

From the summary (don’t be a Trump now. It’s not a book):

Humans closely monitor others’ cooperative relationships [1, 2]. Children and adults willingly incur costs to reward helpers and punish non-helpers—even as bystanders [3, 4, 5]. Already by 3 months, infants favor individuals that they observe helping others [6, 7, 8]. This early-emerging prosocial preference may be a derived motivation that accounts for many human forms of cooperation that occur beyond dyadic interactions and are not exhibited by other animals [9, 10]. As the most socially tolerant nonhuman ape [11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17] (but see [18]), bonobos (Pan paniscus) provide a powerful phylogenetic test of whether this trait is derived in humans. Bonobos are more tolerant than chimpanzees, can flexibly obtain food through cooperation, and voluntarily share food in captivity and the wild, even with strangers [11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17] (but see [18]). Their neural architecture exhibits a suite of characteristics associated with greater sensitivity to others [19, 20], and their sociality is hypothesized to have evolved due to selection against male aggression [21, 22, 23]. Here we show in four experiments that bonobos discriminated agents based on third-party interactions. However, they did not exhibit the human preference for helpers. Instead, they reliably favored a hinderer that obstructed another agent’s goal (experiments 1–3). In a final study (experiment 4), bonobos also chose a dominant individual over a subordinate. Bonobos’ interest in hinderers may reflect attraction to dominant individuals [24]. A preference for helpers over hinderers may therefore be derived in humans, supporting the hypothesis that prosocial preferences played a central role in the evolution of human development and cooperation.

The hypothesis is that the traits of selfishness and deceit make jerks more attractive to other bonobos because they end up with all the stuff. So, presumably, you want to make friends with the bully on the playground who steals other bonobos lunch money because the bully will run a protection racket and has all the goods.

Draw your own conclusions.


26 Responses

  1. The new Clinton Foundation investigation into Hillary is started by FBI Arkansas and the AUSA is a Huckabee aide. That is all you need to know. Joe Conason is the go to guy for Clinton research and he just called BS on the Washington Examiner Bitch sitting there on the panel with Joy Reid — wipe your smug smile off your face — your ugly inside is showing!

  2. Of course, he does not want to read. This is a retired man’s presidency – icing on the cake for his long lasting fraudster life. He is 72! and he was never fit for this job (or any job for that matter thanks to his inheritance). He tries to mask it in every way he can. It says more about the people who voted for him (which is not a majority) than the man himself.

  3. Food for thought from Josh Marshall: Trump not only does not follow the law, he does not know how to.


    • Why these two Presidents are the point of reference is a mystery I hope to see solved.

      He makes a point of Kennedy because it was his brother who was the AG and trump thinks being a brother, he protected Kennedy. Don’t know why Marshall thinks it is a big mystery.

      But my guess is that trump thought by appointing Sessions he was going to be protected because Sessions himself was culpable and had self-interest in nixing an investigation. To his horror, Sessions recused himself.

  4. “By the way, everybody who is anybody in Washington is at a meeting in Camp David this weekend.

    Except for Jeff Sessions.”

    He’s too busy constructing the prison camps for all the potsmokers in Colorado, Washington, and California. I assume the fornicators and adulterers will be next. Except Trump, of course. This is what they mean by “smaller government”.

  5. One of the advantages of never putting anything in writing is that it leaves no evidence behind. I’m sure that Trump has used this to great advantage over a lifetime of swindling and double-dealing. He just might not be as dumb as he looks.

  6. You know what trump reminds me of — this is a recurring theme in my head. Have you all seen North By Northwest? In that there is an auction scene I think in North Dakota somewhere. Cary Grant is there along with the villain and his minions who are on the hunt for Grant. Then Grant starts this nonsensical bidding thing creating chaos to get the police in there so that he can escape the bad guys. FBI guy is also on his tail without the police or him knowing. Anyway, he escapes to police custody and then to the FBI guy. Now Grant is the good guy in this scene trying to escape from the bad guys. And the situation is a bit reversed in trump’s case but trump is acting like Grant to create chaos so he can escape. Crooked Hillary! No collusion, no collusion. Uranium one. Clinton foundation. Steele! Comey! Muleller!!!

    • oh add this to the trump chaos chant… not stupid, not stupid!!!!!!!!!

      • Who saw trump’s presser now where he said, not stupid, not stupid (you have to repeat everything concerning trump for effect, right?) If this was not all serious and dangerous for the country as a whole, it would have made an entertaining movie where we would all laugh at the trump character.

      • All I could think of when I saw that tweet was a Warner Brothers’ Roadrunner cartoon – “Wile E. Coyote, supergenius.”

  7. Read this thread to maybe guess what is behind Grassley/Graham shenanigans on Steele. Why isn’t there any reporting on Graham’s 180 degree behavior on trump?

    • Haha, there is always a reason. Apparently, Graham’s campaign manager Chris Ferry is/was in cahoots with Manafort.

  8. First world country, richest country, most sophisticated political system whose constitution was adopted by many other newer independent countries, brimming with intellectuals and geniuses, brimming with innovations that turned ideas into billionaires, brimming with high class higher education, brimming with avant garde ideas on immigration, assimilation, and diversity… and now trump!

    • If Cheetolini manages to avoid starting WW3, Putin is going to go down in history as a genius.

    • And people with sense, are watching his lawless chaos helplessly, imprisoned in their own sophistication and rule of law.

  9. Well, well, what do you know? I have heard the buffoon say he graduated from Wharton and I thought he had a MBA (though I thought it may been a rich person’s lazy/easy MBA). But it is not even that. A con artist is always gonna con.

  10. Back to the ’80s!

  11. Re the bonobo paper. I skimmed it, so I may have missed a lot. (Some of?) the human studies looked at toddlers, i.e. before socialization is complete. Makes sense if you’re trying to see what comes naturally, so to speak, except a) there’s already been heaps of socialization by then, and b) it’s mostly adults teaching kids how not to be pests. It’s also long before the subtext about grabbing what you can is absorbed.

    (Some of?) the bonobo studies looked at adults, and I didn’t see a breakdown by sex of the observed interactions. Not to be all essentialist or anything, but from what I know of chimpanzee interactions, males are way more hung up on dominance, and I could easily see them cozying up to bullies.

    If the authors really did compare the species at two different stages of life, I’m not sure how much significance attaches to their results. (Just to be sniffy about it.)

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