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Sometimes, hazy patterns of enormous malfeasance are brought into sharp relief by tiny, objectively insignificant things which nevertheless grate in a way that the larger wrongdoing somehow didn’t, before this last little straw finally snapped the poor desert critter’s spine. It’s the two dollar glass of breakfast orange juice expensed by the consultant who’s charging $5,000.00 an hour for bullshit advice. It’s the kid’s allowance stolen by the Ponzi-schemer who meanwhile bilked thousands of investors of their life savings. It’s the endlessly corrupt politician billing the public purse for first class airfare, and complaining later that the flight attendants were slow to respond and the brie and crackers were sub-par. The mind wraps itself more readily around the smaller, yet no less infuriating outrages.

Following Donald’s recent visit to Japan, another farcical Trumpian misadventure typically replete with gaffes, stupidities, insults and norm-shattering abominations, this is what’s grabbing the headlines today:

The USS John S. McCain is a destroyer (not a “battleship” – note to journalists: “battleship” is not a synonym for “warship”, will just one of you please get that?) now undergoing repairs in Japan’s Yokosuka Naval Base, where The Donald was paying a visit as part of the usual diplomatic sight-seeing. He toured a new Japanese warship that for obvious historical reasons nobody wants to call an “aircraft carrier”, though it is, albeit a small one (dead giveaway: it’s named Kaga, just like one of the carriers that attacked Pearl Harbour), and gave some sort of doubtless inspiring address to the assembled swabbos aboard the USS Wasp. White House planners were keenly aware that from the flight deck of the Wasp, the dry-docked John. S. McCain would be plainly visible, and they were concerned that the mere sight of a ship bearing the name of Trump’s deceased nemesis would throw Herr Donald into a tailspin.

The late Senator, himself famously a former naval aviator, comes from a long line of distinguished naval officers, and the ship that nobody wanted Trump to see was in fact named in honour of both his father and grandfather, each an admiral. Senator McCain was officially added as a joint namesake just prior to his death, which really is the least the Navy could have done for the man, whose honourable military history I’ll not recount here. Thus the vessel has been out on the high seas for many years with the offending moniker painted boldly on its transom, but Trump wouldn’t know that, and the Navy brass might well have feared that Donald would leap to the conclusion that the destroyer was christened last week just to spite him. In any case, nobody was keen to find out what would happen if Orange Idi looked over at the ship up on blocks next to the Wasp and saw this:

As reported in the Wall Street Journal:

In a May 15 email to U.S. Navy and Air Force officials, a U.S. Indo-Pacific Command official outlined plans for the president’s arrival that he said had resulted from conversations between the White House Military Office and the Seventh Fleet of the U.S. Navy. In addition to instructions for the proper landing areas for helicopters and preparation for the USS Wasp—where the president was scheduled to speak—the official issued a third directive: “USS John McCain needs to be out of sight.”

“Please confirm #3 will be satisfied,” the official wrote.

So they hung a tarp over the destroyer’s transom to obscure the awful irritant, and early reports stated that ship’s crew were given leave for the day, apparently in the hope that none of them would be seen lurking about wearing the standard-issue baseball caps bearing the ship’s name:

Oh, dagger through the heart! How sharper than a serpent’s tooth! The very name of my vanquished foe emblazoned ‘cross the stern of my own best vessel of war, the effrontery! A pox on them! A pox on those responsible!

Trump’s inner monologue, as imagined by Graeme pretending to be quoting Shakespeare’s Donald I.

The latest reports indicate that the tarp might have been ordered removed when higher-ups got wind of what was going on, and denials have been issued about the sailors of the McCain getting any special leaves or orders about hats. You can read about it here:

It’s also possible that Trump knew nothing about any of this, but that’s what’s great about being a tyrant. Your terrified subjects anticipate your every whim and bend every sinew to prevent anything that might set you off, and after a while, and having made a few examples of a few hapless saps early on, you don’t even have to think about such stuff any more. The crazy oppressive paranoid weird shit just takes care of itself.

You can see why staff and Navy personnel were nervous. Trump’s hatred for McCain is flat-out bonkers, and anything that honours the late Senator is bound to drive him right ’round the bend. He’s psychotically envious, too, and the last thing his battered underlings want him to see is somebody getting something he can’t, like his name on an honest-to-goodness battle group escort. It’s safe to assume that Donald longs inexpressibly for the day when his own storied handle will grace a mighty warship, and not just a destroyer either, but a great big 100,000 ton nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, just like the ones named in honour of relative pikers like Teddy Roosevelt, George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln, not to mention pipsqueaks like George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford, nobodies who were barely even Republicans by today’s standards. It’s also safe to assume that in what passes for his heart of hearts the moron realizes, dimly, that this will never happen.

Those who mulled moving or concealing the identity of the McCain know that somewhere, deep in the basement dungeons of Donald’s tortured id, a mocking tormentor posted on permanent duty stood ready to remind Corporal Bone Spurs that no matter who puts a gun to whose head, no one in the Navy’s chain of command will ever countenance such an honour being conferred upon a draft dodger who derided and despised a noble naval aviator. Trump shat all over a skilled and courageous pilot who had his plane shot out from under his ass over Hanoi while Fat Donny was home, bogus medical deferral in pocket, bedding everything on two legs and learning from Daddy how to steal from the poor. The Navy will never forgive that, not ever, and the inner self-loathing monster that motivates almost all of Donald’s spasmodic knee-jerk behaviour knows it. You can easily imagine it, can’t you? One sideways glance, then cue the shit fit and subsequent Tweet storm, followed by an attempt to defund all US naval shipbuilding plans.

Why even risk it? Why let him see the trigger object? Easier just to drape a sheet over the stern, muster the brass band, and belt out a lusty rendition of Hail to the Chief, yes? It looks like that was the initial reaction, at least, even if the admirals later balked. As more details emerge, it seems the ship’s name may not have been covered by the time Trump got there, and that as luck had it, Donald never noticed a thing. Some reports say the tarp came down but a barge was moved in to block the sightline. Others are sticking with the original story. Whatever really happened in the end, what matters is that all sorts of people with better things to do spent time and energy worrying that Donald might fly off the handle and pitch a fit if he so much as saw the name of a deceased opponent affixed to the stern of a fleet unit. And this is how Trump does it. Fearing his wrath, all become cowards and appeasers, until even a billion-dollar guided missile destroyer turns into an oversized wall socket that Mom needs to plug with a plastic insert, lest the wee one shove a butter knife straight into it.

This is African dictator shit, and would mark rock bottom save that in Trumpspace, no such coordinate exists. Wouldn’t it be great, though, if this was still the real world, and this small but utterly awful example of abject unfitness turned out to be Trump’s two dollar glass of orange juice?

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