Friday, July 22, 2016

The Fool on the Hill

--Hillary waves and Smiles,
(El Neuvo Dia)

And the face of the nation
Keeps changin' and changin'
The face of the nation
I don't recognize it no more
--The Face of the Nation,
John Mellencamp 

The truth is incontrovertible.
Malice maty attack it, ignorance may deride it
but in the  end, there it is
--Winston Churchill

They got little hands
And little eyes
And they walk around
Tellin' great big lies 
--Short People,
Randy Newman

This last year of incessant, relentless press excoriation of Mr. Trump and those who voted for him is dispiriting. The burden of hatred which spewed forth from nearly every outlet a reasonable person might access has been daunting. It has been a year of detestable press.

Entirely ignored by the press has been the investigation of the momentous and unlikely phenomena of Trump's nomination, without resorting to the ad hominem. But the press is an institution which also feeds at the political trough.

Mr. Trump is the court jester who revealed that the other would-be emperors were naked. The sour- grapes simpering of Mr. Cruz at the Republican National Convention gave lie to the fusty Republican trope of being the party possessed of true red-blooded American bonhomie. If it ever was, it is no more.

For this, Mr. Trump shall be rewarded as the next Fool on the Hill. And for those renting their garments, tell me that you voted for Uncle Bernie with joy in your heart (in the Kondo-ian sense). And will you hold your collective nose as you check the box for the supposed heir to the Clinton dynasty?

In Trump, Republican voters did not see a fundamentalist Christian or any of the myriad vested interests represented by the other 15 stuffed shirts fronted by the Republican machine. The majority of Trump's followers did not vote for him out of any great love for the man, but for the fact that he was Other.

The Democrats never had any such option.

These voters said "no" to the party icons and scions. They refused to eat the lie which said, "Here are 15 candidates from among which you may choose, but choose you must, if your party is to have a chance." The voters for Trump said NO to tyranny and political dynasty.

Trump would not have won his party's nomination if a straggling band of Naderites or Perotians had cast votes helter-skelter in a kamikaze mission. These voters got it and said "No" to the Fortunate Sons ("no" to a Bush III). "No" to pandering special interests (Rubio couldn't take his home state). "No" to the religious fanatics. They know that all emerged from the same bag, and paid obeisance to the same dirty machine.

This perspective should have been revitalizing, but the press could not allow it, for it did not fit into their gestalt of a "backward-looking, hopeless uncool and bigoted" Trump electorate. 

They refused to say that Mr. Trump's "Yes" was a "No" to all the rest. For all the money and concerted press effort to deconstruct and unravel him, top-down, inside-out, it did not matter. You may call it what you will: the last gasp of the white chauvanist male (a view which provides succor to most academics) or flyover state ignorance, but derisive labels do not change the fact.

They could not fully construct him as grotesque, because it was not he, per se, who captured the voter's  imagination. It was that he was NOT they (i.e., the Others). If elected President, hopefully he will recognize the gravitas and great yearning which lies behind the facticity of his nomination.

Theirs is a hope for a nation which does not spin apart, enervating itself with self-destructive diversions. The Good Liberals call this necessary progress, but the commonweal is suffering. America still lives between the extremes, and it is their hope which is on display in this nomination.

The press is wholly beside itself, waiting like wolves at the door this week, hoping for the eruption of some violence -- something, anything, to mar the reality -- all the while demeaning those Trump supporters who held signs which expressed a desire for a safer nation. They cannot spin fast enough, and they must soon confront their failed project.

No matter, there will be evermore to carp about.

Mr. Trump is outside, and is not bought and sold; he is therefore, unsafe to those who would continue the current disarrayed status quo. He, moreso than the other party puppets, is a man situated in place and time.

He may not be a man for all seasons, but he is a man for this season.

Part II:  on press violence -- "Carp Diem: A  Year of Living Dangerously in the Press."

[cross-posted @ Rangeragainstwar.]


  1. Seems to me the press has given Trump a pass and has actually helped him get the nomination. Whether they meant to do that is beside the point. They gave him free air time. His spin on that is the same as perhaps stated by P. T. Barnum: "there is no such thing as bad publicity". The reason he got the nomination is as you said correctly above, it was not a yes for Trump, it was a NO to all the other seventeen dwarfs. They were all bozos with the exception of Kasich but he was colorless and had no chance as nobody wanted to hear about policy instead of insults.

    The Trumpster is not the man for my season. No way I would vote for a scam-artist, a bankrupt, and serial philanderer. It seems to me that anyone with that kind of background would scam the public, bankrupt the country, and cheat and lie his way throughout his time in office. And I did not get those items from election coverage by the media. Those facts were common knowledge years ago long before he decided to run for office.

    I not a fan of Bernie either. The press made him appear a lot stronger among voters than he really is? He won just about all of the caucuses, which because they are typically only frequented by zealots are a very undemocratic form of selecting a candidate. For the primary here in Washington, we do both a caucus (which counts) and an election by mail (which does not count). Bernie won the caucus so got the delegates and lost the election which did not matter.

    What is Kondo-ian? You lost me there.

    And the 'Fool on the Hill', is that from the Beatles?

    1. Sanders had a late start in part because the media didn't take him (or his entertainment value) seriously at first, so any overreaction at the end may be balanced in the total.

      When was the last time the U.S. really chose some of the best men or women for really high office? It seems as if less than 5% of high profile politicians were a really good choice, and working for the people first and foremost.
      There's but a handful of governors with a really good track record.


      "A man for this season"? Seriously, jim? Christ, I barely know where to begin.

      OK, I'll begin with this. NO. The "...incessant, relentless press excoriation of Mr. Trump..." didn't happen. It never happened. It's STILL not happening. I mean, after the fucking idiot painted the United States circa 2016 as a dystopian hellscape overrun with murderous Mexicans and IS headcutters the "press" went out of its way not to characterize the ridiculous nonsense as a tissue of lies intended to get his Trump Chumps fired up with rage and fear.


      I'm perfectly happy to hear the Democratic nominee characterized as a hopelessly pedestrian "business-as-usual" corporatist drone. But Trump? Dear God, man...trying to pretend that Trump is anything but the product of forty years of the GOP dogwhistling racist claptrap, eliminationist and dominionist bullying, economic nonsense ("trickle-down"..?) and political ragequit is like trying to paint a baboon's ass purple and call it a plum.

      I want to agree with you that between the GOP's sheer Mad Max insanity, the Democratic Party's cravenness and corporatism, the media's spinelessness greed and stupidity, and the U.S. Public's asininity that the U.S. has managed to pretty thoroughly fuck up its electoral system.

      But not like this.

      The Trump voters said "NO" alright. They said no to the New Deal. They said no to climate science. They said no to diplomacy. Fuck, they basically said no to the Twentieth Century. They want 1899, when if You White You Right and the wimmens and darkeys knew their place and if the uppity furriners made trouble we'd civilize them with a Krag.

      That's not "freedom" other than in the 1984 sense.

      Trump is nothing, NOTHING but proof that the media's quest to dumb-down the American public has succeeded

    3. The majority of white men in the U.S. are Trump supporters according to polls, and about a quarter or so Clinton supporters.

      I imagine if I went there again and saw a group of white men of mixed ages I might look at them in disgust. That's almost reverse racism, isn't it?

      What harm is this going to do to the society, with more than half of a previously dominant group supporting a politician who's hated by most others?
      BTW, I recently read an article that claimed a military coup against Trump would be likely if POTUS Trump orders the use of nukes.
      AFAIK the U.S. armed services are by majority Southern males, so I suppose the sad reality is that this military would be more inclined to march towards Fascism in lockstep. This route would be sweetened with more prestige, more money, extra authority, more career opportunities, pay increases, more toys etc., of course.

    4. That's what scares me most, Sven; not Trump himself, but the "white guys erwache!" thing he's dragged out of our nasty closet of political horrors.

      We've been here before, of course. Slavery. The Know-Nothings, Jim Crow, the extermination of the native tribes, lynching and anti-catholic hate and the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Gentlemen's Agreement...

      But in our foolishness we thought, most of us, that the time when an American political party could openly embrace race hate and discrimination and ignorant bellicosity were past.

      Trump has reopened that door and let us stare at the nightmares we had tried to keep hidden away.

  2. "Fool on the Hill" ... double entendre (i.e., "Capitol Hill".)

  3. Thanx Lisa, I'm a little slow today. What is Kondo?

    1. Ah, Marie Kondo's motto, home de-clutterer extraordinaire:

      Keep (i.e., "vote for") only those things which bring joy; mercilessly shuttle the rest.

  4. @SO

    ”The majority of white men in the U.S. are Trump supporters according to polls, …”

    What the polls do not tell you is that a significant slice of those white males are mainly anti-Clinton. They may not like Trump or agree with his policies but would support anyone who is running against Hillary or anyone associated with her or her husband the former president. If the GOP nominated a dogcatcher for president they would vote for him. They have been brainwashed for years by Roger Ailes et al.

    ”AFAIK the U.S. armed services are by majority Southern males, …”

    I think that was true at one time, but I believe enlistments from the rustbelt have been changing that. It is true that Florida, Georgia, and the great state of Maine have the highest enlistment rates per their population. But can Florida really be considered a southern state nowadays? And a healthy percentage of those enlisting from both Florida and Georgia are black or Hispanic in the case of Florida. Both of those states only have approximately 56% non-Hispanic whites. And in Florida much of that 56% is made up of old men who retired there, so they won’t be enlisting anytime soon.

    For the top military leadership the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Dunford, is from Boston Massachusetts. And the Army Chief of Staff, General Milley, and his Vice Chief of Staff, General Allyn, are also from New England. In the Marine Corps, General Neller the Commandant is from Michigan, the Assistant Commandant, General Paxton is from Pennsylvania. The only two top generals I could find that are southerners are both Air Force, General Selva from Mississipi, and General Wilson from Texas. None of the top enlisted ranks, the Sergeant Majors or the Army and Marine Corps, the Master Chief Petty Officers of the Navy and the Coast Guard, plus the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force are southerners except for Sergeant Major Green of the Marine Corps who is from Mississippi but guess what color he is. Here is a hint.

    ”BTW, I recently read an article that claimed a military coup against Trump would be likely if POTUS Trump orders the use of nukes.”

    Can you give us a link to the article?

    1. It was in a German newspaper. German media have access to German correspondents in Washington DC, which sometimes summarize the situation across the pond in articles or TV interviews.

  5. Lisa - Thanks again. The older I get the more I learn.

    S O - Never mind my last question. I found the article (or one similar) at the LA Times. I for one cannot believe that honorable leaders like Generals Dunford, Milley, Neller, or Admiral Richardson would consent to war crimes because the Trumpster or some sycophant Attorney General or Secretary of Defense said so. But then Trump (like Bush before him) would probably find a way around by getting some low-level flunkys to do his dirty work and take the blame.

    1. mike- I tend to agree that the senior leaders would in no way obey unlawful orders, such as Trump's claims that he will "legalize" torture. Interestingly enough, a retired 3 star friend opined that the statements by the CIA Director and key active and retired flag officers against such a notion of legalizing torture were more of a shot across the bow of lower ranking members of the Armed Forces than towards Trump.

      jim has a good point in so far as the short attention span of the press. In a world where 140 character of less Tweets are becoming the standard, it becomes progressively more difficult for a close analysis of anything to gain attention.

      Trump's tax returns are a good example of fleeting attention. He says he cannot release them because they are being audited. Surely, at least one return over the past several years has successfully finished audit. Yet, Trump has basically been given a pass. If he is an "honorable man", then wouldn't his return, as filed, be subject to release, whether or not is is being audited? After all, it is what he is representing his income and expenses to be, whether or not the IRS agrees. But such a notion is far too complex for the average citizen.


    2. I think you underestimate how corruption of a democracy top down by an authoritarian head of government/state works.

      Just look at how easily GWB introduced torture, and got legal cover for it.

      Trump would have key people replaced and then I doubt the rest of the bureaucracy could resist. The huge size of the U.S: limits the options for a coup to the bases in Washington DC and more generally the Northeast. The vast majority of the military would be bystanders if the country was turned into a dictatorship, watching foreign TV (since U.S. TV stations would be taken over).

    3. Sven- GWB was able to corrupt the CIA on torture, but the military services stuck to their guns and refused to authorize waterboarding and "enhanced interrogation techniques". A lot of senior officers would have to be purged, and I doubt Trump would have the ability to do so. Rumsfeld tried and was only marginally successful.

    4. I wanted to second mike's welcome; too long no see Al. Glad to hear from you again..!

    5. Ironically, the model here may be the Imperial Japanese Army of the Twenties and Thirties, where the antidemocratic and authoritarian agitation came from the junior officers, and the fear of a "revolt of the majors" was the great fear of the senior leadership...

  6. Al - Welcome back. We have missed your voice. Hope everything is well with you and yours.

  7. Perhaps the most delicious irony of this whole awful election is this "go steal Hillary's emails, Pooty!" thing from Trump.

    Because Trump, blowhard, ignoramus, and fake tough guy, thinks he's made a "deal" and he's gonna play the Russian sigint people to his gain...not realizing (since he's Trump and never thinks beyond his no-it's-not-tiny-it's-really-YUUGe-tip-of-his-pecker) that he's effectively given the Russian spooks an invitation and excuse to hack President Trump and Secretary of State Gingrich's email.

    While the former KGB hard man - the 21st Century Man of Steel - Putin sits and smiles at the combedover imbecile, knowing that he can play the hollow fool like a fucking ocarina. You can practically feel his contempt for Trump from orbit.

    It's enough to make a fucking cat laugh.

  8. And "the Democratic voters had no such option", Jim?

    Are you fucking kidding? The Democratic primary had the REAL alternative to all this corporatist, naked-emperor stuff you mistakenly claim Trump represents; Sanders.

    Sanders gave Democratic voters all the genuine populism Trump is faking with 100% less racist, nativist, warmongering claptrap. In a sane electorate Trump rallies would have been deserted wastelands because all the Trumpenchumps would have been across town being BernieBros.

    But forty years of "turning up Rush until our ears bleed" has made the GOP base incapable of voting for Christ Jesus if He ran as a Democrat.

  9. I had previously thought that the Japanese model of that time by junior officers of the Navy? But referring to Wiki, I see that Chief is right. Or at least partly, the young IJN officers were it seems more interested in assassination than a coup.

    The US Air Force had a more peaceful Revolt-of-the-Majors by John Boyd and his Fighter Mafia in the 70s. But that was about tactics and technology, not politics. And it was long before Air Force Academy cadets adopted their Team Jesus predilection. So in America currently I would opine that any antidemocratic and authoritarian agitation would come from from Air Force officers who had been indoctrinated during their years at Colorado Springs.

  10. Thanks for the welcome back, guys.

    mike- I have long wondered about the long term impact of the Team Jesus, as you call it, on the organizational mentality of the USAF. The evangelicals had to be a large enough portion of the Academy population for the abuses to be so openly practiced. Why did these folks gravitate towards Colorado Springs and not West Point and Annapolis? Or were they also present at the other academies, but did not have senior academy officials of a similar ilk to allow the open promotion of religion?

    And, of course, there was the tolerance of the Bible reference marked Trijicon rifle sights for a couple of decades, until the media brought it to light. It did bother me that the objections were raised from without, not within. Are our troops who are not evangelicals just so used to such a practice that they figure it's part of the culture?

  11. Back in 83-84, while at CGSC, GEN William Richardson, TRADOC Commander spoke to us on "Leadership". Richardson was a openly evangelical Christian, and peppered his talk with quotes from the New Testament. He would say something like, "As we are exhorted in (insert a chap and verse ref from Paul, for example), as leaders, we must.......". Since the Senior Officer Lectures were covered under the College's "non-attribution" policy to allow them to speak freely, he did.

    To be honest, a significant number of students found this inappropriate at best, and insulting, at worst. There were a number of Allied Officers in our class, many from nations where Christianity was not the dominant religion. I was somewhat embarrassed that my Nepalese friend, Suba, who's assigned seat was next to mine, had to sit through it. He shrugged it off, and joked, "It was kind of interesting, as we don't issue or use that reference manual in our Command and Staff College. Thus, I learned something new, albeit irrelevant to Hindu." Suba was also somewhat surprised by the open recruiting tactics of the Officer Christian Fellowship, and joked that he felt slighted that they didn't approach him.

  12. Al -

    I was not aware of the Trijicon controversy until you mentioned it here. It was well after my time. So I looked it up.

    Regarding your question: "Are our troops who are not evangelicals just so used to such a practice that they figure it's part of the culture?" I would say no. The Trijicon scopes did not actually have the bible verse printed on them, just an arcane reference to it. For instance: ACOG4X32JN8:12 on the Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight. That JN8:12 on the end is the ref, but I never would have made the connection and I doubt your average GI would have thought anything about it either, probably would have thought it was just part of a model # or lot #. Of course that does not make it all right to put it on the scope. But I would guess only a very few people were in the know.

    1. Probably so, mike, but the fact that when it was clearly known that it was a Bible reference (and JN8:12 isn't the only reference on their products), the initial reaction of the military leadership was that while they were unaware of it, it was effectively harmless or innocent.

      While the marking practice was well within the company's rights for sale in the private sector, and they did not hide the practice in their corporate advertising, the DOD definitely failed in due diligence in contracting for the sights "off the shelf". IMHO, rather than plead ignorance and then try to justify leaving it alone, the military should have said, "We innocently screwed up and are working on a quick remedy", which is what other countries' Defense Ministries did.

  13. Al - Yes. And it is not surprising to me that the principal (or at least the loudest) military defender of the innocence of the message was a Air Force officer.