Sunday, November 6, 2016

Puling Back the Curtain

--Pulling back the curtain

  I really mean to learn
'Cause we're living in a world of fools
Breaking us down
when they all should let us be 
--How Deep is Your Love,
 Bee Gees 

Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon
Going to the candidates' debate
Laugh about it, shout about it
When you've got to choose
Every way you look at this you lose 
--Mrs. Robinson,
Simon and Garfunkel  

All you got is this moment
The twenty-first century's yesterday
You can care all you want
Everybody does yeah that's okay
--Need You Tonight, INXS

We like to keep things Ranger Simple, here. Simplicity, if not elegance, Leads The Way. Jes tryin' to wrap our helmet around things . . .

So we have some Ranger questions:

1) Why is candidate Trump lashed for looking toward favorable relations with Russia and her president, Vladimir Putin?

Did not the United States wrap up 60+ years of a costly and contentious Cold War with great hopes of normalizing relations one day with Russia (much as Nixon and Kissinger achieved with China)? What was all of that "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall!" shtick about, after all?

First, the Nixon-era thaw (détente), then Mr. Gorbachev's Perestroika and glasnost. What -- all gone like so much pipe smoke? Back to frenemies, or worse? Why are we demonizing Russia?

Politics is about statecraft, and that used to be about realpolitik. It doesn't matter if they are Bad Men ™ . President George Bush, et al., were Bad Men from many people's perspectives. But you must deal, and politics is the art of the deal, with a good measure of craftiness, shrewdness and charisma, for good measure.

Would it not be a good thing if Trump were to enter Office with a favorable view towards one of the world's major players? To extend the thought on Mr. Trump's appeal to members of the Old Boys Club, he would probably do great with North Korea's Kim Jong Un, too, thus knocking out two Bad Guy ™ threats with one stone, as it were.

Like Dennis Rodman, Trump has that yellow mop reminiscent of David Bowie in his Man Who Fell to Earth phase. Send Mr. Trump a-visiting NOK with a nice boxed set of Emmenthalers and a stadium parka and insignia ski cap -- like Vice President Cheney wore at Aushwitz -- and you have now lowered the world's fear from two of its Big Bad Bears.

--VP Cheney dressing down at Auschwitz

I can see a Trump success with both leaders. If they are the major amorphous threats that the news would have us believe they are, that would be a coup for the new administration and our nation.

2) Why the misinformation that Trump would be a loose canon on the issue of a nuclear first strike?

All liberal news outlets allude to this supposed threat. However, the fact is that Mr. Trump has uwaveringly said he would NOT make a nuclear first strike. His opponent Mrs. Clinton refuses to say the same thing.

As Andrew Bacevich wrote, "Hillary Clinton chose a different course: she changed the subject. She would moderate her own debate.  Perhaps Trump thought Holt was in charge of the proceedings; Clinton knew better."

The closest Mrs. Clinton comes to addressing the nuclear issue is to say that when the President hits the button,"there are four seconds to detonation," and further, that the ten people overseeing the warheads like her better than Trump.

Go figure. The job of overseer must be a boring one, and the prospect of "lighting them up" must provide some interest.

3) Donald Trump is our Boris Johnson (sans Eton).

Mr. Trump is an American Goniff, and Americans like that. The people like humor and accessibility, qualities which Mrs. Clinton lacks in spades.

Mr. Trump has given 80 interviews over this election season to The New York Times; Mrs. Clinton, two. She does not open her plane to journalists, a long-standing practice of Presidential candidates. She is closed to The People, a cipher.

4)  Why are smart people cowing other smart people who like Trump?

Why the infinite jest? Perhaps this a function of everyone having a megaphone (i.e., a media feed and a social platform).

People think they are part of the newsmaking apparatus. Because their particular shtick streams to them personally each day, they feel on par with those newsmakers who unload their opinions. The recipients then perpetuate the shtick-as-fact.

My father writes for the media (not political), and he called the election for Trump over a year ago. My mother has a visceral dislike of Mrs. Clinton. My parents are both predominately Left Independents. So for me, keeping an open mind is not difficult.

However, over the past few months in my university courses, professors have been shamelessly deriding Mr. Trump. They have encouraged their students to get out the vote (for Mrs. Clinton, of course.)

Last week my instructor asked if anyone would be attending the anti-Trump protest rally in town; if so, class would be dismissed early. I was dumbfounded, and felt like perhaps someone in a fascist society might feel. Certainly, it was not a safe environment in which to offer a dissenting opinion.

It's really all about what we will allow. Will the dynastic hopefuls fall in line and support a President Trump, giving him all the support and goodwill needed for a successful administration should he win the election?

Not if the press has anything to do with it. But the press is like the police: there are many more of us than them.

If we can re-inter our brains in our braincases, we will vote our conscience and react to the election results like sane citizens used to do. We would tell the screeching harridans of the press to piss off.

The man Trump is a serious candidate. What is so good about Clinton; what is so bad about Trump?

If we were better than we are, we would turn away from the spectacle, eyes firmly affixed to real life.
Which is to say, to life.

[cross-posted @ Rangeragainstwar.]


  1. Lisa -

    Questions one, two and four are false presuppositions. Might as well ask "Have you stopped beating your wife?". Try harder.

    On number three - goniff!!! In my boyhood neighborhood it meant "thief", which fits Trump perfectly. So you are saying he is a "likable" thief? We apparently have different tolerance levels for that sort of thing.

    1. At no time did my maternal Belorus Jewish family members, who were fluent in Yiddish, use "goniff" as a complimentary term. Rather, they used it to describe persons who were thieves, untrustworthy, devious, untruthful or the like. Perhaps the use of the term above is simply a Freudian slip?

    2. "American goniff" is a term used approvingly (see Leo Rosten).

      It's our "sprezzatura" or "con brio", or audacity or grit. Or maybe all.

    3. And Aviator, we're landsmen!

      My paternal Belorus grandfather would have understood komposita. "American" adds a very different meaning to the term ;)

  2. Re: your #3, Lisa...are we talking about THE Donald Trump? The steaks-and-vodka guy? The guy whose "humor" apparently consists of mocking people powerless to return the favor, who recently went ballistic over some SNL jape, and famously fumed when lightly roasted by the man he slandered with his birther lies? THAT Trump?

    The rest of this mess of pottage is what has become your now-sadly-familiar schtick of shilling for Trump under a thin sauce of faux indignation at the press' unwillingness to report the pumpkin-spice-colored gonif's nonsense as actual human reason. But your third point goes beyond ridiculous. Humor? Trump? Even his most in-the-wingnut-echo-chamber fans don't make that claim.

    And, given the NYT's history of running every nonsensical anti-Clinton lede HRC would be a huge fool to give them so much as a Post-it note. Evil, corrupt, warmongering, sensible-shoe-wearing criminal mastermind she may be...but, unlike your boy Trump, she can tell a hawk from a handsaw...

  3. fdc,

    By "humor", I mean that in the Boris Johnsonian sense, as mentioned, not Wildean.

    He is not quite Gerald Form tripping out of planes, but he can laugh at himself when skewered in a less-than-brutal manner. I've never seen this from Clinton.

    If Clinton can tell a "hawk", then that means she is self-conscious. For she herself is a war hawk, and unashamedly so. A lot of us have had enough of this Middle East junket.

    Trump may come aboard and say "enough", as he has no investment in its continuance (unlike Mrs. Clinton.)

    1. Laugh at himself, eh? I've never seen it or heard of it; even his own people have taken his Twitter away from him because of his notoriety in flying off the handle whenever he feels disrespected...which is pretty much 24/7.

      And as for his audacity and grit...well, Lisa, I'll just leave this here then:

    2. "Trump may come aboard and say "enough", as he has no investment in its continuance (unlike Mrs. Clinton.)"

      Horseshit, Lisa. Trump has already talked about carpet-bombing the Middle East. And Trump - self-admittedly not a policy-wonk of any sort - will undoubtedly sign whatever the Congressional GOP sends him, including their already-well-documented enthusiasm for the damn farkling about chasing real and imaginary jihadis.

      You didn't used to be this gullible. What is it? Is it Clinton Derangement Syndrome? I'll be the first to admit; she's a rather uninspiring corporate drone. But Trump? Seriously? Initially I thought you were just being contrarian, but this is getting WAY past that point. You seem all-in on this schmuck. Johnsonian or Wildean, you know perfectly well he's a ridiculous tool who will be a ventriloquist's dummy for the more intelligent Republicans' quest for a New Gilded Age, and I figured that you, of all people, would see that.

      It grieves me deeply to be wrong.

    3. Oh, and here's your boy Johnson, making an utter fool of himself:

      So maybe you're right - Trump IS like this gonif.

    4. ...considering the dumb fucker is the UK's foreign minister having won a price for writing a limerick in which the Turkish President has sex with a goat. (and, FWIW, Erdogan is no prize, but, our Johnson's learning..?)

      I return to my questions above, Lisa. You seem to be choosing some bizarre and deplorable heroes lately. Is this some sort of political thing? CDS? Or should I suggest what your hero Trump suggested about Megyn Kelly? WTF, girlfriend?

    5. "...when skewed in a less-than-brutal manner."

      Nope. I call bullshit on this, Lisa. The famous White House roasting was squarely in the Rickles style and MUCH gentler than he deserved for the birther lies. And he was infuriated and still is, so far as it goes.

      Give it up, Lisa. Your man is a thin-skinned fool who doesn't even have the self-awareness to know what he doesn't know. There's no polishing this turd...

    6. Chief,

      He's not "my man", and I'm not "shilling for Trump". I'm observing the phenomena of his success (I just read he has garnered more private contributions than any previous presidential candidate.) Obviously he is resonating with many people.

      He's not a great man by any stretch (but that is not to say we have always had great men as Presidents.) In fact, when I read of him, I find it rather sad, in many ways. But Hillary is wholly unpalatable, to me.

      I am dejected that we cannot have a better Democratic candidate, for I am a Democrat, in the main.

    7. If that is the case, then why the ridiculous hyperflation of Trump the candidate and vilification of Clinton the candidate?

      He's a great con man which is, in part, what selling yourself to the public as a candidate is. His "resonation" has been well analyzed, and a hell of a lot of it is that 1) lots of people want to hear lies they like rather than unpalatable truths and 2) he's allowed a hell of a lot of people to let their inner racist/misogynist/asshole freak flags fly.

      She, on the other hand, is your bog-standard corporatist DLC centerist. She's a sort of boring policy wonk who is not really a good natural politician.

      But you portray them as some sort of primal contest between Trump the Natural Man and the Hildebeast. I am totally baffled how you come to that conclusion; Trump lies and lies and yet you tell us about his "humor" and his "approachability". Clinton tells the sorts of political lies that politicians tell and you categorize her as the Great Liar of History.

      I think you're being blinded by Clinton Derangement Syndrome, myself. But only you can look into yourself and discover why you're doing this stuff.

      But by doing so you ARE, in effect, shilling for Trump. By minimizing his legion of failings you make his case.

  4. Chief,

    All you say re. Trump can be said of Clinton ("S/He's a great con man which is, in part, what selling yourself to the public as a candidate is"; etc.)

    Trump has not "allowed" anyone to be racist, for that is your inalienable right as an American. Racism spans the political spectrum, a gift that keeps on giving. The laws stop its implementation, that's all.

    You are an apologist for Clinton ("She's a sort of boring policy wonk who is not really a good natural politician.")

    "Not really a good natural politician"? That's all she wants to be, and her party backs her. That is all that's needed.

    I saw a cartoon that ran in a national paper a few months ago: Clinton has many bubbles coming out of her head, "I want to be President." Someone stands before her and replies, "That is not a good enough reason to be President."