Thursday, May 24, 2018

Commentariat Central/Open Thread

Sorry not sorry for the dearth of new posts. Springtime warmth has finally arrived here in my corner of the elitist Northeast, and snnshine and birds and flowers beckon like an irresistible magnet away from the dank confines of my depressively cluttered little computer alcove.

The only writing I've done this whole week is respond to Charles Blow's latest column in the New York Times, which takes issue with Donald Trump's sloppy, vague and unaccountable, but still paradoxically effective, language skills. Since analysis of media-political language is my game, I joined the fray and wrote a comment: 

Trump is the Pontius Pilate of presidents.

"Things" may or may not passive-aggressively happen. Stay tuned, because this is the highest rated cliffhanger of a reality show that, to use his words, "the world has ever seen."

"People" are saying, because his regime is defined as the pulpy pages of a checkout gossip mag.

I just read that a judge has ruled Trump can no longer ban people from his Twitter account. I also read that his staff largely ghost-writes his tweets, deliberately misspelling words and using CAPs and too many !!!!s so as to make him a Deplorable in good standing, a very stable genius whose base, he perceives, is slightly less intellekchul than he is. And the media gobble it all up., as he merely pretends to despise them.

And the feeling is utterly mutual. Michelle Wolf was right when she told the D.C. press that "you guys love Trump." And well they should: the ratings and revenues of the consolidated corporate media are through the roof. #Resistance, Inc. is a very lucrative franchise, for professional Trumpers and anti-Trumpers alike.

The only losers are the bottom 90% of the US population, not to mention close to 100% of the world's population.

Trump might lie like the day-glo orange rug on the top of his head, but whenever he brays "Winning!!!!" he is very sadly speaking Mammon's honest truth.

He's been the poster boy of our two-tiered justice system for all 70-odd years of his existence. Poor people go to jail. Trump pays a fine and signs an NDA.


Jay–Ottawa said...

Stupid and Stupider.

As we know, Stupid has been criticized ceaselessly since he took office. If there's a condition called "Pile On Fatigue," I've got it.

But the next person in line to take charge of our mighty empire––should Stupid ever be removed from office before the end of his term––was generally thought to be better informed and a more savvy and efficient politician. Until today.

After reading #2's remarks about North Korea on Fox News, I give the nod to #1 as the less stupid one and pray he is never impeached nor done permanent harm by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. See if you don't agree after reading this report about #2.

I now deeply regret ever having argued that Hillary would have been just as bad, perhaps worse, than #1, judging by her unenviable political history and her indisputable neolib-neocon credentials. I was wrong. She may well have been hell-bent on taking the nation deeper into its class war at home. And she was also likely to have led us into another one of those wars to end all wars, while simultaneously hustling 7.6 billion humans into the Sixth Extinction. But she would have done so in a more orderly fashion, never with the chaotic and ludicrous clumsiness of Stupid and Stupider. Since the human race is about to exit the Milky Way, it should do so with an air of dignified tragedy, not cheap comedy.

Uncle Ho said...

Jay, your initial instincts about HRC were correct.

James Comey said Pres. Trump is "above average intelligence", and is "engaged", during a NYT interview. Trump is not stupid.

The Democrats are stupid for wrecking their own campaign by nominating the least qualified candidate ever - HRC. Marrying well is not a qualification for president, especially when Bill Clinton was a serial abuser of women, and HRC undermined women for decades who dared speak out against her husband. Trump and HRC are both moral cesspools, so Americans went for change and elected Trump. The notion that Russia interfered in our election in any material way is silly. Israel and AIPAC have been materially interfering in our elections for decades. Where’s the investigation into Israel and AIPAC? The Democrats, led by stupid Debbie Wasserman Schultz, interfered in the 2016 election by denying Bernie Sanders his rightful place, because it was Hillary’s turn to be president. Hillary’s turn. Sanders was stupid for backing down. So Trump won. Get over it. Plan for the next election. But I expect more stupidity from the Democrats, like a Clinton vs. Trump rematch. Trump will win again.

Gary Leupp/counterpunch may be mistaken about Trump and North Korea. North Korea called Max Thunder, the joint US/South Korea military drill, "an "intentional military provocation" and cited as the reason for canceling inter-Korean talks. It was first sign of trouble ahead of the planned Singapore summit, which Donald Trump ultimately canceled, depriving Kim Jong Un of his first meeting with a US President."

In Max Thunder, US jets carry live bombs very close to North Korea.

Bill Hicks said...

In the decade I prior to 2016, Obama's horrid presidency slowly alienated me as a leftist to the point where when it became obvious that the fix was in for Hillary to win the Dem nomination I finally fully turned into an American declinist--a follower of such marginalized voices as James Howard Kunstler, Morris Berman and Linh Dinh, who make no bones about their belief that America as a nation is done for.

Every year Berman's works, The Twilight of American Culture, Dark Ages America and Why America Failed seem all the more accurate in their analysis of a slowly dying culture that in its arrogance and hubris is committing suicide by overextending itself around the world and determinedly ignoring its very serious and mounting domestic problems. Trump's election merely dropped the mask and showed the world America's true and very ugly face. When two-thirds of the citizenry approve of torture, "democracy" is on its last legs indeed.

Uncle Ho said...

Jay, my response 2 days ago to your post was not published by Sardonicky. But it appears the Korean nuclear deal is back on, according to the news stories cited below. Generally that is the nature of deal-making like this, perhaps an unknown fact to those who do not make such deals.

Trump: Talks Regarding June 12 Summit ‘Going Very, Very Well’
By Steve Herman, Last Updated: May 26, 2018 10:44 PM

Kim Reaffirms Korean Denuclearization Push, Looks Forward to Trump Meeting, Moon Says
By Jonathan Cheng and Andrew Jeong
Updated May 27, 2018 1:00 a.m. ET
South Korean President Moon Jae-in says North Korean leader expressed interest in keeping U.S. summit on track for June 12

Uncle Ho said...

Jay (and the rest of America), read this:

A President Clinton would have made things much worse
By Michael Goodwin, New York Post, May 26, 2018 | 9:46pm

"To put the roller-coaster presidency of Donald Trump in perspective, it helps on occasion to imagine that Hillary Clinton won the election. My experience is that the exercise leads to greater appreciation of the president we have, warts and all."

"Start with Clinton herself. She has spent the last 18 months in a perpetual snit. "No, I’m not over it," she confessed while turning Yale’s commencement into a self-pity party."

"Anyone who has dealt with her knows the "I’m a victim" schtick didn’t start with November of 2016, and would not have ended if she won. She’s been a blamer and finger-pointer her entire public life and would have taken her woe-is-me attitude to the Oval Office."

Bill Sprague said...

and most folks wouldn't know that it's in fact correct to use ".. an NDA" as opposed to "... a NDA". Which you - mercifully educated - didn't do. NDA is an abbreviation folks. It's an NDA not a NDA as though we were putting in the actual words...

Jay–Ottawa said...

Is 'stupid' so inaccurate as a descriptor of 45 or 45 1/2? A thesaurus is a book full of approximations, not as precise as a dictionary with its subtle distinctions. But life is short, so I just now looked up 'stupid' in thesaurus dot com.

Just about all the first-rank synonyms listed for 'stupid' apply to 45 and 45 1/2. One of the top antonyms is 'wise.' For me, Trump is a living, breathing antonym of 'wise.' My point was that Pence, based on his recent Fox interview about North Korea, proved himself superior to his boss in lack of information and wisdom.

Otherwise, I agree with all the sound points listed by Uncle H and Bill H about Clinton's shortcomings. I'm swinging over to Clinton not because she is less stupid or more wise than 45. She's as deficient in Solomonic wisdom as Trump and Pence. Trump, Pence and Clinton are probably in a tie (trie?) of un-wisdom, each in their own way brash and dangerous.

My point was that Clinton pretends to a tad more gravitas than Trump. As a matter of preference, I would rather the world be wasted in the dignified air of tragedy, which she might oversee better than Trump.

Style, not substance, may be all that separates 45 from Clinton. If humanity must check out in the near future under some variation of the Apocalypse, nuclear or climate generated, let the last act not be a farce under the direction of fools like 45 or 45 1/2.

Our discussions on the relative merits of Trump and Clinton boil down to another exercise of re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. On the horizon is a dragon called the Sixth Extinction. It is a threat surpassing all other threats, unstoppable according to scientists who ought to know. Everything else is whataboutery.

Jay–Ottawa said...

The mock-serious defence of my belated return to the Hillary fold has yet to be posted. I believe I left something out. (Please understand, it was so late in the wee hours. That's when I dare entertain dark thoughts, when half asleep. The same thought processes in the full light of day would only depress me.)

Back to the main point, wouldn't we all prefer to have the human race exit in style? Trump's way would only take us into more confusion and uncertainty; we wouldn't even realize it was the grand finale of humanity until it was too late. Clinton, on the other hand, has a more orderly mind and would script the final act with more care. Something truly Wagnerian.

The human race turns out to have been a failed experiment; but it was a great and daring experiment and so deserves a send off worthy of its great, if unrealized, potential. We were gods with the power to do good things in great style. We took a wrong turn along the way and stuck to it despite the kibitzing of philosophers and the occasional saint in the back seat. Now the cliff is ahead. Forget the antics of the Great Oaf. There in no dignity in his style. Let's carry on, chin up, in the style of Thelma and Louise and Hillary.

Mark Thomason said...

Then the alternative must have been better? No. This is bad is not inconsistent with the alternative having been even worse.

We were openly told it was an election for least bad, to hold our noses and vote. We did, but not for the one saying that.

We were right. Sad, but true.

The current problems are not a failure of liberalism. They are a failure of neoliberalism. It is wars, and financial elites, and "democracy" only if it votes for wars and financial elites (see Italy today rejecting the election winner). Hillary was neoliberal, and had attracted the neocons favoring war too. She'd done their wars too, in Ukraine and Libya and Syria, and without objection to Iraq. Yes, it could have been worse.

The cure would be real liberalism, and both parties fear it, prevent it, stand in the way.

Uncle Ho said...

This video should be called The Rothschild-Wilber Ross-Trump Casino-Syria-ISIS Connection

You may want to start at 12.27 and listen to the end; then go back to the beginning.

Wilbur Ross - US Secretary of Commerce