Are you a traitor to American values too?
Among the many news articles that have drawn my attention was one today about Trump son-in-law schmoozing his way around the world to make more money as the President’s plenipotentiary for foreign business deals. Since reading all this news cuts into my French studies I’ve tried to blend the two activities. When I read this story I was struck by Kushner’s ignorance and arrogance which were mentioned I take it are part of his qualifications for the job……if not for a national security clearance.
I translated part of a Kushner quote into French which you can read in the title above: “We’ve read enough books.”
The full quote: “We don’t want a history lesson. We’ve read enough books.” (Nous avons lu assez de livres) He might have been speaking for his father-in-law, the President, who can barely bring himself to glance at 5 and 10 page National Security briefs let alone full books. I’m not sure Trump has bothered to read his own auto-biography. Only one grownup seems to have survived the recent staffing blood spilling in the Trump administration. Fortunately he is a serious book reader.
The President’s Defense Secretary, Jim Mattis, is my age, 67. He has been nicknamed the “Warrior Monk.” The President famously upgraded that to “Mad Dog Mattis” in one introduction. It was not a sobriquet that the monk appreciated.
He is resolute, so much so that he was bid farewell by the Obama Administration for being too much of a hardliner
This winning story in the New York Times magazine intrigued me, not the least because we are the same age, but also because this is one former official that Barack Obama may have under estimated. I can’t help wonder if Trump’s recent willingness to join our European allies in kicking out Russian embassy staff wasn’t the monk’s doing. Just a week ago Trump was calling up Putin to congratulate him on winning his fixed election. Oh, and in addition to hacking the last election, poisoning former Russians who have the goods on him and subverting the Olympics Putin’s minions have also been giving weapons to the Taliban in Afghanistan. Of course, Putin calls all of these things “fake news.”
The Warrior Monk is no Jared Kushner. He visits service members in the field, never married so as to give full devotion to the military and, most arrestingly, always carts his library of 6,000 books to wherever he has been assigned a command.
You Go, General Mattis!
I know I should write something about Stormy Daniels and the recent marches to regulate guns. I find myself impressed by both the individual and the collective. I will just share this recent DNT column from an English prof about the students across our nation who are following the lead of “Dumbledore’s Army.” I love JKR. (She writes big books not that our President would understand them if he ever had the patience to read them.)
I was a devotee of Andrew Sullivan’s blog for many years and was sad to see him burn out. He still writes a well reasoned op ed and this one is no exception.
Mother nature woke me at 4AM. The “Deep State” prevented me from going back into a deep sleep. Before I launch into my thoughts about national paranoia I’ll start with local paranoia.
I often mentioned the slogan I jokingly suggest should be our school board’s operating principle: “Just because you’re paranoid DOESN’T mean that someone isn’t out to get you!”
Just this morning I sent out an email containing this sentiment:
“The only antidote I know for this paranoia is sunshine. Put things out in the open where you can see them and you can shrug them off. If you can’t see them they become like that poisonous creature hiding in a tree stump in the Star trek movie about the castoffs marooned on a dying plant. They had to put their hands in the stump and risk a painful death.”
The “Deep State” strikes me as an invention of the real “Deep State.” The so called Deep State is not the bureaucrats and press foisting socialized medicine on a hardy, uncorrupted people. It’s the folks who don’t want to pay for socialized medicine or other civic obligations like pollution control.
The chief obstacle to getting this accomplished is our Constitution which guarantees a free press the much hated irritant of the power hungry except when they themselves use it. In Russia or China the author of “Dark Money”, Jane Mayer, would have been shot or disappeared by now. In America her biggest worry would be disinterest not death.
Before the School Board campaign and researching China got in the way I managed to get about half way through the book. It details the remnants of the John Birch Society which have rekindled into a much more potent semi-secret cabal led by the deep pockets of two of the Koch brothers. Their tentacles are everywhere – Congress, the Federal Courts, all state legislatures through ALEC, reapportionment, voter suppression, freedom to work laws, campaign finance, undermining of Federal regulation, the Trump Administration, the Tea Party and Fox News. You can’t fault Charles Koch for not putting his money where his heart is – corporate supremacy through regulatory inaction. You might argue that most of the billions he’s spent on this re engineering the American polity came from putting the public at risk by skimping on public spiritedness.
My take on the Republicans hysterics about a liberal Deep State is to think of it as Fake mongering. It has all the resonance of the grade school taunt: “I know you are but what am I?”
Maybe the real problem is overpopulation and its unruly offspring disappointed expectations of the young but the Free Press is under assault all over the world – Russia, Turkey, China, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and now the United States. Our all-too-real President lies daily about “Fake News” until its obvious truth emerges. Then his lackey’s call it a “nothing burger.”
I’ll take my nothing burger with plenty of ketchup and pickle relish, thank you.
Megan McCain savages Trump for hurling abuse at her Father. She follows Fox luminary Bill O’Reilly who got Trump to say that America wasn’t so innocent on his pre-Superbowl interview thus equating the United States with Putin’s murderous regime.
I just found a reminder email to myself as I cleaned old emails out to unfreeze my mailing system. It reminded me to tell my eight loyal readers about the cleverest sign I saw when I marched down the Skywalk with Claudia and friends for Duluth’s Woman’s March. The march was a lot of fun and it was gratifying to know it was being replicated all accross the world. When I visited Denver I learned that my cousin marched through Denver the same day while she was visiting her Father, my Uncle Frank.
The email concerned the funniest sign being waved in the Duluth march by a friend of mine who keeps advocating for “civility” in the Community and who for long years has despaired over the Duluth School Board. The sign she held was in the Russian language’s cyrilic script.
Having collected lots of Russian stamps in my youth I asked my friend if it was a message for Russia. She told me that it was. What did it say? It said:
What does it mean?
It means: “Thanks for nothing.”
BTW – This was not my first foray into this demographic. I put this sign up in October but it was stolen from my yard the same night.
Then after Breitbart began spewing out fake news from Russia I put this one up. Continue reading
I woke up this morning to find that “My Buddy” had sent me an email with links to bloggers skeptical of the claim that Russia tampered with our recent Presidential election. I haven’t yet read them but I did hear the incredibly reasonable President Obama comment on what a swell guy Vladimir Putin is:
“This is somebody, the former head of the KGB, who is responsible for crushing democracy in Russia, muzzling the press, throwing political dissidents in jail, countering American efforts to expand freedom at every turn; is currently making decisions that’s leading to a slaughter in Syria. And a big chunk of the Republican Party, which prided itself during the Reagan era and for decades that followed as being the bulwark against Russian influence, now suddenly is embracing him.”
And Trump has already suggested that he would be happy to bargain Taiwan’s future away for a better deal with China. Hes my kinda guy.
My daughter Facebooked me to tell me that she (young as she is) knows what the Manchurian Candidate is. For those who haven’t heard of it it was a movie based on a book. The plot was about how communists North Koreans had brainwashed an American POW to assasinate an American politician. Its appearance in theaters ironically and infamously coincided with the assassination of JFK.
I haven’t seen the recent remake. Sinatra’s version was good enough for me.
Coincidentally, PBS aired a two-hour American Experience tonight on the fighting at Korea’s Chosin Reservoir and the perilous, frozen escape of American soldiers surrounded by tens of thousands of Chinese troops. Some of the first American POWs came from that fighting.
My Uncle, Frank, was in a MASH unit during the war. I know virtually nothing about his actions but I know he helped a Korean from his camp immigrate to the US after the war. I wrote about Frank once for the Reader in an anecdote about Grandfather. Its one of my favorite family stories.
Frank must be about 88 now. I had originally intended to travel on to Colorado after visiting Topeka, Kansas, next week and ask him about my Dad’s side of the family in much the same way that I’m researching my Mother’s side now. I decided against it because he lives at 8,000 feet and winter is coming. I’ll come back for the next school board meeting instead. Maybe I’ll try Colorado next spring.
After watching the program I ordered the third book in a trilogy. I collected the first two of the books better than a decade ago but never read them. Maybe its about time I do. Its about the “Forgotten War.”
After my post on the Manchurian Candidate I got an email from my Buddy and we proceeded to have a testy exchange. My characterization of FBI Director James Comey as worse than a “communist dupe” struck my Buddy as “unhinged.” Nevermind that Presidential candidate Trump – the butt of my exageration, has said far worse about a great many other people on television over and over for the last year. Nevermind that he leads his audiences in inflamatory chants of “lock her up. lock her up.” No, its me that’s unhinged.
I could have confessed to being a tad excessive to my Buddy but I didn’t feel like it. He had just sent me a story about how the lastest polls show Trump up over Clinton by a point and I’d just been stewing about Comey and the part he may have played in this last rough week for my preferred candidate Clinton. I thought he was trying to goad me so I let myself be goaded. It never pays off.
As a bit of a concession I sent him a commentary that was anything but unhinged in finding fault with Comey. My Buddy made no reference to it when he sent me another snappish email.
What is indisputable is that Vladimir Putin would love to see American politics lose its lustre for the rest of the world even if it means that an unpredictable narcisist takes the reigns of power perhaps as disasterously as when Trump plunged his Atlantic City Casinos into bankruptcy. Putin would have the office once presided over by Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln, the Roosevelts and Ronald Reagan handed to a man who flushed Reagan’s “eleventh commandment” down the commode. In other words, Putin wants a lying, uninformed, lucky, idiot billionaire to be America’s next president. My Buddy reminds me incessantly that standard issue Presidents, like he’s sure Hillary will be, got us into the Vietnam War. How could Trump be any worse? he asks. I only write back to him out of sheer cussedness.
Hemingway said that courage is “grace under pressure.” Perhaps mine failed me. Ironically, Comey’s dubious last-minute, non revelation has been defended by none other than President Obama. I doubt that my Buddy will give him credit for being more rational than me even though Obama is busting a gut to get Hillary Clinton elected. My Buddy twitted me a few years back about how Obama was treated as the “Messiah” by his early adoring fans and how he let them down by not providing them utopia. I keep reminding by Buddy that from a minute Obama was elected Republicans made it clear their only real priority was to make sure he was a one-term president. They didn’t dare let America be run well for the next four years if they hoped to depose him. The result eight years later a is Donald Trump now the titular head of the Party of Lincoln. And who can forget his constant threats and taunts to his fellow Republicans. That’s what six years of Republican gridlock got America. If Trump is not a Manchurian candidate I don’t know what the hell he is.
By the way, an hour ago I had to run to Wallgreens and get a fresh 9 cell to stop a fire alarm from shreeking at me every twenty seconds. My Manchurian Candidate sign was still standing. I give it fifty/fifty odds of making it through the night.
One of Minnesota’s top conservative bloggers, John Hinderacher, (not the real spelling but more accurate) makes this observation regarding the ex-Governor of Alaska:
“Palin has her faults, but she is a serious participant in the national dialogue on the key issues of our time. The New York Times and the Washington Post, in contrast, are frivolous rags with little or nothing of substance to offer.”
It doesn’t occur to John that like Rush Limbaugh Palin helps kill brain cells like when she exposed the foolishness of President Obama by tweeting, as John writes:
“Governor Palin, meanwhile, is engaged in much more substantial activity than the TMZ-like obsessions of the Times and the Post. On Facebook she writes, “Another ‘WTF’ Obama Foreign Policy Moment,” about the Obama administration’s perverse plan to share missile defense technology with Russia”
Yup. Only a pervert would do such a thing as offer missle technology to the Rooskies………Like Ronald Reagan did thirty years ago. Check the middle of the fourth paragraph from this page on the Reagan Library’s website.
Looks like Powerline is right up there with the Times and the Post except that no one puts it on newsprint. That frees it from being considered a rag.
â€œYes,â€ he said. â€œAbsolutely. We’ve been trying to tell the world about this for months. If you go back and look at the archives you’ll see plenty of calls from the Georgian government saying they’re really worried. Even some Russian commentators agree that this is exactly what happened. Don’t forget, they sent in a lot of irregulars, Chechens, Cossacks, Ossetians, Ingush â€“ basically thugs. Not normal Chechens or Ingush â€“ thugs. Thugs out for a holiday. Many Western camera crews were robbed at gunpoint ten meters from Russian tanks while Russian commanders just stood there smoking their cigarettes while the irregulars…that happened to a Turkish TV crew. They’re lucky to still be alive. Some of the Georgians were picked up by the irregulars. If they happened to be female, they got raped. If they happened to be male, they got shot immediately, sometimes tortured. Injured people we have in hospitals who managed to get out have had arms chopped off, eyes gouged out, and their tongues ripped out.â€