Thursday, March 03, 2016

trump shock among our national high school's self appointed cool kids!

The grotesque spectacle of the Trump campaign has two ends: one is the Trump himself, and I am not going to attempt to pile up adjectives here. The  other end is the press corps, suffering under Trumpshock.The press corps has lived in a bubble for decades. One of its grand illusions is that objectivity calls for saying that if the Republicans do it (whatever the craziness of the moment), the Democrats do it to in an opposite and equal way. Underneath this bizarre rhetorical gesture is a larger delusion, which is that there is a mainstream and that the GOP is solidly part of it. In the media’s imagination, Ronald Reagan was a statesman, George HW Bush was honorable down to his very asshole, and would never disgrace the office by getting a blow job in it (in spite of the whispers that Bush had a mistress in D.C. – a rumor that no Starr or WAPO crew checked out) and George W. Bush was an honorable failure, seeking only to promote democracy around the world.

I should say, part of this delusion is that the GOP right and the Democratic Party right make up the only political spectrum in America. But I am dealing here with neurosis, not psychosis, so I’ll skip that issue.
This makes the David Duke scandal particularly funny. The only question ever asked of Trump is whether he disavows Duke. It is never asked, and it will never be asked of a GOP candidate, why a former KKK member would be attracted to the GOP.
I mean, they are all such honorable men.
So let’s return to the late lamented George W. Bush and the election of 2000 – one in which the rumor that McCain had a black mistress was spread in South Carolina by mysterious entities that had no, oh no, no, my gosh no, no connection with the George W. Bush campaign. That campaign, of course, ended up in the Florida quagmire.
What happened in the Florida quagmire? Here we have go to another racist, a man named Don Black, who runs an organization named Stormfront.  Stormfront was very agitated that Bush would be questioned in Florida. And they sent followers to pro-Bush rallies, and to pro-Gore rallies to bully, without the press ever, to my knowledge, asking George to disavow.  Infact, few reported on it. The Village Voice did, though:

 Black, the founder of the Internet's first "hate" site is claiming he'll help lead the rally. Black has been using his site to promote the event to the world from his home in downtown West Palm Beach, two miles from the voting action this week at the Emergency Operations Center. Black, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, will be there with his 11-year-old son, Derek (the webmaster of Stormfront for Kids.) Both father and son are featured in the HBO documentary, airing this week.
The Pat Buchanan supporter—who voted for George W. Bush to keep Al Gore out—said Wednesday that he participated in the Jackson protest Monday, which he insists was more anti-Gore than pro-Bush. "I was right in the middle of things," Black said with a laugh. "Not a single reporter recognized me. My ego was deflated in a way."
That is not entirely surprising. Although Black is a former deputy of KKK leader David Duke's (and actually married Duke's former wife, Chloe), he tries to stay below the media radar in his wife's hometown of West Palm Beach, where they moved in 1987. Likewise, Black said that he is counseling fellow "pro-white" extremists to show up to support Bush, but not to emphasize their controversial stances such as support for the Confederate flag.

Black, apparently, understood how one must be discreet. The press appreciated that and at no time cared a bit that white supremicists were rallying for Bush and disrupting peaceful rallies by Jesse Jackson. I mean, the press had bigger fish to fry, like: Isn’t George Bush the kind of guy you’d love  ta share a beer with in a bar?
Trump is a master of the visceral issue, the issue of what you want your macho man  to be - much like  Georgie, the man in full, who was celebrated in one of the most asslicking bios of all time, written by Fred Barnes, still a member in good standing of the press corps, called, wonderfully, Rebel in Chief (wink wink there with that Rebel, as in confederate, but let’s not talk about it!). Georgie, however, was much more respectable than Trump, so he could amiably lead us from disaster to disaster, at each of which he visibly panicked, and the press was all about how he was macho man numero 1!
In my opinion, Trump will, if he is elected, rule like your standard GOPster. The difference between Romney and Trump is that Trump has a more bizarre tan. But that is it. And yet, you would think Hitler was coming to town from the coverage. Included in it is a mass of info that should make the average reader pause – you mean, Trump thinks the Iraq war was a disaster, and that Bush was on a vacation from reality when he totally ignored info about al qaeda aiming to hit America in 2001? You mean he doesn’t think people should die in the street cause they don’t have insurance? You mean he likes planned parenthood?
All of which is Romney without the dogwhistle. Trump is openly doing what the GOP has done since Goldwater: calling on all white people.

That is what they do.  Get over it.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016


It rather pisses me off that Trump took all the attention space from Sanders. That's the breaks, but it is very sad, nevertheless. Clinton needed a good competitive race. It would have moved the ball on the issues Sanders has been raising. Now we are going to go back to ignoring them. Sad.
I must admit, I find it especially funny when commenters bemoan the fact that Clinton has competition because of MONSTER TRUMP. As if you become a champion by being coddled. It is literally a fight, and if the idea is that your fighter will be better for never having practiced, than you don't know fightin'.

Monday, February 29, 2016

dogwhistles, from Reagan to Trump

Last week, the NYT published an oped by Jacob Weisberg, the contrarian liberal - that is, not liberal at all, but for liberal reasons! - which presented a truly funny image of Ronald Reagan as a moderate president. It sorta skipped Iran contra, or Reagan's economics plan, or the tax raises on the bottom 80 percent for fica paralleled by halving the tax rate on the wealthiest. 
But the funniest thing that Weisberg skipped was Reagan on race. Sure, he was friends with Sammy Davis, Jr. But basically, Reagan on race was the guy who went to Philadelphia, Mississippi, where three civil rights activists had been killed in 1964, and spoke out straightforwardly for.... state's rights. The same shit Goldwater shoveled when he voted against the Civil Rights bill of 1964 (that's the Goldwater that was Hillary Clinton's first political enthusiasm, by the way), In retrospect, the establishment does not like American presidents to be monsters. It so disturbs the cucumber sandwiches and tea. But of course, Reagan was a very big monster.
Trump playing the dance with the KKK - an organization he apparently never heard of - is just following in the great Ronnie's footsteps. It will be fun hearing establishment GOP types playing the game of walking the razor's edge between overt racism - of which they wholeheartedly disapprove - and covert racism - which they wholeheartedly like to generate. For a moment, though, they have all put down the dogwhistles and gaped: doesn't the Donald know how to play this game?.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

the stick

They came and killed the trees today.
Or at least they seriously lop-otomized them. If spring is i-cumen in in Santa Monica, the sap in our trees won’t be rushing to the edge of the foliage to see it, for we aint’got any. More seriously, the sunlight that filters through the leaves as we have breakfast on the patio will now fall on us without intervention.  
Such is the downside.
The upside is that our tree barbers left behind a rain of stick.
Adam soon spotted the sticks including a long, tapered, easy to grasp number, which he promptly seized. And thus he was inducted into the four dimensions of stick-ness.
The four dimensions are, as every child knows: a. the sword; b., the drumstick; c. the gun (or as Adam thinks of it, one of those things that goes pu ew pu ew and shoots out balls, his interpretation of a paint ball gun ad he saw); and d, the poker.
Adam began by flourishing the stick like a  sword, and followed in exactly the above order. Actually, there is a fifth dimension – the cane – but Adam has not figured this out yet. Or perhaps he is not interested. He did have a model in me, when I was hobbling about on crutches all last summer. Maybe Adam, like his Dad, had enough of that nonsense.
I remember the sticks of my youth! To find just the right stick was one of the scouting talents you picked up if your home was anywhere near a stand of trees broad enough to be called a woods or a swamp. Our neighborhood in Georgia was furnished with both the woods and a swamp, and I spent many a happy afternoon in one or the other, building big muddy dams, pacing along trails, climbing trees, and playing the games: hide and seek, treasure hunt, pirates, and other, jungle-themed ones. It seemed that a lot of children’s tv was set in jungle locales back in those days. Inevitably, sticks played a large part in all of these games.
In Northern Georgia, at the time, there was an abundance of pine. I’ve heard that some beetle borne plague is steadily de-conifering Georgia, which is a shame, even though the conifers are surely an invasive species, which came in after the first cutting. Pine sticks usually had rough bark on them, and you had to strip it off. This usually left your fingers sticky with the reisen residue. Sticky fingers and that green coniferous smell form a leitmotif of my spring days in the fifth grade in Georgia, and I imagine it was the same for many another small child.
As well as the scratchy ramble through the underbrush, and the looking for gold nuggets in the creek (we must have seen some film about gold panning in the North Georgia mountains). Also, catching crawfish in jars.  I also remember a long vine which hung above a hillside that descended int o a ravine, which you could, nerving yourself, swing on.
That was the world in which the stick held a great importance. Still, today, when I go hiking, I like a good stick. I keep a watch for them. When I find one big enough, I use it to walk with. Of course, it is not really necessary – I’ve never been on a trail where I had to use a stick to pull me forward. However, it is psychologically necessary. I like the nice familiar feel of the point of the stick coming down on the soil, perhaps indenting it a little. And I like, most of all, the companionship of it. In the stick, I am allied to all of nature.
I rather envy Adam his coming discoveries in the stick department. Although… he is bound to be a Paris boy, and we don’t come by sticks so easily in the streets, there. In the park, yes. And when he is visiting his relatives. At the moment, here in California, this is one of the perks, I guess.

olivier blanchard and the free lunch: a comedy of errors

  The neolib economist Oliver Blanchard tweeted a very funny comedy bit, in which he played the part of “social democrat”. And he wrote: “As...