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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Name:
Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

The Golden Door No More



Smack (or, I suppose, almost so) in the middle of New York Harbor is a tiny island that contains not much more than a fort of the 1800’s built in the form of an 11-pointed star and serving purely as an elevated platform on which stands a truly enormous, light green statue that can be seen for miles, geographically speaking, and in fact all over the world, spiritually speaking.  The name given to this statue by its makers is “Liberty Enlightens the World,” though in the U.S. it is somewhat less elegantly known as “The Statue of Liberty.”

This statue was not “made in America.”  Instead it was the result of three Frenchmen putting together their heads and their talents and quickly, efficiently, and successfully carrying through an idea from its inception to its very tangible and meritorious end -- though they would have good reason to be appalled at the physical and moral surroundings in which their conception in its concrete (though I should say “metallic”) form now languishes, 150 years later.

A historian named Eduoard de Laboulaye got the notion that what the world needed was a monument to liberty.  He passed his idea on to his friend, an artist named Frederic A. Bartholdi, who then came up with the design and also put his shoulder to the wheel in finding funds for the project.   Meanwhile one of their illustrious contemporaries in Paris, the builder of the Eiffel Tower, Alexandre G. Eiffel, put together the inner iron framework that supports, among other things, the 331 sheets of copper that, patinaed by the elements, comprise the outside parts of the statue and give it that interesting color of an apple not yet beginning to turn red.

As an aside -- funny thing about the Eiffel Tower.

It would be mainly art students who would know that though the Eiffel Tower has meant Paris through and through for quite a long time, the Impressionists and the other now world-famous painters of the 1880’s and thereabouts were not exactly thrilled when that incredibly tall, ugly, inhuman, iron thing rose up smack in the middle of beautiful, thoroughly human Paris and overshadowed everything else around, and they generally avoided giving that unwelcome intruder any place in their paintings, even though they were as busy as could be recording the slightest glints on oranges, apples, and every other visual subtlety that offered itself.

But when it came to Bartholdi’s statue of that woman holding high her torch, things were different, mainly because as soon as all the parts were fabricated, those were packed into 341 boxes and shipped off in a boat to the U.S. as a gift, at a cost of $250,000 to the French people for the statue itself, and another $280,000 paid by Americans for the Fort Wood pedestal in the harbor.

The French, however, did keep a model of the statue that sits on a bridge over the Seine River in Paris – provided that it is still there at all, and also if the French, a sensitive bunch, have by now let slide the numerous, stupid insults that they had to endure from some Americans for not taking part in the 2003 travesty of invading Iraq, which was a blunder of gigantic proportions that, with the just concluded election, now has every chance to be repeated, in various forms, since the new U.S. President-to-be was voted in by the same numbskulls who so roundly condemned France for acting so intelligently 13 years ago.

Let’s face it.   The French are more evolved than not only Americans, but also the Irish, the Germans, the Russians, and the Spanish, or at least the French are somewhat so, and it’s possible that in 2003 they showed that, unlike their friends and neighbors, they had learned from the many mistakes they had made in Vietnam not that long before – blunders that a long string of American presidents repeated in the same damn place, and that GW Bush was blithely about to repeat in Iraq, with the same inevitable results.   Meanwhile let’s not do more than merely mention the especially dense British, who over the course of 200 years have had their behinds unmercifully beaten and kicked out of Afghanistan by the locals a number of times, yet every time the Americans say, “Let’s have another go at those Pashtun ragamuffins, the British are always right there, saying, “Righto!”  And again, always ending up with nothing but blood and misery to show for it.

That remarkable feat of engineering, the wonderful French gift, “Liberty Enlightening the World,” was unveiled in America in 1886 when Grover Cleveland was President, and 16 years later, in 1903, the statue was graced with the words that come to mind with any mention of it and give the statue its meaning, in the form of a poem written by a lady named Emma Lazarus and titled “The New Colossus.” 
The best known lines of this poem occur toward its end, and they go as follows:

     “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
     With silent lips.  “Give me your tired, your poor,
     Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
     The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
     Send these, the homeless, tempest-lost to me.
     I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”


Sheer distaste has kept me from looking to see how tall that multi-storied rats nest, the T. Rump Tower, is, and so I just assume that the statue in the harbor cannot be seen from there.

In any case that big green statue in New York Harbor must be an intense embarrassment for the incoming T.Rump administration, so foreign is that concept of three Frenchmen as to what “liberty” means to the intentions of those who are about to take power in the U.S. these days.   After all the Rumpisants campaigned on principles that are exactly opposite to those espoused by men who remembered how their country had gotten rid of absolute monarchs a century earlier, and at about the same time that the U.S. was founded, supposedly on much the same principles, though not actually, since the so-called “Founding Fathers” did not really believe that “all men are created equal,’’ and especially that their slaves were real people, and so they were quite satisfied to let human slavery remain a law of the land for the next 80-some years.

What, then, will the Rumpisants want to do with a statue that is there in New York Harbor for only one purpose and that is to praise immigration, when the statue is on a concrete island that is now named Immigrant Island, and when their man in the Oval Office has proposed making registries of immigrants who are already here and building walls a la the Warsaw ghettoes to prevent other possible immigrants from coming here, both of these being measures used by the German Nazis against Jewish people?

Will they behave as if ‘”Liberty Enlightens the World” no longer exists?   Will they cover that statue over with a blood red tarp, for the duration?  Will they yearn to disassemble it and ship it back to the French, along with a bill for the cost of that operation, while planning to replace that statue with one of Pitchfork Ben Tillman or Theodore Bilbo?   Will they look around for a buyer, perhaps V. Putin, or, more likely, that model premier who now presides over another country that is now, bizarrely and inexplicably, well on its way to becoming a full-fledged fascist nation, B.Netanyahu?

My guess is that the “Statue of Liberty” is fated to become an example of the far right philosophy that up and is down and down is up and north is south and east is west and west is east that has so far served so well for Rumpisants in perverting all notions and realities of long-standing truths, and that  in their eyes the word “liberty” will only mean the liberty to prevent men and women who are not “white” from even thinking about what Ms Lazarus had in mind when she wrote those immortal lines.

Whoever thought of putting “Liberty Enlightening the World” on such a small island really knew what they were doing.   At least, barring the use of a thousand barges, that location prevents T.Rump supporters from staging massive 1934 Nuremberg-type rallies there, a la Leni Riefenstahl’s  well-made though still tedious film, “Triumph of the Will,”  when that criminal section of the “white” population gets to the point of seriously exploring the possibilities of giving themselves the liberty to bring back slavery and so make “their” country great again.






Tuesday, November 29, 2016

T. Rump's Dilemmas



With no teenage beauty pageants in progress right now, or allowed anywhere near him, I wonder what  T. Rump is doing to keep his life juices flowing right now. given the trouble they’ve always had in reaching his head? (The “T” is short for “Tweetybird” or perhaps “Tonsils,” going by the extremely pronounced ski slope for the bugs that extends from his chin down to the top of his chest and thereby completely hides the color of his neck, at least from the front, though that is easy enough to guess.)

“A man is only as good as his team.”   How many billions of times has that been said?  But if that is so, then Rump is in deep doodoo, as any man, or woman would be, if they had only a bottomless pool of nasties to choose from.  So far, of the 15 cabinet posts, he has settled on the holders of only three, none of whom figures to be remembered kindly in history books written by anyone other than the endlessly hateful David Horowitz.  

It’s interesting to note who, so far, has NOT been chosen.   Not one of his 15 or so adversaries during the primaries has been picked or even mentioned as being in the running. 

I guess that is because they had the temerity to go up against him.  But aren’t they a big part of the Republican Establishment?  And didn’t he run under the Republican banner and at times used their resources?

This means that, just as in the final stages of the campaign when he, a congenital cheapskate, withheld funds from them, so far he has kept the Republicans from sharing the power as well, very likely out of his certainty that he won all by himself.

But then what about the Republican Senate and House and the solidly Republican Supreme Court that he now intends to hang around the country’s neck before squeezing slowly, garrote style?

If then T. Rump has in mind dumping the Republicans, too, then does he belong to any party at all, or does he intend to put into place an all-powerful new one, called The National Socialist American Workers' Party or some variation thereof, beginning with dropping the “Socialist” bit?  Actually, however, if he wants to stay close to his inspiration, he could keep that word in, too, without the Rumpisants being any the wiser, so deeply have they drunk of his Kickapoo Joy Juice – until they start noticing his friends, the Billionaire Buzzards, constantly circling overhead, though by then it will be too late, just as it was for the Germans, the Russians, the Poles, the Jews, and many others, during my lifetime.

Along those lines, however, it is important to note that, in spite of all my warnings, Rudolph Guiliani, the Rednecked Paindear, is still in the running for the post that H. Clinton once held, Secretary of State, and if anything his hopes have been boosted by people like Rump’s campaign chief and now a senior adviser of his transition team, K. Conway, on the basis of his loyalty, and I have to believe that that is not to Rump’s pleasure.  I suspect that to him Giuliani has too much of the odor of the Mob, and T.R. probably has had too many dealings with them, by having been in the casino racket.  Rump could be also recalling what a former president with the initials “LBJ” said, something about urinating in tents.

Another gal should be chosen.  Even S. Palin would be better, though she is being ignored, in favor of a former general who was discredited after he let his main squeeze see classified material.  Palin is always good for laughs, and that ever-present smile can be disarming, which is what the State Department is supposed to be all about.  The State Department is the Peace Department, and the general would fit better in the Defense Department, which in my day was called the “War Department,” and that is still the much more apt name for that outfit.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Snapshots in the Darkness



The Usual Sanctimonious among us, who pride themselves on being so broad-minded and reasonable and fair, are busily braying, “Give the President-Elect a chance for God’s sake, why don’tcha?”

My answer to that is, “A chance for what?  To screw everybody in the country that is not white?”

He was given well over a year to show that he has good intentions.   That period was called the “Electoral Campaign.”

During that time he never revealed that he had even one decent bone in his body.   And he still hasn’t, weeks now after the voting.   For example, look at the thugs that he has gathered around him.  Uniform disasters!   Yet fools persist in denying that 1934’s Germany is already upon us.

. . . . .

During the recently concluded election campaign, when it seemed that H. Clinton, the Lady, had the biggest chance of winning, while he, the Lout, would lose, D. J. Trump repeatedly condemned the upcoming vote by saying that the outcome would be rigged.

D.J.T. did in fact lose.   Ms Clinton received 2,000,000 (two million) more votes than did D.J.  Yet, due to the use of an extremely rigged system called the Electoral College, which has its roots in slavery, and wherein the votes of some states are considered to have more value than those of other states, the U.S.A. has now been placed under the incredible indignity of being presided over by a confirmed bigot and lecher, among many other shortcomings.

Isn’t it interesting, though not in the least unexpected, that having him unjustly decreed to be the Prez has suddenly cut off all statements by this guy and his supporters that the election was rigged, as it so clearly was, especially when one recalls that the U.S. is the only country in the world in which the person who gets the most votes can be declared the loser, as has happened this year, and not for the first time, in a contemporary teenager’s lifetime no less! 

………..

As soon as Der Fuhrer DJT was elected, I started waiting to see what sort of a plum he would drop into the eager mouth of R. Guiliani, perhaps the most venomous of all DJT’s numerous flacks during the campaign.   Now it’s been several weeks, and still nothing has been announced.

Instead we’ve been treated to the very unbecoming spectacle of Guiliani trying to sell himself, first as being a very good prospect for Attorney-General, and now, since that post was filled with a throwback to the arch-segregationists of the 1950's, he has switched to advertising himself as being the best material of all the likelies for Secretary of State, mainly by speaking of how often he has been overseas, serving as a consultant to a decidedly motley crew who wanted to be elected to various posts in their countries.

But somehow that quality called “diplomacy” hasn’t shown itself yet, in Giuliani’s self-boosting or in his lifetime behavior.  Instead, from everything I’ve seen of him over the years, I would call him “topline abrasive,” to the point that he even physically resembles a slightly used sheet of sandpaper, coarse grade, and I believe that the pre-Trump Republican Party also saw him that way, the reason that they didn’t support him for any top national posts, despite his exclusive ownership of 9/11.

So what will they do with him, and with Sarah Palin, and for that matter, even with Michelle Bachman?   Because Guiliani will surely stay loud enough that he won’t be forgotten.

Trump’s Big Tent is going to be a gathering of Infernals if there ever was one.  For the protection of the rest of D.C., the Oval Office is going to have to requisition bars for its windows, Supermax grade.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Another Unsent Comment



(This time meant for a recent diary in Daily Kos, but not sent because of how diaries there tend, after just a few hours in sight, to be dropped into sinkholes in which they appear to be lost forever.   Better to leave it for an archive here, whether or not it is ever again read by anyone but me.  Allow me to keep thinking that one day posterity might glance my way, if only for an instant.  Smile!)

Whenever I read the comments that follow a diary like this, I become troubled, because those comments show that a lot of supposed progressives are no friends of the Democrats and that in fact they may be even worst enemies of Democrats than are the Republicans (unless, of course, those seeming Progressives are really trolls sent here by the dozens by the Republicans to infest this site.

I first noticed this pattern taking shape as far back as the first days following Obama’s win in 2008, not so much in Daily Kos as it was in Common Dreams -- provided that Daily Kos existed then.   I don’t know whether it did or not, but the pattern is certainly there now, and it has gotten so bad that I am sure that even if Hillary Clinton had won the College as well, she would still be under heavy progressive fire that would almost match that of the Fascists, simply because she may not have stressed an issue or two that was most vital to them.

I go back a long way, to the time when Democrats were Democrats (when they were not Dixiecrats) and so were Progressives, instead of being the closet Republicans that too many Progressives appear to be today.

As far as I can see there isn’t enough time to build up a Progressive voice strong enough to replace the Democratic Voice, and in fact very likely there aren’t enough real Progressives in existence, period.   That is shown by a lot of the comments here and in many other places as well, and it doesn’t help anything to constantly pillory the Democrats just to show how clever and even-handed and sophisticated one is, when all they are doing is serving the purposes of the Republifacists.

It’s simple.  Republicans, not Democrats, and certainly not the Clintons, are the enemies, and the burning magnifying glass should be focused on them.  No matter what one might fashionably find to taser them, it is the Democrats, not Ralph Nader or Jill Stein, that are still the last best hope before creeping Fascism finally takes hold.    

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Taking This Country Back



Long before the current President-Elect came on the scene, Republicans habitually rallied to the dog whistle cry that, on its surface, expresses desire to “take their country back.”  And after that King of Bankruptcies did arrive and stated his intentions to run, bothersome as that slight inconvenience promised to be to him, I would have thought that by then that slogan would have gotten so stale that he would not have thought of resorting to it.

But those who flocked to his rallies as if bullpoop had never been identified and classified must never have heard that enjoinder, or, if they had, had not heard it repeated over and over again, ad infinitum and also ad nauseum.   Consequently those words became the leading slogan of his campaign and were emblazoned on red baseball caps and other screaming mimies galore.

“Let’s take our country back.”

To me the operative word there is “back,” though most others would choose the word “our” and its reference to the U.S. as being theirs and theirs alone, when in fact, while it may have been their place of residence,  it was and still is far from being theirs alone.   

The word “back,” as used in that slogan, could suggest two things.  One is that they are saying that the U.S. was once theirs but now it no longer is their country, which naturally means that they should leave.  Or the thinking, if any, is that they want to guide the country back to some former state of being or to some condition that is not at all to be desired, that is, to a state of backwardness.

That first usage immediately causes one to ask, “Take the country back from whom?  Who now has the U.S. in their possession?”

Obviously the reference must have been to undesirables who, for starters, didn’t look like these ball fans or go to the right churches on Sunday.

That intimation that the country had somehow slipped into the hands of  “tawny” and “black” others made no sense, because it was easily and totally refuted by a single, very short admonition.   “Look around.”    

By that I meant that merely glancing at photos of gatherings of those who occupied the halls of power in the U.S. prior to the recent elections would have revealed which group had the most hands on the levers and had never been pushed elsewhere.  The nation had not been taken at all, simply because it could not have been taken under the circumstances that prevailed in that period.

But now, after that election, things are very different, and, going by how some highly repellent forces are busy slithering into near total control of the U.S. government, it is quite true to say that the nation is in the process of being taken over, though not by Muslims, Mexicans, and others, but by the nitwits and the bigots in the baseball caps and their apologists.

As to where these people want to return this country and trump-dump it there, it’s hard to guess what’s going to happen, because those locations are too well-known, and mass human deportations and/or extinctions are too messy and also don’t figure to smell good.  In addition, hardly anyone wants to go back to any periods when I-phones did not exist.  No one.  That is because, ironically, instant evolution is already at work, and the drive toward simplifying us into one race and one only of crook-necked and eternally downward-staring catatonics is much too strong.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

How Close to Death Are We?



The next time it is close to the end of the month of July, and if I am still around, I will be 86, and so I suppose I am expected to think that, in my own case, that is an interesting question.   And I am interested.   Maybe even very interested.   Not, however, interested enough to want to know the answer.   I don’t know why anyone would ever want to know ahead of time the exact date of their departures.

I started thinking about this not so much in connection with what will happen with me as it was in reaction to the latest comments I’ve been reading on progressive sites in the Internet about the ages of the Supreme Court Justices.  It seems that of the four oldest, two, Ginsburg and Breyer, are liberals, and both are younger than me, though not by much.

These commenters like to ask uneasy questions and to make uncomfortable speculations, such as that in four years, when the next Presidential elections roll around, the chances are good that by that time at least two of those four oldest justices will be gone and, in addition to having successfully evaded honoring Obama's choice for Scalia's replacement, the current president-elect will have also replaced those latter two retired or deceased justices with hard-ass conservative types, and thus will have already made life difficult for a huge number of American citizens who deserved much better, for a long while to come.
    
Besides the political implications there, the way that that prognostication reflects on my own personal situation throws an extra chill into me, though not for long, because I don’t feel particularly close to death, and therefore I don’t think the chances for those two or even just one of the older liberal justices to skate out of here in four years are that good either, if what my person tells me is any indication, and unless these justices already have threatening health conditions that I don’t know about.

I think I have very good prospects for putting in another five years at least, or until age 90.  This is because generally I feel all right, and I’m not aware of having any conditions that ordinarily take out senior citizens, even those much younger than me, though I know perfectly well that something final could hit me at any moment and I would never know that it had happened.   I have long since been told that I have heart murmurs, but the doctor didn’t consider those serious enough to do anything about it right then.   Also occasionally -- though I haven’t told anyone about it till now, dear reader, because I believe it’s been going on all my life -- every once in a while I experience a sudden jolt to my nervous system, as if I’ve been hit with 200 volts briefly.  But like the murmurs, that has been happening for far too long to me to see it as an indicator of more serious matters.

Meanwhile every once in a while a friend will say that, because I do so little harmful stuff and therefore generally still look okay, they see no reason why I shouldn’t, in fact, hit age 100.  But I am not comfortable with that idea, because I don’t want to need any assistance when it comes to walking around.  I don’t want to need any assistance, period.

Yet, at the very same time I would very much like not only to hit 100, but also to go much farther and reach age 115, which seems to be as long as anyone lives these days, so that, should you get to be that age and are declared to be the world’s oldest living human, that news would be enough to bump off a person right there, because it would mean that he or she only has at best a few more weeks before he or she is no more and is quickly replaced in being so distinguished by the next oldest.

--No, I would like to live that long only because I have always been fascinated by the answers that the extremely aged give to eager young reporters who like to ask them what enabled them to grow that old, because I suspect that few if any of those respondents really know.   The factors are too numerous.

Therefore, as an intellectual exercise seasoned with a touch of mischief, I have spent more time than I should, thinking up the answer that I would give, should I be in a position to be so asked, though my reply, too, wouldn’t be actually an answer, because as to why I was still hanging in there, I wouldn’t be any better informed than anyone else.

In light of what I’ve just mentioned about life expectancy after being designated the “world’s oldest living person,” the most appropriate response upon hearing about that development would be to recoil in feigned horror and to strike one’s self in the head while exclaiming, “I am?  Really?   The Oldest Living?” OHHHH shit!”  And saying that not with pride but instead with alarm in my tone.  I have even practiced using that tone.

I have not made a career out of using bad words, but I would get a big kick out of saying just that, to some fresh-faced female 20-year old with a pen in her hand.  It would be almost worth living that long in a world that otherwise has had far too many truly appalling moments, even though the luck of timing and of geography may have allowed me to avoid a large number of the very worst.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

First Head-to-Head, or Full and Frank Discussions


There are many reasons why during the campaign I thought, and still think, that there is no way the man who is, incredibly, now the U.S. President-elect nevertheless, could ever do any sort of a good job as the head of the nation.  One of the chief of those reasons is the certainty that he can’t possibly cut a good figure in representing this country when it comes to foreign relations.  This is in spite of the fact that the world stage is far from filled with impressive figures.  Even in that light he would be like a very large  and restless pit bull, on which all the others would keep casting a wary eye, for obvious reasons.

For one thing, this Beloved of the Angries is not fluent even in his own language, and that reflects badly on a person’s thought processes.  For another, if he ever got a good education, that has, to my notice, never been mentioned even by his most rabid boosters.  Or if he did have one, he long ago left it lying limpid by the wayside, like a used condom, so that everything he says gives the strong impression that he is merely winging it – his ideas, his values, his opinions, his policies, his convictions, everything – and that he has never given deep thought to anything in his life, save for doing whatever would allow him to give close-up inspections to beauty pageant contestants, who would otherwise favor him with hardly a glance, especially now that he is an old and badly decayed rascal, with his most notable physical features being weak-looking eyes and all the space between his chin and the top of his chest having a curiously webbed appearance.

I expect, therefore, that when he meets other so-called “world leaders,” especially when there are a bunch of them together, they will see him as being the embodiment of the famous “Ugly American” – huge, gross, indulgent, self-absorbed, and unthinking -- and they will smile, with all kinds of condescension in their faces and in their manners.

--Except for one guy.

There is one other figure who is his soul-mate among national leaders, and like him, has only recently wriggled into view, and I am waiting with interest to see if my prophesy will come true, which is that this person will be the first “world leader” who will have a private tete-a-tete with the current U.S. Prez-elect.  And surprise!  He will not be the widely expected Putin guy in Russia.   It will instead be the recently elected President of the Philippines, who goes by the name of Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte and who has already established himself as being an individual with homicidal leanings and an enormous potty-mouth.  One report has it that he shot a fellow student while in law school, without, however, actually killing him, while others have him being strongly supportive of the murders of as many as 1,400 criminals and drug dealers without the due process of law.   In addition, while campaigning for President, he is supposed to have vowed to see to the killing of tens of thousands more of such people, after which he would officially pardon himself when his term is over.

Our President-elect will not have to worry about being subjected to the verbal abuse that Obama tolerated from this man, for various nebulous causes.  Duterte claims to have undergone a religious conversion that has inspired him to clean up his verbal act.  That cannot be believed.  Habitual cursing is a true addiction not easily dumped, because it is so easily practiced

In any case on the heels of calling Obama obscene names for whatever the U.S. president said or did, which couldn’t have been much, Duterte then went on to show his true colors again, by allowing a hero’s re-burial of what remains of Ferdinand Marcos, the notorious Dictator of the Philippines 30 years ago.  I wouldn’t be surprised if today, outside those islands, Marcos is remembered for only one thing, and it does not even involve him and instead concerns his wife, Ymelda, a shameless but interesting woman, who used the spousal loot mainly to accumulate an incredibly large collection of shoes.   I always wondered what was going on there, as it struck me as being a supreme example of enormous waste enabled by monies obtained by questionable means.  What was she trying to say there?

It will be interesting to see what tune these two men will sing together, during their first meeting in wherever and whenever, with the likeliest spot being hopefully a leaking raft on the South China Sea.   I think they will make a striking pair.  Having just entered their ‘70’s, they were born at nearly the same time, and they have nearly identical and impeccable credentials for being classic “dirty old men.”

I can hear Duterte going right down the American President’s alley, by telling him about one of his exploits when he was the mayor of the city of Davao, and he had had occasion to view the remains of a woman who had been gang-raped and then murdered.  He was struck by how beautiful the woman had been, and Duterte said she looked so much like an American film star that he had asked why he couldn’t have been the first in line to rape her, since he was the mayor.  When an outcry arose he defended himself by saying he had only meant that as a joke -- that old excuse for bad behavior that is apparently as dismally weak in the Philippines as it is in the U.S.

I couldn’t see that that excursion into outright necrophilia was much different from speaking of fondness for grabbing women by that all-important and sensitive part of their physical equipment, their genitals, as that U.S. President had testified to having, in his confabs over the radio with his buddy, Howard Stern, and there was a tape tape to prove it.   So he and Duterte are sure to get along famously, especially in view of Republican support for rape, as shown by statements by one or the other of their candidates every once in a while and their arguments against abortion.

President Dump and President Dirt.  That’s a picture.  The Bad and the Ugly, with nothing Good anywhere to be seen.





Friday, November 18, 2016

Gardner's 2nd Law




(Below is a statement that I submitted yesterday, to Professor Juan Cole’s site, Informed Comment, and it was accepted and published.  It is a comment to an article he wrote, titled Neofascist Trump Appointee Bannon: “Anger is a Good thing” “if you’re Fighting to Take this Country Back”)  I regret my failure to add that I also had in mind the anger that was a major part of how the President-elect’s biggest fans were always designated.)

In reference to the title of this informative article, I long ago decided that Gardner’s 2nd Law is the truth of the matter and that anger is in fact as bad as evil gets.   That Law states that “Anger is one of the very worst traits of Homo Sapiens.  One should never do or say anything while he or she is angry, because otherwise they will find themselves indulging in acts so stupid and uncalled-for that, if the perpetrators have even just a glimmer of conscience, later they will deeply regret what they’ve done.  That will happen every time.”

I have had a lot of time to see how often that holds true, in myself and in others, and I haven’t seen much of anything that would refute that Law.   Deny it, yes, and that’s only to be expected.   But never to refute it.

And so, what sort of a future can this country have, since we are faced with an administration riding in roughshod over all common decency, especially as that relates to women and minorities,  and bearing at the sharpest point of its hell-bent prow a “strategist” who just loves rage and anger and has absolutely nothing else to offer but the destruction of all worthwhile things, such as the freedom to vote without fear of being harassed, or giving everyone equal opportunity regardless of their melanin count?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

High Places in America



Beginning with coming into my parents’ lives, in my first years I was woefully late for everything important.   Now, in my concluding years, I am hoping that the same fortunate tardiness will continue, and without too much pain and suffering.  So far it has, save for events that take place far away, geographically speaking, such as the recent elections.

Consequently, it wasn’t till I got into my 30’s – which almost exactly coincided with the 1960’s, the most important and far-reaching decade in recent American history so far, though young conservatives will bitterly and stupidly reject that opinion -- that I stopped being so much of a retard in all matters, especially socially.  Lagging behind my contemporaries by 10 years, I finally did such things as easing into some sort of a sex life, learning to drive a car, getting married, buying a house of my own, getting real jobs, publishing two books (plus also writing a number of others that I think are much better yet are still unpublished), fathering a son, and in general settling down with a fair idea of what I wanted to do through the rest of my life.

That included going to Japan in 1966 with my new wife on a sort of extended honeymoon while we spent the summer leisurely traveling through that country, which I already knew quite a lot about, as I had been there twice before, first at the behest of Uncle Sam, and later because of getting a college fellowship.

During that ’66 swing, one afternoon we were looking at the walls of the Imperial Palace in Kyoto when a young Japanese guy, eager to take another shot at improving his English, engaged us in earnest conversation – an event that was frequently a part of traveling through Japan.  Everything was proceeding on the normal course of topics of no particular importance, when he suddenly hit us with an unexpected question that hit me in my mind like a ton of bricks.  He asked what we thought of the American involvement in Vietnam.
      I was intensely embarrassed, because I didn’t want to admit that, though I prided myself on being a good and even reasonably informed American,  I thought exactly nothing about the American involvement in Vietnam, and the truth was, in startling contrast to the way that I am today, I had paid almost zero attention to things in Vietnam, though by 1966 that situation had already been going on for the better part of two decades.

I had heard mentions of Vietnam now and then, and I vaguely knew that some sort of a contest was going on there, but to me it was little more than a sporting event that we Americans could expect to win at some time in the future, and that was all.   And unfortunately by that time I had long since lost the interest that I had had in my more juvenile days in all such things as basketball, baseball, and football games.   I had decided, and rightfully so, that, especially because I had never participated and would never do so in those kinds of events, they were of no consequence whatsoever and therefore not worth following, and it was in that discarded bracket that Vietnam had always  existed, slumped, in my mind.

If I had known, I might have been made more comfortable by the fact that very few other Americans would have been able to give any kind of a sensible answer to that question either, because, as Barbara W. Tuchman tells us in her great book, “The March of Folly,” the details of that American involvement in Southeast Asia had been kept largely a secret from the American public.  Yet, here was a young guy who was neither American nor Vietnamese, yet was interested enough in that issue to ask what we thought of the things our leaders were doing – or not doing – in Vietnam.

Now, 50 years farther on, all of a sudden, though I had preferred reading about how the British lost America, I am reading Tuchman’s chapters on Vietnam with great interest and excitement, just as if it is a thriller and even because I know exactly how that story is going to turn out.  That is because I still remember precisely what I was doing in that same period, down to the exact year, and year by year.  And that, in turn, is because, by chance, at that very same time I was heavily involved in very different and of course far, far less sweeping (though in the end much more successful) events that took place just a few city blocks in D.C. from the marble edifices in which the likes of Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson, plus all their world-famous generals and experts, were busy ignoring dozens of “fact-finding missions” that ended up advising the power structure to get the hell out of Vietnam while they could and without losing too much face.  Yet they in all their keen perceptions and wisdom (and fears of the American public) kept making decisions as if World War 2 was still going on and Vietnam was merely the last island that had to be landed upon with the Marines, a la Saipan and Okinawa, and delivered into freedom, only from Communism and not the Japanese.

Today I have more reason than ever to keep paying close attention to what people are doing in their marble palaces and offices here and overseas, because the latest occupants in those high places in America are a bunch of ignorant dummies with bad intentions who in the next few years figure to be especially disposed to indulge in all sorts of follies that Ms Tuchman would never have wanted to explore.  I think that it definitely comes through that she always would have wished for for better on the parts of the citizens of Troy, the popes of the Renaissance, the leaders of 18th century Britain, and those American Presidents of the 1950’s and ‘60’s, and she only recounted those stories in a sort of elevated despair peculiar to hindsight but today – I believe -- is susceptible to accuracy in foresight as well.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Reply to an Article and Progressives with their Heads On Backwards



(After being provoked by an article titled “Trump Didn’t Win the Election, Hillary Lost It,” written by a guy named Guy T. Saperstein and that appeared on the Alternet site on 12 Nov 1016.)

This article and its title and a lot of the comments that followed thereof are truly crocks, and I don’t understand why it is featured on a site that I thought was supposed to be a rallying point for Progressives and Democrats.

Or maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, considering how much opposition to Obama I read on the parts of supposed Progressives when he was first elected, because they were enraged that he was not a member of some third party that almost invariably ends up damaging the only possible counter-weight to the Neo-Fascist party symbolized by elephants gone berserk.

I thought that, on the contrary, H. Clinton did a great job in her campaign.  If I recall correctly, she wasn’t all that crazy about entering the fray,  and after she did, she couldn’t have known what she was going to be up against in the latter stages of that campaign, when the Republicans ended up bigot-rallying behind a candidate with truly Godzilla-like proportions.  Yet, in the face of all that, she kept her cool and discussed the issues, while her seemingly illiterate opponent confined himself to stirring various pots of group-hatred.

Simple misogyny and an outdated and not widely understood method of rating the votes denied Ms Clinton the office, and that’s a terrible shame, because she should have been chosen simply because she is a woman, on the grounds that women, who preside over birth and all 18 or so of the difficult years that follow, don’t do nearly as much stupid sh-t as men do.   They can’t afford to, and that’s a cold, hard fact.

In 2000 hi-jinks put an idiot into the Oval Office, and last week racism and sexism put a lecher into the same job, and no matter what stretches are made to condemn her, Ms Clinton is neither an idiot nor a lecher.  She is a gentlewoman, just as Obama is a gentleman, and those are what American Presidents should be.

Monday, November 14, 2016

As with Horses



It could not have been more than three or four years before I was born that mechanical devices finished taking over from horses as the main means of carrying around people and things in this country.

As a child, I can remember seeing iron hitching posts and horse troughs set on curbs in various streets in D.C. that otherwise hummed with motorcars.  In my head I can still see those anachronisms, ornate and bearing fresh coats of green paint that made them glisten in the sunlight.   And one year they were there and the next year they were gone.

Where did all the horses and the iron hitching posts go?

Whenever I see people in film stories casually climbing on the backs of horses and riding off, I flinch, because their bouncing behinds look as big as those of the horses.   It looks cruel, and I keep wondering why, in bygone days as well as today, riding horses is not considered to be animal cruelty, because it certainly looks that way to me.

I’m aware that horses are big, strong creatures, but I also think of humans as being big, semi-obese and obese creatures that can often  weigh several hundred pounds, such as the current President-elect, whose campaign said that he weighs 267 pounds, which is officially obese.   It has been many a year since I’ve been able to lift anyone older than, say, 10, even one inch off the ground.   Therefore I would think that throughout the ages humans have been painful loads to be carried around for various amounts of time over usually rough terrain and on the slightly bowed and not especially well-cushioned spinal columns even of horses, and I've never understood how the horses put up with that.

Now, instead of pulling heavily laden carts and stagecoaches and allowing people to go back and forth to town without walking, horses are mainly used for gambling purposes and as playthings of affluent girls and women, and I live just a few miles from a girl’s school that has facilities for students to bring their favorite horses with them to college.

I am thinking of horses because I see uncomfortable comparisons between their experience in this country and those of the ethnic group of which I am a member.  In both cases they were brought here to be mainly beasts of burden, until, through technological advances in the one case and the end of slavery in the other, the former usefulness's of both were seen as having come to an end, with the difference being that today horses are mainly seen only in movies, while rainbows (i.e, “black” people) resolutely continue to be not beasts of burden but people, and they are chronically visible as well and so they also continue to be a big problem for various among the lighter-hued brethren, since as yet no tidy means has been found to dispose of them or otherwise forget them as easily as it was in the case of horses.  But we can’t say that elements of those lighter-hued brethren haven’t stopped trying.

As evidence we have the latest national elections, with the effect it will have on anything having to do with the well-being of rainbows, beginning with trying to repeal the health care system called “Obamacare.”

As its name implies, Obamacare is seen as existing only to maintain the health of those expendables called “black” people, and therefore it must be wiped out. 

In other words, one of the big but carefully hidden corollaries of that motto that is so often howled, “Make America great again,” is, “If you can’t kill ‘em, then at least keep “em in sickness instead of in health.”


  

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Age of Redestruction



In the run-up to the voting of this past Nov 8, I expected these days afterward to be moments of relief that the Republican campaign, with all its pugnacity and its “down is up and up is down” approach to everything, would be finally over.  But such was not to be, and instead every morning since then I have awakened while literally wringing my hands in agony at the takeover of the U.S. Government by what I consider to be a stupendous mob of subversives who have always fought to cut that government down to being nothing more than a conduit of unlimited funds going to already filthy rich people with off-shore bank accounts and to anything having to do with shooting at populations, especially those filled with darker visages.

If I were the least bit important, which I definitely am not, a lot of people in the U.S. would be pleased to hear that I and so many others have been rendered so uncomfortable by their votes.   That was their goal, and it means that in effect that segment of the population has declared war on their fellow Americans who may outnumber them in quantities of people and of ordinary decency but not at all in the possession of guns and the will and maybe even a burning desire to use them.

The current Nobel prizewinner for literature, Bob Dylan, included in one of his songs the memorable words, “Got a knife.  Got to cut something!”  I forget whether he was referring to predecessors of today’s Trump fans, but I’m certain that just recently another Dylan, last name “Roof,” most likely had had that same urge ringing in his head for a long and finally unbearable time, before he walked into a church in Charleston, South Carolina while carrying considerably more than a mere blade.

I’m in severe discomfort because it seems to me that all the pieces are now in place for a variety of outcomes that would please those people with splinters for souls.

One is to finish rolling back measures that officially ended all the injustices against people my color that prevailed all through my childhood and up through 20 or so years beyond that.  I’m speaking of the more obvious wrongs.  The more subtle ones still have not vanished, and now both types promise to be firmly set back into place and sealed there just as tightly as they were so long ago.

When the Civil Rights laws were enacted, we who had long had to walk the back roads into the towns of Jim Crow all knew that our troubles were not over.  Those laws changed a lot of customs but not much in the way of minds, and we are at least grateful and even a little surprised that so far Obama has not fallen to an assassin’s bullet.   Instead Trump’s victory tells us that now we are in for a form of Chinese water torture that figures to last for a while.   So much for the keeping of promises in America, for all those who have visibly been even just a little “too long in the oven.”

That Age of Redestruction had already started when, not long before this vote took place and while Scalia was still alive, the Republican Supreme Court, which is supposed to be there for the benefit of all Americans, crippled the Voting Rights Act.  Now, under D.J. Trump’s smug and satisfied eye, that dismantling can be easily finished, before going on with aiming wrecking balls at Obamacare by putting it in the private hands of businessmen with a taste for avarice as strong as Trump’s.

For example: he tried to set up three gambling Meccas (3) in one town and all at the same time!  That fitted him to be President?  Building comfort zones in which to conduct activities in which it is well-known that only the “House” wins and that creates serious addictions and is especially attractive to mobsters?  And of course in return he all too likely expected a grateful Atlantic City to rename itself in his honor.

And so,  on and on it will go.  The winners of this most recent election will keep dreaming and pushing their agenda of injustice, in hopes of finally hearing what would be music to their ears – the sound of freight trains shaking themselves out and beginning to roll and consisting entirely of slatted railroad cars filled with wailing, desperate souls instead of their usual occupants, unsuspecting cattle, but with no difference in destinations.

 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

A Question with Obscured Answers and a Suitcase Beyond Dread



Why did so many supposedly intelligent people think that choosing such a clearly disgusting individual as D. J. Trump to be the next U.S. president was such a good idea?

The answer is willfully buried in a torrent of red-eyed resentment under red baseball caps that that question is even posed.

Suddenly, after the election that just ended, the towering question that for so long has plagued humankind, namely whether God exists,  has been shoved over (though that Biblical question, too, is pertinent to this other one), and this new above-stated query, regardless of all the rationalizing and the smoke screens, has to be answered first, because the stakes are too high.

Unfortunately for everything else on the planet Earth, this matter is completely centered around the nation that could most easily reduce the entire planet to an enormous ball consisting of nothing but scorched, smoking, lifeless rock.  And it doesn’t help to be reminded that during every such American election, a certain situation is always brought up, and that is the matter of who can best be trusted to be the possessor of a suitcase that is said to accompany every American president wherever he goes, and it doesn’t contain his skivvies and his much-needed meds.  Instead it is said to contain a button, most likely colored red, that, if pressed, would launch into the skies an unknown number of nuclear missiles aimed toward distant destinations, with voters in his nation and in every other nation, not to mention the creatures living happily in the deepest crevices of the seas, having had no say-so of any kind in that decision.

Or maybe this matter is centered around not one but two nations, since the leader of a second large nation that has fully as much means to completely skin the world saw fit to use his country’s computer hackers to affect the outcome of that first nation’s national elections and so to help bring things to this “pretty pass.”

That poses another question that is easy to answer beyond all shadow of a doubt.  Was it sheer racial hatred on the part of that first participating nation and sheer stupidity on the part of the leader of that second participating nation that contributed in unduly heavy amounts to bring about this fearful situation?

Absolutely.  And, though it will be denied up, down, and sideways, I notice that therein lies the bulk of the answer to the question that began this post.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Subsequent Notes of a Political Nature





Bumptious Trump won the most votes in the mysteriously named “Electoral College” and so became the President.   Hillary Clinton won the most votes in the Popular Election, which means that overall she got more votes than did the Republican, yet she is not the President.

That whole Electoral College thing is a big can of worms that is debated with every 4-year election cycle, and then is quietly set aside till the next election.

As her reward for having fought the good fight with good methods and for a good cause, Ms Clinton gets to go back home and rest and enjoy never having to deal with D.J. Trump again or to endure having him glaring down the back of her neck.  That is my idea of quite a fine reward, and a far better deal than Trump’s latest better half, the former Melanija Knavs, is getting, and she strikes me as seeming to know that.

But Ms Trump, an immigrant from Slovenia, can do nothing about her plight, and thus she is a very real prisoner of her hubby and of circumstances, and it’s impossible to imagine anything she could even remotely have done to deserve such a terrible fate as having to be constantly photographed standing a foot of so behind his left jaw and trying to look – though not too hard – as if she gives the slightest damn.

Surely after she got off the plane and bumped into Trump, she must have had quite different expectations and thereby presented a quite different presence, but now we have her current frozen and ever disgruntled appearance, so that in every shot she looks resolutely stern and stately.  That and no more could be exactly what is required of her by her spouse and his staff.   However, all that rigidity and suggestions of resentment cause her to resemble nothing so much as a wooden Indian chief and not a particularly well-carved one at that, standing dust-covered in a cigar store.

                                               *  *  *

Though I did not agree with several of Obama’s stands and ways of doing things, I always wondered whether the country would have been better off if he and any other Democratic President had not presented any good ideas for legislation and instead held on to them for a better day, though I knew that of course that wouldn't be such a good idea at all.  Still, no matter what he and B. Clinton proposed, and regardless of the obvious virtues of their proposals, their ideas were always instantly shot down and shoved out of sight by the ever-aggressive and ever-unprincipled Republicans, especially if the House or the Senate, or both, were in the hands of the Republicans, which they usually were.   This situation got so bad that good ideas eventually became almost unrecognizable in this country.

A textbook case of this happened shortly after Obama helped NATO to stop Gaddafi in his tracks in Libya before that madman could end up killing his countrymen en masse, a deed for which today Obama catches a lot of flak from the poorly informed.   But a little later in Syria, when Assad Jr. was following in Gaddafi’s footsteps by seeing to the deaths of thousands of his fellow Syrians, Obama was dissuaded from using some sort of surprise strike to bring Assad up short as well.   This was before ISIS came into the picture, and I feel that that catastrophe could very well have been averted if Obama had struck early.  I repeat what Bobby Fischer, the late, great, Brooklyn chess grandmaster and world champion, said.  “Timing is everything.”

This must be why Republicans are always trying to terrorize and to repudiate college professors and to make college faculties as conservative as possible.   They couldn’t care less about the education of the students.   Instead they mainly don’t want any of their misapprehensions and misdeeds to be recorded for posterity.   But isn’t that what universities are for?   Passing the past through the present and into the future?  Maybe the events of this past election, deftly summarized, should be chiseled onto granite tablets and buried in undisclosed locations.  Posterity always has a perfect right to know the truth.  Otherwise how can the past be gotten past?

Republicanism and its know-nothing remember-nothing nature must be a disease that dates back to the beginning of human history, when lessened rainfall in eastern Africa drove the humanoids out of the trees, while their former neighbors, the chimpanzees, stayed up there, scratching their brows and their behinds and hurling down their feces while endlessly screeching, “Wtf!” in the best Guiliani style, while giving no thought to why they were remaining stunted.  And that, in turn, suggests that chimpanzees have never evolved into anything else precisely because they have remained being such good, constantly snarling, squabbling, and teeth-baring Republicans, up in the swaying boughs. 
 
*  *  *

In these days of the new President gingerly examining the gigantic and prize coconut that he and his confederates never expected to succeed in knocking out of the treetops, one wonders how that will go.   I mean in assembling his staff and the cabinet members, for he has little to nothing to choose from.

This is due to the massive purges that have been conducted in the Republican Party by the series of thugs that the party admitted into its ranks and that turned around and made that party into today’s organization that knows only how to reject the good and to thrust forward the bad.   The result is that one cannot detect a high mind or even just a mere intellectual in the bunch, which is why this President-elect managed to push aside so easily well over a dozen competitors in the primaries.   And now, to help him preside over such a large and complex country, he has only a pool of clowns who have only big lines of chatter and nothing else to recommend them.

Well, he can continue to work in the model of the 1930’s when the Austrian gangster with the haircomb mustache, after he had driven out most of the best minds in Germany, found that he had at his disposal only a bunch of low intellect beetle-brows to help him, who knew a lot about terrorizing large groups of people and to manufacture cannons and other weapons of war aplenty, but nothing about running a country that could contribute worthwhile things to the world, and instead they wound up with only bald aggression and countless atrocities to offer.   And so now are we not seeing an American version of that same scenario beginning to unfold? 

Way back in 1935 (surely the year when my father took the picture of me that is up on the sidebar of this blog), a well-known writer of that era named Sinclair Lewis wrote a satirical book titled “It Can’t Happen Here,” and that work is now being lauded as having foretold the coming of the current President-elect.   Lewis’ point was that yes, it could easily happen here, and that must be why so many presumed Americans cast votes for the Death Jockey while not troubling themselves to think things through and never mind the garbage provided by CNN and Fox News, maybe because despite the appearances these Trum pissers presented, they had nothing to think with.

I mean there must be a good explanation somewhere, for what happened the other day!  I think this one is at least as good as any other that I’ve read.