Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 43,388
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 43,388
- 2017 (1)
- January (1)
- 2016 (13)
- 2015 (5)
- 2014 (4)
- 2013 (5)
- 2012 (13)
- 2011 (1)
- December (1)
ROB GOODMAN has worked as the speechwriter for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Senator Chris Dodd. His work has appeared on the floors of both houses of Congress, national television and radio, and the op-ed pages of The New York Times, Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. He is the author of Rome's Last Citizen.
What the King of Hawaii Can Teach Us About Trump
A political fable from 1819.
By Rob Goodman
.... I can’t be the only one who has lost count of the democratic norms—the unwritten, informal, but hugely important rules that help us govern ourselves—that now seem to be gone with as little consequence as the taboos in the story. If you’re running for president, you don’t even raise the possibility that the election won’t count if you don’t win. You don’t threaten to throw your opponent in jail if you do win. If you change your mind about throwing your opponent in jail, you don’t explain it as an act of mercy, because that’s not how the rule of law works. If you’re running for president, and especially if you get elected, you release your tax returns, so voters can know that you’re not financially compromised by foreign governments, or by corporations seeking to do business with the United States. You put your assets in a blind trust, so you never confuse your self-interest with the public interest. You don’t accuse millions of Americans of voter fraud without evidence. You don’t compromise civilian control of the armed forces. You don’t let your team threaten to lock up journalists who investigate you.
You don’t do those things, until, one day, you do. The only thing holding you back in most cases is the force of custom, and there are times and places—Hawaii in 1819, or America in 2016—when custom is so weak that it’s no force at all.
Of course, Donald Trump didn’t need to be a political genius to realize that norms like these were historically weak. He only needed to watch the news. In just the last eight years, we’ve watched the unthinkable become the debatable and then the unexceptionable. We’ve seen President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee denied even a hearing for nearly a year, and we’ve seen his other nominees blockaded at an historic rate. We’ve seen real, live U.S. senators promise that no justice nominated by a Democratic president would ever be confirmed. We’ve seen credible threats to default on the national debt. We’ve seen the president’s budget director denied even the right to propose a budget to Congress. We’ve seen the president expand executive power in response to all of this, in a way that’s troubling even to some liberals. We’ve seen the Senate filibuster go from rare to routine—and watched Senate Democrats retaliate by partially nuking the filibuster. It was laughable when a member of Congress interrupted the State of the Union to call the president a liar—until a movement calling the president a liar about his birthplace launched his successor to power. ....
Instead, we have to come to terms with living in a time of post-norm politics—by which I don’t mean that all of our political norms are suddenly defunct, but rather that the continued rolling back of norms we’ve taken for granted has to stop surprising us. Rather than thinking reactively, and feeding the Trump outrage cycle, we ought to understand him as exposing a pre-existing rot. We need to think about why norms fail in general, and how to act when we can’t rely on them. Only then will we stop underestimating the sheer difficulty of one day rebuilding them. ....
Posted by UTUSN | Thu Jan 5, 2017, 12:53 PM (7 replies)
It only takes a random few minutes of hearing the local radio wingnut to pick up on whatever his false interpretations are for that day, or most days or years since he frequently repeats. Yesterday he was totally brain-locked, with long dead air between words and his young co-host was holding back from saying, “This is PAINFUL to (observe),” the way the previous young co-host would say of OBAMA’s sometimes long pauses.
Yesterday, he was going on about how “some Hillary people” have not accepted the election outcome, that winning and losing in elections happens and either one is not that big a deal, but that “some Hillary people” are totally off the deep end about this because they see it as apocalyptic and “something catastrophic” going to happen.
First, about “some Hillary people” I’ve said that I am not a personality-cult driven type. The wingnut also refers to “OBAMA (followers).” These two individuals are, and whomever others happen to be, for the moment of however many years, the current ones being the leaders of my political party, and since I’m driven to support my political party because of my AGENDA of civil rights, social justice, civil liberties, and stewardship of the planet, my support for them is not about the individuals Hillary/OBAMA (or whomever).
This local wingnut blabberer himself over the past years of electioneering has said he was above all “AGAINST HILLARY” rather than being “FOR (DRUMPF)” while nonstop mouthing to clear the road for DRUMPF to succeed.
This local wingnut is a Billy KRISTOL in our local tiny pond – has been WRONG about just about everything for years. He doesn’t want to talk about RAYGUN 30 years ago because that’s OLD NEWS, but he’s willing to compare DRUMPF to Andy JACKSON.
Now that I’ve cleared off the canard about “Hillary’s people,” yes, I *DO* qualify to see this FREAK OUTCOME to be APOCALYPTIC with CATASTROPHIC CONSEQUENCES to come. It’s not about Hillary; it’s about DRUMPF.
It’s about TONS of his words, deeds, and behaviors over 70 of his years that came to light (not to mention what's hidden) that ought to convince just about anybody that this FREAK is COMPLETELY, TOTALLY unfit. I never would have voted for him just because of his “Republican” label, because, yes, I believe that there’s something wrong with anybody of that ideological bent for starters, moreso if somebody chooses the label for his personal expediency.
I’m not interested in “post mortems” blaming whomever. But by the way, the wingnuts’ favorite blame (“She’s a TERRIBLE candidate, nobody likes her,” whatever) skips over her 3 MILLION more votes. Setting aside the FLUKE Constitutional mechanics that we happen to worship, which resulted in his “win,” it is ABSURD for such a way of his winning to result in a WHOLESALE, TOTAL FLIPPING/OVERTURNING of every single apparatus of governing policies. The “Governed” (us) did not express any such desire. There is no “mandate” for him to totally upend everything. And even now, just with the NAMES he has placed (more likely, been TOLD to place), without and before their even taking any action, is enough to strike paralysis in anybody’s heart.
As asked of the local wingnut before, WHY DOESN’T IT STRIKE PARALYSIS IN *YOUR* HEART?! Another one of those questions he will never address.
As for “coming together” under whoever the winner is, that’s reserved for two candidates who are fairly comparable in their good will, not when this one is a FREAK of psychological make-up, judgment, and knowledge. There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING he can do that can win me over, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. As arbitrary and erratic as he is, even if he throws ONE CRUMB our way, it is meaningless. He, whether for 4 years or who-knows FOR LIFE, has delivered the entire future of the country AND THE PLANET to a nefarious ideology. NOTHING GOOD CAN COME OF HIM. From the first words he uttered down to his current backing off of most of whatever he said, nobody can guess what he will actually do, besides all the harm he has already done. There are his CHUMP followers, CHUMPS for having believed him for starters, nefarious countries, and his inner circle – all engaged as we speak in scrambling to take him under their control. The political “world” and the natural “planet” are one big tinderbox, and him as a flammable string leading to a pile of dynamite is the last thing (literally) we need.
Posted by UTUSN | Wed Dec 21, 2016, 11:27 AM (1 replies)
They send street fighters, ATWATER, KKKarl, Roger STONE - the SCUM OF THE EARTH.
And we go for the "higher ground." Some of us claim to be "better than that."
NO, all of humans are a mixture of *EVERYTHING* good and bad.
My 69 years is of mostly NOBLE LOSING - Adlai, CARTER, MONDALE, GORE, KERRY, and Hil.
We're always better than they are - smarter, nobler, idealistic
Yet here we are (A- FUCKING- *AGAIN*!1)
I saw the moment when it was over: When DRUMPF growled at Hil and said, "Because you'd be in jail." And she flinched.
(This does NOT cancel out all the Russian crap.)
*******Please, flamers, just don't.
I'm not shocked with all the DRUMPF daily shenanigans. Am NUMB/neuropathy of the spirit, getting used to at least 4 years of COMPLETE DISPIRITEDNESS.
Posted by UTUSN | Wed Dec 14, 2016, 10:15 PM (10 replies)
I was surprised that they ran it at all for its incendiary attacks, but they barely changed anything, even demoting RAYGUN to "3rd tier actor" where I granted the leeway of "2nd or 3rd tier". But my anger achieved its goal since I told my friend last week I was so angry at the health situation she's enduring that I would channel it through an angry letter to the paper dedicated to her.
‘Reality TV’ president
Republicans somehow acquired the image of being strait-laced or moralists or just uptight, and yet they have shocked us time and again by how far they will go to grasp power.
It seemed like we thought Ronald Reagan couldn’t be worse, having a third-tier actor as president. Then came George W. Bush, and we thought it couldn’t be worse, having a wastrel and business-wrecker. And the buzzword was “gravitas,” as in, lack of. And “gravitas” was drumbeat to death but in the end it didn’t do a thing to stop him. This time, it’s a Reality TV freak and the buzzword was “presidential” as in, lack of. And, oh, how everybody looked for him to “grow” and “change” and spout some substance, but not finding any didn’t stop him. We are now entreated to “give him a chance” and ignore the scores of bad behaviors over his lifetime that are a prologue of what is sure to come.
There have been articles by Italians saying that they went through this with Silvio Berlusconi, the billionaire prime minister for nine years, as the autocrat-type and that the way to deal with him is to believe him, his threats, bluster and “jokes.” Ignore little signs of normality. Institutions won’t save you; he doesn’t observe norms.
At my age, I probably won’t see what the Republicans will put forth next, so I’m curious.
Posted by UTUSN | Wed Dec 7, 2016, 10:58 PM (4 replies)
NEW RULES: For dealing with The Autocrat
by Masha Gessen (as seen on Chris HAYES show), author of “Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir PUTIN
* BELIEVE the autocrat (his bluster, threats, “jokes”). Has some consistent beliefs such as, anti-immigrant and “president” as strongman/ruler.
* Do not be taken in by small signs of “normality”.
* Institutions will not save you. American institutions are often antiquated (Electoral College) and run on norms the autocrat does not observe/respect.
Clinton's lead in the popular vote surpasses 2 million
Trump won with lowest minority (Black, Brown, Asian) vote in decades, fueling divisions
The how-to of dealing with DRUMPF (dealing him OUT), based on the BERLUSCONI experience
Re-post from Don Viejo's thread, for emphasis.
Trump’s Secret Is the Same As Berlusconi’s
November 19, 2016 By Taegan Goddard
The Right Way to Resist Trump
By LUIGI ZINGALES NOV. 18, 2016
.... Mr. Berlusconi was able to govern Italy for as long as he did mostly thanks to the incompetence of his opposition. It was so rabidly obsessed with his personality that any substantive political debate disappeared; it focused only on personal attacks, the effect of which was to increase Mr. Berlusconi’s popularity. His secret was an ability to set off a Pavlovian reaction among his leftist opponents, which engendered instantaneous sympathy in most moderate voters. Mr. Trump is no different. ....
Unfortunately, the dynamic has not ended with the election. Shortly after Mr. Trump gave his acceptance speech, protests sprang up all over America. What are these people protesting against? Whether we like it or not, Mr. Trump won legitimately. Denying that only feeds the perception that there are “legitimate” candidates and “illegitimate” ones, and a small elite decides which is which. If that’s true, elections are just a beauty contest among candidates blessed by the Guardian Council of clerics, just like in Iran. The Italian experience provides a blueprint for how to defeat Mr. Trump. Only two men in Italy have won an electoral competition against Mr. Berlusconi: Romano Prodi and the current prime minister, Matteo Renzi (albeit only in a 2014 European election). Both of them treated Mr. Berlusconi as an ordinary opponent. They focused on the issues, not on his character. In different ways, both of them are seen as outsiders, not as members of what in Italy is defined as the political caste. ....
And an opposition focused on personality would crown Mr. Trump as the people’s leader of the fight against the Washington caste. It would also weaken the opposition voice on the issues, where it is important to conduct a battle of principles.
Democrats should also offer Mr. Trump help against the Republican establishment, an offer that would reveal whether his populism is empty language or a real position. For example, with Mr. Trump’s encouragement, the Republican platform called for reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act, which would separate investment and commercial banking. The Democrats should declare their support of this separation, a policy that many Republicans oppose. The last thing they should want is for Mr. Trump to use the Republican establishment as a fig leaf for his own failure, dumping on it the responsibility for blocking the popular reforms that he promised during the campaign and probably never intended to pass. That will only enlarge his image as a hero of the people shackled by the elites.
Luigi Zingales, a professor of entrepreneurship and finance at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago, is the author of “A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity.”
Posted by UTUSN | Wed Nov 23, 2016, 09:57 AM (1 replies)
Barely starting his Politico article, the writer threw in a reference to Aztec human sacrifice, attempting to show how versed he is in Mexican culture, far beyond the lowly, too easy, and potentially offensive taco truck references. But, *wait* a minnit!1 Wasn't Quezalcoatl a "good" god, not one of the bloodthirsty ones?!1 Wasn't he one of those "Second Coming" ones of the fair hair?!
Well, some Googling and Wiki-ing soon yielded up that dear Quetzy was one among many of the gods and *ALL* of them guzzled blood and scarfed flesh. So it appears the writer made the reference correctly, at least by due diligence in Googling/Wiki-ing or perhaps via Mel GIBSON's brilliant "Apocalypto", while still not being absolved for being "precious" ("precious" in the sense of the literary term).
Another exonerating consideration for the GHOULiani/Aztec reference is that he has been dubbed a ghoul since the Keith days, and has now achieved full physical resemblance of the hideousness of the gods, to wit:
That said, perhaps our estimable DUer Xipe Totec has some insights here.
(from Wiki: ) "Perhaps even worse off was the impersonator of Xipe Totec who, at the climax of the festival of Tlacaxipehualiztli, was skinned to honour the god who was himself known as the ‘Flayed One’. .... Those sacrificed to Xipe Totec were also skinned, most probably in imitation of seeds shedding their husks."
Is Rudy Giuliani Losing His Mind?
By Kevin Baker
...Giuliani raved and gesticulated about the podium like an Aztec priest offering up fresh beating hearts to Quetzalcoatl.
The Aztecs would perform a series of rituals on nearby tribesman, sacrifice them using an obsidian knife, and then donate their blood to the Aztec god Acolnahuacatl.
In the Aztec "Legend of the Five Suns", all the gods sacrificed themselves so that mankind could live.
Human sacrifice was in this sense the highest level of an entire panoply of offerings through which the Aztecs sought to repay their debt to the gods.
In Aztec mythology, after Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca created the world, they put their creation in order and placed Mictlantecuhtli and his wife in the underworld. .... To console the spirit of Cipactli the gods promised her human hearts and blood in appeasement.
That said, here:
Posted by UTUSN | Sun Sep 4, 2016, 10:57 AM (0 replies)
O.K., so that vet decided to "give" DRUMPF his Purple Heart. It's not only DRUMPF who doesn't know shit, but the Washington Post (below) doesn't either, and lots of dear civilians don't "get" military jargon/customs, either. Where the WashPo says it's "legal" for DRUMPF to "accept" it, all this means is that somebody gave him a present: Somebody who owned it decided to give it to him. It didn't have to be the Service member who originally earned it. The EARNING is totally separate from the POSSESSION of it.
So, this military member (now veteran) earned this decoration. Once it's his (or hers or whomever's), the owner can "give" it like any other possession. Who said that a physical piece of fabric ribbon and non-precious medal was imbued with some kind of magical powers? The only meaning of EARNING it is the event of earning it. The physical fabric/non-precious-metal is a knickknack commemoration or acknowledgment of the event which is OVER.
So, our dad, grandad, other relative, buddy who originally EARNED the medal can GIVE it to whomever. This has NO correlation to the recipient's having EARNED it. The "giving" of it is "legal" as the WashPo says (although without understanding what it is saying).
Now. About what is a "real" or "original" medal vs what is a "duplicate". Down below here, is a veterans website (one of thousands) that sells medals, ribbons, and countless other mugs, license plate frames, or whatever.
I think that some dear civilians imagine that the military bestows all of these knickknacks in some Richard WAGNER opera ceremony. Uh, no.
I have seven little, non-heroic decorations. You get one (National Defense Service Medal) just for signing your name on the enlistment contract during a time of "war" (non-declared or Declared). I got my Vietnam Service Medal when one of my feet set foot off the airplane onto Vietnam dirt. Plus, another and another and another (keep going) every 3 or so months when the name of the "Campaign" changed names. The Republic of South Vietnam gave all of us two of their medals for us helping out. The said Republic doesn't exist anymore, so what do these two medals mean now? And I could go on.
I am not denigrating my or anybody else's medals. Plenty of other personnel earned some HEAVY DUTY medals of personal heroism. Mine are not heroic, but they are mine.
As for which ones are "actual" or a "copy," uh, there was no ceremony for me. The only one that was presented to me was the Vietnam service one, and not in a ceremony, just, "Hey, guy, go by the Personnel office to pick up your medal." Otherwise, they told us we were entitled to certain ribbons to wear on our uniforms when we were going on Liberty out in public.
As for being "awarded" what this means is that the first one is FREE (given by the government). It is NOT made of gold or whatever precious metal. After it gets dirty or frayed, it's up to you to BUY replacements (not "duplicates"). They're all not-gold or whatever. All of them are exactly the same, all of the replacements BOUGHT are the same as the first one given free by the government.
As for this fellow, Lt Col Louis DORFMAN, he's a veteran. He GAVE the thing to whomever (a.k.a. DRUMPF). It is a meaningless activity. I can say Mr DORFMAN is an idiot for his admiring DRUMPF, but it's up to him.
Now: As for WEARING it (like it's EARNED) is a totally different thing, big BIG no-no. Even at the post office, I went to buy stamps and the clerk (seeing my Navy cap) offered me Purple Heart stamps. I was SHOCKED and said, "I don't have a Purple Heart!1"
"Just gimme a coupla aspirin. I've already got a Purple Heart."
It’s legal for Donald Trump to accept a Purple Heart. How he handled it is up for debate.
.... ... Trump drew laughs by saying he asked the veteran whether it was the “real one or a copy,” and added that Dorfman told him it was his actual medal. ....
Added retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey in the same MSNBC segment: “Look, a Purple Heart isn’t like an Emmy or Oscar, for God’s sakes. … There’s just been a series of babbles out of Mr. Trump that tells me he has no conception about the armed forces or what it means to serve. That certainly includes the notion of sacrifice.” ....
Following Trump's statement, NBC reporter Katy Tur tweeted that she had spoken with (Lt Col Louis) Dorfman and that he said the medal he gave to Trump was a copy of the one awarded to him.
Hey, DRUMPF, a Purple Heart costs $42.95, anybody can buy one here or thousands of other websites:
Posted by UTUSN | Wed Aug 3, 2016, 10:50 PM (8 replies)
Nasal polyps, rhinitis, syphyllitic rhinitis, deviated septum, enlarged adenoids, sinusitis, snuffles in rabbits
Posted by UTUSN | Sun Jul 24, 2016, 09:41 AM (18 replies)
And when I've mentioned my p.o.v. about it here on this board I've been told a couple of times that I should just be gracious.
It's especially grating on the VA 800# in light of the past decades of their horrible headlines about their dealing with vets.
I'm appreciative of the life experience, both good and bad, my enlistment resulted in. It broadened me to things that I wouldn't have found in such a concentrated dose otherwise. And for that appreciation I wear a USN ballcap and other things, not in the gung-ho John WAYNE (fake veteran in the movies; draft dodger) kind of way, and I would like to wear these things for my own reasons without triggering an obligatory gung-ho John WAYNE type of reaction.
As Charlie RANGEL has said for many years, many enlistees join the military for reasons of not being able to get higher education and jobs rather than for the stereotypical reasons that chickenhawks imagine.
I've had bozos in Happy Hour situations come up to me because of my cap or something and SCREAM six inches from my face, "SIR! YES SIR!!!!!!" because of what they've seen in movies. Really.
I'm willing to agree that time spent is "service," but its own reward.
Posted by UTUSN | Tue Jun 14, 2016, 03:53 PM (0 replies)
First, some definitions:
* “They” – who are “they”? 1- his outright supporters. 2- Repukes who opposed or were scared to lose with him. 3- Latino Repukes who are now outraged. 4- Media enablers.
* “Neutral” (as in judges presiding in his lawsuits) means “finding in his favor.” When he says minority judges have conflicts of interest over his anti-minority/race/religion beliefs and cannot be “neutral” he means anything not in his favor is not “neutral.” Carrying his postulate to its natural extreme, in a DRUMPF society there would not be any judges at all, at least not in his thousands of lawsuits, because any and every adverse ruling towards him would be attributed to something in their personal history that would be a conflict. No adverse rulings would be allowable, period.
* “DRUMPF” – is this usage of "DRUMPF" participating against him in his own kind of “heritage” prejudice? To me, it is highlighting that immigration is a very large topic in his life story (grandparents, mother, two of his three wives) and yet he made it something *negative*. In the light of that, to just say “TRUMP” would be to play along with his apparent façade that he sprung generically “American” like from Zeus’s head. Some amateur psychologizing here, is his fury on immigration a self-hating thing?!1
*********So, proceeding right along...
What did they, the core supporters, expect? We are told he freed them with political incorrectness, to say aloud what they/everybody secretly thinks but have been shamed into silence, meaning racist stuff. The ugliness in him was there from Day 1 but only now are there signs it might be coming home to roost. Did they think that their ugly inner beliefs would be made to be mainstream, normal, and respectable?
So what did they/Repuke leaders think, that their voters have spoken so they must go along and after the DRUMPF debacle (win or lose, there *will* be a debacle) they can claim to be exonerated by having qualified their support?
And the media enablers. They started out acting like DRUMPF’s bombs were CUTE, like he was a naif on “deep” policy matters and was only spouting refreshing, unfiltered things. And now it’s too late. The same as the media during 2000 when they thought Shrub was cute and any hint of toughness on him was said to be harsh, like he somehow deserved kid gloves.
And what did the ethnic/minority Repukes, expect when they became Repukes? The broad strokes are that Repuke-ism is for the racist and the greedy, that is all. One Ana NAVARRO, a media Repuke, is being lauded for a rant against DRUMPF’s racism. She has a tweet saying she became a Repuke at eight years old, RAYGUN blah blah. Isn’t this proof that eight years old ain’t the time for making life decisions?!1 Meanwhile, Alberto GONZALEZ, whatever mental age *he* is, continues his blind Repuke-ism by justifying DRUMPF’s right to question the “fairness” of judges based on ethnicity. And Ruben NAVARRETTE continues his animus toward “White Liberal males” with his accustomed “advice,” this time on how DRUMPF should “follow his own trail of breadcrumbs” to accomplish wooing Latinos (hah hah).
As for the violence of some supposedly anti-DRUMPF individuals, some five (5) scenarios: Could be such violence infringes on the free speech and association of others and everybody; could be legitimate revolution-type redress against threatened oppression and discrimination; could be criminal delinquency taking advantage of opportunity like looting at race riots; could be real life conspiracy of DRUMPF false flagging; could be tit for tat against DRUMPF-ites pepper spraying them. Last night’s Kanye WEST “riot” shows that criminal delinquency is very real and sparked by the most random things. It also honestly true that we Libs, with our characteristic of looking within for root causes of things, tend to wring our hands and blame ourselves and be concerned for others who might be oppressed (some of our enemies), so we are particularly susceptible to we’re-BETTER-than-that, meaning we’re BETTER. Well, no we’re not. All of us, Lib or wingnut, are just human and contain the whole spectrum from good to evil.
The single biggest point about DRUMPF is what I learned from defending Bill CLINTON, that somebody with the big personality and the big personal problems turns everything away from the national agenda into spending all energy into defending him, a total distraction.
Posted by UTUSN | Mon Jun 6, 2016, 01:17 PM (0 replies)