Donald Trump seems obsessed with the fact that he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton. In particular he keeps claiming (including to Congressional leaders on Monday) that he would have won the popular vote but for millions of illegal votes cast by undocumented aliens, even though multiple investigations have found no evidence of voter fraud.
If you aren’t sure which side is right in some social or political controversy, look for which side most of the guys in suits and ties are supporting. That’s the side which is wrong. This rule works in probably 95% of cases.
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Military conscription is a device whereby old, decrepit males slake their resentment and envy of young, vigorous males by enslaving them and exposing them to dismemberment, disfigurement, and death.
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The enemy is not the person who says “I want to do that”. The enemy is the person who says “You can’t do that”.
Yes, sure, call me a hater for hating hate, for hating corruption, for hating the murder of things I hold fundamental, self-evident: for hating the summary destruction of the infrastructure of our former Republic and you’re right, I hate Donald Trump and I hate the people who support his outrages and I hate them to the point where the word itself is strained to the point of breaking. It may be your right to withdraw, to close your eyes and wait for the end times and whatever they may bring. Just understand that to me it’s the patriot’s duty, the citizen’s burden and the obligation of the honest man to oppose and to be seen to be opposing the rise of tyrannical corruption and the acts of treason we will have to endure if you do.
Make a little Post-It note and put it up where you can see it every day to remind you to begin your thinking about resistance each day with two, cold facts: First, from the Bastard President all the way down to your Crazy Uncle Liberty, the Republican Party is a rabid dog, and second, the Fourth Estate sold us out and abandoned their post years ago.
Sometimes the little things are telling: the unconscious mannerisms, the conscious affectations.
Donald Trump’s hands were always interesting. From the beginning, the gestures reminded me of something. It took a while to figure it out. A old girlfriend from decades ago used some of the same gestures. The delicate meeting of finger and thumb in overly precise little circles, the movement of the hands themselves making larger circles with those tiny delicate signs, the overall little mincing motions.
His language itself seems an oddity, with overly repetitive adjectives. Tough guys are never just tough, or even very tough. They’re very, very tough, occasionally very, very, very tough. Jennifer Jones, a linguistic expert at the University of California did a study of how language is used.
Her research dealt with linguistic patterns, comparing men with women, then Presidents and candidates with each other. Donald turns out to be off the chart on the feminine side.
Today, that seems to be a harmless curiosity. But that would not have always been the case. Like our President, I was born during the Truman administration. Back when I was a kid, one boy telling another boy he talked like a girl would have been grounds for a street fight.
Children can be cruel. Parents are sometimes brutal. Donald’s father was a bare knuckle participant in Ku Klux Klan demonstrations, arrested at one point for brawling with police during a Klan outburst in New York City. What harsh reaction would such a father have had to the slightest hint of femininity?
Donald Trump, in his public presentation of himself, seems to put a premium on demonstrations of manliness. The rhetoric is obvious. Exhorting this audiences to rough up protestors, joining with supporters in his longing for the good old days, days when the hospital was the destination of dissent.
In Patchogue, NY, he became a bit more explicit. In sight of the parking lot where an immigrant walking home from work had been famously knifed to death by a pack of neighborhood toughs, he mocked the neighborhood for not being tough enough.
I can’t believe. I know some of the guys in this room. they’re so tough. Some of the tough guys I know.
On this occasion he did not simply offer the usual promises of restoring jobs, of getting rid of immigrants and refugees who were taking those jobs. He scolded community toughs for not handling it themselves.
I can’t believe you guys would allow that to happen. What the hell, are you getting soft?
They’re getting soft on me, I don’t believe this. Right?
The rhetorical style went beyond the tough-guy words themselves. Donald Trump includes in almost every speech a signature growl, kind of like back when Alfred Hitchcock included a brief glimpse of himself in every movie he made. The Trump growl is somewhat high pitched, but it is unmistakable. I may be alone in thinking it sounds like Linda Ronstadt at her best. “You’re no good, you’re no good, Baby you’re no good.”
The timing of the growl is a bit of an oddity. He includes it at strange moments, when growling seems to add nothing to whatever point he is making.
In Patchogue, the night he urged tough guys to get tougher, he read a poem of sorts. It compared refugees to poisonous snakes. He growled in his squeaky sort of way about 10 times, by my count. At one point, he growled while narrating a “tender woman” trying to help the deadly snake.
But if I hadn’t brought you in by now, heavens, you might have died.
Listening to Donald’s little poem, I wondered how he thought the narrative was advanced by making that fictional naive woman growl at the snake.
It later came to me that the growl was for another purpose. He randomly feels the need to show off his manliness to his audience. That night he thought he saw a lot of tough guys his audience. After all, this was the neighborhood known for attacking and killing an immigrant. So he growled at them, often.
Pretty much everyone is familiar with the infamous tape of Donald Trump boasting about his sexual exploits.
I’m going to use some tic-tacs, just in case I start kissing her. I’m automatically attracted to beautiful women — I just start kissing them, it’s like a magnet. I don’t even wait.
It was jarring on a number of levels. If his claims on tape had been true, he would have been confessing to criminal sexual assault.
The future President later released a statement dismissing the tape and his own sexual boasts. “This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago.”
I don’t find it difficult to believe that he truthfully considered that sort of talk to be locker room banter. Half a century of so ago, in high school, I remember a few boys awkwardly boasting to other kids about how many girls they had enticed into sex. No “locker room banter” in those days would have included bragging about forcing a young woman to do much of anything. A rape attempt would not have implied sexual prowess.
And nobody back then boasted about kissing. Kissing? Seriously?
A kid would have been laughed into the hallway. Just start kissing them? Like a puppy dog licking a victim’s face? The belittling cultural image of little boys kissing little girls, uninvited, goes back centuries. It is reflected in children’s nursery rhymes:
Georgie Porgie, Pudding and pie,
Kissed the girls and made them cry,
When the boys came out to play,
Georgie Porgie ran away.
Part of the story Donald has woven about himself includes a propensity for schoolyard fighting.
Those childhood school fights are as important to President Trump as his unproven Wooten grades. “I’m a smart person, believe me.” Could those fights have been at the insistence of a battering parent? How about an extreme, conservative father with a tendency toward street fighting? How about an extreme, conservative father back in a much harsher decade?
Those fights supposedly resulted in his desperate father sending him off to military school in a last ditch effort to instill sadly lacking discipline. Is that really easier to believe than a vicious upbringing, a violent, intolerant father becoming enraged at the barest hint of ladylike behavior?
Military school may indeed have been a last opportunity to straighten out a tough kid. It just doesn’t seem to fit a parent proud of beating up on police while marching for the Klan. After all, some kids were sent to such schools to toughen them, to man them up.
Donald Trump would not be the only leader in history to feel the need to demonstrate manhood.
Authoritarian regimes often put a premium on masculinity, especially in military displays. Parades include the goosestepping, straight legged, individual drill, supposedly a demonstration of strength and manliness.
For a long time, Western Europe was part of that tradition. They stopped it as World War I ate up the countryside. Goosestepping wore out the troops and troops were needed for training and fighting. Now we associate those martial displays with old Nazi propaganda films and modern parades put on by dictatorships.
The late unlamented Soviet state frequently put on goosestepping parades along with rows and rows of military weaponry: tanks and missile launchers and such. We’re tough, we’re strong. Just look at our guns and goosesteps. Manly all the way.
Putin in Russia and Kim Jong-un in North Korea still feel the need to give the populace a show of manly force.
Donald Trump had wanted, had insisted on, a Soviet style military display during his inaugural parade. Tanks and missile launchers were to be taken through the streets of Washington as troops marched in a grand display of martial force.
Events on Inauguration Day didn’t go exactly as President Trump had wished. It wasn’t just the crowd size or the dishonest media who honestly reported it. It wasn’t just the negative reaction of the press, punditry, and general public to the inaugural address.
An inside source reported that the plan for a grand show of military might was shot down by the military. Seems the roads wouldn’t support the weight of trucks, tanks, and missile launchers. Apparently, making highways around the White House unusable for auto traffic after the parade was over was considered sub-optimal.
A shame. It would have been beautiful, a manly display of boastful strength.
And it would fit.
It would bring into alignment the tough talk to tough guys, the Linda Ronstadt high pitched growl, the delicate hand gestures, the relentless grasping toward masculine imagery, the awkward Georgie Porgie sexual boasts to strangers (I just have to be kissing them. I don’t even wait.)
The real source of his continuing quest for manliness is subject to guess. It may have nothing to do with the harsh reaction of a brutal father to any hint of feminine gestures, or a high pitched voice, or an effeminate choice of words.
Whatever the reason, the next four years will be an experience. The administration of national law enforcement, the control of an unparalleled military, the mincing finger on the nuclear button, will be constant reminders.
A minority of our country have given enormous power to an insecure individual anxiously grasping at every opportunity to prove his manhood.
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“Alternative facts”, Chuck Todd was forced to explain, would be “falsehoods”. Because facts are things that are true. The alternative to them is things that are not. He did not use the more accusatory term “lie”, although if Trump spin keeps trying to soulcycle their way through reality, they might discover that indoor and outdoor spinning ain’t the same animal and that no matter how tough an artificial regime is, it isn’t the dirt bike trail of actual politics–lying might still be, new political climate or not, an “eat-dirt” wipe-out event where policy rubber meets the human road. (Damn. That extended metaphor. Fuck it. I’m keeping it. Tom Friedman eat your heart out.)
“Contrary to popular belief that all cattle look alike, this paper presents a current state of the art research and study in animal biometric based recognition a system which provides an important insight in the identification of cattle based on their facial images.”
I now must try to deal with something which will seem innocuous to many, but is by far the worst abomination yet perpetrated by Trump. I have been thinking about this for several hours, since I first heard about it, and for once in my life I find myself unable to muster words that describe the true evil and danger of this course of action, but it must be addressed, so here I go.
It was revealed today that, immediately after the inauguration, Trump issued a proclamation declaring his own inauguration day to be a “National Day of Patriotic Devotion.”
“Now, therefore, I, Donald J. Trump, president of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Jan. 20, 2017, as National Day of Patriotic Devotion, in order to strengthen our bonds to each other and to our country…
There is no freedom where the people do not believe in it; no law where the people do not follow it; and no peace where the people do not pray for it.”
The declaration does not apply to inaugurations in general, only to his. This is not about the country, it is about Donald Trump himself. It is Trump who is to be the target of patriotic devotion.
The truth, it is said, will set you free. Unless, that is, you are a Republican and the issue is the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
Republicans are foaming at the mouth at the nonpartisan agency’s conclusion that the repeal of Obamacare will no replacement in place for the Affordable Care Act will lead to 32 million more uninsured Americans and a doubling of premiums. Speaker Ryan Paul Ryan (R-WI) called the analysis “meaningless,” while Rep. Steve “David Duke Without the Baggage” Scalise (R-LA) fumed “The CBO report assumes no Obamacare replacement.” Today’s conservative apoplexy came less than a week after House Republicans instructed CBO Director Keith Hall–a man they themselves put in the job–not to “score” the budget-busting impact of their Obamacare repeal proposals. And on Friday, former House Speaker and current Trump bath-water drinker Newt Gingrich called for the dismantling of the nonpartisan scorekeeper, because “the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is simply incompatible with the Trump era.”
Whoa, that’s right. In this incredibly advanced science fiction civilization, they have “bacta tanks” that can heal massive damage, they have amazing knowledge of the nervous system to the point that they can build neurally controlled prosthetics that are indistinguishable from the biological version, but somehow a Space Princess with access to the resources of an entire planet doesn’t even get an ultrasound to determine that she’s carrying twins. This makes no sense. They clearly must have the technology; they have life form scanners and the ability to clone people, which implies a deep knowledge about reproductive biology.
Which means they must choose to reject the use of common, trivial technology to benefit women’s reproductive health.
What could cause people to reject the use of simple medical procedures to save lives? One thing that I can think of: religion.