AuthorTopic: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread  (Read 76714 times)

Offline RE

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Re: Trump attacks protections for immigrants from ‘shithole’ countries
« Reply #1050 on: January 11, 2018, 06:00:45 PM »
A little racism with your tea, sir?

RE

More than a little. You should persevere with the Wolff book; it gets better worse.

I'll try taking it in small doses with a barf bag nearby.

Anyhow, this should help get out the black vote.

RE
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Swiss mountain town Davos relishing in Trump spotlight
« Reply #1051 on: January 11, 2018, 07:02:26 PM »
This should be a hoot.

He's sooo anti-globalist. Right.  ::)

RE

https://in.reuters.com/article/davos-meeting-town/swiss-mountain-town-davos-relishing-in-trump-spotlight-idINKBN1F02I2

#World News
January 11, 2018 / 9:21 AM / Updated 8 hours ago
Swiss mountain town Davos relishing in Trump spotlight
John Miller


5 Min Read

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - The Swiss Alpine town of Davos is used to celebrities and high-rollers, but even it is relishing new attention being heaped on it with U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to attend the World Economic Forum this month
A night view shows the Swiss mountain resort of Davos, Switzerland, January 11, 2018 REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Trump’s visit to Davos for the annual meet-up of global political and business leaders will be the first for a sitting U.S. president since Bill Clinton came in 2000.

Trump’s policies, including his intention to exit the 2015 Paris climate accord and his “America First” tendencies, may not sit well with all of Switzerland, which backs the global climate pact and whose economy relies on global trade.

This has prompted some critics to suggest Trump’s polarising persona could resurrect violent anti-WEF protests from the early 2000s. An online petition is circulating telling Trump he is not welcome.

Still, the tenor in Davos this week Thursday was upbeat, with many confident a robust security contingent -- up to 5,000 soldiers if necessary alongside about 1,000 police -- can handle any furore surrounding Trump’s presence.

“It doesn’t get any better than this,” said Ernst Wyrsch, who was director of the hotel where Clinton stayed during his WEF visit and now heads the region’s hotel association.

“Davos, for at least a couple of days, will be at the centre of the world.”

While dignitaries come each year -- British Prime Minister Theresa May and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping made the trek to the town last year -- they lack the media power of a U.S. president that puts the spotlight on a community that relies on tourism.

“I guess there’s no such thing as bad publicity,” said Linard Kinschi, a resident who was heading out to the 1,560 meters above sea level (5,120 ft) town’s cross-country ski trails.

Although U.S. officials are already in Switzerland preparing for Trump’s arrival, details of his trip, including whether he will even spend the night during the Jan. 23-26 event, were under wraps.

Trump, expected to be accompanied by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and possibly Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, may rush in for a day, give a speech and then depart.

There is something of a contradiction in all this.
A general view shows the congress centre, the venue of the upcoming World Economic Forum (WEF) in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos, Switzerland, January 11, 2018 REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

The WEF is a haven for supporters of globalisation who espousing the very free trade pacts that Trump has blasted as unfair to the United States.

Heinz Brand, who represents Davos in the Swiss parliament, hopes Trump arrives in the mood for discussion, not a fight.

“Even people who were sworn enemies have met in Davos and left on more favourable terms,” Brand said, recalling when Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres shared a WEF stage.
CHANGES
Soldiers of the Swiss army build protection fences for the upcoming World Economic Forum in front of Hotel Belvedere in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos, Switzerland, January 11, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

The Swiss army has begun erecting checkpoints on roads leading into town and armed hillside bivouacs down the valley, scenes on par with every post-Sept. 11 WEF where security has been to the fore.

“This is the 48th WEF,” said Reto Branschi, CEO of Davos Klosters Tourism. “Every year, we have 20 presidents from all over the world. We are used to the visits of presidents.”

Last year, 4,300 Swiss soldiers deployed, with the airspace open only to aircraft ferrying participants to the forum. Grisons cantonal police, who coordinate WEF security measures and are liaising with U.S. officials, say they are ready.

“The closure of the airspace has worked well in recent years, and we don’t believe that any modifications will be necessary this year,” said Andre Kraske, a Grisons spokesman.

Still, there are some changes.

For decades, helicopters carrying visitors have landed in the meadow of Hans Stiffler, a lifelong Davoser who runs an inn.

This year, the landing pad has been moved across the valley, where there is more room.

Without choppers at the doorstep this year, it will be a bit quieter, and Stiffler will not have to bring his security badge with him every time he leaves home.

But he may also not be able to add to his trove of WEF memorabilia includes letters of appreciation from Clinton, photos of former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, and an intimate shot of then Brazilian president Lula da Silva meeting Israel’s Peres in Stiffler’s hotel for five minutes before each was helicoptered away.

Reporting by John Miller
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How Not to Unwind a Clockwork Orange
« Reply #1052 on: January 12, 2018, 12:47:28 AM »
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/01/11/how-not-to-unwind-a-clockwork-orange/

January 11, 2018
How Not to Unwind a Clockwork Orange

by Geoff Dutton


Photo Illustration courtesy of Beatrice Alcala & Substance.

    According to [Michael] Wolff’s book [“Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House”], various White House staff, advisors and acquaintances referred to Trump as an idiot, dope, moron and dumb as shit. However, another said he could be a halfwit if he applied himself.

    ~Humorist Ben Alper

Bottom line on top: We might make more traction against the empire if we quit name-baiting Donald Trump. The empire will strike back if we fail to prevail.

Our President may be an easy mark to ridicule but this publication is no joke. It’s a forum for serious and informed discussion of (almost uniformly alarming) current events that mainstream media tiptoe around, not a venue for parody or satire. Its contributors are serious and well grounded in their self-selected domains of reality. Their articles are generally well sourced, high-minded, and come with an attitude. But when it comes to reporting or reflecting on accidental president Donald Trump, vexed authors can lapse into hyperbolic ad hominems that add little meat to the political stew we’re in.

It starts with the name-calling. We find Trump referred to here as the “Insane Clown President,” “jackass,” “Agent Orange,” “Dotard-in-Chief,” and “Hair Furher,” and that’s just from one article. Other pejoratives gracing these pages include “huckster,” “tangerine nightmare,” “buffoonish mountebank,” “idiot,” “miscreant,” “unhinged,” and the frequently found bon mot “fucking moron.” Think back. Has the left ever talked about a president this way? Well sure, we had our Tricky Dick, Ronnie Raygun, and Shrub, but was it ever this personal? Are all our sobriquets and brickbats getting us where we want to go?

Just because he’s a vain ADD sociopath doesn’t require his critics to dwell on the symptoms. And while I’ve hoisted his petard a few times, my sarcasm gave me scant satisfaction. Let’s leave giving Trump virtual wedgies to late-night comedians and folks at the Onion and the above Ben Alper who professionally recirculate Trump memes we have come to love to hate. An article on Trump-as-comedic-fodder by Jesse David Fox at vulture.com dissecting the state of the art opines:

“A lot of the stuff now is … just the first step you think of,” legendary comedy writer Jack Handy told Mike Sacks on the Doin’ It podcast. “That’s what [people making political comedy now] do, rather than going to the second or third step.” The thing is, it is hard to find extra steps to be taken with Trump. To put it mildly, he’s real, you know, surfacey, and so it goes that the art about him would be, too.

“Sure, there are jokes to make: Yeah, he’s orange, ha-ha,” said comedian Jen Kirkman, when I asked her if Trump was good for comedy, “but the answer is no. You’re either going to get the same jokes over and over, or we’re going to be normalizing him by making really silly jokes about him.” The truth is, the premise was exhausted before he was inaugurated.

If there’s anything Trump is good at besides chiseling and rent seeking, it’s grabbing attention. His métier has always been pursuing limelight for himself and his brand. His well-practiced antics in service of celebrity (later augmented by Steve Bannon’s stratagems and voter suppression) proved instrumental in getting him elected. To leaven its obsessive coverage of silly season, the media circus employed him as a clown, apparently regarding the rest of the field as less entertaining, boring by comparison and certainly less useful in attracting advertisers, clicks and page views.

Beyond repeating trite characterizations, too many articles on Trump make the same points, over and over: his egocentrism, thin skin, miniscule attention span, mental instability, factual vacuity, and functional illiteracy. Despite the media’s hammering, yammering, and tweeting and the barely concealed contempt of world leaders and some from his own party, he awkwardly abides, his body language betraying discomfort in his role. And no matter how many of his banalities, gaffes, untruths, and senseless provocations news media pounces upon, look away, look back, and he’s still there.

And so is a good part of his base, I hear, as yet insufficiently disgruntled. Recall that the alt-right was similarly convinced that “the Obamanation” was bent on destroying America. Orange-menace catcalls from “the resistance” are not charming them any more than their drone of racist and puerile epithets slandering #44 rallied liberals to their cause. Maybe we should cut the cuteness and instead focus on hammering home to the GOP base that it isn’t POC, immigrants, and libtards that have been excising their livelihoods—if not their livers—it’s capital, and it should be a capital offense.

Now Michael Wolff is telling the press that his book may be Trump’s final undoing. Speaking with the BBC, he said “I think one of the interesting effects of the book so far is a very clear emperor-has-no-clothes effect.” And in an NPR interview, Wolff likened this presidency to a train wreck everyone working in the White House now sees coming. Through no fault of their own, Wolff quickly pointed out.

While Fire and Fury has stirred the pot of fear and loathing that’s been bubbling since before the election, getting it to boil over will take a lot more fuel. If Wolff thinks his huffing and puffing will blow the Trump White House down, he’s got delusions of grandeur. For that to happen there needs to be a game plan to unwind Trump, a plan that might involve impeachment, the 25th amendment, or a forced abdication, a plan that a number of power brokers will need to sign off on before it can go down. Petitions and hashtags won’t do it. Republicans can’t bear to do it. Democrats are too chickenshit to do it. His billionaire buddies see no need to do it. A disgruntled Secret Service won’t risk ejecting him from Air Force 1 (at least not without orders). The CIA might do it but wouldn’t unless he gets in its way. But should all this devolve into an international or constitutional crisis, our most powerful and by all accounts respected institution just might do it.

Are you ready for a military coup? Let’s see what the late-night comics do with that.
Join the debate on Facebook
More articles by:Geoff Dutton

Geoff Dutton is an ex-geek turned writer and editor. He hails from Boston and writes about whatever distortions of reality strike his fancy. Currently, he’s pedaling a novel chronicling the lives and times of members of a cell of terrorists in Europe, completing a collection of essays on high technology delusions, and can be found barking at progressivepilgrim.review.
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Offline Surly1

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Snowflake Alert: Donald Trump Cancels His Trip To London, Blames Obama
« Reply #1053 on: January 12, 2018, 01:54:38 AM »
Snowflake Alert: Donald Trump Cancels His Trip To London, Blames Obama

Donald Trump Cancels His Trip To London, Blames Obama

British media report the White House may have feared mass protests.

President Donald Trump confirmed late Thursday that he canceled a trip to London next month to help open the new U.S. Embassy there, saying he did not support the project and that former President Barack Obama crafted a “bad deal” to see it built.

“Reason I canceled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for ‘peanuts,’ only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars,” Trump tweeted, before continuing: “Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!”

The process to move the embassy actually started during President George W. Bush’s tenure.

“This has been a long and careful process,” Robert Tuttle, former U.S. ambassador to Britain, said in October 2008. “In the end, we realized that the goal of a modern, secure and environmentally sustainable embassy could best be met by constructing a new facility.”

Trump’s comments come amid reports in British media that the White House was worried about mass protests during the president’s visit. Multiple outlets say Secretary of State Rex Tillerson may travel to the U.K. instead.

British Prime Minister Theresa May invited Trump to visit the country last year during her sojourn to the White House after the U.S. election. But the specter of such a invitation has been increasingly contentious.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, an outspoken Trump critic, welcomed the trip’s cancellation.

 

“Many Londoners have made it clear that Donald Trump is not welcome here while he is pursuing such a divisive agenda,” Khan said in a tweet. “It seems he’s finally got that message.

Khan had previously called on May to cancel the invitation after Trump retweeted anti-Muslim videos from a far-right Twitter account in November, accusing the U.S. president of promoting a “vile, extremist group,” The Associated Press reported at the time.

“Many Brits who love America and Americans will see this as a betrayal of the special relationship between our two countries,” Khan, who is London’s first Muslim mayor, said in a statement. “It beggars belief that the President of our closest ally doesn’t see that his support of this extremist group actively undermines the values of tolerance and diversity that makes Britain so great.”

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Re: Snowflake Alert: Donald Trump Cancels His Trip To London, Blames Obama
« Reply #1054 on: January 12, 2018, 02:09:38 AM »
When in doubt, blame Obama. Or Killary.  That always works with the Deplorables.

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The TL:DR Guide to Michael Wolff's 'Fire and Fury'
« Reply #1055 on: January 12, 2018, 04:02:43 AM »
Matt Taibbi's summary. Pretty reliable, as far as I can tell.

The TL:DR Guide to Michael Wolff's 'Fire and Fury'

The TL:DR Guide to Michael Wolff's 'Fire and Fury'

As factual reporting, it's dubious, but as insight into the thinking of high-level right-wing intellectuals like Steve Bannon, it's subtle – and maybe valuable

'Fire and Fury,' while a devastating "notional" portrait of Trump generally, describes a White House that seems genuinely to believe the Russiagate scandal to be a complete hoax. Tom Brenner/Redux

A quick note about Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury, which upon a second pass still has, to put it mildly, some serious issues: As any art historian can pick out a forgery, veteran journalists reading this book will quickly spot an oversold narrative and perhaps unprecedented sourcing issues.

The tortured "Author's Note" preceding the prologue almost reads like a novel in itself. In fact, trying to follow Wolff's idea of what "off the record" means or does not mean is like trying to follow the hands of a three-card Monte dealer. It just can't be done.

As a White House source put it, Wolff's narrative personality is almost like a comedy act in itself:

"He's like the old Jon Lovitz character from Saturday Night Live," the source said. "You know – 'Yeah, I went to Harvard, that's the ticket. And, yeah, I was on the couch in the West Wing for months, that's the ticket.'"

Fire and Fury is really two books rolled into one. The first is a compelling nonfiction book about the intellectual divide in the modern right, as candidly hashed out to Wolff by influential figures like Steve Bannon and Roger Ailes and (seemingly?) Rupert Murdoch.

The second is a Primary Colors-style novel about what goes on behind various closed doors in the Trump White House, based on a few bits and pieces of fact, which are offset by mountains of eye-rollingly insupportable supposition, spiced with occasional stretches of believable analysis.

There is considerable debate in the media world, on both the left and the right, about the value of this book (even I've gone back and forth on it). In the end, I think it's like a piece of moldy rye bread – you have to cut around the hairily sourced parts to keep from getting poisoned. But on a broad level, there is something to dig into.

Reading the book, there are at least a few real points about Trump that shine through:

1) Trump has almost no ideological convictions and is motivated almost entirely by the classic narcissistic value equation, i.e. how much praise or scorn he gets on a second-to-second basis, from whom, and why. Had he not run as a Republican – and in particular won on a platform scripted by a nationalist true believer like Bannon – he might very well by now have been pushed into a completely different kind of presidency. Trump wants so badly to be liked that, especially with the influence of Kushner and Ivanka, he might easily have allowed his White House to drift back toward his original politics, which (as New Yorkers and furious conservatives alike will clearly remember) was once squarely in the Bob Rubin rich-guy sort-of Democrat mold.

2) However, as Bannon points out in the book – correctly – Trump by now is so firmly entrenched in the consciousness of America's intellectual elite as a villain that he will never be accepted by that crowd. The constant battering Trump gets from the press especially ensures that he will continue to lash out at them, forcing him continually to tack back to the only people who still like him – Bannon's angry-man followers. This despite the fact that what Trump clearly craves is, instead, the approval of members of his own class.

3) The result is an insane paradox of an America led by a doomed and trapped psyche. This is a president who in another era might have been confined to the impact of an ordinary bad Commander-in-Chief (we've had many), i.e. sedated and/or scripted in public, and kept on the golf course the rest of the time while the empire runs on the dreary autopilot of donors, P.R. flacks and military advisers.

Instead, we get a leader whose most dangerous moments come during his ever-expanding calendar of hyper-tweeting downtime (incidentally, is anything more certain than the term "executive time," replacing "taking my talents to South beach" as this generation's euphemism for masturbation?). All those crazed Trump tweets guarantee an endless cycle of paranoia and rebuke – and a permanently paralyzed White House.

Anyway, it's a fascinating book. But too long for most people in the Internet age to actually read. So without further ado, here's shorter Michael Wolff, in chapter form:

a) The Author's Note: 

See if you can make sense of this passage:

"Many of the accounts of what has happened in the Trump White House are in conflict with one another; many, in Trumpian fashion, are baldly untrue. Those conflicts, and that looseness with the truth, if not with reality itself, are an elemental thread of the book. Sometimes I have let the players offer their versions, in turn allowing the reader to judge them. In other instances I have, through a consistency in accounts and through sources I have come to trust, settled on a version of events I believe to be true."

In other words: The unattributed facts you're about to read are sometimes my best guess as to the truth, and sometimes someone else's more dubious version, and you won't know which is which, but – whatever, enjoy!

b) Prologue: Ailes and Bannon

This is the most interesting part of the book, and not just because Wolff has the stones to use the word "louche" in a sentence early on (there's an "I went to college, honest" word choice about once every four pages in Fire and Fury). This passage alone sums up thirty years of history of right-wing thinking:

"Ailes was convinced that Trump had no political beliefs or backbone. The fact that Trump had become the ultimate avatar of Fox's angry common man was another sign that we were living in an upside-down world. The joke was on somebody – and Ailes thought it might be on him."

This is the main theme of the book: That both the Republican establishment (as represented by the likes of Ailes and Murdoch) and the alt-right revolution (as represented by Bannon) think Trump is a fumbled football they can pick up and run into the end zone of power.

In the end, of course, the joke is on everyone, as Trump's brain fumbles hopelessly out of bounds and neither side successfully appropriates his presidency, which becomes an endlessly circular, purposeless narcissistic Tweetstorm.

. ELECTION DAY

Wolff becomes roughly the 40,000th writer to compare Trump's campaign to The Producers. In classic Hollywood formula-script fashion, the Trump campaign is presented as composed of characters that each have their own desperate motivation to lose, only to be each be crushed in their own way by the shocker result.

This chapter reads a lot like Shattered, the acid catalogue of finger-pointing that took place among high-ranking Clinton campaign figures after Hillary's loss, except here it's backwards. In this case, the characters start to blame each other for somehow transforming what Steve Bannon called a surefire "broke dick" loser campaign into a winner.

The only person who truly believed that Trump would win from the start is Melania, who had learned to expect, with religious certainty, that her husband would deliver upon the worst-case scenario in every situation. She was right.

President-elect Donald Trump, with his family, addresses supporters at an election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown November 8, 2016 in New York City, New York.

2. Trump Tower

The president spends the Saturday after the election begging guests to stay to meet a late Rupert Murdoch, not yet realizing he is the president of the United States and probably should be at the top of every party's a-list from now on. 

The fate of Chris Christie and the White House chief of staff job is explained. Christie, who played a huge role in Trump's election by being the first establishment Republican to endorse his candidacy (until then, Trump's top backers were celebrity not-smart people like Gary Busey, John Daly, and Johnny Damon), would almost certainly have been chief of staff. But Trump does the unthinkable and gives daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner official posts in his White House, over the objections of noted ethicist Ann Coulter.

Christie in his prosecutor days had put Jared's dad Charlie Kushner in jail in 2005 for tax evasion and witness tampering, among other things, so Christie is cashiered as an impossible fit with the family-run administration.

A number of other unsuitable candidates for the chief post are considered until Trump finally settles on Reince Priebus, a lifetime Republican functionary who lacks the willpower to refuse the suicidal assignment.

3. Day One

Everybody warns Trump not to mess with the intelligence community. "If you fuck with the intel community… you'll have two or three years of a Russia investigation, and every day something else will leak out," Jared is told by one of Wolff's Someones.

Kushner, alarmed, comes up with a plan to build a bridge to the "IC" with a day one presidential visit to the CIA. Trump dutifully shows up for the address and doesn't take off his overcoat, lending him a "hulking gangster look" that may or may not have been designed to ingratiate him with an audience of spies.

He proceeds to go off on a lunatic rant about the size of the inauguration crowd, how God stopped the rain just in time to allow the great Trump to speak, and how he, Trump, didn't really take down a bust of Martin Luther King, despite what a guy named Zeke from Time tweeted, because "I would never do that, I have great respect for Dr. Martin Luther King."

This is the first of many bridge-building efforts that don't work out so well.

4. Bannon

Bannon goes from being a team player pre-election to being "focused on my shit." He passes David Halberstram's The Best and the Brightest around the White House so that staffers can learn what a political establishment looks like and to recognize a true presidential "mien" (Wolff went to college!). Foreigners, we learn, are the ne plus ultra mania of Trumpism (ibid).

A growing fault line inside the Trump White House is described as beginning to be visible between establishment GOP functionaries like Priebus, Spicer and Priebus deputy Katie Walsh on the one hand, and the likes of Bannon and ex-Jeff Sessions aide and seeming escaped med school cadaver Stephen Miller on the other. Who will get the upper hand?US President Donald Trump stands alongside Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon (L) upon arrival at Snap-On Tools in Kenosha, Wisconsin, April 18, 2017, prior to signing the Buy American, Hire American Executive Order.

5. Jarvanka

Bannon invents the term "Jarvanka" to describe Jared Kushner and wife Ivanka Trump. Trump invites Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough to the White House and serves fish. Mika doesn't eat fish. A long story about Kushner and the New York Observer is told that ends with an explanation about how Trump, who once sought to conquer the New York media scene, eventually had to flee it, going to Hollywood to become a reality star.

This story is important because in Hollywood and then through the election, Trump then becomes so famous that the coastal media set – which had effectively driven Trump from New York in the first place in search of less judgmental audiences in flyover country – is now once again forced to cover Trump; a "fabulous, incomprehensible irony," as Wolff puts it.

Also in this chapter: Ivanka once dated an heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune, Jamie Johnson, who cast her in a bizarre movie about the horrible travails of inheriting assloads of money, a film called Born Rich (ultimate marijuana challenge: get baked and watch a tuxedoed Jamie's intro narration without laughing).

"If you have a douchebag dad, and everyone is open about it, then maybe it becomes fun and life a romantic comedy," Wolff writes, channeling Ivanka. "Sort of."

6. At Home

Trump is increasingly mad at the media, in particular at the New York Times, which has reported he stalks around the White House at late hours in a bathrobe.

Bannon's interpretation of the bathrobe detail is that this is a way of depicting Trump as losing it, a la Norma Desmond, the spiraling loony ex-actress in Sunset Boulevard.

Trump complains to everyone that he doesn't have a bathrobe, and moreover wouldn't think of wearing one, and can't believe people would think he does.

"Do I seem like a bathrobe kind of guy?" Wolff says he demands of "almost everyone" he spoke to in the wake of the Times story. This is the kind of thing that passes for important in the Trump White House.

7. Russia

Fire and Fury,
while a devastating "notional" portrait of Trump generally, describes a White House that seems genuinely to believe the Russiagate scandal to be a complete hoax. The only crack here is that some of Wolff's sources wonder what Michael Flynn might have "roped the president into."

Wolff furthermore describes a White House that seems more concerned that Russiagate investigations might lead toward more real revelations in unrelated business dealings.

Bannon says he likes Flynn, that Flynn reminds him of his uncles, but "that's the problem, he reminds me of my uncles."

Flynn, depending on what he says going forward, is, according to Wolff, maybe the most powerful person in Washington.

President Donald Trump speaks on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Oval Office of the White House, January 28, 2017 in Washington, DC. Also pictured, from left, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence, White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, Press Secretary Sean Spicer and National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

8. Org Chart

Priebus, says Wolff, is expected to lose his job "as soon as his losing it would not embarrass the president too much."

Katie Walsh, the deputy chief of staff, is portrayed as a Stalinesque figure, quietly assuming all the real organizational responsibilities of the palace while a bunch of more bombastic and self-aggrandizing males proudly pretend to be in charge of the historic ongoing failure that is this presidency.

Trump's ability to read is questioned. Then, that question is questioned, as Wolff notes that Trump can read headlines about himself. "He's just a guy who really hated school," Bannon says, "and he's not going to start liking it now."

9. CPAC

It's a long book but Wolff doesn't have much material, so he fills a lot of it with the transcripts of that weird series of days in which Bannon touches Priebus on the knee at the CPAC conference, only to have Reince recoil (although this scene is not described in the book).

Rebekah Mercer, daughter and heiress to hedge fund manager and major right-wing donor Robert Mercer, who had rescued Trump's floundering campaign after Pussygate, is seen saying the president's insane CPAC speech (basically a declaration of war against the news media) showed him at his "most gracious and charming."

10. Goldman

Wolff discusses how Bannon, Trump, and Kushner have differing views about Jews. This somehow becomes a segue to talk about how Goldman, Sachs vets like Gary Cohn and onetime Goldman philanthropic chief (and noted Davos schmoozer) Dina Powell were brought in to the White House by Jarvanka. The new Goldman-enhanced team is given credit for composing Trump's relatively sane speech to a joint session of congress, for which he is, for a few brief hours, praised by almost everyone in the news media, even Van Jones. Jarvanka decrees that "Reaching Out" is the new watchword.

Bannon, who "cast himself as a Cassandra to anyone who would listen," correctly predicts the adulation won't last. Because the virtue of Donald Trump, at least to Bannon, is that he will never be accepted by the "cosmopolitan elite," which by extension includes the news media – which in turn means Bannon will have the White House back in violent conflict with the right people soon enough.

11. Wiretap

Jeff Sessions becomes the center of the latest Russiagate controversy. Trump doesn't understand why talking to the Russians was a big deal.

Tony Blair visits Jared Kushner in a freelance diplomacy capacity and purportedly lets on that the British may have had the Trump campaign under surveillance. This becomes an obsession with Trump, who goes bonkers when he sees Bret Baier interview Paul Ryan on Fox on March 3rd, 2017, quoting a Circareport about surveillance involving the Trump Tower.

It seems like Baier just misspoke in using the word "wiretap," but Trump goes nuts and tweet-storms at 4:35 a.m. that the Trump tower had its "wires tapped."

Then he calls Priebus and holds the phone up so that he, Priebus, can hear a playback of the interview between Baier and Ryan, who appears to kinda-sorta endorse the Circa report in the appearance. Ryan later tells Priebus he was just "BS-ing through the interview."

12. Repeal and Replace

The effort to undo Obamacare fails spectacularly in an episode that either speaks to the total incompetence of the Trump White House, or to a brilliant strategic move by Steve Bannon to demonstrate to Trump the total impotence of Paul Ryan and establishment pols like him. Or both, or neither.

13. Bannon Agonistes

Steve Bannon sees America as hopelessly divided into two hostile groups, one of which will win and one of which will lose. It is a modern undeclared civil war in which the rise of one side will mean, necessarily, the marginalization of the other.

Bannon had originally succeeded in making Trump a believer of this idea. Now, however, the failure of the health care debacle has instead begun to convince Trump that Bannon has to go. The logic here, as relayed by Wolff:

"Bannon's efforts to use the epic health care fail as evidence that the establishment was the enemy had hopelessly backfired. Trump saw the health care failure as his own failure, but since he didn't have failures, it couldn't be a failure, and would in fact be a success – if not now, soon. So Bannon, a Cassandra on the sidelines, was the problem."

The "centrist" wing of the Trump White House and inner circle, which by now includes not just Jarvanka but also Rupert Murdoch, begins to shark-circle around Bannon and point to him as the cause of all trouble.

The Mercers, who had rescued Trump's campaign and installed Bannon, apply pressure to keep Bannon around. A compromise is reached: Bannon will begin leaving at more reasonable hours, and not lingering in case Trump needs a dinner companion.

14. Situation Room

"The unique problem here," writes Wolff, "was partly how to get information to someone who did not (or could not or would not) read."

Trump says of H.R. McMaster, his post-Flynn National Security Advisor: "That guy bores the shit out of me… He looks like a beer salesman."

Then Trump sees McMaster perform well on Morning Joe and decides he's made a good hire.

Bannon has pushed Trump pretty far into what is described as a radical isolationist posture toward the Middle East (or, as Bannon puts it more succinctly, "Fuck 'em").

Now, however, a chemical attack in Syria takes place, and Ivanka and Dina Powell – this is according to Bannon – get Trump's eyes in front of pictures of child chemical warfare victims "foaming at the mouth."

Trump, Bannon says, melts. He may not like to read, but pictures work. The president (allegedly) calls "a friend" that night. "The foam," Wolff reports him saying. "All that foam."

Trump launches a missile attack in response, and informs the visiting first couple of China over a dinner of "Dover Sole, haricots verts, and thumbelina carrots" that the attack has been completed. Fire and Fury has a fish motif.

Bannon (and the Chinese) are mortified, but everyone else is thrilled that, for the first time, Trump shows evidence of being "manageable."

In this image provided by the U.S. Navy, the guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) launches a tomahawk land attack missile in the Mediterranean Sea, Friday, April 7, 2017. The United States blasted a Syrian air base with a barrage of cruise missiles in fiery retaliation for this week's gruesome chemical weapons attack against civilians.

15. Media

There is a long discussion about what to do about the White House Correspondents' Dinner. The universal assessment is that Trump can dish it out but can't take it, and is not particularly funny – at least not "in that kind of humorous way," Conway is quoted as saying.

There is relief among the staff when it is decided Trump will not attend. He instead goes to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he inspects a line of "colorful wheelbarrows."

16. Comey

Wolff's telling of the Comey firing story seems to come almost entirely from Bannon's viewpoint. Most of the theories of what happened seem to involve the family, and Ivanka in particular, being afraid the Russia investigation will eventually lead to personal business matters. "The daughter will take down the father," Bannon-Cassandra prophesies on.

A huge part of Trump's problem in Washington, Bannon says, is his inability to understand the mindset of people who seek collective prestige – the "association with hegemonic organizations and a sense of higher cause" – as opposed to individual aggrandizement. Trump, Bannon explains, doesn't get the idea and continually insults career functionaries for being what they're supposed to be, because he doesn't understand anyone who would want that kind of job.

17. Abroad and At Home

Trump and the family pack up for a trip to the Middle East to establish peace there. No problem! They go to Saudi Arabia to visit the Crowd Prince of the House of Saud, Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdualaziz al Saud, a.k.a. MBS.

They don't establish peace in the Middle East. But they do have a $75 million party thrown for them, where the fam gets driven around in gold golf carts and Trump gets to sit "on a throne-like chair."

18. Bannon Redux

Bannon exults in Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, another move designed to permanently place Trump on the other side of a battle with the cultural elite. Bannon crudely says this is a blow to Ivanka.

"Score," he is quoted as saying. "The bitch is dead."

19. Mika Who?

Bannon is quoted as saying that, in his estimation, there is no way Donald Trump, Jr. did not introduce the dirt-promising Russian delegation led byNatalia Veselnitskaya up to his father's office. "The chance that Don Jr. did not walk these jumos up to his father's office on the 26th floor is zero," Bannon says.

The Urban Dictionary defines a "jumo" as "used universally to insult any person/s regardless their gender, race, nationality, etc."

20. McMaster and Scaramucci

On the reason Anthony Scaramucci wasn't hired initially: "The problem was that, really, nobody liked him."

New White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci speaks to members of the media in the Brady Press Briefing room of the White House in Washington, Friday, July 21, 2017.

21. Bannon and Scaramucci

Bannon is feeling superior because Gary Cohn, "once a killer enemy," is by summer trying to curry favor, in search of a Fed Chair appointment.

Cohn is "licking my balls," Bannon says, in an image viciously relayed without warning by Wolff.

Bannon also seems pleased to hear that special prosecutor Robert Mueller has hired Andrew Weissman to his team. Bannon thinks this is deliciously bad news for Jarvanka, who now, Bannon says, have "the LeBron James of money laundering investigations" on their tail.

"You realize where all this is going," Bannon says. "This is about money laundering."

And once again, Bannon-Cassandra predicts that Mueller will steamroll through Manafort straight into Trump family business dealings, Deutsche Bank, etc., what Bannon calls the "greasy shit."

"They're on a beach trying to stop a Category Five," he says.

22. General Kelly

After Charlottesville, Jarvanka urges the hyper-tweeting, defensive, and clearly tone-deaf Trump to take a strident posture condemning hate groups and racialists.

Bannon counsels against it, saying, "It will be clear his heart's not in it."

Bannon also advises against the disastrous impromptu presser at the Trump Tower that Trump does anyway, sinking the White House into major crisis after Charlottesville.

Bannon at this point calls Robert Kuttner of the American Prospect and gives the interview that will seal his fate – and not coincidentally, provide the end of Wolff's narrative. In the curiously unguarded interview, he says of his enemies in the White House: "They're wetting themselves."

In fact it is Bannon who is out. He immediately runs to Breitbart, swearing revenge. About a half-year later, he is out of that job, too.

Leaving us in the moment we're in now: with Bannon sidelined, but billionaires like Trump and Mercer and permanent Beltwayers back piloting this ghost ship of a presidency. Will Mercer find the "greasy shit" and put an end to it all? Or will the Trump family complete the full Producers-style four year jail sentence?

What a crazy story. If only we weren't really living it. 

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline RE

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‘Here is what my #shithole looks like’
« Reply #1056 on: January 12, 2018, 06:27:53 AM »
Trumpocchio is now denying he called Haiti et all a shithole. lol.  Big surprise there.


RE

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/01/11/here-is-what-my-shithole-looks-like-african-countries-and-haiti-react-to-trumps-remark/?utm_term=.2f5907d066d3

WorldViews
‘Here is what my #shithole looks like’: African countries and Haiti react to Trump’s remark
By Paul Schemm and Eli Rosenberg January 12 at 9:00 AM

3:12
How Trump’s ‘shithole’ comment matches with his past statements on immigrants
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The Fix’s Eugene Scott explains how Trump’s “shithole countries” comment is the latest example of his history of demeaning statements on nonwhite immigrants. (Video: Bastien Inzaurralde/Photo: Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — President Trump’s dismissal of Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as “shithole countries” whose inhabitants are not desirable for U.S. immigration shocked people around the world and provoked swift condemnation.

The president made the remarks Thursday during a White House meeting with lawmakers and suggested immigrants from Norway would be preferable. Trump has since apparently denied making the off color remarks, only describing the language he used as “tough.”

“The African Union Commission is frankly alarmed at statements by the president of the United States when referring to migrants of African countries and others in such contemptuous terms,” said Ebba Kalondo, the spokeswoman for the African Union. “Considering the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the U.S. during the Atlantic slave trade, this flies in the face of all accepted behavior and practice.”

She added that the statement was particularly unpleasant coming from the leader of country that is a “global example” of how a strong and diverse country can be the product of migration, and she expressed hope eventually that “the values the U.S. is known for because of its particular experience with migration will come to bear.”
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The reaction from the United Nations human rights spokesman, Rupert Colville, was uncharacteristically blunt, describing the remarks as “racist.”
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U.N. spokesman: Trump's 'shithole countries' comment 'racist'
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In blunt remarks on Jan. 12, U.N. human rights spokesman Rupert Colville denounced President Trump's "shithole countries" remarks as "shocking and shameful." (Twitter/UNGeneva)

“There is no other word one can use but ‘racist,’” he said at a briefing in Geneva. “You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes,’ whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome.”

['Countries that are like dirty toilets,' and other ways Trump's profanity was translated abroad]

In Haiti, people took to Twitter to share pictures of their country — verdant green hills, palm trees in the sunset, and sparkling turquoise water.

“Hey #ShitHolePresident!” wrote Harold Isaac. “Here is what my #shithole looks like.”

Haiti’s ambassador to the United States condemned the statements and said that the country had asked for an explanation of Trump’s comments from American officials.

“In the spirit of the people of Haiti we feel in the statements, if they were made, the president was either misinformed or miseducated about Haiti and its people, ” the ambassador, Paul G. Altidor, said in a statement.

Altidor said the Haitian Embassy in Washington was inundated with emails from Americans apologizing for Trump’s remarks, which he found heartening.

Haiti's largest newspaper condemned it as “racist and disgaceful” and said such comments “had no place in the relations between nations or people, even less so in the mouth of a president of a nation friendly to Haiti.”

[Trump derides protections for immigrants from ‘shithole’ countries]

In Africa, there were similar reactions celebrating their countries’ beauty, with a well-known presenter for South Africa’s broadcaster SABC tweeting “Good morning from the greatest most beautiful ‘shithole country’ in the world!!”

The deputy secretary general of the ANC, the party founded by Nelson Mandela, hit back at Trump’s comment during a news conference in South Africa. “Ours is not a shithole country, neither is Haiti or any other country in distress,” Jessie Duarte said.

Meanwhile, the Daily Maverick, a Johannesburg-based news site, wryly suggested that “Casual Friday at the White House is soon to include hoods and tiki torches at this rate.”

Botswana gave a rare official response to the remarks, summoning the U.S. ambassador there “to clarify if Botswana is regarded as a ‘shithole’ country” as well and wondering why “President Trump must use this descriptor and derogatory word when talking about countries with whom the U.S. has had cordial and mutually beneficial bilateral relations for many years.” The statement concluded by calling the remarks racist.

Kenyan political cartoonist Victor Ndula, who has criticized Trump’s immigration policies in the past, drew a “‘White’ House map of Africa,” with regions labeled as “west of the shithole,” “southern shithole” and “horn of the shithole” for Kenya’s Star newspaper.

“It’s derogatory and sad to belong to countries that have been labeled ‘shithole’ countries,” lamented Moses Osani, a communications specialist on his lunch break in Nairobi. “Immigrants also contribute to the economy of the U.S. We have relatives who work so hard, some three jobs a day, working and hoping for a breakthrough for their families back home.”

Vicente Fox, a former president of Mexico and a harsh critic of Trump, also noted on Twitter America’s immigrant history, saying “your mouth is the foulest shithole in the world. With what authority do you proclaim who’s welcome in America and who’s not. America’s greatness is built on diversity, or have you forgotten your immigrant background, Donald?”

In El Salvador, the news of the comments quickly shot to the top of news websites. “Donald Trump insults El Salvador,” read one headline.

In light of Trump’s alleged preference for immigrants from Norway, a number of users on social media were resharing a Norwegian website launched in 2016 aiming to persuade Trump-skeptical Americans to immigrate to Norway. “We are offering acute aid to descendants of emigrated Norwegians, and other Americans, considering a new start abroad,” read a welcome message on the website,“in light of the results of the U.S. presidential election.”

One Norwegian official in Brussels joked that the country might consider changing its official tourism slogan from “Powered by Nature” to “Not a Shithole,” before saying that the whole situation was a bit awkward.

Norwegians on social media also questioned the attractiveness of immigrating to a country without free health care, paid parental leave or gun control.

“I’m a Norwegian who enjoyed studying & working in the US. The only thing that would attract me to emigrate to the US is your vibrant multicultural society. Don’t take that away,” tweeted Jan Egeland, the head of the Norwegian Refugee Council.

Reaction across the United States, home to a large population of immigrants from these countries, was emotional.

Illinois state Sen. Kwame Raoul, son of Haitian immigrants, said there was no “apologizing out of this.”

“He’s demonstrated himself to be unfit, unknowledgeable about the history of this country and the history of contributions that immigrants, particularly Haitian immigrants, have made to this country,” Raoul, a Democrat, told CBS. “It makes me embarrassed to have this guy as the president of my country.”

Republican pollster Frank Luntz quoted a report and said that 43 percent of immigrants from African countries have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 33 percent of the American population overall.

Farah Larrieux, a Haitian immigrant and organizer in Miami, referenced statements Trump made in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood while campaigning before the 2016 election that he wanted “to be the biggest champion” for Haitian Americans.

“This is beyond politics. The guy has no respect for anyone. I am trying not to cry,” she told CBS. “I can't understand how someone goes from making a statement in Little Haiti saying I want to be the biggest champion of Haiti to calling Haiti a 'shithole.' It makes me sick.”

Journalist Amélie Baron‏ ran down a list of stereotypes promoted about the country in recent years, referencing a flap where a Weather Channel meteorologist claimed that Haitian children were so hungry they ate trees, another statement reportedly made by Trump in 2017 that Haitian immigrants “all have AIDS” and Trump's remark from Thursday.

“How bad some US citizens judge Haiti,” she wrote.

Maria Sacchetti in Washington, Rick Noack in Berlin, Michael Birnbaum in Brussels, Josh Partlow in Mexico City, Rael Ombuor in Nairobi and Kevin Sieff in Cotonou, Benin, contributed to this report.
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Offline RE

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Re: The TL:DR Guide to Michael Wolff's 'Fire and Fury'
« Reply #1057 on: January 12, 2018, 06:53:15 AM »
Matt Taibbi's summary. Pretty reliable, as far as I can tell.

The TL;DR is too long too.  Let me give it to you in a one sentence digest.

Trumpocchio is an insane, inept, insufferable imbecile surrounded by obsequious morons swimming in a sea of corruption.

Now you don't need to read the book or the tl;dr.

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Is it finally time to call Trump racist?
« Reply #1058 on: January 13, 2018, 12:24:30 AM »
Yes, although unfortunately that is precisely what endears him to his base of support.  Check out the Zero Hedge commentariat these days.  Yeesh.

RE

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/it-finally-time-call-trump-racist-n837041

Is it finally time to call Trump racist?
by Chandelis R. Duster / Jan.12.2018 / 5:49 PM ET


For those who previously balked at calling President Donald Trump a racist, his alleged remarks about Haiti and African nations being “sh-thole countries” was the final straw.

The remarks, reportedly made in a bipartisan meeting about immigration Thursday night, aren't the first time Trump has said racially-charged statements but has opened the conversation as to whether it is time to call Trump a racist.
Durbin disputes Trump's 'shithole' denial: 'He said these hate-filled things'
02:42

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who was in Thursday’s meeting said he heard Trump’s comments, condemned the "vile, racist" remarks. And former RNC chairman and MSNBC contributor Michael Steele asserted Friday that Trump is racist and that the "evidence is right there."

Republican Rep. Mia Love of Utah, the first Haitian-American woman elected to Congress, said Trump’s behavior is “unacceptable” and has called on Trump to apologize.

"I think the words and his actions tend to speak like one who knows something about being a racist. It must be in his DNA or in his makeup," said civil rights leader and Georgia Rep. John Lewis.

And as his comments come on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and eight years after an massive earthquake magnitude destroyed the country, leaving over 220,000 people dead and over 300,000 injured, some say it also shows racial insensitivity.

Haiti's ambassador to the United States, Paul Altidor, said in an interview on MSNBC Friday that he was surprised and disappointed.

"300,000 people lost their lives on this very day I'm sitting here," Altidor said. "Unfortunately, we are here talking about regretful, regrettable comments allegedly made the president of the United States.”

Journalists have also spoken out on whether Trump should be called a racist.

Thursday night MSNBC Politics Nations host and civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton condemned Trump’s “racist and bigoted point of view.”

“Do you have to spray paint the n-word in the Oval Office or have a hood in the Lincoln bedroom to be a racist?" Sharpton said.

CNN’s Don Lemon also said spoke out against those “calling me and others who point out racist behavior ‘racist’”, citing he and other journalists have called out Trump’s ‘racist’ before. Good Morning America anchor and journalist George Stephanopoulos mentioned that it is ABC News’ policy to not repeat profanity, but also expressed disagreement with the decision not to use the curse word Trump used.
Haitian-American reacts to President Trump's 's***hole' comments
00:39

Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-Louisiana, said Trump’s comments were “yet another confirmation of his racially insensitive and ignorant views” and reinforces the concerns that “the President’s slogan Make America Great Again is really code for Make America White Again.”

“All of the reservations we have had about negotiating with him on immigration are well-founded,” Richmond said in a statement. “President Trump is clearly more concerned with ending the future flow of immigrants from Africa and the African diaspora than providing relief to DREAMers [undocumented immigrants who arrived as youths] who came here through no fault of their own. Unfortunately, there is no reason to believe that we can negotiate in good faith with a person who holds such vile and reprehensible beliefs.”

The NAACP also condemned Trump's remarks and said using profanity to describe the countries "is not only a low mark for this president, it is a low point for our nation."

Their statement added: “As our nation fights to move forward, our president falls deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of racism and xenophobia."

On Twitter Thursday, the phraae "Trump is a Racist" was trending, with some saying Trump’s remarks were not a surprise.

Trump has long been called racist, dating at least back to 1973 when his housing management company was the target of a Justice Department Civil Rights Division lawsuit over allegations he and his real estate developer father were keeping black and Puerto Rican people out of their apartments.

And in 1989, Trump purchased ads calling for the death penalty for the “Central Park Five,” four black men and one Latino man accused of rape who were later exonerated thanks to DNA evidence — but Trump still insisted they were guilty during the 2016 presidential election.

He also notoriously questioned former President Barack Obama’s American citizenship, Trump called up him to show his birth certificate in 2011 and also offered to give a charity of Obama’s choice $5 million if he released his college records and passport.

Then, when Trump announced his bid for the presidency in June 2015, he infamously accused Mexico sending "rapists" and other criminals to America.

Later in the campaign, in May 2016, he called Judge Gonzalo Curiel, a federal judge in San Diego who oversaw the class action lawsuit against “Trump University” a hater.

In August 2017, after a 20-year-old white man drove his car into a crowd at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing one anti-racist protester and injuring 19 others, Trump remarked that there was "blame on both sides” regarding the deadly violence that was instigated by white supremacists.
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Offline RE

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Between the Null and the Void
« Reply #1059 on: January 13, 2018, 12:35:53 AM »
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/01/12/between-the-null-and-the-void/

January 12, 2018
Between the Null and the Void

by Jeffrey St. Clair


Photo by Noé Martínez | CC BY 2.0

Happy cultures are all alike. But this is not a happy culture. Sullen and sour, America seems like a country whose nerves are shot. And, after 16 straight years of war, why wouldn’t the political neurons be frayed? Each day the fear factor is being ratcheted up. New threats are being targeted. New wars being planned. A paralytic dread hangs over the Republic.

To watch the news these days is to be seated at a dark table in a casino for games of death. Or fantasies of death. At a certain point, it doesn’t really matter. At a certain point, one will lead to the other. Eventually, the fantasy must become reality. Those are the house rules. The thrill of the fantasy will ultimately be paid out in real blood.

Listening to Donald Trump speak is to be privy to a weird kind of political séance. He has become a fuming animation of the primordial grudges and resentments of white America, people who feel their invisibility made flesh in the figure of Trump, people who thrill at every low-minded slur and threat. He conjures up phantasms of what the elites and the minorities have done to them. He feeds them their fears in raw chunks. He offers sacrificial killing on their behalf. Mass arrests. Torture. Deportation of the sick and helpless. He vows to turn entire nations into glowing morgues. All for them. And they eat it up, savoring the bitterness. How long can this last, how long before the fever breaks?

I am listening to Trump’s incendiary speech in Seoul. He is standing at the dais in Proceeding Hall, the National Assembly building in South Korea. Perhaps it’s the color saturation level on our old monitor, but on this night Trump looks like a grotesque figure from a George Grösz painting. His face is glazed an acidic orange as if slathered in mortician’s makeup. Even though he is reading from a prepared text written by one of his sycophants and projected for him on a teleprompter, he speaks in a switchbacking syntax that I’ve come to call Trumponics. He looks and sounds like the dictator of bad taste.

Of course, it’s useless to probe Trump’s ramblings for their symbolic content. He strikes right for the spleen. Still, I continue to hunt for some logic to what he’s saying, knowing it’s futile. Except, perhaps, for the logic of the suicide pact. But a pact implies a deal, and most of us haven’t signed away our consent, except, I suppose, through our passive acquiescence to his resurrection of the old nuclear demons.

Each Trump speech should come with a risk assessment of its potential fallout. Yet none of Trump’s military-grade handlers—McMaster, Mattis or Kelly—seem up to the calculus. Tillerson may have some idea, but Rexxon’s been locked out in the cold for months, as the State Department, though alas not the state, withers away. The State Department, which, since World War II, at least, has been responsible for far more deaths than the Pentagon deserves its vacancies.

Trump’s bombast never seems quite serious. But I fear we must begin to take him so. He is, after all, a man without humor.

In front of South Korea’s legislature, Trump brags about America’s military prowess, a boast reinforced by the looming spectre of three aircraft carriers and two nuclear subs prowling the Korean coastline in real time. He gives the impression that he considers military quagmires about as problematic as the sand trap on the 16th hole at Pebble Beach.

Trump warns that his country, that is, our country, will not hesitate to vaporize hundreds of thousands of beings. We’ve done it before, Trump implies, and felt no guilt, no remorse. This is the voice of a man who has learned nothing from mass death, except that it paved the way for the globalization of American power. In a voice that slips from talking about index funds to nuclear missiles, the prime rate to F-35s, Trump projects the image of president as gravedigger.

Is it possible, Trump seems to ask, to profit from H-Bombs after you use one? Is nuclear war really a growth industry? I was surprised that the Korean delegation didn’t jump up and run screaming from the chamber. Or storm the dais, as they did during the impeachment of President Roh Moo-hyun.

What happens when the president, a man with the capacity for continent-wide annihilation, strays beyond the reality principle?

Finally, I clicked Trump off and turned on someone who had found many of the answers to the most important questions in life: John Coltrane. Coltrane, the human antithesis of Trump. Coltrane, who had been inducted into the segregated US Navy, on the very day that Hiroshima was nuked. Coltrane, who prayed on his knees at both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on his 1966 tour of Japan. Coltrane, who said at Nagasaki: “I dislike war, period. So, therefore, as far as I am concerned, it should stop.” Coltrane, who would die of cancer, the disease of the nuclear age, only a few months later.

The record I put on was “Ascension,” as liberated a piece of music as has ever been played. Coltrane’s only instructions to his bandmates was to end their solos with a crescendo. On that night, it seemed to me that Coltrane’s music might be invoked as a kind of sympathetic magic against Trump’s nuclear nihilism as if rising notes could cast a spell against falling bombs. In between the null and the void, the truth can still be heard in the organic phrasings played by Coltrane’s breath.

When You Ain’t Got Nothin’

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/H7m5joZPP0U" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/H7m5joZPP0U</a>
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Offline Surly1

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Re: Between the Null and the Void
« Reply #1060 on: January 13, 2018, 03:41:41 AM »
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/01/12/between-the-null-and-the-void/

January 12, 2018
Between the Null and the Void

What an absolutely fantastic article. Great find.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline RE

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Re: Between the Null and the Void
« Reply #1061 on: January 13, 2018, 04:38:36 AM »
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/01/12/between-the-null-and-the-void/

January 12, 2018
Between the Null and the Void

What an absolutely fantastic article. Great find.

Every so often I score a winner.  :icon_sunny:  Kohl's stock now at 64 and ramping up too!

RE
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Offline knarf

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Re: Between the Null and the Void
« Reply #1062 on: January 13, 2018, 04:54:51 AM »
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/01/12/between-the-null-and-the-void/

January 12, 2018
Between the Null and the Void

What an absolutely fantastic article. Great find.

Every so often I score a winner.  :icon_sunny:  Kohl's stock now at 64 and ramping up too!

RE

AGREED!! Coltrain's song is in 3/4 time, usually reserved for waltzes, and is "swing". Basically it is based on the blues, and doesn't deviate much, which he and his band were completely capable of being very complicated.  Which leaves each musician free to REALLY express their emotion in their improve. Great idea, to express his hatred and sadness toward mans ignorance of their common humanity!
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Re: Between the Null and the Void
« Reply #1063 on: January 13, 2018, 09:53:48 AM »
Singer daughter is now the coat check girl at the Village Vanguard.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2018, 10:01:50 AM by Eddie »
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Re: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #1064 on: January 13, 2018, 01:40:03 PM »
Quote
"Trump is a Racist"

Boring !!!

Quote
Of course, it’s useless to probe Trump’s ramblings for their symbolic content.

But I'm going to do 600 words on it because I'm being paid to do it.

Zzzzz.

Quote
Dear media, telling us that Donald Trump is a racist is ... not news.

That's not news.
"The State is a body of armed men."

 

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