Monday, August 22, 2016

Donald the Artful Draft Doger: Why They Love Him

Here's the link to Nancy Isenberg and the White Trash explanation:

Watching Nancy Isenberg, the historian who wrote "White Trash"  on C Span this morning, I finally understood the people who love Donald Trump. Not that Professor Isenberg set out to explain the Donald, but once you read "White Trash" or see the interview, understanding gradually coalesces out of the miasma.

My brother, who lives in North Carolina, who served in Vietnam, is flabbergasted by his neighbors, all of whom seem to be Trump supporters. 

He cannot understand why they do not see him as a draft dodger and a coward.

Trump speaks their language, I tell  my brother.  

But why doesn't every Democrat castigate him for claiming to be the Vet's best friend,  when he bought his way out of the war? He could have been a Vet himself, but he paid some doctor to write the Draft Board a letter.  

Because, I tell him, Bill Clinton, Bernie Sanders, none of them served either. 

Doesn't matter, my brother says,  just keep calling Trump a draft dodging coward, and it'll eventually sink in. His White Trash throngs will eventually see him for what he is, see the emperor naked.

But, no. The fact is, the folks who love the Donald will forgive that.  They are "white trash."  He talks like them.

As Professor Isenberg notes, we do not have or want a Democracy in America; we are not comfortable with income and social equality. What we want is a democracy of manners, in which the rich and powerful sound like the mudsills, sound like the White Trash, even as they go home to their penthouses and McMansions. 

Trump has that riff down. His supporters love him on a visceral level. 

Just watch the tape.

Trump down to her underwear

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Mr. Trump and Clean Coal

Want to feel a chill flash down your spine?  Just watch the speech Donald Trump gave yesterday in Virginia.

He began by boldly stating Virginia exports more coal than any other state and that Hillary Clinton is waging war on coal, means to shut down every coal mine and to throw all those admirable coal miners out of work, men who want nothing more than to earn a living, support their families doing the honest day's work of mining CLEAN COAL which will not cause global warming, which is a myth anyway.

He then ticked through his usual list of complaints:
1. Hillary wants to tax you to death, even those of you who make only $17,000 a year and she especially wants to destroy American farmers with her death tax.
2. The Army has been reduced in size and the Navy even worse, leaving us exposed to who knows what disaster.
3. Hillary wants to throw open the Mexican border and to grant amnesty to rapist immigrants.
4. African Americans have got the shaft from the Democrats who have fooled them every time and look at what they got in return: 58% unemployment, slums to live in, unsafe neighborhoods.
5. Hillary cares more about the rights of murderers than about police. All the police endorse Donald Trump because he has their backs.
6. Hillary has used her emails and her private server and her foundation to amass a $10 million dollar a year income and she doesn't care about the struggling middle class, not like the Donald, who gives the middle class good jobs (building golf courses and casinos.)
7. Trade deals with foreign countries have sent American jobs overseas.
8. Mr. Trump will bring back those lost jobs in manufacturing, steel, coal and the production of hoola hoops and Corvettes.
9. You all are losers, but elect Mr. Trump and you will be winners again.
10. Mr. Trump will make America safe again. Mr. Trump will make America wealthy again. Mr. Trump will make America GREAT again.

And listen to the crowd chanting, booing Hillary, shouting "USA, USA" and you can almost hear the echo of "Zeig!" and "Heil!"  

Donald Trump don't need no frigging advertising budget, no campaign advisers, no TV ads, no Sunday morning talk shows. He's getting his message out to those who are aching to hear it.

I don't care what the freaking polls say. I'm seeing a man who is cruising toward victory.  

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Perils of the Liberal Persuasion

One of my two sons went to a very liberal school for high school, the Sidwell Friends School, in Washington, D.C. The place is a Friends school, as the name says, Quaker, and so open minded that the day after the 9/11 attacks, they called a meeting of all students and families and the Headmaster and others from the upper echelons  called upon the flock to turn the other check and forgive and to not react in anger. 

Listening in the audience, I could barely contain my rage, and were it not for my wife who pushed me out the door, I would likely have gotten my son expelled. 

Our "champagne son" had a wonderful career there, but, unbeknownst to his parents, he chafed under the excesses of liberal thinking, to the point where he decided to go to college in the South, at Vanderbilt, where he knew he would at least hear a different point of view. 

Our other son, our communist son, in whose heart beat the passions of his ardently union grandfather,  early on rejected the excesses of wealth he saw mushrooming around him in the affluence of suburban Washington, D.C., where even his classmates, not just their parents, drove BMW's, Mercedes and Lexus cars. He refused to go to private school, and never accepted invitations from friends to hang out at country clubs and he attended the public high school.  Of course, the public school reflected its politically liberal neighborhood, but there was more balance and there were no calls for turning the other cheek there. 

Through his college career and even afterwards, our champagne son stirred some concern by sounding pretty conservative. He particularly alarmed us when he fumed about the unions at the hospital which made his job as a surgical resident more difficult and which he claimed undermined the financial health of the hospital. Actually, he had a point:  By refusing to clean operating rooms in 30 minutes rather than the 45 minutes in their contract, the union house keepers reduced the total number of surgeries the surgical staff could do by 30 surgeries a day and that likely did hurt the bottom line. The fact is, he noted, cleaning the OR's took 20 minutes tops, and the "workers" then went out for a smoke or a Coke.

But, as the communist son pointed out, you cannot expect the union to argue management's side. There has to be some give and take.

On the other hand, I would argue: I am all for the workers. But these are not workers.

When I was a medical student, I too felt the pull away from liberal instincts.  I worked, one summer, in a project run by the notorious Office for Economic Opportunity, which was designed to increase the use of a new clinic which had been built in Bedford Styuvesant, which was then a burnt out, crime ridden part of Brooklyn. The whole effort struck me as a boondoggle, a colossal waste of money, thrown at people who would use it to buy drugs and guns. 

Later, with the perspective of age, I came to appreciate the economic theory that the government could throw bundles of money down a deep mine shaft and simply tell drilling companies where it was and that would stimulate the economy as the drilling companies hired people to go after it. 

The problem with any pole of political thought, is it attracts a whole constellation of opinion--at the center you may have a set of ideas which attracts you--the idea that society is best when it provides good things for all its members and does not simply give up on the idea of trying to raise up those at the bottom, when it attempts to provide the greatest good for the greatest number. But, as we learned in the 60's, around that star swirl all sorts of putrid ideas about life being simply about self actualization, pleasure seeking for self without regard to the effects on others, protecting indolence and self indulgence without demanding effort in return. That is when you start to ask yourself: Do I really want to wear the same logo as these "liberals?"

In today's world, the liberal cause has been more defined by Bernie Sanders than Hillary, so universal health care, free public education through college, an end to endless wars mindlessly pursued are all just fine. But ruthlessly rejecting international trade just because it is international, embracing transgender medicine as a cause, advocating for racial quotas in institutions of higher education also orbit that liberal star. 

Donald Trump's son in law, one of his trusted inner circle, makes a good point when he points at the "speech police" who accuse anyone who refers to an "Asian American" as an "Oriental" as "racist." If that one verbal choice makes you a racist, then what is the man who really does loathe the "dark races" who believes Whites superior to Blacks and Asians?  By cheapening language, we do harm to the real distinctions in life. So Trump's attacks on the idea of John McCain as a "hero" is a serious effort to draw important distinctions. In the world of the liberal, all children receive a trophy, and no child should be at risk for feeling humiliated by losing.

Wearing a polo shirt with an alligator logo for Lacoste, was said to be "classist" and college friends actually cut off the brand symbols from their clothes, for fear of being seen as "elitist"--this all happened at Brown University and Wesleyan University, where students whose parents were spending half the income of a typical middle class family every year just to put their kids in a private school which the parents knew, was a sort of assertion of having arrived at upper class status.

At Brown, where a drunken co-ed stripped off all her clothes and climbed into a fraternity boy's bed, where he duly accommodated her by having sex with her,  the boy found himself vilified as a "sexist" and expelled from the college for the offense of having drunken sex.  Never mind, the girl had placed herself in that bed. She was the victim. 

Later, at the same school, transgenders insisted on having their own dormitory and Black students wanted a "safe space" where they could re segregate themselves, having won the right to be admitted to the school, they now won the right to wall themselves off. 

At Harvard and Yale, students were granted "safe spaces" where they could flee from the horrid experience of hearing offensive thoughts, which ranged from racial diatribes to debates about global warming. 

And oh, the horror, suppose you might oppose the idea of paying "reparations" to the African American population of the United States for those 300 years of unpaid slavery!  Get thee to a safe space, so you don't have to hear the disturbing arguments against this, which begin with Lincoln's masterful Second Inaugural Address, in which he observed that every drop of blood drawn by the lash had been paid by blood drawn by the sword--you know, a little incident called THE CIVIL WAR, where white men died for four years trying to undo slavery, and where more Americans lost their lives than in all the other wars combined America has every fought since.

A professor of African American studies at Harvard, who decided publishing papers in "learned" journals was way less fun than trying to release Rap songs was hauled onto the carpet of the university president who told him there was a difference between academic inquiry and musical celebrity, whereupon the professor decamped to Princeton.  This president, Larry Summers, was so hopelessly politically incorrect, he was later thrown out for having the temerity and poor judgment to suggest that there may be a reason there were so few women majoring in math and science at Harvard, implying there may be a genetic difference.  This suggestion was considered so inflammatory and unacceptable, that rather than refuting it, or presenting evidence or argument against the question raised, the Harvard faculty simply voted to throw Summers out. No confidence in this toad.

Of course, Summers is an officious, insecure bully, who never quite got over his own rejection from Harvard when he applied as an undergraduate, and has spent the rest of his life trying to prove he's the smartest guy in the room, but all this episode at Harvard proved is that, at the Harvard faculty club,  the rest of the room is filled with people who are not all that smart, so having that title in that crowd may not be such a crown.

On the other side, however, you have a true black star, the Donald Star, around which orbit unfettered gun rights, advocacy of violence against Muslims, Mexican immigrants, gays, disparaging the handicapped--can eugenic killing be far behind?--advocating for evangelical movements to introduce God into the classroom, the workplace and the bedroom, outlawing abortion, and likely outlawing many of the best forms of contraception, calling for a return of America to being white and Christian, outlawing homosexuality, attempting to return to the Ozzie and Harriet days when American men went off to the factory with their lunch pails packed by their stay at home wives.

Somewhere, there must be a happy center between those two central stars. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Listening to Donald the Trump

You can't make this up.

Vox recently ran an article on the Donald's "speaking style."
They started with this, and it would behoove all of us to not lose sight of this and all those similar statements which preceded and followed, when Mr. Trump begins to reign himself in as November approaches:

Look, having nuclear — my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, okay, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart — you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, okay, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I'm one of the smartest people anywhere in the world — it’s true! —

 but when you're a conservative Republican they try — oh, do they do a number — that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune — you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged —

 but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me — it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are (nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what's going to happen and he was right — who would have thought?), 

but when you look at what's going on with the four prisoners — now it used to be three, now it’s four — but when it was three and even now, I would have said it's all in the messenger; fellas, and it is fellas because, you know, they don't, they haven’t figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years — but the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators, so, and they, they just killed, they just killed us

This is the real Donald. Not so much a racist (those are his admirers), not so much a misogynist, not so much a nasty, nasty, but, as Ms. Maud has suggested, simply Donald Demented.  He is just Being There.  And his fans hear what they want to hear. But we children, we see the naked truth. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Bring Back Those Factory Jobs: Robots Rule!

This morning I heard Donald Trump telling workers he was going to bring back their manufacturing jobs.  Unemployed rust belt workers from Pennsylvania to Michigan, who know it wasn't their fault they lost their jobs to China or wherever are now lining up to vote for Mr. Trump. 

Of course, those jobs are now done in China by robots and if they were ever brought back to the USA, it would be robots employed in those factories here.

Later, in the same broadcast, I heard a factory owner in New Hampshire complain about "government regulations" as the reason he was thinking about leaving New Hampshire, but when he was asked specifically which regulations he found onerous, he could only say it was the Environmental Services Administration and some labor regulations he found objectionable. His factory "uses a lot of chemicals" and he has to jump through all sorts of unreasonable hoops related to those.  He also complained that there is "a loud sucking sound" coming from Massachusetts drawing workers away from his factory in New Hampshire with higher wages and he can't find New Hampshire workers with the right skills.

I know this personally, as I was lured from working in New Hampshire to Massachusetts with a 14% raise, after the added income tax (5.1% in Massachusetts and 0% in New Hampshire.)  The salary wasn't the main factor, but it made the decision easier. All my friends in New Hampshire rolled their eyes, "Oh, now you're paying state income tax!" Yes, I told them and after paying that tax, I'm still making significantly more money--enough to buy a new car every year.

As Andrew Hacker has observed, when company owners complain about the lack of skilled workers, it's almost never the case there are no American workers with those skills; the problem is the workers with those skills refuse to work for low wages, and go elsewhere.

So what this New Hampshire factory owner was complaining about was he was unable to despoil the environment and unable to exploit laborers. 

As the economist Alan Stieglist has noted, the trouble with international trade agreements is they are negotiated by  government officials with a business background, who intend to return to the private sector, and these agreements are all about benefiting the bottom line of international companies, not about benefiting the workers or the environment.  A really good trade agreement would force Chinese factory owners to pay their employees a living wage and not despoil the environment in China; China exports its pollution across the Pacific. 

So, vote for the Donald and American companies will return to American shores, just the way Boeing has stayed in the USA by moving to South Carolina where it can exploit desperate workers with low wages.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

How Donald Trump Will Win: Sweet Tea

Reading about Andrew Jackson, the last President who ran against the entrenched power elites in Washington, as a man of the people, while owing 300 slaves, running a plantation for profit and speculating in land, a portal to victory for Donald Trump emerged. 

Of course, as any fan of West Wing will know, events can intervene to throw Mr. Trump an advantage--another 9/11 magnitude attack at the first game of the World Series, or a series of attacks in high profile, scary succession which make a tough guy, damn the civil rights, let's protect the people look better. 

But even absent such "good luck" for Mr. Trump, he can simply enter the debates and pivot hard toward amiability and wave away all those "metaphors" about the wall with Mexico and the religion test for admission to the USA and say:

" Look, as my supporters have understood, and as the effete media has completely missed, all I'm saying is we have to open our eyes to reality, and try to do some common sense things to protect ourselves.  
Police in big cities concentrate their patrols and attention to high crime areas. We say we are in a "war" against ISIS and terrorism, but wars end and this "war" is not really a war at all. It's an eternal struggle, in which every successful, prosperous nation has to engage because our success and our wealth makes us the envy of the world, a target, a prize ship in  seas thick with pirates. 

How do we do that? Do will vilify Muslims? No, we embrace them. We embrace people with the family of Captain Khan and we celebrate them. But as Captain Khan's father himself admits, the Muslim American community has a special role to play in protecting their countrymen now, just as Black communities once had to lead the healing after the struggles of the Civil Rights era. 

If we learned anything from the experience of Japanese Americans during World War II, we learned it's to our great advantage to draw on our diversity and use the language skills, the knowledge of culture to understand those who wish to harm us.

I agree with Secretary Clinton about one thing:  Our greatest strength is, in fact, our diversity.  That  means it's absurd to think every Muslim American is loyal to ISIS. No. In fact our Muslim American countrymen have the most to lose if ISIS succeeds.   Can you imagine all those women Muslim doctors having to give up their practices because ISIS institutes Sharia law?

It's a lot like our Jewish American countrymen:  Love for Israel, a desire to protect Israel, doesn't mean they love America any less.  Every man has many threads from which his character is woven, and the whole cloth is the strength of each person, not the individual threads.

When I said I liked the guys who did not get captured, I was not saying John McCain was a coward or a fool.  The fact is, as we all know, as all my supporters understood, John McCain showed more fortitude in captivity than any of us are ever called upon to show. 
And John's been a good Senator. I'm big enough to admit that. He's been a good Senator. He's just not what I would call a "war hero," because that's just being politically correct and I'm sick and tired of people telling lies and spinning fantasies when in fact the truth is different.  See, being a hero has to do with being a success, with winning, not losing, not getting shot down, with shooting other warriors down.

I was talking about the neglect of the idea of success.  All my life I've pursued success, winning. A hero wins. A great competitor may be admirable in many ways, but he is not a hero, unless he wins. That is what the Democrats don't understand. President Obama, Hillary Clinton, they are all about process. As long as we follow the rules, as long as we follow the process, that's the important thing, not the outcome.

Well, I disagree.  If we stick to the rules of the treaty and that means closing every steel mill in Pennsylvania, every coal mine in Kentucky, every automobile plant in Michigan, every paper mill in Maine, every furniture factory in North Carolina, well that's just fine with the Democrats, but that's not fine with me. I think as President, my job is winning these jobs for Americans, and if that means re negotiating treaties, changing the rules, then I'll do it. 

Look, this has been a long campaign, but I have been trying to do something new and different and change is never easy. The fact is, these are troubling times. But we've come through worse times.  Nobody is trying to dissolve the union, or enslave our fellow citizens. The threats we face can be met, with determination and smarts.  But we have to be tough and not afraid to speak the truth. "

Friday, August 12, 2016

Deconstructing The Donald: I Don't Like Guys That Get Captured

Don't you just feel like you knew a kid like Donald Trump growing up? 
And didn't you know a John McCain?
I certainly knew a Hillary Clinton.

The uncanny thing about Trump is he manages to get under your fingernail like a splinter.  He snidely undermines the "hero" in John McCain, but that was not as off the cuff and random as it seemed at the time.

There is always that little sliver of truth stabbed into the nail bed. Trump did get at something concerning the political correctness of making anyone who ever wore our nation's uniform into a "hero," and what he was saying is that cheapens the word, "hero," which should contain an element of success, or at the very least, dying for a noble cause. 

McCain was a bit of a wild man, a bit of a screw up. From Annapolis to flight school, he was always on the verge of washing out for being too undisciplined. And when he was shot down, on his 23rd mission over Vietnam, it was probably a stupid mistake of flying too low, and even when he ejected, he didn't follow the proper procedure and wound up breaking both arms and a leg. 

On other hand, he did fly off and landed on an aircraft carrier 22 times and if you've never tried that, well, don't say anything about it until you've tried it. From friends who've done it, it never grows old and your heart reaches stratospheric rates every time.

Fortitude, daring, courage under fire may not be enough to qualify as hero, but those are not qualities to sniff at, especially if the guy doing the sniffing doesn't have a single one.

Billy Fricks, who wrestled one weight class above me on our high school team, who played linebacker on the football team was a John McCain type. He was bounced out of the big football game against our arch rival because he participated in a prank, trashing of their campus before the big game. He owned up to it and took his punishment like a man. He was more fun than a barrel of orangutans and nobody was more fearless.  Maybe you wouldn't vote for him for President, but if you needed someone to walk your sister home through a bad neighborhood after midnight, you knew you could count on Billy.

All dressed up like a real soldier. His daddy bought him that. 

There was always some Donnie John type who would say Billy was a loser because he lost a big wrestling match or got bounced from the big game, but that guy was never even in the game. 

He hadn't suffered through the two a day football practices in the August heat or the three hour meat grinder wrestling team practices, pulling himself up a rope thirty feet to the top of the field house ceiling.  He had heel spurs or something, so he couldn't take the field or the mat.  He was soft and hid behind skirts.  This was before there was a  Prince Joffrey of "Game of Thrones," the guy who is all fierce and deadly, as long as he has his mother's thugs behind him, but he caves as soon as a real threat his mother cannot contain confronts him.

Donnie Joffrey was the guy you'd punch in the gut when he said stuff like, "I don't admire the guy who gets taken prisoner,"  "Or Billy stunk up the place, that match." He didn't have the right. He couldn't carry Billy's shoes, that guy.

We had a heavy weight wrestler with a simian brow named  Mack Shuff,  who looked fearsome enough to scare the daylights out of a lowland gorilla. We used to get together in the big room at the girls' pot luck Friday nights, guys sprawling over the leather couches and chairs and the girls squeezing in where they could. There was, for some reason, a 12 foot  wooden cabin cruiser in that room, belonged to the father who owned the house. Nobody ever tried to sit in the boat.

Donny J would show up and start to say something and Mack would say, "I told you: You do not open your mouth. You just take up space you worthless, spineless turd." 
And the amazing thing is, Donny J would just sit there. He wouldn't leave. He'd just sit there, trying to look like he belonged in the company of the guys who had suffered together, like he was one of the band of brothers. 

Never landed on an aircraft carrier 

That's what Donnie John is. 
You just know he's going to run away when the boys come out to play. He just doesn't have the guts to be President. 

The nasty inner core of the Donald 

Hillary, of course, was the scold: the ambitious girl who knew she was more disciplined than her rivals and she played by the rules and would be furious if she lost because she had done everything right, so she expected to be rewarded, as promised.  But she was humorless. She couldn't see the cracks in the armor. She actually respected the adults who ruled our lives and thought they were mostly righteous, while the some of us laughed at them and thought they were basically idiots. Hillary never knew what Obama hit her with. She had done every thing she was told to do but he beat her with something outside the box.

One thing you can say for her: She's tough to the core. Anyone who watched her take apart those mendacious, smarmy Republicans of the House Oversight Committee during their tag team attempts to bring her down during the Benghazi hearings saw her steel. She's got more guts in her little finger than Donnie John has in his John Thomas.

I can't say I'd be wild for any of these types to be President. Personally, I'd be happy for Barack Obama to stay on, but that would be cruel and unusual punishment for  Mr. Obama and his family. 

It's come down to the arrogant wimp and the mother superior.  

I'm okay with the woman. I'm with her. 

But someday, I'd like to read her memoirs, after she finishes her second term,  and discover she had a torrid affair with General Petraeus or maybe Al Franken.