This Ruthless World

Adventures in absurdity

Archive for the tag “Trump”

This Week In News: Tell Me Who Your Friends Are

Pieter Breughel the Younger, "Drunkard On An Egg" (late 16th-early 17th centuries)“Tell me what company though keepest and I’ll tell thee what thou art.”

~ Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote, Chapter XXIII

This past week’s news cycle has been dominated by the mind-numbing scandal over whether presidents call the families of fallen soldiers and which presidents do it better (or at all).  To recap, this is how it all went down, following a by-now well-trod path familiar to kindergarteners: first Trump insinuated that Obama never called any families to  offer condolences for fallen service members; next, this allegation was proven false; next, Sarah Huckabee Sanders doubled down on the false claim; then a Democratic Congresswoman from Florida, Frederica Wilson, accused Trump of making an insensitive remark to a military widow during a phone call; in response, Trump accused Wilson of fabrication; and it went downhill from there.  As much as I despise Trump, this was, initially, an example of the outrage machine going into overdrive.  It is well-known that Trump is inarticulate and has an obnoxious delivery, so he couldn’t convey a sensitive statement like one of condolences for a loved one if his life depended on it.  Trump made a doody on Twitter, because it’s just another day (in paradise).

What was remarkable, however, was his Chief of Staff, John Kelly’s deeply shameful press conference on Thursday.  In his statement (that the reviled Librul Fake News Media for some reason tended to characterize as “moving”), he essentially confirmed Wilson’s account of Trump’s phone call to the widow, but then attacked Wilson with a fresh claim that was proven false within hours.  I don’t want to rehash all the back-and-forth.  Here is a good summary.

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Friday Shorts: This Week in News

Welcome to Friday Shorts and this week’s news roundup.

On the menu: (1) Columbus Day nonsense; (2) Sessions’ asylum law freakout; and (3) Las Vegas/Weinstein.

 

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Run It Like A Business, Part 2: The Myth Of The For-Profit Democracy

Mikhail Kostin, "In Stalin's Factory" (1949)Part 1

One of the justifications that Trump supporters invariably offer for putting a bunch of business executives in charge of the country is that the US needs to be operated like a for-profit business.  Who wouldn’t like America’s governance to resemble the Trump Organization?  I suppose your average well-to-do Trumper dreams of the days when this whole land will be a Trump golf course, and assumes he’ll be among those who tee off in goofy outfits, and not one of the grossly underpaid, ill-treated staff.

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Run It Like A Business, Part 1: The Myth of Valuable “Business Experience”

Louis Alexandre Eustache Loursay, "Les Incroyables" (1975)My sincerest hope for the eventual aftermath of the Trumpist era is that we can finally put to bed the ludicrous notion that career businessmen make good statesmen for no other reason than  their business experience.

I imagine far-off future students of history chuckling at our era, when a big chunk of the country lost its goddamned mind and came to believe that wealth and self-serving dealing alone were the most desirable traits in a political leader; when people who were knowledgeable about their jobs were scoffed at; when the prior President’s experience in public service was invoked as a slur, as if being an actual public servant is a character flaw that should irreparably disqualify one from the Presidency.

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The Myth Of Parties Of Ideas

Louis-Léopold Boilly, "Les Hommes se disputent" (1818)Trump’s surprising win in 2016 led to a wide proliferation of myths about why the Democrats lost.  As I’ve been saying since Day 1, most of those pithy analyses are ludicrous, and I am glad that at least now, six months in, some professional commentators are waking up to the reality that there is no point in courting the elusive Trump Voter.  Still, many of these myths persist.  Today’s entry into the Trump Era Hot Takes Hall of Fame is the myth of progressives having “no ideas”.

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Relax And Stop Pining For Impeachment

Eugène Delacroix,

You know what I don’t get?  On this 120-ish day of the Trump Presidency, his administration is running around like a chicken without a head, a Special Prosecutor (a good one!) has been appointed to excavate Trump’s sordid Russia stuff, yet most of what I hear in the liberal circles has to do with the tenuous likelihood of impeachment.  The pessimism is puzzling.  Right now, the Democrats are in as good a position as they’ve been since the election, and impeachment — much less a successful one — is probably the last thing we want.

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Uber Hate

800px-nyc_taxi_in_motionMy family came to the United States during the early 1990’s recession.  My father had been a railroad engineer back in Russia, mostly working the geriatric section of the network, the track between Moscow and (then) Leningrad.  In the States, he discovered to his chagrin that the railroads and the train industry were in the crapper, and so the only job he could find that matched his education and skills was for a custom air-conditioning company, which offered him $8.25 an hour with no benefits — provided he first worked for them for six months without pay, “as a volunteer”.  And so, like many youngish Soviet immigrants at that time, my father became a livery driver.

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Well, I Guess Kellyanne Conway Never Did Attend Charm And Beauty School

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Sitting on the floor when you had guests was at the time a gesture signifying simplicity, informality, liberal politics, hospitality, and a Parisian way of life. The passion with which Marie-Claude sat on all floors was such that Franz began to worry she would take to sitting on the floor of the shop where she bought her cigarettes.

~ Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

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Sympathy For The Trump Voter, Part 3: After the Election

954a15a0d1b9d5db8b07ec57db402414Popular (official?) historiography of the 2016 Election has coagulated around the idea that Trump’s win represented a rebuke to the elites, liberals, “social justice warriors”, college professors, college students, Hollywood, feminists, scientists, artists, immigrants and basically anyone who doesn’t fit the increasingly narrow definition of a Real American — rural or small-town, white, Christian, poorly educated and poor or middle-class.

Over the ensuing months, think pieces multiplied calling on liberals to be more willing to “learn” and “listen”, and be more cognizant of the pain and anger of the the good people who populate America’s “heartland,” simple folk who have long been left behind and forgotten by the jet-set.  Trump, we are told, is the result of “elites” ignoring the concerns of “ordinary Americans” who rot away in their ghost towns, devastated by the departure of sweet, sweet manufacturing jobs for China, India and Mexico, or else small businesses groaning under onerous regulations that won’t let an Honest Job Creater cut baby formula with melamine, like they do in China.  Here is a good example , which talks about the resentment that the country has towards the city, the working class towards the professional class, those experiencing “economic anxiety” towards those who worry about police shootings.  (It’s an early piece, but it’s a very good representation of the Liberal Remorse that we’ve been seeing.)  Even Rawstory, a commie rag if there ever was one, republished one of those off of Quora via Newsweek.  (“If the progressive movement in the United States does not learn to engage and speak to the people that disagree with its tenets without making them feel like backwards simpletons, it will never move forward without then having to take two steps back,” says the author after describing his father — his example of a Trump Voter — as a muscle-headed backward simpleton who decidedly isn’t interested in a dialogue with someone who embraces ideas different from his.  “If progressives do not learn to create fresh common ground and alliances with those whom they are told hate them and all they represent,” continues the author, after describing how much his father utterly hates anyone who is a liberal, gay, person of color or immigrant.)

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On Fidel Castro’s Death; Or, When My Fellow Liberals Insist On Losing Credibility

Berlin, Fidel Castro an der Grenze

I was waiting to calm down and process the election before I wrote anything — and then Fidel Castro died.

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