Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

It’s Football Time

September 17, 2021

            Roar, roar. The fans are back in the stands. America’s beloved cultural pastime is back. Roar, roar. Football forms character, team loyalty, and leadership ability. All in the face of adversity! Want to be a stand out? Include football on your résumé. Mike Gibbons touts his football background as reason to nominate him to run as the GOP candidate to fill Portman’s senate seat. And what about Anthony Gonzalez? Groomed in the gridiron of the Horseshoe by the best (and most highly remunerated) football program in the country, Gonzalez parlayed his “name recognition” to pull in a US Rep seat from north east Ohio. Folks were a bit disappointed that he unquestioningly subscribed to the Trump agenda during his tenure but salvation came after the January 6, 2021 terrorist takeover of the Capital. Gonzalez voted to impeach the former president. Perhaps a modicum of leadership and character rubbed off on the former star OSU wide receiver. Until, that is, the news on 9-16-21 announced that he would not run for reelection, essentially caving to the vitriol of the Trump dominated GOP. “What he’s saying: “Please know that every word has meant the world to me and given me hope that the chaotic political environment that currently infects our country will only be temporary,” Gonzalez said in announcing his retirement. “While my desire to build a fuller family life is at the heart of my decision, it is also true that the current state of our politics, especially many of the toxic dynamics inside our own party, is a significant factor in my decision,” he added.” (Julia Sclafani for Axios, GOP Rep Gonzalez retires in face of Trump-backed primary, 9-16-21) “”I don’t believe he can ever be president again,” Gonzalez told The New York Times of Trump. “Most of my political energy will be spent working on that exact goal.” Of the broader GOP, Gonzalez said. “politically the environment is so toxic, especially in our own party right now.”” (CNN’s Chris Cillizza, This retiring Republican just handed more power to Donald Trump, 9-17-21). Analysis shows the obvious — if you can’t win, you stop playing; unless you believe the “Most of my political energy will be spent… (along with fellow football great O.J. Simpson)”. Which begs the question “What team was he on?” Was it his party (the GOP), his constituents that he represented, or his sense of what is morally right? To highlight Mr. Gonzalez’s callowness (though his “football” background would never allow for such a description) Analysis considers North Carolina’s Reverend William J. Barber whose Moral Mondays were opposed by jailing’s and death threats (including his own), all in the name of standing for what is morally right. Now THAT’s a leader and team player. Roar, roar.

A Day In The Life Of Image And Myth

August 22, 2021

            Analysis found that a series of news related articles appearing on the same day, but from completely different sources, seemed to indicate an appearance that none of the articles could produce individually. This synthetic being portends a troubling trajectory. We all interact daily with synthetics of various kinds. Rarely do we bother with the how’s and why’s. Ever mindful of the fact that a mere 8 months ago Donald Trump was the news (in spite of the pandemic, the Jan 6thinsurrection, the recent election, Afghanistan, etc.), it may come as a pleasant (or unpleasant) shock to encounter the headline “Trump booed at Alabama rally after telling supporters to get vaccinated” (Allan Smith  NBC News, 8-22-21). “Cullman, where the rally was hosted [8-21-21], is experiencing a rise in cases that has matched its previous peak from late December. The city declared a Covid state of emergency on Thursday to provide extra emergency support for the rally. Alabama has the lowest vaccinated rate in the U.S., with just more than 36 percent of its population fully inoculated, according to an NBC News tracker.” To which the former President had this to offer: “”And you know what? I believe totally in your freedoms. I do. You’ve got to do what you have to do,” Trump said. “But, I recommend: take the vaccines. I did it. It’s good. Take the vaccines.” Some boos rang out from the rally crowd, who were largely maskless. “No, that’s okay. That’s all right. You got your freedoms,” Trump said, echoing rhetoric from opponents of mask and vaccine mandates. “But I happen to take the vaccine. If it doesn’t work, you’ll be the first to know. Okay? I’ll call up Alabama, I’ll say, hey, you know what? But [the vaccine] is working. But you do have your freedoms you have to keep. You have to maintain that.”” By itself, Smith’s report simply gives a diminished example of the news environment from 8 months ago. “How the political environment is moving toward the GOP” is a de rigueur analysis by Harry Enten for CNN  (8-22-21). It fills in names, special election dates and outcomes, etc. to the weird American pattern, er, cycle of minority party resurgence after a Presidential election loss. By itself it says nothing but ‘that’s American democracy in action’, the status quo, if at all. Writing for the Cols. Dispatch, USA Today Network Ohio Bureau reporter Haley BeMiller headlines: “GOP Senate candidates take page from Trump playbook as they fight for populist title” (8-22-21). “Moreno and Gibbons are wealthy businessmen who have never held elected office. Timken secured her position as GOP chair with Trump’s support. Vance grew up in Appalachia, his family poor and gripped by addiction, before attending Yale and launching a career as a venture capitalist. Mandel is a veteran whose history in politics runs deeper than that of his opponents.” “”It’s kind of hard to claim that you’re for the people and you’re for the working class when you have seven figures or more in the bank,” said David Cohen, a political science professor at the University of Akron.” BeMiller shows how each of the candidates is trying to ‘out-Trump’ his GOP Party opponent. Analysis can only conclude that ‘populist’ is code for Trump-y. And Ohio certainly is Trump-y. The synthesis of the three articles combined produces an appearance. This is the appearance of Trump, the myth, outstripping Trump, the man (former President). News reporting is still hung up on coverage of the mythical man from 8 months ago not noticing that  the myth has moved on, grown bigger, leaving the man behind. The former President would never have received boos at any of his mass rallies, save in support of some person or policy he was trying to denigrate. That was standard operating procedure. But his unique, sorely needed positive appeal, broadcast live to Alabama on the 21st , shows the growing preference for the myth to the actual man. Indeed, BeMiller concludes with “”I think the Republican Party in Ohio has been transformed and reworked in the image of Donald Trump,” said professor Cohen.” Image (noun): “semblance or likeness”. Myth (noun): “a fictitious or imaginary person or thing”. Analysis can only conclude that the myth, spawned by the propaganda image, has now succeeded in overwhelming the man. That the myth has acquired a life of its own is ominous, to say the least.

Leave It To The Pros

August 15, 2021

            Your Viet Nam, not ours. Ours joined us for dinner every night on the televised evening news. Yours was a story you, or the evening news, could choose to follow (if that was your media of choice), or not. Most of our dead, and those doing our fighting and killing, were conscripted by Uncle Sam. Most of those fighting, killing and dying in Afghanistan contracted with Sam to defend the Second Amendment, the Constitution and all the other Amendments (the how and why of it all was irrelevant). The volunteer Army, formed after our Viet Nam, worked hard to promote itself as a professional military career with attractive pay, sign up bonuses and benefits. Our Viet Nam was actively opposed, pressuring one President to not run for re-election, and another to resign in the disgrace of his lies. Yours was treated as an occasion to promote the economy (“Buy a truck or Hummer!”), just another part of that same economy, an unpleasant chore which 4 presidents had to deal with. Each had more pressing concerns in the service of capitalism. Our Viet Nam gave rise to both side-ism in journalistic reporting, something considered treasonous just 20 years prior in the aftermath of the big one – WWII (the McCarthy era, Joe not Kevin). Jane Fonda was never forgiven. Although the whiff of treason has long since abated, both side-ism got lost somewhere in the workings of a professional military after 9/11 (as has vociferous opposition to “the war”); soon to be the self same loss of interest after the financial meltdown of 2008 (with the self same loss of vociferous opposition). Indeed, both side-ism in news reporting seems to follow a logic all its own, creating pros and cons totally divorced from any grassroots boots on the ground. Political tool anyone? Analysis finds ours was a failed revolution that made your Viet Nam a corporate collapse on a scale even greater than the Bush meltdown of 2008. Leave it to the pros.

Top News Story

August 11, 2021

            The top news story of the past week(s) has been…? The top news story of the past week(s) has been the trickle of information into the workings of Donald Trump’s attempted coup. The current misinformation cartel headed by one and the same ex president. The current workings of what formerly was known as the party of no but now is recognized as the party of know nothing. The edgy existence of the Democratic party in these days of Victor Orban adulation (is any alternative actually being championed?). The bizarro world of swift retribution for the 11 victims of Governor Cuomo’s sexual malfeasance after over 4 years (and many more accusations) involving Donald Trump resulting in his lionization for eliding any response! All of the above. None of the above. No, Analysis finds that the top news story, the one that affects Newark directly and indirectly is the continuous news of the Covid 19 virus, now in its newest incarnation, the Delta variant. What can one say after a public threat has been politicized even more than the state of Israel? One could joke, of course, of how undesirable it would be to attend a closed door conference with attendees Rand Paul, Ron DeSantis, and Greg Abbott, all of whom would insist on their right to stink up the room by farting. But the Covid pandemic is no joke. There’s nothing to analyze for anyone who recognizes that deer jump fences, mice can’t read Keep Out signs, and that airborne pathogens affect everyone, no matter their rights or political preference. The Democrats have no champion to rally behind to counter the totally authoritarian threat (yes Virginia, the virus is calling the shots, no pun intended). Meanwhile, like sergeant Schultz, the GOP knows nothing in order to fig leaf their complicity.

More Hannah Arendt [Again]

January 5, 2021

[This is a Newark News Analysis re-post  from 6-22-17. Given the events of these first weeks of 2021, the writing and insights are even more appropriate]

Although Hannah Arendt writes about events from 70 to 200 years ago in The Origins Of Totalitarianism (1951, 1958, 1966), something of today jumps out with almost every page. Contemporary political savants argue endlessly over how the party system is faring, who is winning/losing, why, and what the results of this spell out for the American people (as well as people of the world). In a paragraph referencing utilitarianism and governance (pg 347) she ends with:  ““Scientism” in politics still presupposes that human welfare is its object, a concept which is utterly alien to totalitarianism.” She footnotes this with: “William Ebenstein, The Nazi State, New York, 1943, in discussing the “Permanent War Economy” of the Nazi state is almost the only critic who has realized that “the endless discussion . . . as to the socialist or capitalist nature of the German economy under the Nazi regime is largely artificial . . . [because it] tends to overlook the vital fact that capitalism and socialism are categories which relate to Western welfare economics” (p.239)” She begins the next paragraph with: “It is precisely because the utilitarian core of ideologies was taken for granted that the anti-utilitarian behavior of totalitarian governments, their complete indifference to mass interest, has been such a shock.” On page 350 she writes “Totalitarian movements use socialism and racism by emptying them of their utilitarian content, the interest of a class or nation. The form of infallible prediction in which these concepts were presented has become more important than their content. The chief qualification of a mass leader has become unending infallibility; he can never admit an error.” She elaborates this. On page 350 she writes “Before mass leaders seize the power to fit reality to their lies, their propaganda is marked by its extreme contempt for facts as such.” Which she footnotes with “Konrad Heiden, Der Fuehrer: Hitler’s Rise to Power, Boston, 1944, underlines Hitler’s “phenomenal untruthfulness,” “the lack of demonstrable reality in nearly all his utterances,” his “indifference to facts which he does not regard as vitally important” (pp. 368, 374). –In almost identical terms, Khrushchev describes “Stalin’s reluctance to consider life’s realities” and his indifference to “the real state of affairs,” op. cit. Stalin’s opinion of the importance of facts is best expressed in his periodic revisions of Russian history.” She concludes this small foray into utilitarianism and objective interests in “traditional” Western forms of governance and what she believes occurs with totalitarian forms: “For masses, in contrast to classes, want victory and success as such, in their most abstract form; they are not bound together by those special collective interests which they feel to be essential to their survival as a group and which they therefore may assert even in the face of overwhelming odds. More important to them than the cause that may be victorious, or the particular enterprise that may be a success, is the victory of no matter what cause, and success in no matter what enterprise.” Tonight’s nightly national news covered the crowds lining up overnight for the apprentice president’s Iowa rally, very much like they used to do outside stores for Black Friday Sales. The camera panned to a little girl who yelled out “Build a wall!” No matter that at the recent (6-14-17) Columbus Metropolitan Club Forum Dr. Jim Johnson, in his talk on the Browning and Greying of America and its impact on business and the economy, carefully pointed out that the median age for whites is early forties, for immigrants and people of color upper twenties and early thirties. Who will help populate the workforce and consumer economy of tomorrow? No matter that the GAO, as well as others, describe self inflicted damage from much social legislation and executive action. (to paraphrase Arendt’s pg. 350 quote from the Nazi Primer “We shape the life of our people and our legislation according to the verdicts of economics” [original “genetics”]). No matter that “the jobs are never coming back,” and that the coal mining museum in Kentucky has solar panels on its roof. “More important . . . is the victory of no matter what cause, and success in no matter what enterprise.”

Solipsism

December 1, 2020

            The news seems to be that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Indeed. No, not the Covid 19 news, which is the real news, though there is a vaccine on the horizon (along with a hidden army of anti-vaxxers just over the ridge). Rather, the presidential election of 2020 appears to be reaching some sort of definitive finality. Unhidden is Dear Loser, er, Leader who can’t bear the thought of the spotlight not being on him, and him alone (he feels so naked without it). The pesky winners justifiably shine the light on the enormous turnout. 75% of registered Columbus Ohio voters did so. Unheralded is that, save for the top of the ticket, voting trends maintained the status quo, if not grew it nationwide. The party that hopes to be in the White House in 2021 actually lost traction with their other candidates on the exact same ballot. Like with the corona virus, the nation, and pundits, seem to be so fatigued that the only worthwhile news is something that projects a different future. But the well has been poisoned, and because of the fatigue, no one dares speak of holding anyone accountable for the devastating vandalism. GOP representatives and leaders who previously enabled and capitalized on Dear Leader’s lies (they are actually called lies in the vast majority of press coverage today. Finally) today are trying to distance themselves from the embarrassment. The Washington Post interviewed and found only 2 of the 53 GOP senators would admit Biden was the president elect the week immediately after the polls closed. Ohio Governor Dewine, who leads from behind a facemask, is now struggling with the state’s hospitals filling to capacity, not allowing space or staff for other medical conditions to be addressed (the normal function of a hospital). All because the well has been poisoned and the state’s constituents believe mask wearing and pandemic precautions are a matter of personal choice (conveniently referred to as a “political statement”). Who will be held accountable? But wait, the poisoning extends well beyond the alternate “personal choice” attitude as to what is science, and whose (as well as what is speculation, real or fancied). It hits at more nitty-gritty things such as relying on our institutions when the needs arise (established institutions which exist precisely to fill that need). The 2020 Census, upon which so many official decisions and policies rely, has been put in jeopardy (not the Alex Trebek kind). The EPA is no longer a source of clean water and air. The Dept of Ag can no longer be relied on for food security, whether the growing or distribution to those without (SNAP). Ditto Homeland Security, Dept of Justice, FBI, etc. ad nauseam. Even the courts role as arbiter of final resort is subject to personal interpretation. The poison seems to be that if all is in doubt then anything can be believed. And who is to be held accountable? Has culpability also succumbed to the solipsism of personal choice/interpretation?

The Question Of Secret Service Protection Entitlement

November 6, 2020

            The dominant news of the past week has been, regrettably, overshadowed by lesser affairs. The Covid 19 coronavirus has come roaring back, pretty much throughout the US. Most residents of Newark, Ohio and America have set their attention on the recent presidential election. This is unfortunate. Virus spread is unaffected by willfulness, the very essence of democratic process. True, true, true, mindful activity (like wearing a mask, etc.) does have a profound effect on the spread of viruses. But you don’t need Jon Kabat-Zinn to tell you that willfulness is not the same as mindfulness. Analysis finds the mixed bag of news from the past week to be full of little caveats of insight. Mike Dewine’s early success (and kudos) with regard to his handling of the coronavirus in Ohio went south with his caving to the political pressure of Trumpers following the resignation of Amy Acton. Now he’s in over his head without a clue, or a handle, on how to deal with the pandemic. Infections have sky rocketed 5 fold state wide from the previous weeks. But the economy is open which makes the Trumpers glad. Analogous to the virus, the Trumpers will not go away, no matter the election outcome. Much as Bernie (with Jimmy Fallon) accurately predicted the election week just past, so Bernie bros forecast the ineffectualness of the Biden candidacy. True, true, true, normal, calm and decency are valuable, especially now. But what was the first thing Mitch McConnell said after the Obama Biden win of 08? The number one priority is to get rid of Obama. McConnell, like the Trumpers, isn’t going to just disappear because there is a new administration. The national news coverage, along with some GOP politicians, is suddenly shocked at what a blatantly mendacious person Dear Leader is. What took you so long? Or rather, where have you been? The continuous lying will not cease because he is out of office. Analysis can only conclude that decent Americans have 4 years, and only 4 years, to get  Donald Trump imprisoned, on whatever charges – tax evasion, sexual assault, genocide (the pandemic deaths), corruption, whatever. After that, like the coronavirus, he will come roaring back full of lies, misinformation, disinformation, overt corruption and criminality. The question, not asked by the national news outlets, is whether a former president of the US is entitled to Secret Service protection while sitting in jail. Analysis finds supreme irony in all this. A Bernie Sanders welfare state legitimizes entitlement while a fascist Trumpist state denigrates entitlement, valorizing personal responsibility and self reliance in all matters.

Supremely Disingenuous

October 27, 2020

            10-26-20 The SCOTUS issued a decision disallowing the counting of mail-in ballots in Wisconsin arriving after the Tuesday election deadline. Unusual with the decision was the inclusion of a written concurrence by Justice Bret Kavanaugh. He writes “For important reasons, most States, including Wisconsin, require absentee ballots to be received by election day, not just mailed by election day. Those States want to avoid the chaos and suspicions of impropriety that can ensue if thousands of absentee ballots flow in after election day and potentially flip the results of an election. And those States also want to be able to definitively announce the results of the election on election night, or as soon as possible thereafter. Moreover, particularly in a Presidential election, counting all the votes quickly can help the State promptly resolve any disputes, address any need for recounts, and begin the process of canvassing and certifying the election results in an expeditious manner.” It is no coincidence that the lines “And those States also want to be able to definitively announce the results of the election on election night,” and “counting all the votes quickly can help the State…” sound like they could have been said by the very same Chief Executive that appointed Bret Kavanaugh to be one of the Supremes. As recently as the glut of rallies this run up week to the election, Dear Leader has been emphasizing just that. Indeed, in an AP fact check from 10-26-20, Calvin Woodward cites: “TRUMP: “It would be very, very proper and very nice if a winner were declared on November third, instead of counting ballots for two weeks, which is totally inappropriate and I don’t believe that that’s by our laws.” — remarks to reporters Tuesday. TRUMP: “Big problems and discrepancies with Mail In Ballots all over the USA. Must have final total on November 3rd.” — tweet Monday.” In the follow up check Woodward notes: “And “our laws” don’t require the immediate reporting of all election results in the country; delayed counting is unavoidable.” “As for his demand for a “final vote total” on election night, that flies in the face of how votes are counted and reported. Apart from the usual lags in rounding up and reporting totals from every precinct in the country, the U.S. is seeing unprecedented numbers of early votes, and some battleground states won’t even start counting them until Election Day votes have been tallied.” “Earlier in the campaign, Trump asserted that the winner should be declared on election night, another outcome no one can guarantee and one that may elude the country in a week. There is no requirement that the winner be determined Election Day.” Analysis wonders whether “our laws” are the same laws that Justice Kavanaugh decides on. After a week of pontification on the sanctity and gravitas of originalist interpretation, Analysis finds it supremely disingenuous to try and have the American people believe that, in the days before railroads, telegraph or telephone and heavily reliant on original horsepower for speedy travel, the originators of the US Constitution intended for comprehensive and complete election results to be available throughout the 13 original states on election night itself. “Time is of the essence” is nowhere to be found in their delineations of the results of the electoral process. However, it is found in almost all contemporary contract law regarding real estate, something Dear Leader is quite intimate with.

First Impressions

September 29, 2020

            Psychologists and personality gurus tell us that immediate first impressions are what set up lasting relationships, lasting biases, lasting affinities. Sometimes these first impressions can be 180 degrees off, and then it is a struggle to reset the acquaintance. But first impressions do have an indelible effect. What is hardest is to catch the first impressions as they occur, to catch the auto pilot mind as it is operating in order to create the space for more sustainable reflection. Dream catchers are of little help. So it was with tonight’s first 2020 presidential debate. No room here for Analysis to dissect the oxymoron “presidential debate.” First impression, it was more like moronic presidential debate. But the first impression, the very first appearance on stage that the camera focused on was the entrance of America’s commander in chief, our incumbent Dear Leader. What did Trump do with his hair? His current do was coifed markedly different from his previous appearances. Either he is losing hair or his budgeted $70,000 stylist was instructed to make a more political statement for the sake of his base. The usually contrived comb over (which Rosie O’Donnell made so famous) was only half there. Normally the haircut favors the right side springing the heaviest, thickest strands from the back left over to the right, and then back in the direction of the left again. This time the thinner hair favored the right with the thicker locks cascading off the left. Significant? Doubtful, but neither was anything that came out of the maw located south of the hairline. Not even complete sentences, Just bytes and whistles, like twitter incarnate. Old tapes of Trump rallies would be indiscernible from what was called a “presidential debate” for our Dear Leader. For the most part his opponent stayed civil, though a bit mousy. He seemed to “roar” (if it could be called that) only when invoking the lives of his sons. Analysis came away with three takeaways; If the polls go down for Dear Leader directly after the first “presidential debate,” there won’t be any second or third debate (see Dear Leader’s rationale for accepting the outcome of the election for that one). The first “presidential debate” displayed this country’s current state of malignant normalcy in all its fetid offal-ness (every pun intended). The final takeaway differed little from the initial impression of the first “presidential debate.” It left one totally exhausted.

How The Lie Tells The Truth

September 9, 2020

            During this final stretch of the presidential election campaign, the enthusiasm factor definitely favors Dear Leader. Both the folks who own the boats (and ATV’s, RV’s, in home theatre TV’s, etc.), as well as the folks who make this ownership possible through their low wage labor, wear their hearts on their sleeves (as well as flag poles, truck beds, motorcycle sissy bars, etc.). And Dear Leader feeds off this adulation, offering up whatever sound bytes, dis info or mis info which may get a rise out of his reality show audience. The truth value of all this exchange is now, finally, immediately and continuously being challenged by media fact checkers. This, in turn, is swiftly transferred into sound bytes of actual and factual information by the opposition. The latest front in the battle to secure Mt. Parnassus, the abode of Apollo the god of truth, has been conjoined by the likes of investigative journalists (an endangered species on anyone’s list) writing for The Atlantic, Rolling Stone or Salon, as well as this year’s crop of tell all books from the likes of Bob Woodward, Michael Cohen or Mary L. Trump. The GOP’s official position during the Obama years was pretty much straight forward and embarrassingly honest: top priority was to get rid of Obama. Seemed politically viable enough. Obama’s flaws and untruths were readily enough pointed out and embellished. But that only worked as long as there was an assumed baseline, ground of truth (which could be verified like the great “keep your own doctor” of the ACA). Today’s lies are fast, furious and continuous, at a speed challenging the most adept of fact checkers (over 20,000 in 4 years for Dear Leader alone according to the Washington Post). The truth revealed by all this is that the lie promoted for whatever given decision or policy is preferred by the boat owners and those working for them in their marinas. This, that Dear Leader enthusiasts prefer and seek out the lie intentionally and knowingly, is a particularly hard truth to swallow, let alone digest. But then, Apollo was known to be a particularly cruel god.