Some Thoughts on the fateful meeting in Trump Tower on June 9, 2016

 I'm thinking think Putin is giving up on Trump and doing as he is reputed to always do when someone is no longer useful  -- throwing him to the dogs. Because Trump couldn't lift the sanctions, instead, was so ham-handed and over-confidently arrogant, his behavior prompted the Sleeping Beauties of Congress to wake up from their dream of no taxes for the rich or health insurance for the poor long enough to pass a bill increasing sanctions.  

Underneath it all, Putin's smarter than Trump. He realized that sooner or later, Trump would turn on him, as he does to anyone who no longer professes love for him, and if still in the oval office, could do his typical petty denunciations through a huge megaphone. Putin is smarter than Trump, but just as pathologically unable to accept blame for anything, or allow anyone to criticize him.

It would explain why Natalia Veselnitskaya, mob lawyer for Putin's Cosa Nostra, just confirmed that the fateful Trump Tower meeting on June 9, 2016-- the meeting with Donnie Junior, Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort  was "to lift sanctions." It would then put all three in violation of the Logan Act of 1799, which makes it a felony to negotiate with foreign governments. 

Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

When Little Donnie came out and said "We were only talking about adoption," he prompted Stephen Colbert to walk toward the camera on his opening monologue and say he apologized to Eric Trump for "always thinking HE was the dumb one." 


Because "talking about adoptions" meant talking about sanctions, and now the round-faced Russian lawyer has confirmed that it was a test to see if he was willing to meet -- along with Jared and Manafort -- and even if it didn't go any further, the act itself of going to a meeting in which the agenda would be to discuss getting "Russian government dirt on Hillary Clinton," was an act of collusion with the Russian government. Just showing up crossed the line whether they got to actually conspiring with them to influence the 2016 election. And perhaps also a test to see how far the President's son would go to get his father's approval, even commit a felony.

Why was "just talking about adoptions" a violation of the Logan Act? The refusal to allow Americans to adopt Russian orphans was Putin's response to the sanctions placed on Russia with the Magnitsky Act, which punished the high Russian officials involved in Magnitsky's death by refusing to allow them entry to the United States or use of our banking system. (High Russian officials =  Pals of Putin)
Putin's counter-punch to that was to suspend all American adoption of Russian orphans and punish Trump supporters, since, unlike Chinese orphans, Russian orphans are white. 

(Putin and Trump -- neither can let anyone else ever have the last word -- would be justice on a higher than usual plane  to lock the two of them in a basement in the Kremlin and let them kiss and hug and/or beat each other to death while each one shouts: "YOU started it!" "No. YOU started it."



Reposting this one

    Posting tonight at the old campground - Been a way a long time, but who knows?
Maybe I learned something. So...
    I wish Hillary Clinton would stop trying to be/to pretend to be relevant.  Every time I see her I think of her being president, thoughtful, etc, even despite her overly-hawkish inclinations.
    But it also reminds me of her 2008 primary Pennsylvania campaign, in which her people played a reprehensible race card throughout central and western PA to the predominantly Irish and Polish voters, warning that "one of them" in the White House means "one of them" could just come into your house at any time.
   It took David Axelrod to design a remedy, with Obama's people asking: "How would you feel if a black man kicked open your door and ran into your house? How about if he was a fireman there to stop your house from burning down?"   
   But wottehell, boss -- not like she was the only one.
   Poppy Bush with his venomous Willie Horton commercial -- "The N---rs are coming! And Dukakis is letting them out of Prison." Not only virulently racist, but not true -- it wasn't even Dukakis who authorized the furlough.
   But for someone who got seriously viciously outright disgraceful, someone who race-baited  African-Americans as mindless monsters, it took another privileged rich kid from New York -- Nelson Rockefeller, the allegedly "moderate/liberal" New York Governor who ran for re-election touting his "compassionate" alternative to prison for mentally ill people who committed crimes...commitment to a mental hospital with, oh yeah, an indeterminate sentence (i.e., forever.) 
     For those of us who saw his commercial, it was more memorable than the anti-Goldwater one LBJ ran, counting down to a mushroom cloud.
    It was even more memorable -- if not as sexily sexist enjoyable --  than Apple's 1984 warrior babe running down a theater aisle, blouse bunnies bouncing, running down the theater aisle to throw a hammer at the screen. 
    Rockefeller's ad opened with a static camera long shot down a bare hall, an African-American man all the way on the other end, pushing one of those wide dust brooms toward the camera, bit by bit coming closer and closer while a nattering voice talked about the harshness of prison sentences and blah blah and the man got closer and closer, bigger and bigger -- enormous! 
   He was a black man so big that the late lamented NFL defensive lineman of the Rams and Colts and Steelers, 6'9" 290 pound, Big Daddy Lipscomb would have said "Holy shit!
    Closer and closer until his demented-looking face filled the entire screen at which moment, the voice said "NELSON ROCKEFELLER!" 
    And the black monster popped all the way back to the far end of the hallway.
   The script talked about the plan for putting mentally deficient criminals into a Funny Farm forever, and that therefore his plan was blah blah compassionate, but no mistaking what was really being said visually -- Nelson Rockefeller is all that stands between you and THEM...and they're getting closer all the time.
    Ironically, the phony "moderate/liberal" label is what kept him from being president -- he was up for -- and lobbying for --  Nixon's replacement VP for Spiro Agnew. But the Republicans decided he was "too liberal," and gave it to Gerald Ford, whose heading of the Warren Commission Report featuring Arlen Spector's "single bullet theory" proved his obedient bonafides.
    And this brings us to Donald Trump, whether or not he is a racist or a cynical hypocritical opportunist.
    I rely on something Noam Chomsky once said, that "they" -- the presidents and senators and etc -- were not hypocrites, but true believers, because if they didn't really believe the crap they spouted, they wouldn't be able to do the job, the internal conflict would be too much. 
   And Trump, of course, ISN'T doing the job, merely posing as a president, and not very well at that. 
   And he needs long periods of diversion in order to do the smallest of presidential-type things ("Presidential-type" being akin to "cheese food" or "natural flavorings" -- a sort of almost nearly similar if you don't look too closely fabrication designed to be an inexpensive replacement for the real thing, sort of a pod person or product.)
    But Trump had been shrewd enough to realize no one in his right mind would ever vote for him, so he designed a base composed of  mentally aberrant people -- racists, religious fanatics and fabulists who believed "I was  born too late," that the world was much better back then in some whenever or other, without any of the things that upset them and make them have to think.  And also people who were normally mentally healthy but had become desperate from being pushed to the edge of reason by more economic and social changes than they could handle, overwhelmed by screaming contradictory finger-pointings from politicians who wanted power.
    And Trump found it simple to convince them that they're really the smart ones who figured out that everyone else was being fooled, but not them. And pardoning them for any nasty side of it, meaning he made sure they understood they were being Anti-Obama because of his politics and not his skin color. And anti-Hillary because of her duplicity and not her vagina. 
    In essence, Trump created a playbook partly from observations made by Eric Hoffer in his 1951 book The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, observations he made as a longshoreman on the docks of San Francisco such as:
     "Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil... Charlatanism of some degree is indispensable to effective leadership. There can be no mass movement without some deliberate misrepresentation of facts...Add a few drops of venom to a half truth and you have an absolute truth...Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life. Thus people haunted by the purposelessness of their lives try to find a new content not only by dedicating themselves to a holy cause but also by nursing a fanatical grievance. A mass movement offers them unlimited opportunities for both."
    And Trump added to it one crucial caution made in those good old days Trump  held up like a gold ring on a merry-go-round -- a caution made by Don Marquis of Archy and Mehitabel fame::
                    "If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you;
                        But if you really make them think, they'll hate you."
    So he got the nomination.
    But, to her neverending regret -- and ours -- Hillary decided that she should convince people to think, and if they did, they would see that she was -- if not the real thing, at least a better, more functional, ultimately safer imitation of the real thing.
   And it might have worked -- actually it did work and she won the votes in most states, but lost the slave-owner protection device called the Electoral College. And also, in other states, the voter prevention laws set up by the Republican party made sure that people who DID think didn't get to vote. 
    All this to the delight of Vladimir Putin, who got what he wanted -- Americans divided, arguing about an election disappearing into the past, with a president whose life is spent focusing on his own petty obsessions, attacking men and women of color whenever he can, sending out vicious slandering twitterings early in the morning, but being all smiles and courtesy when he meets with a man he'd attacked from the safety of his toilet. 
    A craven chickenshit whining immature coward.
    But he has a problem. 
    The problem is one usually referred to as "riding the tiger," because the other thing Trump knows is who those people are,the ones he calls his base -- fanatical true believers, are a political lynch mob  -- and if they ever realized how he's betrayed them, they'll turn on him and it won't be "Lock him up," but "String him up!" and "Race-traitor!"
     Or shoot him down, they being a lot of gun owners -- the kind that other gun owners despise for giving them a bad name. Automatic weapons. People with Anti-tank cannons and Anti-aircraft missiles in their basements. And he knows he has to keep them, if not happy, at least pacified.
     So he keeps reminding them of who he is, and how he's on their  side -- like leaning on the NFL, an industry with a majority of young, strong, big rich black men, saying it over and over again, that their "Owners" need to teach them some manners  -- reminding his base that things were better -- that America was GREAT -- when we had slavery.
    Owners and Players.. football players.
    But also the other sort of "Players" -- young strong big black men who used to have big hats and lime-green Cadillac convertibles with leopard-skin upholstery and lots of drugs and lots of women, and now have black Escalades with dark tinted-glass windows, a fair amount of gold and diamond bling, and chilled bottles of Cristal or Dom Perignon or -- even better -- one of the Krug single vineyard champagnes or Jay-Z's favorite Armand de Brignac Ace of Spades. And lots of drugs and lots of women. 
    And Trump is telling all his acolytes -- yeah, have their Owners put THOSE Players in their place.
    2016 was a strange time, with distracting wild cards. 
    And Trump's followers no more stuck in fantasy than the rest of us, who look disapprovingly at them. Case in point -- there was never any way our favorite fantasy grandfather,  Bernie Sanders, could win anything in the south, being, as they would put it -- a Yankee Jew Commie Carpetbagger.
    And even though Joe Biden could have won it -- all he needed to do was apologize for the way he savaged Anita Hill, and put Clarence "Uncle" Thomas in the Supreme Court.  But the human-ness we love about him and which is why we would have all voted for him, was also that of a man who had to remove himself from the game for something more important than being president -- time to mourn the death of his son.  
    So here we are, looking to 2018 for some relief and to 2020 to put someone in the White House whose job will be to undo the vicious, racist, gynophobic rabid lynch mob bullshit meanness of the Trump years. 
    And maybe that can happen, but not so likely if we keep thinking some super man or woman is going to come along and fix us -- someone we can follow. 
    I remember the line from Man For All Seasons when King Henry VIII went with his entourage up the Thames to walk and talk with the man he loved and admired, Thomas More, to plead for him to validate the divorce, and as they walked, Henry pointed to the clamoring crowd of followers, and said 
    "Look at them, they're following me. Some want wealth., Some want power.  Some want property. But most of them follow me because I'm moving and they'll follow anything that moves."
   And that's us -- you and me.
  And the one bright spot I can see from here, is another caution I learned in the 60's -- and which Trump doesn't seem to know, or if he does, thinks it doesn't apply to him, because he's rich and all.
    But it does:
       "Be careful the asses you kiss on the way up --
       Same ones you'll have to kiss on the way down."  
    As in apologies and all the social niceties a weak man like Trump, never can allow himself to do. 
But while the schadenfreude of watching him fall will be one of the best ones ever, there will still be the question of "What now?" once he's gone.
   Got no answer for that one.


Trump's amazing power and ability

    Meaning Trump's power and ability to diminish anyone who comes into his sphere --
to totally compromise and destroy the integrity, intelligence, credibility, reputation and standards of anyone who is willing to work with him.
    Case in point -- General Kelley, a man I've admired for many years, whose defense of his boss (a good thing to do -- that or resign) went so far into the surreal and hypocritical, it took less than 60 seconds for me to lose all respect for him.
    He attacked a congresswoman for having interjected her person experience in having helped name the building being dedicated, name it for FBI personnel who had died on the job. And can almost see one of the little demons in Trump's retinue giving him the information to repeat -- information totally wrong in one of Trump's patented garbling of reality.
    I had to wonder how it is possible Kelley hasn't noticed that his boss does that exact thing -- makes everything be about him, invariably and continually, on every topic that comes up, asserting his own wonderfulness and denigrating anyone people might like, usually his bete noir: Barack Obama.
   It left me trying to decide if Kelley had become a liar or just senile, mind broken under the strain of the conflict between his commitment to the ideals of America fighting it out with his ability to tolerate close personal contact with an insane criminal whose neediness demands and incites the corruption of all those ideals.
    And this time, specifically, the fooferaw going on is, as always, the direct result of hearing a question and immediately making it be something else, but always something else about him.
    When Trump was asked why he'd made no public comment on the death of 4 special forces warriors in Niger, he immediately answered as if it were about his failure to make a Commander-in-Chief phone call to the next of kin of one of the fallen -- a tradition highly regarded but rarely kept as such, usually replaced with a letter expressing compassion and/or a Presidential-hosted event for several survivors' families.
    But the question was only asking why there had been no comment on the disturbing death of 4 Special Ops warriors in a country where we actually had -- to the surprise of most journalists -- a military presence. An answer a sane man might give is "We don't have enough information yet to make that statement."

   But to Trump, it was a personal assault on him for failing to do that, and he spewed out a pugnacious stream of incoherent bullshit -- including a series of alternative facts about himself and what he did and didn't do, and then about how he's a good boy who pays personal attention to all the next of kin of those who die under his command, unlike Obama, that nasty blackamoor, and also George W Bush, so they're the bad ones not him.    
   Of course Sarah Huckster Sanders also sent out of stream of alternative bullshit, but no loss of respect there, since I always thought ill of her from her first appearance at that podium in rude terms I'm embarrassed to have --  but to me, my own biases made me see her as a "mean girl" and the model for the unpleasant stereotype called "trailer trash" whose total  job qualification was being the daughter of a right wing preacher, a Ted Nugent wannabe who worshiped Donald Trump.
    I'm ashamed of that because while I can see there's something seriously wrong with her,
I can't come up with anything better than tired old sexist and elitist terms.
It comes to mind now that she's wearing a lot of eye shadow, so maybe it's nothing more than the preacher's plain daughter, bullied in school and controlled at home, finally being the one on the stage, dancing clumsily for the world to see and with a handy story to account for disrespect, real or imagined.
    Anyway, Kelley and Sanders and Trump himself, make me keep thinking of the old cliche, painfully apt as it is these Trumpian days ---
            "When you point your finger at someone else, 

             there are three fingers pointing back at you."

I admit I share many of the shortcomings and blindnesses that I see in them, but I can take some pride in trying to wake up and get past them, and more importantly, knowing I am too flawed to ever take a position of authority, in which my failures will hurt others. 
   I already have let down and disappointed more people than I care to remember.

"The biggest business in America is not steel, automobiles, or television.

It is the manufacture, refinement and distribution of anxiety ...
Logically extended, this process can only terminate in a mass nervous breakdown
or in a collective condition of resentment..."
Eric Severeid (Quoted in Organ Magazine, 1971)


What haunts me the most about Sgt La David Johnson and his widow

What haunts me the most about the whole horrible fiasco Trump lied us into around the death of Sergeant La David Johnson episode is this --
 The photograph of his wife crying on the flag-draped casket...
Sgt Johnson was 25 years old and almost alarmingly handsome and it was only after arriving there, at the coffin, she was told it would have to be a closed casket...

That was just before the photo was taken.
And she realized she would never see that face again, nor would their two children or the third on she is now carrying.


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