Oct 292017
 
 October 29, 2017  Posted by at 2:17 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Salvador Dalí The discovery of America by Christopher Columbus 1959

 

Let’s get one thing straight: Donald Trump is as American as apple pie (even if both are imports). He’s brash and loud and abrasive and entirely focused on money, he’s given to exaggeration, he stretches the truth, he constantly seeks to appear bigger and richer than he really is; he ticks all the boxes of what it is to be American.

Trump’s role in US society is that he’s a mirror for America, he’s not just holding up a mirror, he is the mirror. But many Americans don’t like what they see reflected in him. They’re really just looking at themselves, and their society, but they don’t want to acknowledge that. They just want to get away from the mirror, or preferably, break it. But when someone holds up a mirror to you, the idea is for you to learn something, not break it.

Of course not every individual American fits the picture, but he’s very much the almost perfect reflection of what the country, the society, has become. And one point in which Trump is different from other ‘leaders’ is that he doesn’t try to look different from what he is, he doesn’t play a role like just about every other politician does.

He has that in common with Bernie Sanders, which is ironic given how different the two men are. Neither tries to, or even has the ability to, concoct a cool and calculated attempt at pleasing their viewers and listeners and voters at every twist and turn. With both Bernie and the Donald what you see is what you get.

That they appeal to different groups of people is obvious. As is the fact that Sanders is much less of an (arche)typical American than Trump is. Which means he has to work harder to get his points across. Sanders appeals to a part of America that people have largely forgotten.

Another thing that is true for both is that they are candidates for parties that are deeply broken, and inside a system that has no tolerance for other parties. Which makes you wonder whether it’s not the system itself that is broken. Where Hillary Clinton’s people managed to shove aside Sanders in the Democratic primaries, Trump’s Republican party had no such ‘luck’. Trump’s too all-American.

Of course the next issue must be that neither truly represent either party. They’re both ‘outsiders’ who’ve taken over existing -but failing- structures. Where this leads is unclear. Trump is busy ‘sanitizing’ the GOP, aka draining the swamp’, a process that may or may not cost him his job, and the Democrats would do well to undertake a similar spring cleaning. But the incumbent squids have their tentacles everywhere. Then again, that didn’t stop Trump. So far.

 

Then we get to the litany in investigations that are being conducted. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has apparently laid the first charges in the Russia collusion investigation. Of course, like every single move in the case, this one too has to be as confusing and murky as possible. The indictment was sealed by a judge, and subsequently leaked to the press. Which is probably highly illegal.

We have no idea who’s going to be indicted, it will all be revealed on Monday. Or not. If Mueller’s team has confined itself to investigating whether the Trump campaign has colluded with the Russians, there wouldn’t seem to be too much at hand. But Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein authorized Mueller to pursue “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation”, so the net is cast so broadly it sounds like anything goes.

They may go after Paul Manafort, known for his involvement with people in Russia and the Ukraine. Whether that included anything illegal is unclear. That it would have amounted to outright collusion by the Trump campaign is highly unlikely. Manafort has been gone from the Trump entourage since August 2016.

But there are so many people involved in the campaign, who knows? If you have a former FBI head hiring lawyers and researchers left and right for six months without any constraints, budgetary or otherwise, it would be baffling if they found nothing at all. Michael Flynn, Jared Kushner?

 

What’s more interesting to come out of this circus is the picture of Washington -all of it- as an absolute cesspool and shithole. That these are the people, on either side of the aisle, that get to make the decisions is so worrisome it should make people think of leaving the country.

You have a conservative group led by the Free Beacon, funded by hedge-funder Paul Singer, that starts an ‘opposition research’ project to dig up dirt on Trump during the primaries. When that fails to halt Trump, the DNC and Clinton campaign take over the funding and expand it to include Washington dirt digger firm Fusion GPS, who in turn hire Christopher Steele to produce a very dubious dossier. Fusion GPS execs all took the fifth when asked.

Somewhere along the way the FBI got involved too. That means James Comey and Robert Mueller. Who has such a ‘great reputation’ for being impartial. What a swamp it is. The echo chambers on both sides know exactly, and in advance, who’s to blame. But anyone who finds those chambers too deafening must be awfully confused and conflicted by now. Who to believe?

The Russia collusion thing has been going on for a long time, first in the press, then on Capitol Hill, in the FBI and then the Special Counsel. During the process, both the same FBI and the Hillary camp, including the DNC have been exposed as having ties to Russian elements.

No proof has been presented of Putin supporting Trump through illegal channels. Will Mueller’s indictment(s) be the turning point? If Mueller doesn’t deliver clear and strong, if he doesn’t have something and someone too obvious to dispute, the whole scene may get a lot more hostile.

 

Over the past week, we’ve witnessed the exits stage left of Senators Bob Corker and Jeff Flake, in sometimes dramatic fashion decrying anything Trump. Who simply reacts by saying neither would have been re-elected anyway (about Corker: “he couldn’t get elected dog-catcher in Tennessee”).

Essentially, what these guys do is try and play Trump’s game. But he’s much better at it than they are. The game has changed profoundly, and they missed out on that. Which is the number one reason why Trump got elected president, and none of the ‘old guard’ did. Well, that and all GOP candidates in the primary debates looked completely lost.

A description from the Guardian:

Battle Hymns of the Republicans: Trump Civil War is Just Getting Started

“It is time for our complicity and our accommodation for the unacceptable to end,” Flake said, in explosive remarks that were instantly labeled as a historic act of defiance. “There are times when we must risk our careers in favor of our principles. Now is such a time.” The senator delivered a 17-minute speech, framing the moment as an existential crisis for the party, taking direct aim at Trump’s conduct and what his presidency symbolized in a lacerating critique. It was an extraordinary event that would have otherwise been regarded as a major breach of decorum. But this is Washington in 2017. The norms have already been broken.

A handful of Flake’s colleagues sat stony-faced in the chamber as he implored Republicans not to acquiesce on core principles in the pursuit of appeasing Trump’s angry nationalist base. “We must stop pretending that the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal,” he said. Flake went on, thrusting the knife even further into Trump, though avoiding naming him: “Reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as ‘telling it like it is’ when it is actually just reckless, outrageous, and undignified.”

Among those who bore witness to Flake’s remarks was John McCain, the senior senator from Arizona who just a week previously blasted “half-baked, spurious nationalism” in a coded attack on so-called “Trumpism”. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, looked on stoically. As the speech reached its conclusion, one senator applauded: Ben Sasse, a young Republican from Nebraska who, like Flake, declined to endorse Trump in the 2016 election. Many of the Senate’s 52 Republicans were nowhere to be found.

They had just left a closed-door lunch with the president, dining over chicken marsala, green beans and Trump’s favorite, meatloaf, before a major push to overhaul the tax code. Much of the meeting featured Trump – characteristically – singing his own praises, according to some attendees. There was general discussion of taxes, but few specifics from a president who takes little interest in the policy details. It was nonetheless a cordial meeting, by Trump’s standards, embodied by the takeaway quote of John Kennedy, of Louisiana: “Nobody called anyone an ignorant slut.”

Many anti-Trump voices now speculate that he will try to fire Robert Mueller. Given how close the longtime FBI chief is to many of the parties involved, that might not be that crazy, but it would be explosive. He could also recuse himself on exactly those grounds. He won’t.

Then again, if he stays on, he will have to broaden his investigation to include the Clintons, the DNC and possibly the FBI itself. From the New York Post, and yes, I know what they are, but if I quote one article each from both sides of the echo chamber, maybe I find some balance:

Robert Mueller Should Resign

Their claim that nobody in the campaign or the DNC knew anything about the deal doesn’t pass the smell test. When as much as $12 million goes out the window for a document that aimed to win the election — and failed — everybody knows something. While the link to Clinton answers some questions, it raises others. For example, while it is certain her campaign spread the dossier among the media last summer, it remains uncertain whether the dossier was used by the White House and the FBI to justify snooping on the Trump campaign. One hint that it was is that Comey, while still in office, called the document “salacious and unverified,” but briefed Obama and President-elect Trump on its contents last January.

[..] the FBI never denied reports that it almost hired Steele, the former British spy, to continue his work after the campaign. The mystery might soon be solved because the FBI, after months of stonewalling, agreed last week to tell Congress how it used the dossier and detail its contacts with Steele. If the bureau did use the dossier to seek FISA warrants to intercept communications involving the Trump campaign, it would mean the FBI used a dirty trick from the candidate of the party in power as an excuse to investigate the candidate from the opposition party. Somewhere, Richard Nixon is wondering why he didn’t think of that.

There is also the issue of the “unmasking” of Trump associates caught up in the snooping, with the names leaked to anti-Trump media. It is essential to investigate that angle, but it would lead right to the Obama White House, which is why Mueller is not the man for the job. As for Clinton, the dossier revelation was not her only new problem. In fact, the second blow might be the most serious yet. At the urging of Congress and Trump, the Justice Department lifted its gag order on an informant who can now testify to Congress about bribery and other wrongdoing surrounding Moscow’s gaining control of 20% of US uranium production.

The 2010 transaction was approved by Obama officials, including Clinton, then secretary of state. About the same time, Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 for a speech to a Russian bank involved in the transaction. Later, tens of millions of dollars — $145 million by one estimate — were said to be donated to the Clinton Foundation by individuals having a stake in the deal. The informant’s lawyer, Victoria Toensing, told Fox News the speech fee and the donations amount to a “quid pro quo” for Hillary Clinton’s help. “My client can put some meat on those bones and tell you what the Russians were saying during that time,” Toensing said.

Is it a disgrace that Trump is president? Perhaps it is. Ideally, the country should do much better. But he didn’t get America into the troubled situation it’s in. He is not the rot in the system, he just lays it bare. He simply came along at the appropriate moment to expose what the country has become, and to what extent its political system has devolved into a veritable swamp of special interests and incumbent squids.

And Trump hasn’t won a thing yet. Don’t be surprised if the whole sordid Harvey Weinstein tale is used, if not set up from the start, to go after the Donald. In a cynical link to that, George H.W. Bush has been accused of groping women, at the same time his role in the JFK assassination was questioned. He was the only American who didn’t remember where he was when the murder took place. Turns out, the CIA operative happened to be in Dallas.

Interestingly, Trump will fly to Asia on November 3. By then we should know who Mueller has indicted. Will Trump even be allowed to return? It would be better for America if he is, because there are a lot of lessons left to be learned.

 

 

Home Forums Nobody Called Anyone An Ignorant Slut

This topic contains 16 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  Raúl Ilargi Meijer 2 weeks, 5 days ago.

Viewing 17 posts - 1 through 17 (of 17 total)
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  • #36747

    Salvador Dalí The discovery of America by Christopher Columbus 1959   Let’s get one thing straight: Donald Trump is as American as apple pie (eve
    [See the full post at: Nobody Called Anyone An Ignorant Slut]

    #36749

    barnaby33
    Participant

    Who peed in your cheerios today? There is no national character trait common to all Americans except possibly the Protestant work ethic. Trump is a reflection of a lot of hate an uncertainty, fickle elites trying to keep themselves afloat and a fundamental change in our economy/ecology. He is not a reflection of who we are as a people, because we aren’t a people.

    Such simplistic reduction of 300 million plus people sitting on top of the most fertile soil on the planet with a good chunk of what’s left of it’s recoverable petroleum is simplistic at best. If it makes you feel better, go for it!

    #36750

    Diogenes Shrugged
    Participant

    ” … so worrisome it should make people think of leaving the country.”

    Not being bilingual, I’m held back in spite of being told it’s unnecessary to have command of the native tongue in many countries. Trouble is, the first bestseller I read as a kid was “The Ugly American” by Lederer and Burdick (1958). It left a lasting impression. I know times have changed, but migrating to another country without thoroughly understanding the customs and language would strike me as being — at the very least — impolite. I know, I know. I should just go. Things aren’t that way any more …

    No one else seems to have any qualms about being part of the problem, so why should I? An American with manners must be some kind of oxy moron. And to boot, if I stay here in the U.S., I’m going to have to learn Spanish anyway.

    Then again, I’m not sure I want to be playing musical countries when the music finally stops.

    #36751

    Dr. D
    Participant

    You’re right: he clearly has no resonance with the press or the American people, and almost everyone dislikes him, that’s why he was elected President.

    Because he’s so entirely alien to America and it’s people, his comments have no impact, and are uniformly met with a big “Huh? Who cares?” We all ignore him because he just doesn’t push any buttons. In fact, it’s been a struggle just to get in the news.

    Yes, it’s been quite a mystery how someone so foreign, so un-American-like, who was reported at a 30% approval rating after the election, who apparently 60% wanted impeached on the first day, somehow got the job by turning safe states that haven’t been lost in a generation.

    Or perhaps that’s not what’s been happening? Maybe he knows the people and players of America well enough to attract attention and get the goat of supporters and detractors alike, chewing up the sacred cows into a spectacle of hamburger no one can turn away from? His antics seem to have a traction, a captivation, for better or for worse, with quite a few of that diverse body called “America”, and I think that’s the point here.

    As for leaving the country, where would I go? Spain? Scotland? South Korea? South America? Seems the same wherever you go: trouble. And it’s meant to be. How else am I going to get everyone to give up their rights for my beautiful overarching “solution”(tm)? If I didn’t pay billions to insure the whole world was stirred up, violent, and broken, with people running everywhere, sensible people would ignore me, and then how would I become Grand Pooh-Bah of All the Earth, buyer and seller of your daughters? Don’t get distracted. They need this struggle. We don’t. Stick to your knitting.

    #36753

    John Day
    Participant

    Much appreciated, Ilargi, and “you can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself”.I was born the year The Ugly American was published, and have lived and traveled abroad for several years on-aggregate. Yeah, Trump is an American, recognizable as such at any airport in the world. Why quibble unless you think you are to subtle to be tarred with the same brush. I have always been recognized as an American, when traveling. No big deal. Easy.
    What seems really important to me is not just that our owners/rulers don’t have a coherent narrative, by which to lead us to the branding chute and the slaughterhouse, but that they seem to be shooting it out at the OK corall, while the herd is wandering in every direction, with a huge thunderstorm darkening the sky, with lightning visible in the black clouds, a cold wind swirling in, and the first little drops falling.
    What happens next, hasn’t happened yet. I think it’s up in the air, and Trump being the disruptor of this huge criminal empire of chaos is probably the most that history can ask of the man. I sure can’t ask more…
    As an aside, I have less negative judgement against Richard Nixon than is routinely expected of me, less and less, the more I learn. He generally did what he could with a really bad hand, though he should have ended the Vietnam war sooner. I’m not sure he was allowed to. We assume he could have, perhaps wrongly…

    #36754

    Diogenes Shrugged
    Participant

    I can’t provide a link; only a screenshot.

    #36755

    Diogenes Shrugged
    Participant

    Sorry, can’t even do that.

    #36756

    Diogenes Shrugged
    Participant

    My attachment was over the 512 KB limit. It was something from Investment Watch dated around July 3.

    To quote,

    “Is the health insurance business a racket? Yes, literally. And this is why the shameless pandering to robber baron corporations posing as ‘health providers’ is such an egregious …. and obvious … tactic to do nothing more than plump up insurance company profits.

    “And do you know who’s to blame? Believe it or not, the downfall of the American health insurance system falls squarely on the shoulders of former President Richard M. Nixon.”

    I just don’t want you to get too carried away, JD 🙂

    #36757

    V. Arnold
    Participant

    IMO, Ilargi painted a pretty accurate portrait of the U.S..
    As to leaving? I self exiled 8 weeks after the war criminal and murderer G. Bush launched his barbaric attack on Iraq and its people; it’s been forever war since 2001 attack on Afghanistan.
    What I’ve found since then, has been the myiad excuses from many I know about why they “can’t” leave the U.S..
    Usian’s seem to be masters of self deception and rationalization. Infantilized since birth by society and a corrupted forced educational system, that dumbs the society into impotency.
    The government of, by, and for the people is, just exactly that; Usian’s have the government they deserve and made for themselves.
    The sheer lack of curiosity is just stunning; an intelectual laziness that has killed their spirit.
    An illness has swept the land, infecting all, but a very few.

    #36758

    Nassim
    Participant

    I think Trump is a foreigner’s idea of what Americans are like – a sort of caricature which contains some truth. However, when you get to meet Americans, people like Trump are a rarity. Maybe that is what the rich were like when they travelled around Europe a couple of generations ago.

    #36760

    Professorlocknload
    Participant

    There, now, Ilargi,,,that is the stuff of some great journalism! Carry on!

    #36770

    V. Arnold
    Participant

    As to where to go if one contemplates leaving; Russia and SE Asia offer a lot.
    If ones income is in dollars Russia is 57 Rubles to the dollar; Thailand is 33.3 Baht to the dollar. Very advantageous exchange rates, both.
    Last year in St. Petersburg the average wage was 15,000 Rubles per month.
    In Thailand it’s about 8,000 Baht per month.
    Attitude is everything; experience is what one gets from trying something new.
    Being polite and open to new cultures is the antithesis to the Ugly American.
    If one genuinely wants to understand a different culture; language is a critical component of understanding culture. If one genuinely cares, the language will come…

    #36772

    Hotrod
    Participant

    Frickin’ used car salesman with big red clown shoes. Diarrhea of the mouth and constipation of the brain. Our money infused, corrupt system vomited up two candidates that represented NO choice.

    #36774

    Ex-PFC Chuck
    Participant

    Re: “Of course the next issue must be that neither truly represent either party. They’re [Trump & Sanders} both ‘outsiders’ who’ve taken over existing -but failing- structures.

    Not correct in the case of Sanders. He has the support of much of what had once been the Democratic Party grass roots, but not national party apparatus. Earlier this month the Democratic National Committee was purged of most of its Sanders supporters.

    #36779

    anticlimactic
    Participant

    Another attack on Trump which has turned into a fiasco!

    The enquiry was to prove collusion between Trump and Russia and ends up with someone briefly working for Trump with someone who was pro-Russian!

    It looks really pathetic.

    PS. Harvey Weinstein was a close friend of the Clintons. One article has claimed his downfall as a Trump ‘win’.

    #36780

    olo530
    Participant

    Last year in St. Petersburg the average wage was 15,000 Rubles per month.

    I doubt it, V. Arnold. This August the average wage 37,140 roubles. That’s for the whole country. One of the largest cities is probably above average.
    http://www.gks.ru/free_doc/new_site/m-sotrudn/eng_site/Key_Figures.pdf

    #36782

    Chuck, so they’re the same -more or less-, only Trump won his battle with the apparatus and Bernie lost his. Ergo, Trump purges the GOP and the apparatus purges the DNC. I would have liked Bernie, but that would not have been some glorious solution, the problem is much deeper.

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