Category Archives: Politics

Yet another review of “past Trump-posts…”

The 1868 impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson. Any connection to current events?

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Welcome to the “Georgia Wasp…”

This blog is modeled on the Carolina Israelite.  That was an old-time newspaper – more like a personal newsletter – written and published by Harry Golden.  Back in the 1950s, people called Harry a  “voice of sanity amid the braying of jackals.”  (For his work on the Israelite.)

Which is now my goal as well.  To be a “voice of sanity amid the braying of jackals.”

For more on the blog-name connection, see the notes below.

In the meantime:

I just got back from a month in Portugal, hiking the Camino Portuguese from Porto to Santiago. Meanwhile, in the last few days since I got home, there’s been a lot of political hubbub in the news. As in Trump Impeachment Poll: Public Support Rises.

So before starting any posts on my recent adventure-pilgrimage, it might be good to review some posts I did in the past. About Donald Trump. Like the one predicting he’d “be impeached within two years.” (Which cited another past post, from before the election, asking if Trump might be the “new Maverick in town.” See April 2016’s “Is there a new ‘Maverick’ in town?”)

We missed that deadline, from November 2016. On the other hand we are coming up on three years into his first term. (Putting aside – “tabling*” – the question whether he’ll have a second term.) And yet many people still support him. Why? One possible answer might have come in last April’s On Oscar Wilde and our “criminal heroes.” It came in turn from an article in the Jan/Feb 2019 National Geographic History Magazine, “Jesse James: Rise of an American outlaw.”

It seems that Wilde was in America in 1882 – in St. Joseph, Missouri – the week after Jesse James was killed. Thus he witnessed “firsthand the mad clamor for relics of the outlaw at an auction of Jesse’s household belongings.” That led Wilde to observe: “Americans are certainly great hero-worshipers, and always take their heroes from the criminal classes.”

Which – as I said – could explain the continuing support of Donald Trump from a large part of “the sovereign people.” Then too, Americans tend to admire “rebels” as well, as explored in the post-election (11/16) post, Donald Trump – The new Johnny Yuma? Which included this:

I have to admit I’ve been pretty much stymied since the election, last November 8. The best I could come up with since then was “Trump is like a box of chocolates.”  [11/13/16…]  It’s as if the Muses have abandoned me. On the one hand I want to be fair and not cranky. (Like so many other people my age.) But on the other hand I have this deep sense of foreboding

Which sense of foreboding could be coming to fruition “even as we speak.”

And which brings up a common phrase in this blog, “past Trump-posts.” It could be related to another new word, Trumpgret. See New Word: Trumpgret! – debatepolitics.com. (A word “bandied about by many voters that now ‘regret’ having voted for Trump in 2016.”)

But getting back to Trump as a rebel. The Yuma post noted that I “Googled the words ‘Donald Trump rebel’ and got 46,300,00 results.” And that one such link was the article, How the Rebel Flag Rose Again – and Is Helping Trump(“That title pretty much speaks for itself.”) 

Which I suppose means that the current Democratic House of Representative’s moves to impeach Trump can be seen – by some Americans anyway – as the functional equivalent of “the dirty little coward who shot Mr. Howard,” as illustrated at right.* (If I’m being too subtle,  Trump is portrayed as the “heroic Jesse James.”)

Then there was another post from the past,  “I dreamed I saw Don Trump last night.” It asked the musical question:

50 years from now [could] that dulcet-toned lass [Joan Baez] be singing that ode to Donald Trump to the tune of “I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night[?]” Joan Baez sang the original song – about Joe Hill – most memorably at Woodstock, back in the summer of 1969.

That post noted that “in some strange way Donald Trump – educated at the New York Military Academy, then the Wharton School” and worth over three billion dollars* – “has somehow become a hero to the (white) American working man.” It also noted that comparing Trump to famed labor activist and union organizer Joe Hill might not be such a good thing.

That is, like Jesse James and other noted “rebels,” Joe Hill died young. (At 36.) In one line from from “Joe Hill,” Baez sang, “‘The Copper Bosses killed you Joe, They shot you Joe’ says I.” That is, in 1914 Utah officials charged Hill with murder, resulting in a trial that became a sensation:

The case turned into a major media event. President Woodrow Wilson, Helen Keller (the blind and deaf author and fellow-IWW member), the Swedish ambassador and the Swedish public all became involved in a bid for clemency. It generated international union attention, and critics charged that the trial and conviction were unfair. [One later organizer considered] Joe Hill to have been a political prisoner who was executed for his political agitation…

And again if I’m being too subtle, Joe Hill was executed by firing squad at Utah’s Sugar House Prison on November 19, 1915. (After a conviction arguably orchestrated by “the copper bosses.”)

Which could happen to Donald Trump, metaphorically anyway.

Even if impeached and convicted – and in all likelihood ever after he passes from the scene, possibly still in disgrace – he likely will still remain a hero to some members of “the American working man.” As the original “Joe Hill” song said, “Takes more than guns to kill a man…  Says Joe ‘I didn’t die.’” In the same way it may take more than an impeachment-and-conviction to tarnish the Donald’s reputation with some Americans.  

And so the final stanza of  “I dreamed I saw Don Trump last night” might go like this:

From San Diego up to Maine, In every mine and mill, Where working men defend their rights, It’s there you’ll find Don Trump, It’s there you’ll find Don Trump!

It could happen! Meanwhile, the question “How much of this will be ‘deja vu all over again?'”

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Will this be the scene if the House of Representatives impeaches Donald Trump?

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The upper image is courtesy of Impeachment in the U.S. – Wikipedia. The caption:Depiction of the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson in 1868, Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase presiding.”

Re: “Tabling.” The term in the United States for a rule of parliamentary procedure under which a topic or motion is put aside, possibly indefinitely; “to ‘table’ usually means to postpone or suspend consideration of a pending motion.” The term has different meanings in different countries; “the American meaning is based on the idea of leaving the topic on the table indefinitely and thereby disposing of it, i.e. killing its discussion.” See Table (parliamentary procedure) – Wikipedia.

Re: “Dirty little coward.” The caption of the photo: “A woodcut shows Robert Ford famously shooting Jesse James in the back while he hangs a picture in his house. Ford’s brother Charles looks on.” James was living under the assumed name, “Mr. Howard,” and apparently “Tom Howard.” See Wikipedia on Jesse James and Question about Jesse James & h – Genealogy.com. Wikipedia further noted:

While his “heroic outlaw” image is commonly portrayed in films, [some late 20th century historians] have classified him as a self-aware vigilante and terrorist who used local tensions to create his own myth among the widespread insurgent guerrillas and vigilantes following the American Civil War…  James remains a controversial symbol, one who can always be reinterpreted in various ways according to cultural tensions and needs. Some of the neo-Confederate movement regard him as a hero.

Which may well become the legacy of Donald Trump? 

The lower image was courtesy of Hard Hat Riot: Tea Party of yesteryear – Daily Kos.  (Which image has since been “removed.”)  The caption refers to two prior posts from this blog: Is this “deja vu all over again,” and a repriseAnother “deja vu all over again?”  See also Hard hat – Wikipedia, as to the literal meaning of the term, and the Collins Dictionary, as to its cultural implications; i.e., “characteristic of the presumed conservative attitudes and prejudices typified by construction workers.”  (See also, Hard Hat Riots.)

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Past posts on Trump and his future include Some thoughts on “the Donald,” from two years ago, On Hard hats, Hell’s Angels – and Inauguration Day 2017, and Trump – The new Johnny Yuma?

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Re:  The Israelite.  Harry Golden grew up in the Jewish ghetto of New York City, but eventually moved to Charlotte, North Carolina.  Thus the “Carolina Israelite.”  I on the other hand am a “classic 68year-old “WASP” – White Anglo-Saxon Protestant – living in north Georgia.  Thus the “Georgia Wasp.”  Anyway, in Charlotte Harry wrote and published the “Israelite” from the 1940s through the 1960s.  He was a “cigar-smoking, bourbon-loving raconteur.”  (He told good stories.) That also means if he was around today, the “Israelite would be done as a blog.”  But what made him special was his positive outlook on life.  He got older but didn’t turn sour, like many do today.  He still got a kick out of life.  For more on the blog-name connection, see “Wasp” and/or The blog.

“One nation after Trump” – a book review…

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I called the first draft of this post, “Cultural elites and Trump.”  But then I ran across – at a local library days ago – the 2017 book, One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-yet Deported(E.J. Dionne Jr., Norman J. Ornstein and Thomas E. Mann.)  Needless to say I was intrigued.  And not least of all because I too look forward to an America without Trump.  Something I noted in Belated 4th of July meditation:

Whether by vote in 2020 or operation of law in 2024, Trump will end up leaving the White House.  What happens then?  Aside from the cheering, the dancing in  the streets, the fireworks and parades, a new nightmare will begin – for Donald Trump.

And when it might be said – yet again – “Our long national nightmare is over.”

But first let’s go back to Some thoughts on “the Donald.”  That post came in December 2018, but looked back at posts “from two years ago.”  That is, two years before 2018, to a post I did in December 2016, right after Trump’s election.  Among other things there was a prediction in 2016 – by Professor Allan Lichtman – that Trump would be “impeached within two years.”

Which hasn’t happened.  He may yet be impeached – by a Democrat House of Representatives.  But he won’t be convicted by the Republican-controlled Senate.  (It would take 66 votes.)  Which brings us back to the hope offered by One Nation After Trump.  I just started reading it, but hear are some sample reviews.  Like the one from the Amazon blurb:

Yet if Trump is both a threat to our democracy and a product of its weaknesses, the citizen activism he has inspired is the antidote.  The reaction to the crisis created by Trump’s presidency can provide the foundation for an era of democratic renewal and vindicate our long experiment in self-rule.

Andrea Prada at the march on Washington.Or consider the conclusion of The Guardian, the British daily newspaper (now online), founded in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian.  See One Nation After Trump review:  “In everything from the Women’s March on Washington [at left] to the ad hoc groups of lawyers who flocked to airports across the country to help victims of Trump’s travel ban, the [authors] see strong evidence that the rational part of the country is finally ready to take back America.”

Then there was a New York Times review, which opined that Trump’s rise to power. . .

. . . reflects the longer-term trends that have shaped the modern Republican Party: the four-decade war on the “liberal media”; the delegitimatization of political opponents; the appeals to racism and xenophobia; the hostility to democratic norms. “Trump is less of an outsider than he seems, and he was building on rather than resisting recent trends within the G.O.P.”

And which concluded – depressingly – that “Reading this important book, one gets the nagging sense that even after Trump, Trumpism will persist.”  Let’s hope not.

Which brings us back to “Cultural elites and Trump.”  That is, before starting to read One Nation After Trump, I tried to figure out how Trump got elected in the first place.  I initially wrote:

It finally hit me.  “What’s the attraction with Trump?”  The answer?  Donald Trump is “America showing its ass.”  (Or mooning, to put it more politely.)  Put another way, Trump “represents” – and I use the term loosely – a certain segment of American society which now chooses to thumb its nose at – or more precisely “moon” – both the rest of the world and that “cultural elite” part of American society that it hates so much.

President Trump Fat Shaming Supporter RallyWhich got support in articles like Send Her Back! Send Her Back! – The Bulwark.  It noted “acts of deliberate transgression against what many Trump supporters have come to view as the supposedly stifling ethics of our cultural elites,” and sending ”those damn media types into a tizzy.”  Also that his verbal attacks – though not including the one where he “fat shamed his own supporter ” – are just another “handy weapon for triggering the pearl-clutching libs.”  See also Class warfare between workers and elites explains Trump:

What’s happening in America is an echo of what’s happening in democracies around the world, and it’s not happening because of Trump.  Trump is the symptom of a ruling class that many of the ruled no longer see as serving their interest, and the anti-Trump response is mostly the angry backlash of that class as it sees its position, its perquisites and – perhaps especially – its self-importance threatened.

Which definitely presents a problem for those of us yearning for “the America of past years.”  And especially of past presidents, none of whom now seem so bad.  But now:  Do you see the irony?  Of Liberals and Independents trying to “go back in time,” while today’s “Conservatives” seem bent on tearing out all of America’s democratic institutions root and branch?

But perhaps all is not lost.  One thing that One Nation pointed out – early on – was how slim the margin of victory was.  Aside from losing the popular vote by 2.9 million, “Trump’s victory was a very close-run thing – a matter of 77,744 votes in three crucial states.”  His win was also “enabled” by James Comey reopening a probe into Hillary’s use of a private server while secretary of state, and by Russian interference in addition to hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee. (Likely by Russian hackers.)

Yet despite all that help this “monumental shift in the nature of the nation’s political leadership was enabled by relatively modest shifts in the electorate.”  And by voters rejecting Hillary.

Some good news? Such numbers “are critical for understanding how fragile Trump’s hold on the public is.”  (I’ve been saying the best weapon against Trump is his own big mouth.)  Then there’s “Trumpgret,” as in New Hampshire struggle: Voters feeling “Trumpgret.”  So maybe there’s hope that 2020 voters will again reject this ongoing dark side of American politics…

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American As Apple Pie?”  Americans have always hated immigrants…

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The upper image is courtesy of American Anti-immigrant Propaganda – Image Results.

Re:  “Root and branch.”  I Googledtear out root and branch” and got Sadly The Hatred Against Syrian Refugees Is As American As Apple Pie From November 2015, it noted:

As the world faces one of the worst humanitarian crises yet known, several American politicians went out of their way to attack some of the world’s most vulnerable people, continually competing to be the most cruel.

A trend that continues “even to this day.”  The article concluded that we must “fight the bigots who are acting so cruelly to people so desperately in need of aid.”  But we shouldn’t pretend this ongoing sickness is “‘un-American.’ It is a tendency in our history that we must tear out root and branch, but before we do that, we have to realize that it’s there.”  See also Root and branch definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary:If something has been completely changed or destroyed, you can say that it has been changed or destroyed root and branch.”

The “fat-shamed” image is courtesy of Donald Trump Fat Shamed One Of His Own Supporters. The article posted August 16, 2019, in UNILAD, the “British Internet media company and website owned by LADbible Group,” which provides “‘social news. and entertainment to their 60 million followers, and has offices in London and ManchesterUK.”  The caption:  “President Donald Trump accidentally fat shamed one of his own supporters at a campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire after mistakenly believing them [sic] to be a protester.”  The article went on:  “Trump proceeded to insult a man he believed to be one of the protesters, focusing on his ‘weight problem.’ However, he didn’t realise the man he was fat shaming was actually one of his very own supporters, an individual who had reportedly been flagging the protesters to security.

The references to the “One nation” book are from pages 21-22 of the 2017 hardcover edition.

The lower image courtesy of Anti-Irish sentiment – Wikipedia.  The caption, “American political cartoon by Thomas Nast titled ‘The Usual Irish Way of Doing Things,’ depicting a drunken Irishman lighting a powder keg and swinging a bottle. Published 2 September 1871 in Harper’s Weekly.”  Another image from the same article – at right – was captioned, “An Irishman depicted as a gorilla (‘Mr. G. O’Rilla’).”

Which supports the claim that Americans have always hated immigrants.  See also got Sadly The Hatred Against Syrian Refugees Is As American As Apple Pie, which noted that this American “hatred” goes back as far as 1790:

Just look at the Naturalization Act of 1790, one of the first important pieces of immigration legislation. It limited citizenship to those who were “free white persons.” One year before the passage of the Bill of Rights, those vaunted rights were effectively being limited to white men.  When waves of Irish immigrants came over in the mid-1800s, they were feared and hated, commonly depicted as ape-like by native born whites…  These nativists didn’t just spread hate, they burned Catholic churches, and instigated anti-immigrant riots.  

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Here are more notes from my research on “Trump’s attraction.”

See Trump’s dislike of — and desire to be a part of — the ‘elite.’

“Trump has since made a name for himself – in New York City and, more unexpectedly, in Washington. As he reminded his Minnesota supporters, he won the presidency – which by one definition automatically puts him among the elites: “a group of persons exercising the major share of authority or influence within a larger group.”

“By all accounts, Trump supporters . . . exercise the major share of authority and influence within the Republican Party, which is the governing party in the United States.  The group’s values on racial issues, the economy, immigration and other cultural issues has a louder and bolder advocate in the Oval Office than at any other time in recent history.

“But perhaps the reason it is difficult to embrace that definition is because Trump and many of his supporters believe that winning isn’t all that matters.  It matters that you be viewed as a winner.  And for a president who has been quick to lob the label ‘loser’ at those with whom he didn’t find favor, knowing that there are many Americans who don’t want him in their club is a great source of anger.”

See also Elite – Wikipedia, defining the term as a “small group of powerful people who hold a disproportionate amount of wealth, privilege, political power, or skill in a society. Defined by the Cambridge Dictionary, the ‘elite’ are ‘those people or organizations that are considered the best or most powerful compared to others of a similar type.'”

Or, a “relatively small, loosely connected group of individuals who dominate American policy making. This group includes bureaucratic, corporate, intellectual, military, media, and government elites who control the principal institutions in the United States and whose opinions and actions influence the decisions of the policymakers.”

And see Why a lot of Americans resent the cultured “New York City elite.”

“I think this feeling was shared by some of the voters who went for Trump – as well as Brexit beforehand.  Trump, a masterful populist, has manipulated this very real bitterness, raising his 18-carat pitchfork against “liberal elites” for his own political gain.”

It added that a “cultural elite may be disliked for reasons that are as not particularly economic: college professors, experts, NGO staffers and psychotherapists are not corporate titans, after all. It’s a new variation of an old-fashioned populism that is anti-intellectual and anti-expert.

“Trump and his family may be mining this anti-elite anger, but they are, of course, preposterously upscale, living in Trump Tower, attending expensive private schools, flying about in private jets (now with in-flight Secret Service) and dining in five-star restaurants… Republicans are benefitting from the cultural resentment of their non-elite electorate. They also aren’t proposing anything that could make life better for the people who actually live in small towns or in ‘flyover’ states.”

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My own thoughts:  I defined the “elite” as that “portion of American society that has pretty much ruled America during the latter half of the 20th century, and the 21st century as well, up to Election Day, 2016.  Since the end of World War II, the rest of the world has looked at America as that ‘city on a hill’ it has claimed to be since the beginning.  And America has responded – by and large – by accepting the mantle of world leadership.

“And because America is a land of such promise, people from other countries keep trying to come here. But – by and large – they are no longer white, English-speaking and mostly European. Which frightens a large segment of American society.

“Aside from that the mantle of world leadership is heavy. It means not going off half-cocked. It means being responsible, and thinking through what we say and do. And many Americans seem to think we should act more like Russia, imposing our will on the rest of the world by sheer force. Which – from all accounts – is what we used to do in the days of Teddy Roosevelt. And it could be that the Americans who support Trump would love to see a return of a bit of American imperialism.

“On the other hand, if that’s true, why did Russia try so hard to get Trump – not Hillary – elected?”

On “why it might be better…” (Gasp!)

I couldn’t bring myself to headline with, “Why it might be better if Trump got re-elected…”

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Welcome to the “Georgia Wasp…”

This blog is modeled on the Carolina Israelite.  That was an old-time newspaper – more like a personal newsletter – written and published by Harry Golden.  Back in the 1950s, people called Harry a  “voice of sanity amid the braying of jackals.”  (For his work on the Israelite.)

Which is now my goal as well.  To be a “voice of sanity amid the braying of jackals.”

For more on the blog-name connection, see the notes below.

In the meantime:

I’m no “Trump-humper,” but it seems to me that America might actually be better off if Donald Trump did get re-elected in 2020.  My main concern?  He’d still be eligible to run in 2024, and in the intervening four years – with a Democrat as president – he might just wreak more havoc to American democracy than he could as president.

Think of it.  Trump sitting on the sidelines, humiliated, much as he was when Obama joked, “Donald Trump is here . . . still!”  (Googleobama trump is here still youtube.”)  And think of him still managing to get his face on the “front page,” each and every day, possibly drumming up enough support – or gumming up the works enough – to get himself re-elected in 2028.  (Like Grover Cleveland did in 1884 and 1892 – with four years in between of Benjamin Harrison – thus becoming the 22d and 24th president.)

So wouldn’t it be better to get it over with?  To get rid of Trump once and for all, in 2024?  Then too, if he did get re-elected in 2020, he would immediately become a “lame duck.”

Strictly speaking a “lame duck” is an official “whose successor has already been, or in the near-term will be, elected.”  But it can also refer to a U.S. president who’s been elected to his (or her) second term.  See Lame duck (politics) – Wikipedia, saying the status can be due to “a term limit which keeps the official from running for that particular office again.”

The official is often seen as having less influence with other politicians due to their limited time left in office.  Conversely, a lame duck is free to make decisions that exercise their standard powers with little fear of consequence…  Even at the local level, politicians that do not seek reelection to office lose their credibility and influence to fellow councilmen.  Projects uncompleted may fall to the wayside as their influence is greatly diminished.

See also 22d Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and Lame Duck: Definition, President, Amendment, Sessions.  The latter noted that any U.S. president winning a second term “automatically becomes a lame duck.”  Then too, because the amendment keeps a president from serving a third term, “He doesn’t have to worry about getting re-elected.”

For another take see Putin won reelection yesterday.  Now he’s a ‘lame duck.’  The March 2018 Washington Post article featured a “quick take on the implications” of the election, with writer Joshua Tucker reaching out “to my colleagues at PONARS-Eurasia.”  One writer said the “key thing that happened Sunday is that Putin formally became a lame duck in a political system dependent on one man.”  (Which sounds eerily familiar.*)  

Another point, from Henry Hale, professor at George Washington University:

While the big result for Putin seems to reflect continuity and stability, Russia now enters a period of unsettling uncertainty.  Here’s the big issue:  Putin cannot run again without changing the constitution.  Positioning for a possible succession struggle is already on the minds of Russia’s political class.

As to that last sentence, “locally” it could be amended to read:  “Positioning for a possible succession struggle is already on the minds of America’s conservative class.”  (In the same way, if Trump got re-elected in 2020 he couldn’t run again in 2024 “without changing the constitution.”)

As for Tucker’s own “two cents…  Even though the next election is six years away, Putin’s ability to control events in Russia will begin to dissipate as soon as it becomes clear he really is not running for reelection in 2024.”  In Trump’s case should he win re-electionhis ability to control events in America will dissipate, because of the 22d Amendment.

See also the Belated 4th of July meditation, which spoke at length about the 22d Amendment and its effect on “The Donald.”  The point?  Whether by “popular” vote in 2020 or operation of law in 2024, Trump will end up leaving the White House.  What happens then?  (Aside from the cheering, the dancing in  the streets, the fireworks and parades.)  For one thing it would begin a new nightmare – for Donald Trump.  (No more “in the news every &^%$ day!”)

But there’s another possible result:  “lame-duck presidents are more concerned with their legacy. They can focus on policies that are less popular, but more far-reaching.”  Which could mean that Trump would no longer have to worry about catering to his wacko base.

One example from history:  “President Ronald Reagan signed an arms control treaty with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev,” and famously asked him to “tear down this wall” in a speech at the Berlin Wall in 1987.  “That was despite his opposition to arms control during his presidency.”  In Trump’s case – and maybe both more concerned with his legacy and less concerned about catering to his base – he might become the man I had such (possible) hopes for.

In 2016’s OTHER “Teflon Don,” I compared Trump to P.T. Barnum.  But – surprise of surprises – Barnum turned out a humane, effective and ethical politician:

Barnum served two terms in the Connecticut legislature in 1865 as a Republican.  [On slavery] and African-American suffrage, Barnum spoke before the legislature and said, “A human soul, ‘that God has created and Christ died for,’ is not to be trifled with.  It may tenant the body of a Chinaman, a Turk, an Arab or a Hottentot – it is still an immortal spirit.”

Which no doubt surprised a number of his supporters.  And from there he got elected Mayor of Bridgeport, CT in 1875, and “worked to improve the water supply, bring gas lighting to streets, and enforce liquor and prostitution laws.”  And he was instrumental in starting Bridgeport Hospital in 1878, becoming its first president.   Thus Barnum – credited with saying there’s a sucker born every minute – “evolved from a man of common stereotypes . . . to a leader for emancipation by the Civil War.”  And maybe – just maybe – Trump could also “evolve.”

So who knows?  If:  1) Trump did get re-elected in 2020, and 2) no longer had to worry about throwing raw meat at his wacko base, and 3) started seriously thinking about his legacy (or developed a conscience, or started appreciating that he’s “closer to the end than to the beginning”), he might actually evolve – as Barnum did – into a “humane, effective and ethical politician.”

Stranger things have happened.  (Though I’m not holding my breath…)

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Jumbo poster 1.jpg

Will Donald Trump’s Greatest Show on Earth continue past 2020? 

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The upper image is courtesy of Unintended Consequences – Image Results.  See also Unintended consequences – Wikipedia.  Also called “unanticipated consequences or unforeseen consequences,” they’re defined as outcomes “not the ones foreseen and intended by a purposeful action.”  They are grouped into three types:  1) An unexpected benefit (“luckserendipity or a windfall“), or an 2) unexpected drawback or “unexpected detriment” in addition to the desired effect, or 3) a “Perverse result.”  That’ third one is a “perverse effect contrary to what was originally intended (when an intended solution makes a problem worse). This is sometimes referred to as ‘backfire.”

Re:  I’m no “Trump-humper.”  The term is a short version of Trump-humping evangelical.”  That in turn is a term mentioned in a post in my companion blog, “Trump-humping” – and Christians arguing with each other.  It’s based on a reader comment to an article in The Resurgent website entitled, After NPR’s Embarrassment It’s Clear:  We Need More Christians in Media

(A note:  The “Resurgent” is a conservative website started in 2016 by Erick Erickson, a conservative evangelical blogger and radio host famous for making controversial statements.  In one case he took issue with Trump’s saying 2015 debate-moderator Megyn Kelly had “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever” while questioning him.  “The next day, Erickson disinvited Trump from a RedState gathering held in Atlanta, calling Trump’s remark ‘a bridge too far’ and that even ‘blunt talkers and unprofessional politicians should not cross’ certain lines, including decency.”  But in 2019 Erickson endorsed Trump for re-election in 2020.  For other, more controversial remarks see the Wikipedia article on Erickson.)

So anyway, the comment said,  “We need more serious Christians – not Trump-humping evangelicals – in media.”  Which led to this response, by Patriotmom:  “The serious Christians I know would not call someone a ‘Trump-humping evangelical.’”  Which I said was probably true.  Also, the article actually didn’t say we need more Christians in media; that was the headline writer.  The article writer actually said “What is needed more than anything in the world of mass media today is a substantial influx of new reporters, journalists, and anchors who can speak intelligently about Christianity.”  Which is something entirely different.  

Re:   “Lame duck is free to . . . exercise their standard powers.”  I recognized the incorrect grammar; “lame duck” is singular and “their powers” is plural.  The writer apparently chose not to “gum up the works” by saying “he or she,” or risk offense by using one or the other sex-distinctions.  Likewise I chose not to gum up the works by writing “sic” in brackets, with “sic” loosely translated as “that’s the way the dumbass wrote it!”  Also in the same paragraph, the proper grammar would be “politicians who,” not “politicians that do not seek…”  (Just so you know I’m not the dumbass…)

The Vladimir Putin image is courtesy of Wikipedia.  The caption:  “Putin in KGBc. 1980.”  From 1954 on the KGB was the “main security agency for the Soviet Union.”  It was preceded by agencies like “ChekaNKGBNKVD and MGB . . . acting as internal securityintelligence and secret police.”  Its functions included foreign intelligence, counter-intelligence, and “combating nationalism, dissent, and anti-Soviet activities.  In 1991, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the KGB was split into the Federal Security Service and the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation.”

Re:  “Eerily familiar.”  An interesting note from the Putin won reelection yesterday article: “Putinism in Russia (coupled with Trump’s assault on checks and balances in the U.S. and cutbacks in U.S. foreign assistance to democratic causes in foreign countries) is likely to eclipse the already dim prospects of democratization in the ex-Soviet states.”

Also re:  “The Donald.”  See 409 Hilarious Nicknames for Donald Trump — Find Nicknames.

The Reagan image is courtesy of Reagan Doctrine – Wikipedia.  

The lower image is courtesy of the Jumbo link within P. T. Barnum – Wikipedia.    

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Re:  The Israelite.  Harry Golden grew up in the Jewish ghetto of New York City, but eventually moved to Charlotte, North Carolina.  Thus the “Carolina Israelite.”  I on the other hand am a “classic 67-year-old “WASP” – White Anglo-Saxon Protestant – and live in north Georgia.  Thus the “Georgia Wasp.”    

Anyway, in North Carolina Harry wrote and published the “israelite” from the 1940s through the 1960s.  He was a “cigar-smoking, bourbon-loving raconteur.”  (He told good stories.) That also means if he was around today, the “Israelite would be done as a blog.”  But what made Harry special was his positive outlook on life.  As he got older but didn’t turn sour, like many do today.  He still got a kick out of life.  For more on the blog-name connection, see “Wasp” and/or The blog.

A belated 4th of July meditation…

“American children of many ethnic backgrounds” celebrate July 4th.  (No “send her back” here…)

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United States Declaration of Independence.jpgWe celebrated July 4th over two weeks ago.

But any time is a good time to recall the reason why we celebrate that day.  (When the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.)

And to recall the Declaration’s “self-evident” truths:  1)  that all men (and women) are created equal,  2) that all Americans have a God-given right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,  3) that governments – especially American governments – get their power from and by “the consent of the governed,*” and 4)  that when any American administration tries to destroy those ends, the Sovereign People have the right – if not the duty – to alter or abolish that administration.

And “institute new Government,” in the form of a new administration.

Which brings up the 22d Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  And with it the subject of term limits for the president – the chief executive – of these ostensibly-united states:

Prior to the ratification of the amendment, the president had not been subject to term limits, but George Washington had established a two-term tradition that many other presidents had followed.  [However, in] the 1940 presidential election, Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first president to win a third (and later fourth) term, giving rise to concerns about the potential issues involved with a president serving an unlimited number of terms.

And what are those “potential issues?”  As Thomas Jefferson said over 200 years ago:  “If some termination to the services of the chief magistrate [the president] be not fixed by the Constitution, or supplied by practice, his office, nominally for years, will in fact, become for life; and history shows how easily that degenerates into an inheritance.”

James Madison.jpgWhich is another way of saying that limiting the number of presidential terms is a “vital check against any one person, or the presidency as a whole, accumulating too much power.”  Or as James Madison (at left) added, “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive and judicial in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self–appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”

Which brings up a 2009 attempt to repeal the 22d Amendment.  The effect was – according to conservatives – to allow “Barack Obama to serve as ‘President for life.'”  See FACT CHECK: Bill to Repeal the 22nd Amendment.  It was introduced by New York representative Jose Serrano, and was the same bill he’d introduced nine times since 1997.  The response from conservatives?

Is THIS really what America wants or needs?  If the just introduced H.J. Res 15 passes, Barack Obama will LEGALLY be able to be our dictator for the remainder of his life.  I surely hope that all liberty loving patriots speak up to their Congressmen and women that 4 years of Barack Obama has been bad enough, we surely don’t need him around running America into the ground for another 40 years.

Another comment compared the Democratic Party with “the Nazis, the Communists, and the Fascists,” because they were ostensibly “moving to posture the U.S. Presidency for succession by one President.”  (But see Trump hints U.S. should nix term limits.)  The writer added, “That’s how Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini became ‘Leaders for Life.’”  Then another voice added:

“Will George W. Bush end up being the last true U.S. President?” asked Sher Zieve…  ”As I warned you on multiple times prior to the 2008 General Election, ‘Once Obama is elected, we won’t be able to get rid of him.’  Tragically, this warning is now being realized.  Not only has Obama established his election-fraud organization ACORN nationwide*, his adherents have now begun the process to repeal the U.S. Constitution’s 22nd Amendment.”

Which brings up the irony of the same lawmakers [being] slow to reintroduce presidential term limit repeal under Trump (“Trump has joked about repealing the 22nd Amendment, including while humorously suggesting that he likes the idea of being ‘president for life,’ a term used to describe Chinese President Xi Jinping, who recently consolidated power in the authoritarian country.”) 

See also Do you think Trump will try to repeal the 22nd Amendment(The answer?  No, not effectively anyway.)  My point?  The shoe is on the other foot, metaphorically speaking.

TrumpConservatives wish – and liberals dread – that without the 22d Amendment Donald Trump might well end up “our dictator for the remainder of his life.”  (As he himself has “joked.”  See Trump Jokes About Being President for 16 Years. Or Googletrump joke president for life.”)

Which isn’t going to happen.  Whether by vote in 2020 or operation of law in 2024, Trump will end up leaving the White House.  What happens then?  Aside from the cheering, the dancing in  the streets, the fireworks and parades, a new nightmare will begin – for Donald Trump.

Aside from likely fraud prosecutions in states like New York and California, he will no longer automatically be the center of attention.  He will no longer be able to have his face on the “front pages” of American media.  Eventually he’ll simply be ignored, a harsh punishment – for him – in and of itself.  Then there is Trump’s desire to be a part of the “elite.”

Trump doesn’t just have a problem with those in the exclusive club of elites.  It sounds as if he’s expressing frustration that he is not a part of that select group.  His boasts about his residence, bank account and intelligence sound like someone who wants membership in a club that has repeatedly rejected him.

So by either 2021 or 2025, Donald Trump will no longer have the protection of the White House.  He will no longer be part of the “ruling elite.”  He will be – simply – just one more ex-president.  And he’ll then have to face the reality that a great many Americans loathe him.  More to the point, a great many Americans will no longer see him as “a winner.”

Trump and many of his supporters believe that winning isn’t all that matters.  It matters that you be viewed as a winner.  And for a president who has been quick to lob the label “loser” at those with whom he didn’t find favor, knowing that there are many Americans who don’t want him in their club is a great source of anger.

And that anger may well be returned by the very “deplorables” who ardently support him now.  Like, when they finally realize how little he has actually done for them.  “Trump and his family may be mining this anti-elite anger, but they … also aren’t proposing anything that could make life better for the people who actually live in small towns or in ‘flyover’ states.”

People might even say, “and great was the fall thereof.”  (But the Republic will live on…)

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The upper image is courtesy of Independence Day (United States) – Wikipedia.  I borrowed it from the 2017 post July 4th: “God save the Queen?”  It noted that Puck magazine was noted for its satire, “which is another way of saying that any real American will always retain his or her sense of humor, up to and including the ability to laugh at himself.  (Or herself.)  And that’s another way of saying that no real American will ever be too thin-skinned to do his job.  (Or hers.)

“Not that that observation applies to current events or anything…”  

The full text of the Preamble to the United States Declaration of Independence (Wikipedia):

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men [and women] are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,  That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation upon such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.  Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.  But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”  (E.A.)

Re:  “Consent of the governed.”  See also Popular sovereignty – Wikipedia.

Re:  “Chief executive.”  See SparkNotes: The Presidency: The President’s Roles:  The president is “head of the executive branch and is responsible for running the federal bureaucracy and enforcing the laws passed by Congress.”  He – or she, eventually – has the appointment power to nominate members of the cabinet, along with “heads of agencies, federal judges, and about 2,000 lesser jobs.  The Senate must approve these nominations.” 

Re:  Accumulation of power quote.  See Separation of Powers: A System of Checks and Balances.  See also, TOP 25 TYRANNY FOUNDING FATHERS QUOTES.  Another relevant quote from Madison:  “If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”

Re:  “Acorn nationwide.”  See ACORN 2009 undercover videos controversy – Wikipedia.  In 2009, conservative activists Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe secretly recorded activities at the offices of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), a non-profit which – for nearly 40 years – had been involved in “voter registration, community organizing and advocacy for low- and moderate-income people.”  After much media ballyhoo one federal investigation found ACORN hadn’t violated “any federal regulations in the past five years,” but that O’Keefe and Giles “may have violated Maryland and California laws banning the recording of face-to-face conversations without consent of both parties.”  In 2010 the Brooklyn District Attorney‘s office found the videos were “‘heavily edited’ to give a misleading impression,” and that there was no criminal wrongdoing by the ACORN Brooklyn staff.  A law enforcement source added, “They edited the tape to meet their agenda.”

Re:  “And great was the fall thereof.”  See Matthew 7:27, according to the Douay-Rheims and English Revised Version of the Bible.  Which leads to the lower image, courtesy of House Built On Sand – Image Results.  See also Parable of the Wise and the Foolish Builders – Wikipedia, which “illustrates the importance of building one’s life on obedience to the teachings and example of Jesus.”

A reminder: “I’m an INDEPENDENT (Voter…)”

Emanuel Leutze (American, Schwäbisch Gmünd 1816–1868 Washington, D.C.) - Washington Crossing the Delaware - Google Art Project.jpg

Washington Crossing the Delaware – before political parties could lift up “the unprincipled…”

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I had an interesting conversation last May 2d, at a Saturday-afternoon soccer game.  My Georgia niece’s husband – “nephew by marriage” – was sounding out my political views.

“There’s No Such Thing as a Conservative Christian”: and Other Such Musings on the Faith of the Bible by [Ford, James B.]He’d been goaded by having read – under protest no doubt – the paperback version of my just-published e-book, No such thing as a Conservative Christian(I’d given the two a copy of the paperback version for Christmas.)  He asked if I was conservative or liberal, and I gave him my standard answer – at the time.  I said I was a “Contrarian,” which translates to something like “pissed-off moderate.”

Then just the other day someone on Facebook called me a “liberal.”

Which again threw me for a loop, temporarily.  Being out of practice – away from home for three weeks in Israel, then two weeks on the road trip to Massachusetts – I was tempted to respond that I was a Moderate.  The problem is that these days that sounds wishy-washy.  I also thought of pointing out that I’m a fiscal conservative but a social liberal.  (“Like most real Americans,” I added.  It seems you have to be a bit “over the top” on Facebook these days.)  Then too – somewhere between last May and now – I toyed with the idea of calling myself a “seeker-after-truth.”  But that sounds a bit pompous.

So as it turns out, none of the three answers I toyed with sounded right, until I remembered a post that I did two years ago – for July 4th – called The Independent Voter.  That post noted the growing number of Independent Voters in this country.  That is, “those voters who don’t align with either major political party, Republican or Democrat:”

An independent is variously defined as a voter who votes for candidates and issues rather than on the basis of a political ideology or partisanship;  a voter who does not have long-standing loyalty to, or identification with, a political party;  a voter who does not usually vote for the same political party from election to election;  or a voter who self-describes as an independent.

To me, the problem with both Conservatives and Liberals is that they both have a “one size fits all” set of standard answers for all of life’s problems.  They each have a preconceived notion of “What is Truth.”  And so – rather than digging out the real Truth – they try ever so hard to find answers to all of life’s problems in a pre-boxed set of canned answers. 

On the other hand, there is that quote from Virgil, “Fortunate is he who understands the cause of things.”  In other words, the one who understands why things happen.  In that way he is much better prepared to keep Reality from coming up and biting him on the ass!  (Metaphorically or otherwise.)  And that – to me – is the big difference between an Independent and either a Conservative or Liberal.  An Independent wants to find the real truth…

Then too there was my post from June 2017, Last year at this time.  It noted that Independent Voters –  “who don’t align with either major political party” – could well have taken their cue from Ralph Waldo Emerson:  “Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist.”

Which also makes for the biggest problem we Independents Voters always face:

“One must always choose the lesser of two weevils!”

The point is:  Life isn’t “black and white,” the way ardent liberals and conservatives alike believe.  Everyday life is full or gray areas, as noted in Learning to see things grey:

Turns out that life is full of grey situations.  Life is full of uncertainty.  Full of situations that are neither “Yes” nor “No,” but subject to one of the endless variables in that grey area between black and white.  As humans, we are limited by our subjective perspectives…  Given this limitation, not everything can fit into one of our neat little boxes that we have in our minds and with which we would like to interpret all the situations we encounter in our lives.

And it’s those “neat little boxes” that Conservatives and Liberals alike turn to, for solutions to all of life’s problems.  Or maybe I just don’t trust canned responses, “predetermined responses to common questions.”  Which is why – at one point over the past few years – I considered “Contrarian” to be the best label for me and what I believe.

See for example, ‘Mi Dulce’ – and Donald Trump – made me a Contrarian:

I think I was pre-disposed to become a Contrarian.  For one thing, I was a public defender for 24 years – before I retired – so I got used to saying things people didn’t like to hear.  For another, I like the idea of a “Devil’s advocate,” which is one of the “see alsos” in the Wikipedia article on Contrarians

But as I found out, in its original meaning a “Devil’s advocate” did holy work.  He too was a “seeker after truth,” albeit with a much more memorable title.  See for example Contrarian – Wikipedia, with a link included therein on “Devil’s advocate:”

The Advocatus Diaboli … was formerly an official position within the Catholic Church;  one who “argued against the canonization (sainthood) of a candidate in order to uncover any character flaws or misrepresentation evidence favoring canonization.”

In other words, the job of the Advocatus Diaboli was to find the truth, which was the same thing Superman came to stand for.  (See Truth, Justice, and the American Way – Wikipedia.)

The problem is, going after the real truth – the “whole truth and nothing but the truth” – can often get you into a lot of trouble.  For example, there’s the Social gadfly concept.  That term refers to a person “who interferes with the status quo of a society or community by posing novel, potentially upsetting questions, usually directed at authorities.”

Then too finding the truth is just half the problem.  Then you have to make it comprehensible.  There’s a lot of “truth” that’s largely beyond the comprehension of many Americans.  (Especially those who need persuading that Donald Trump is “less than meets the eye.”)

Which is – as it turns out – just the problem that Moses, Paul and Jesus all had to face.  (And Socrates as well, as shown at right.)  They all had to “dumb it down” and – in my view – do so mostly for the more conservative among us, then and now.  Or as Colin Powell put it:  “Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt, to offer a solution everybody can understand.”

Even conservatives…

So anyway, Plato used the term “gadfly” to describe Socrates‘s relationship with the people around him and of his time.  He was an “uncomfortable goad* to the Athenian political scene, which he compared to a slow and dimwitted horse.”

Which sounds pretty appropriate these days as well.

And that brings up another problem.  We know what happened to Socrates, “in his defense when on trial for his life.*”  For that matter, something similar happened to Jesus when He too tried to “shake things up” and help His disciples resist the ongoing temptation to turn too conservative.  The point is, if you are neither a conservative nor a liberal, you don’t have a ready-made set of allies to back you up in a bar fight, metaphoric or otherwise.

“It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.”

But at the very least I have this:  If anybody asks, I now know what to call myself…

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Daniel Webster argues against the Devil…

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The upper image is courtesy of Washington Crossing the Delaware – Wikipedia.  The quote is from Quote by Washington “However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely … to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”  (Can you say prescient?)  Then too, Washington could well be the first “independent voter.”

The “No conservative Christian” image is from Amazon.com: Kindle eBooks: Kindle Store.  The link in the text will take you to the paperback version.

Re: The Virgil quote.  See Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas – Wikipedia.  From Verse 490 of Book 2 of the “Georgics” (29 BC), by the Latin poet Virgil (70 – 19 BC), the phrase is variously translated.  For example, John Dryden – (1631-1700) the English poet, literary critic, translator, and playwright who became England’s first Poet Laureate – translated it: “Happy the Man, who, studying Nature’s Laws, / Thro’ known Effects can trace the secret Cause.”  (In other words, the direct opposite of the person who says “fake news” at every bit of information he or she can’t handle…) 

The “lesser of two weevils” image is courtesy of pinterest.com.  See also Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World – YouTubeLesser of Two Evils – TV TropesReader Opinion: Clinton v Trump and “the lesser of two weevils, Master and Commander: A Movie Review – Maccabee Society, and/or Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World – Wikipedia.

Re:  “Mi Dulce” and me being a Contrarian.  I must admit that there was also a bit of “getting her goat” with such a label, as explained in Phrase Finder:

A commonly repeated story … is that goats were placed with racehorses to keep them calm. When ne’er-do-wells who wanted the horse to race badly removed it, that is, they ‘got someone’s goat,’ [and] the horse became unsettled and ran badly.

For an alternate theory, see Definition of get (one’s) goat – Online Slang Dictionary.

As to the grey – or gray – areas in life, I Googled “real life gray areas” and got almost 11 million results.  Of related interest see Debate Quotes – BrainyQuote, and/or Quote by René Descartes: “If you would be a real seeker:  “If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.”

Re:  Truth, justice and the American way.  An opposing view, Truth, Justice, or the American Way – LELA.  Or for a very long and convoluted – but intriguing – analysis, Truth, Justice, and the American Way | Alternative to AARPAmong other things, it noted, “After World War II, Superman’s foster Dad reminded his son that he must use his super powers ‘in the interest of truth, tolerance, and justice,’ and also that “personal liberty demands personal responsibility.  Liberty and Responsibility go hand in hand.”  From a rough reading I’d say that author too is a bit of Contrarian…

The Cambridge English Dictionary says that to “goad” someone is to “make a person or an animal react or do something by continuously annoying or upsetting them.”

Re: Socrates, and how he ended up.  He was tried and convicted of “both corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens and of impiety (asebeia, ‘not believing in the gods of the state’), and as a punishment sentenced to death, caused by the drinking of a mixture containing poison hemlock.”

One of Socrates’s purported offenses to the city was his position as a social and moral critic. Rather than upholding a status quo and accepting the development of what he perceived as immorality … Socrates questioned the collective notion of “might makes right…”  Plato refers to Socrates as the “gadfly” of the state (as the gadfly stings the horse into action, so Socrates stung various Athenians), insofar as he irritated some people with considerations of justice and the pursuit of goodness.  His attempts to improve the Athenians’s sense of justice may have been the cause of his execution.

The lower image is courtesy of Lawsuits against the Devil – Wikipedia.  The full caption, “Daniel Webster argues on behalf of a plaintiff while the Devil whispers into the judge’s ear.”

An update on “Trump’s” mass shootings…

Incidents in 2019

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[Writer’s note:  I originally posted this on May 3, 2019.  I updated the numbers on August 20, 2019.*]

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Last November 16 (2018), I reported on the number of “mass shootings” under Donald Trump.  (See The Bible says: Blame Trump for “his” mass shootings.)  At the time – and according to Gun Violence Archive – the number of mass shootings* stood at 345 in 2017 and 307 in 2018:

Which adds up to a grand total – for two years, not counting the rest of November and December, 2018 – of 652 mass shootings under Trump so far.  That’s four times greater than Obama’s eight years, in one-fourth the time. 

But again, that was as of November 8, 2018.  So here’s an update for the past six months.

The “archive” for 2018 listed a final total of 340 mass shootings.  Which means that there were an additional 33 mass shootings between November 8 and the end of 2018.  And for 2019 – so far – the Archive has listed 104 mass shootings.*

All of which adds up to a grand total – so far – of 789 mass shootings* during Donald Trump’s presidency.  That’s compared to a “mere” 162 mass shootings – at least relatively speaking – during the eight years Obama was president.  That adds up to almost five times the number of mass shootings (4.87) in about one-fourth the time.*  (Then of course the Archive had a link to the “Last 72 hours,” totaling 13 pages of incidents, as of May 1, 2019.)

In turn, “it is very meet, right, and our bounden duty” to hold Trump accountable for his part in these tragedies.  For reasons including that Trump held Obama responsible for such tragedies during his presidency, and as indicated in Bible says.  But I’m not the only one who thinks so.

See the October 2018 article, Why it’s fair to ask whether Trump is to blame.  Senior reporter Aaron Blake gave a lengthy analysis, including the “growing sense of grievance among Republicans about the narrative that Trump might have some culpability for the postal bombs that were sent to many of his high-profile political foes over the past week.”  (Another tragedy.  See ‘MAGA Bomber’ pleads guilty to sending 16 parcel bombs to Trump opponents.)

But Blake began by noting that “the fact that Trump’s rhetoric is without compare in American politics makes that a logical question.”  He then added that it’s true political violence is nothing new, but when “confronted with a data set, you always look for the variables.”  And Trump’s divisive rhetoric is “a highly unique variable.”  After reciting examples of Trump-Speak – illustrated at left – Blake said, “This isn’t normal.  It’s an aberration.  And it’s possible it might produce aberrant results.”

Aberrant results like a big spike in the number of mass shootings, in America and elsewhere.

Blake then cited input from “the other” –  conservative – side of the aisle, National Review’s David French.  French began by observing that “not all listening ears” are sober-minded or rational, which is one reason that civility is important.  Which led him to this thought:

Political speech can inspire violence…  While it’s not always true that the pen is mightier than the sword, it’s absolutely true that the pen often inspires the hand that wields the sword:  It foments revolutions, it motivates murderers, and it radicalizes terrorists.

All of which should be a prime example of overstating the obvious.

But there’s a point that neither Blake nor French mentioned.  Call it Karma (“bad intent and bad deeds contribute to bad karma,” as illustrated at right), or turnabout is fair play (“It is fair for someone to suffer the pain that they have inflicted on others”).  Or you could just hear what Jesus said in Luke 6:38, “The measure you use for others is the one that God will use for you.”  (Which – I said at the time – should give ‘the Donald’ pause for thought.)

(And not just The Donald.)  Which led to this from David French:

Speech can inspire violence…  It’s one reason why civility and a sense of proportion in your speech aren’t just abstract, sanctimonious, or elitist concepts.  They’re moral responsibilities for people with any kind of meaningful platform…  It turns out that some people will actually believe the terrible things that politicians or celebrities say, and they’ll act on those beliefs.

And so, Mr. President – Mr. “Person With a Highly Meaningful Platform,” or Bully pulpit – maybe it’s time to tone the rhetoric down a bit.  Or a lot.  And by the way, I mention all this as an Ezekiel 3 concern, and not a Deuteronomy 19 accusation…  (A bit of “Biblical CYA.”)

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Teddy Roosevelt, who was both a real Republican and a real president…

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The upper image is courtesy of the Gun Violence Archive, for January 1-May 1, 2019.

Re:  The August 20, 2019 update.  As of that date the number of mass shootings stood at 262, up from 104 on May 3.  Which means an added 158 mass shootings from May 3 to August 20.  Which adds up to a total of 947 mass shootings since Donald Trump became president.  (Compared to 162 during Obama’s eight years.)  Which means that – at a minimum of four victims per mass shooting (see the note below) – at least 3,788 Americans have died from mass shootings in Trump’s “2 years, 211 days.”  For a minute-by-minute update, see How long has Trump been president?

And for those who want to see Trump re-elected:  If he is, and mass shootings continue at the present rate there will have been 2,929 mass shootings by the end of 2024.  At a minimum count of four victims per mass shooting, by 2024 some 11,718 Americans will have died by mass shooting during the administration(s) of Donald Trump.  (Re: “Present rate.”  Rounding off to 2 years and 14 days – to Thursday, August 22 – that would be 2.586 years Trump has been president.  Multiplying that by 3.09 – to get from 2.586 years to 8 – that comes to 2,929 mass shootings by 2024.  That in turn results in 11,718 Americans killed by 2024.

Re:  “Mass shooting.”  The generally-accepted definition: “an event where someone selects four or more people indiscriminately, and kills them, echoing the FBI’s definition of the term “mass murder.”  See Mass shooting – Wikipedia, and/or How is a ‘mass shooting’ defined? | PolitiFact California.

The “fear has no place” image is courtesy of Wikipedia, Stoneman Douglas (“Parkland”) High School shooting.  the caption: “Students protest gun violence outside the White House.”

Re:  Five times the number of mass shootings (4.87) in about one-fourth the time.  The actual number is 4.87 times the number of mass shootings.  That number was reached by calculating two years from 1/20/17 to 1/20/19, plus a little over three months to last April 20.  Which equals 27 months for Trump, compared to the 96 months that Obama served.  Thus the actual percentage is 28.125% of Obama’s 96 months as president.

Re:  “Our bounden duty.”  Referring to the Anglican Preface (liturgy), according to the Rite I in the 1979 U.S. edition of the Book of Common Prayer.  See Wikipedia:  “In liturgical use the term preface is applied to that portion of the Eucharistic Prayer that immediately precedes the Canon or central portion of the Eucharist (Mass or Divine Liturgy).”  I borrowed it for some Gravitas.

Re:  Ezekiel and Deuteronomy.  Ezekiel 3:16-19 basically says if you see a wayward soul and don’t warn him, you’ll both be punished, but if you do warn him – and he ignores you – you’ll at least save your own spiritual butt.  On the other hand, Deuteronomy 19:16-19 says if you accuse someone of a heinous crime and they’re not guilty of it, you’ll be punished as if you committed the crime yourself.  Thus I’m not accusing Donald Trump of being responsible for all those deaths, I’m merely issuing a warning.  So if Donald ignores my warning, I’ll still save my spiritual butt, according to Ezekiel 3.  (Although heaven knows where he’ll end up.)

Re:  “Bully pulpit,”  See also Bully Pulpit | Definition of Bully Pulpit by Merriam-Webster and An Open Letter to a Pulpit Bully – Home • ChurchLeaders:

It is dangerous, however, if you choose to invert that bully pulpit from a place of influence to a position of control. Transposing from advocacy to autocracy will degrade your platform from a bully pulpit to the platform of a pulpit bully.

The “Karma illustrated” image is courtesy of Wikipedia.  The caption:  “It Shoots Further Than He Dreams’ by John F. Knott, March 1918,” referring to Kaiser Wilhelm at the end of World War I.

The lower image is courtesy of Bully pulpit – Wikipedia.  The caption:  “President Theodore Roosevelt delivering a speech.”

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Re:  The Israelite.  Harry Golden grew up in the Jewish ghetto of New York City, but eventually moved to Charlotte, North Carolina.  Thus the “Carolina Israelite.”  I on the other hand am a “classic 67-year-old “WASP” – White Anglo-Saxon Protestant – and live in north Georgia.  Thus the “Georgia Wasp.”    

Anyway, in North Carolina Harry wrote and published the “israelite” from the 1940s through the 1960s.  He was a “cigar-smoking, bourbon-loving raconteur.”  (He told good stories.) That also means if he was around today, the “Israelite would be done as a blog.”  But what made Harry special was his positive outlook on life.  As he got older but didn’t turn sour, like many do today.  He still got a kick out of life.  For more on the blog-name connection, see “Wasp” and/or The blog.

An update on “why I don’t like Donald Trump…”

Reason # 1:  Trump thinks he’s above the law.  (Another thing:  he’s not Winston Churchill…)

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Welcome to the “Georgia Wasp…”

This blog is modeled on the Carolina Israelite.  That was an old-time newspaper – more like a personal newsletter – written and published by Harry Golden.  Back in the 1950s, people called Harry a  “voice of sanity amid the braying of jackals.”  (For his work on the Israelite.)

Which is now my goal as well.  To be a “voice of sanity amid the braying of jackals.”

For more on the blog-name connection, see the notes below.

In the meantime:

Back on March 20, I wrote about the beginning of Lent, 2019.  And about Lent’s generally including – as preparation for Easter – giving up things, and with doing things like penance, “repentance of sins, almsgiving, and self-denial.”  (See Early kayaking adventure.)

But while for many people Lent means giving up something, “some people choose to add a discipline ‘that would add to my spiritual life.’  (See Lenten disciplines: spiritual exercises or ego trip?)

Like last year I gave up yelling “Hang the sonofabitch!” at every mention of Donald Trump.  This year I did the same thing – for one thing, it netted the UTO some $25 in penalties, at 25 cents a pop.  But this year I felt the need to add something else.

To “add a discipline,” etc.  So for this Lent I’ll be trying mightily to add – i.e., to prepare – a reasoned, careful, logical treatise on precisely why I think Donald Trump’s presidency is a constitutional crisis on par with Watergate, though not yet on par with the Civil War.  (Not yet.)  But beyond that, for my Lenten discipline I will try mightily to understand why some Americans still support him, without saying, “What are you, a bunch of dumbasses?”

That’s going to be the hard part…

So for this year’s Lenten period I added – as I have done before – some serious contemplating (As illustrated at left.)  

And as Wikipedia explained, contemplation means “profound thinking about something…  In a religious sense, contemplation is usually a type of prayer or meditation.”  And there’s this:

Within Western Christianity contemplation is often related to mysticism as expressed in the works of mystical theologians such as Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross as well as the writings of Margery KempeAugustine Baker and Thomas Merton.

So in so “contemplating” why I despise the current president so much, I’d be in pretty good company.  (In good company while contemplating like Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross.)

To that end, on March 20 I “dedicated myself to write at least one blog-post on why I don’t like DT” for Lent, although “it may well take more than one such post.”  The problem is that I’ve been so busy I haven’t had a chance to garner much on the subject.  Plus the fact that Trump himself is daily providing such ample fodder that the question becomes, “Where to I begin?”

I did note these thoughts, before March 20; that is, on March 6:

Just this morning (3/6/19) I started listening to the audio version of The Restless Wave:  Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights and Other Appreciations, by John McCain.  And it’s given me some good starting insights.  For example, I don’t mind that Donald Trump never served in the armed forces.  But I do mind that he routinely insults the brave men and women who have served, including but not limited to John McCain himself.

Which is another way of saying Trump has never served “anything greater than himself.”

As time went on I started running out of time.  Then one sleepless night about a week ago, I got up about 3:30 in the morning, got one more beer and started reading the Kindle version of the first volume of Winston Churchill‘s four-volume History of the English-Speaking Peoples.

That put it all together.  It gave me the main reason I don’t like “the Donald.”  The reason?  He think’s he’s above the law.  But the idea that he is not above the law goes way back.

Back to at least the time of the Magna Carta, or 1215.  (Over 800 years ago.)  That is, in his Preface to that first volume – THE BIRTH OF BRITAIN – Churchill wrote about the Magna Carta, the “Great Charter.”  And mostly – he said – the Great Charter was an “agreed statement of what the law is.”  Further, that Charter’s main point was a “broad affirmation of the principle that there is a law to which the Crown itself is subject.”  To which “the Crown itself is subject.”

Which is another way of saying that no man is above the law, or more precisely, No Donald, you CAN’T pardon yourself.  So if there is a law to which “the Crown itself” is subject, how much more does that long-established principle apply to a president who is limited by the Constitution to no more than two four-year terms.  Which is another way of saying that no matter how bad a president he may be, Donald Trump is only temporary.

There will again be a time when Donald Trump is not president…

(And as noted in CAN’T pardon – and aside from the maxim that no man is above the law, also known as the rule of law – there is also the long-established legal maxim that “no man can be a judge in his own case.”  In the original Latin:  “Nemo iudex in causa sua.”  Thus the “no pardon.”)

Getting back to Churchill, he said the Magna Carta affirmed the idea that the “king” is and always should be below both “God and the law.”  In other words, he has his “sphere of action,” but if he “steps outside it he must be brought back.”  And he steps outside the law if he ignores the “ancient Council of the kingdom,” or refuses to take the advice of his “wise men.”  And he steps outside the law if he tries to rule through his “Household” or his favorites;

In other words, personal government, with all its latent possibilities of oppression and caprice, is not to be endured.  But it is not easy to prevent.  The king is strong …  If the Crown is to be kept within its due limits some broader basis of resistance must be found…

For Great Britain, after the Magna Carta one “basis of resistance” became Parliament.  In America, that broad basis of resistance to a “King’s” personal caprice includes – but is not limited to – Congress.  (Which in turn includes but is not limited to the House of Representatives, which alone has the power to impeach.)  Another broad basis of resistance – to “kingly” attempts at personal rule and tyranny – is the Fourth Estate of the Realm; that is, the media.

And contrary to what Trump has said repeatedly, the free press is not the enemy of the people.  Instead it is – and should continue to be – the Fourth branch of government.  As Wikipedia noted, “The derivation of the term fourth estate arises from the traditional European concept of the three estates of the realm: the clergy, the nobility and the commoners.”

Which now brings up two good reasons I don’t like Trump as president.  First and contrary to centuries of ongoing law and tradition, he thinks he is above the law.  And second, despite how the Founding Fathers took such care establishing and protecting the Fourth branch of government, Trump thinks he is too good for probing scrutiny from the press.  See Donald Trump Thinks the Freedom of the Press Is ‘Disgusting.'”  (Except Fox News of course…)  And also All presidents (and candidates) deserve Trump-level scrutiny from the press:

No modern president, save perhaps Richard Nixon, who waged an outright war on the press, earned the scorn and suspicion that Trump has since the day he took office.  Let’s be crystal clear:  Trump deserves scorn and suspicion.  He is a liar and a huckster.  But so too does every person in a position of immense power, because power is inherently corrupting, and because the decisions presidents make impact so many people’s lives.

And speaking of Richard Nixon, he was perhaps most famous for his Enemies List.

The official purpose of that list was to “‘screw’ Nixon’s political enemies, by means of tax audits from the Internal Revenue Service,” and through “litigation, prosecution, etc,”  In further words, it was made to “maximize the fact of our incumbency in dealing with persons known to be active in their opposition to our Administration;  stated a bit more bluntly – how we can use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies.”

One noteworthy point:  “The IRS commissioner, Donald C. Alexander, refused to launch audits of the people on the list.”  So here’s to that unsung “Hero of the Realm,” who died in 2009 but kept his honor and integrity.  That is, his opposition resulted in a “string of attempts by Nixon to fire him.  Early on in his tenure as Commissioner, he dismantled the IRS Special Service Staff, which had been used to pursue detractors of the administration and its policies in Vietnam.”  Another noteworthy point, people justly too pride in being on the list:

Newsman Daniel Schorr and actor Paul Newman stated, separately, that inclusion on the list was their greatest accomplishment.  When this list was released, Schorr read it live on television, not realizing that he was on the list until he came to his own name.  Author Hunter S. Thompson remarked he was disappointed he was not on it.

Which brings us back to Winston Churchill, and another noteworthy point he made:

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The upper and lower images are courtesy of Winston Churchill – Image Results.  The lower image accompanies an article, “World war II in Pictures” (World War II in Pictures – Filminspector), on “Churchill, a Man of All Seasons.”  The article noted mainly that Churchill “did more with less.  He bounced back from adversity more often, and to greater effect than anyone else during the 20th Century.  Just for starters, Churchill was the first person to be made an honorary citizen of the United States.”  Trump on the other hand has done less with more, has never experienced true adversity, and I doubt any country will make him an “honorary citizen.”  (An “honorary comrade,” perhaps…)

Re:  Lent.  See also My Lenten meditation, from my companion blog.

The image “contemplating” is courtesy of Wikipedia on contemplation.  Caption:  “A woman places rosary beads on a devotional image mounted on the wall beside her bed.” Walters Museum.

The Magna Carta image is courtesy of King John Signing Magna Carta – Image ResultsIt is accompanied by an article, “Magna Carta, signed by King John of England:”

The charter was an important part of the extensive historical process that led to the rule of constitutional law in the English speaking world.  Magna Carta was important in the colonization of American colonies as England’s legal system was used as a model for many of the colonies as they were developing their own legal systems.

In practice, Magna Carta in the medieval period did not generally limit the power of kings, but by the time of the English Civil War it had become an important symbol for those who wished to show that the King was bound by the law.  It influenced the early settlers in New England and inspired later constitutional documents, including the United States Constitution.

Re:  The “king” and his caprice.  Such rule by “personal government” – as Trump seeks to create – could also be called as a Banana republic, a “pejorative descriptor for a servile dictatorship that abets and supports, for kickbacks, the exploitation of large-scale plantation agriculture.”

Re:  The quote in the lower image.  According to some sources, it came from Victor HugoSee 9 Quotes From Winston Churchill That Are Totally Fake, and also Victor Hugo: “You have enemies?:

You have enemies?  Why, it is the story of every man who has done a great deed or created a new idea.  It is the cloud which thunders around everything that shines.  Fame must have enemies, as light must have gnats.  Do not bother yourself about it; disdain.  Keep your mind serene as you keep your life clear.

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Re:  The Israelite.  Harry Golden grew up in the Jewish ghetto of New York City, but eventually moved to Charlotte, North Carolina.  Thus the “Carolina Israelite.”  I on the other hand am a “classic 67-year-old “WASP” – White Anglo-Saxon Protestant – and live in north Georgia.  Thus the “Georgia Wasp.”    

Anyway, in North Carolina Harry wrote and published the “israelite” from the 1940s through the 1960s.  He was a “cigar-smoking, bourbon-loving raconteur.”  (He told good stories.) That also means if he was around today, the “Israelite would be done as a blog.”  But what made Harry special was his positive outlook on life.  As he got older but didn’t turn sour, like many do today.  He still got a kick out of life.  For more on the blog-name connection, see “Wasp” and/or The blog.

Didn’t we try this “Wall” thing before?

“Memorial to the Victims of the [Berlin] Wall, with graffiti, 1982….”

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1953 Bowman Yogi Berra.jpgThere’s been a lot of talk – lately and for the last two years – about Donald Trump’s wall(The “colloquial name for a proposed expansion of the fence that makes up the Mexico–United States barrier during the presidency of Donald Trump.”)  Which led me to wonder:

“Isn’t this like ‘deja vu all over again?'”

Which brings us to the Berlin Wall:

[The] guarded concrete barrier that physically and ideologically divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989…  [S]tarting on 13 August 1961, the Wall cut off (by land) West Berlin from virtually all of surrounding East Germany and East Berlin…  The barrier included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, accompanied by a wide area (later known as the “death strip”) … and other defenses.  The Eastern Bloc portrayed the Wall as protecting its population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the “will of the people” in building a socialist state

East Germany also called the Wall its “Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart,” while the West Berlin city government referred to it as the “Wall of Shame.”  Wikipedia also noted that the East German government took the action because of its “brain drain problem.”

In other words, people who wanted the promise of freedom were kept in virtual prison:

In the West, the Berlin Wall was regarded as a major symbol of communist oppression.  About 5,000 East Germans managed to escape across the Berlin Wall to the West, but the frequency of successful escapes dwindled as the wall was increasingly fortified.  Thousands of East Germans were captured during attempted crossings and 191 were killed.

(Berlin Wall built – HISTORY.)    Which brings up the question:  “Do we really want to be like East Germany?  Do we really want to build a ‘major symbol of oppression?'”

Ronald Reagan – for one – said no.  He – like most if not all presidents before him – bought into the idea of America as a unique “city upon a hill.”  That idea in turn is based on what Jesus said in Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world.  You cannot hide a city that has been built upon a mountain.”  (From His parable of Salt and Light in the Sermon on the Mount, seen at right.) 

To give you some background on the American take on that idea:  In 1630, the Puritan “father” John Winthrop cited Matthew 5:14 at the end of his lecture or treatise, “A Model of Christian Charity.”  That sermon (lecture, or treatise) languished in obscurity for over 300 years.  That is, until the beginning of the Cold War – which included the building of the Berlin Wall.  That’s when “Cold War era historians and political leaders made it relevant to their time, crediting Winthrop’s text as the foundational document of the idea of American exceptionalism.”  (Which included Thomas Jefferson’s seeing America as the world’s great “Empire of Liberty.”)

President-Elect John F. Kennedy quoted the phrase during an address in January 1961:

We are committing ourselves to tasks of statecraft no less awesome than that of governing the Massachusetts Bay Colony, beset as it was then by terror without and disorder within. History will not judge our endeavors—and a government cannot be selected—merely on the basis of color or creed or even party affiliation.  Neither will competence and loyalty and stature, while essential to the utmost, suffice in times such as these.  For of those to whom much is given, much is required.

(Which itself is from Luke 12:48.)  In other words, America is special, and because it’s special, all Americans have unique and special responsibilities.  For one thing, we have a special responsibility not to be “just like other countries.”  We don’t want to build walls, either to keep freedom-seeking people out, or to keep smart people from leaving the country.

Which is pretty much what Ronald Reagan said, over and over again.  And this even though, politically, he was the exact opposite of John F. Kennedy.  But they both agreed on the idea of the United States as a “city upon a hill.”

For example, in his Election Eve address (November 3, 1980), Reagan spoke of his Vision for America:  “I have quoted John Winthrop’s words more than once on the campaign trail.”  Reagan added that Americans – at least in 1980 – were still “every bit as committed to that vision of a shining ‘city on a hill'” as the long-ago people who settled this country.

Finally – in that speech – he said Americans weren’t “white or black, red or yellow;  they are not Jews or Christians;  conservatives or liberals;  or Democrats or Republicans.  They are Americans awed by what has gone before, proud of what for them is still… a shining city on a hill.”

And Reagan repeated the theme yet again in his 1989 Farewell speech to the nation:

I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life … a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace;  a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity.  And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.

Which – in its way – mirrored just what Jesus said in John 6:37:  “I will never turn away anyone who comes to me.”  So whose side are you on?  Hopefully, Jesus and Ronald Reagan…

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The upper image is courtesy of Berlin Wall – Wikipedia.

The “farewell speech” link is to Opinion | Ronald Reagan’s Hopeful Farewell – The New York Times, by John Meacham.  Dated January 10, 2019, the piece was sub-titled:  “His last speech as president was about his faith in America and its people.  Our current president could not be more different.”

The lower image is courtesy of Mr Gorbachev Tear Down This Wall – Image ResultsSee also Tear down this wall! – Wikipedia, which included this from the 1987 speech:  “We welcome change and openness;  for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace.” 

Donald Trump: He’s no “Virginia Gentleman”

Alexander Spotswood by Charles Bridges (Colonial Williamsburg copy).jpg

A true “virginia Gentleman” – Alexander Spotswood (1676-1740)…

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The last post I did was on December 10, 2018.  (My excuse is the rush of the holidays.)  So here goes:  The first post of 2019.

I just started reading Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West, by Stephen Ambrose.  In the process I found a timely passage – relevant to today’s political scene – at the start of Chapter 2.  It described Lewis when he was a young “Virginia Planter,” from 1792 to 1794.  (“Touchstone” edition, 1997, pages 30-31.) 

Some side notes:  Lewis and his co-captain William Clark didn’t begin their famous “Corps of Discovery” expedition until May, 1804.  That came about after his career as an army officer started – and thus after his career as a Virginia planter ended – in 1794.

That “change of life” was a direct result of the Whiskey Rebellion (The “tax protest” in western Pennsylvania, from 1791 to 1794, during the presidency of George Washington.)

That is, in 1794 Meriwether Lewis joined the Virginia militia, to help put down the Rebellion.  In turn he left the family plantation in the care of his mother.  At the end of his term (1795), his mother wanted him back home to run the plantation.  Instead he joined the regular U.S. Army and – In due course – got court martialed.  (For “arguing politics” with a fellow officer.)  He was found not guilty, but had to be transferred to a different outfit.  As it turned out, he joined the “Chosen Rifle Company of elite rifleman-sharpshooters.”  The captain of that company was William Clark,* with whom he went on to explore the Louisiana Purchase.

But we digress…  The point is this:  Ambrose began Chapter 2 by describing the life of a Virginia planter in the mid-1700s.  (“Foaled, not born, Virginia planters were said to be,” in part because riding a horse “was not a matter of sport or diversion but of necessity.”)  Ambrose continued:

A Virginia gentleman was expected to be hospitable and generous, courteous in his relations with his peers, chivalrous toward women, and kind to his inferiors.  There was a high standard of politeness…  Wenching and other debauchery, heavy drinking, and similar personal vices were common enough, but as long as they did not interfere with relations between members of the gentry they were condoned.  The unpardonable sins were lying and meanness of spirit.  [E.A.]

Which led to my conclusion that – whatever else he might be – Donald Trump is not what you would call a “Virginia Gentleman.”  Another aside:  I Googled “donald trump lying” and got 49 million results.  “Donald trump lies” got over 37 million results.  “Donald trump mean spirited” got transformed into “donald trump is mean spirited.”  That got a mere 432,000 results.

Donald TrumpBut among the results from “mean spirited” was a May 2012 piece from Newsmax(The “multiplatform network focused on conservative media…  the most trafficked conservative website,” and – according to one study –  “the number one site for conservatives in the U.S., making it one of the most influential conservative news sites in the nation.”) 

The title of that 2012 article?  Donald Trump [says] Mean-Spirited GOP Won’t Win Elections.  Which made for some interesting reading.

Among the gems:  Trump said he “really doesn’t like to fire people,” a point that was confirmed by a “top aide for 26 years.”  The aide said that “there are two Donalds: the ‘outrageous’ one portrayed on television and the real one only insiders know.”  The private Donald Trump – the aide insisted – is “the dearest, most thoughtful, most loyal, most caring man,” and that “caring side inspires loyalty and is one of his secrets to success.”

But the main Trump point:  “The Republican Party will continue to lose presidential elections if it comes across as mean-spirited and unwelcoming toward people of color.”  Then too:

“The Democrats didn’t have a policy for dealing with illegal immigrants, but what they did have going for them is they weren’t mean-spirited about it,” Trump says.  “They didn’t know what the policy was, but what they were is they were kind.”

But again we digress…  Except to note that the Donald Trump of 2012 seems markedly different than the Donald Trump that we’ve seen as president the last two years…

Getting back to the internet, we’ve seen the Google-term “donald trump lying” got 49 million results, “Donald trump lies” got over 37 million results, and “donald trump is mean spirited” got almost half a million results.  So just to be fair I Googled “donald trump is hospitable,” and got just under 25,000 results.  The term “donald trump is chivalrous” got under 14,000 results.

So there you have it.  “Donald trump is mean spirited” outweighed “donald trump is chivalrous” by a margin of 35 to 1.  And “donald trump lying” outweighed “donald trump is hospitable” by a margin of 3,500 to 1.  Which proves again that – whatever else he might be – Trump is not what you would consider a “Virginia Gentleman.”  (And it’s on the internet so it must be true.)

Bonjour!!!

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The upper image is courtesy of Alexander Spotswood – Wikipedia:

[He] was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the British Army and a noted Lieutenant Governor of Virginia.  He is noted in Virginia and American history for a number of his projects as governor, including his exploring beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains, his establishing what was perhaps the first colonial iron works, and his negotiating the Treaty of Albany with the Iroquois Nations of New York.

Other notes:  “Spotswood Hall,” at the College of William and Mary was named for him, along with “Old Spotswood, a cannon seized during the Revolutionary war,” along with the Spotswood Society.  Spotsylvania County in Virginia is also named for him:  “Spots” + “sylvania” (“woods” in Latin).  The county seat is Spotsylvania Courthouse, the sight of a Civil War battle in May 1864.

Yet another BTW:  “Virginia Gentleman” is also the name of a bourbon, a hot sauce, and a “men’s collegiate a cappella group,” the oldest such group at the University of Virginia,” founded in 1953. 

Re:  Lewis having to transfer to Clark’s rifle company because of a court-martial.  Army regulations at the time forbade officers from either using “reproachful or provoking speeches” to another officer, or challenging him to a duel.  Lewis was charged with “disturbing the peace and harmony of a Company of Officers” by arguing politics.  Not surprisingly, Lewis held “Jeffersonian” views, while the bulk of officers at the time were cherry-picked Federalists.  (Who went on to pass the Alien and Sedition Acts, arguably to quash political opposition.)  When Lewis got thrown out, he challenged the fellow officer – a Lieutenant Eliott – to a duel.  Lewis was found not guilty, in large part because the commander of the “Second Sub-Legion,” Mad Anthony Wayne, thought the regulations were – in a word – stupid:

So the partnership of Lewis and Clark, destined to become the most famous in American history, began because General Wayne preferred to have his officers fight out their differences in a duel rather than in a court-martial and therefore found for the man who had issued the challenge [Lewis] rather than the one who had followed the law and brought charges.

See the “Touchstone” edition, 1997, at pages 45-46.

Re:  The Trump image to the right of the “Newsmax, mean-spirited” graf.  Most recently I borrowed it from the November 16, 2018 post, The Bible says: Blame Trump for “his” mass shootings.

Re:  A Virginia Gentleman being “hospitable and generous, courteous in his relations with his peers, chivalrous toward women, and kind to his inferiors.  There was a high standard of politeness.”  See Cherry-pick[ing] – Idioms … Free Dictionary.  And also Turnabout is fair play – Idioms … Free Dictionary.  To be fair – for example – the term “donald trump is kind to his inferiors” got nearly 13 million results, but those results included Katy Burns:  Trump fumes, and America loses a bit more of of itself, and Donald Trump’s mother asked: ‘What kind of son have I created?’  Another note:  I started typing “donald trump is” and immediately got the primary result, “donald trump is an idiot.”

The lower image is courtesy of Internet Must Be True Bonjour – Image Results.  See the original State Farm “Bonjour” television ad at State Farm® State of Disbelief French Model – YouTube.

Some thoughts on “the Donald,” from two years ago…

An April 2016 post:  Is there a new Maverick in town,” or just another ‘what has been?'”

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Welcome to the “Georgia Wasp…”

This blog is modeled on the Carolina Israelite.  That was an old-time newspaper – more like a personal newsletter – written and published by Harry Golden.  Back in the 1950s, people called him a  “voice of sanity amid the braying of jackals.”  (For his work on the Israelite.)

That’s now my goal as well.  To be a “voice of sanity amid the braying of jackals.”

For more on the blog-name connection, see the notes below.

In the meantime:

Nick Adams The Rebel.JPGOn November 22, 2016 – 18 days after he got elected – I posted Donald Trump – The new Johnny Yuma?  That post borrowed from the earlier, April 16, 2016 post:  “Is there a new ‘Maverick’ in town?”  Which explains the lead photo above, about mavericks in general:

Originally the term referred to “Texas lawyer Samuel Maverick, who refused to brand his cattle.  The surname Maverick is of Welsh origin, from Welsh mawr-rwyce, meaning ‘valiant hero…”  As an adjective the term applies to someone who shows “independence in thoughts or actions.”  As a noun the term means someone “who does not abide by rules.”  Either that, or someone who “creates or uses unconventional and/or controversial ideas or practices.”

That post also asked the “musical question:  ‘Can you say prescient?'”  (That question concerned a candidate for president who – in 1998 – showed “a malignant understanding of how angry words, more than real ideas, can be deployed as weapons of power.”  And it wasn’t Donald Trump.*):

[R]epetition – invoking the same foul claims over and over – can transform outrageous lies into popular understandings.  He blithely changes his facts, positions and personae because he is making it up as he goes along and assumes no one will catch up with the contradictions.  Beneath the mask of conservative idealogue is an amoral pragmatist.

So, we’re now two years into Donald Trump’s presidency, and there are some things all Americans can agree on:  First, that Trump “creates or uses unconventional and/or controversial ideas or practices.”  And second, that he “does not abide by rules.”  But the question remains whether he is a “rebel,” as the old “Johnny Yuma” TV series defined that term:

Yuma faced down intolerance, distrust, greed, confusion and revenge.  Despite his rebellious nature, Yuma respected law and order and despised abuse of power.  He stood up for the weak and downtrodden.  He traveled alone and was often forced to work alone because he was the only one willing to stand up to the bad guys. (E.A.)

It would be hard to say – with a straight face – that Trump “respects law and order,” given his continued insulting of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, for example.  (I Googled “trump insults fbi” and got 2,450,000 results.)  And it could easily be said – with a straight face – that Donald Trump personifies “intolerance, distrust, greed, confusion and revenge.”

Woodstock poster.jpgBut we were talking about “thoughts from two years ago.”  And another tidbit from two years ago came in the November 30, 2016 post, “I dreamed I saw Don Trump last night.”

I wrote of the irony of Trump being seen as a hero by the average blue-collar worker.  Then I imagined a future folk singer – a “dulcet-toned lass” – comparing Trump to Joe Hill, as immortalized by Joan Baez at Woodstock(“I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night…”)  The post cited a pre-election article saying if Trump lost, the “millions of Americans supporting him will feel more isolated and disillusioned than ever before.”  Which raises the question today, “Are those millions of Americans better off now that Trump got elected?”

[M]illions of Americans [have] looked to Trump to save them.  These folks … the angry, white, blue-collar workers who are outraged or terrified that America has become some topsy-turvy multi-cultural nightmare where a hard-working man cannot make a decent living … will emerge from this circus worse off than before [had Trump not been elected…]

Put another way, has Trump “stood up for the weak and downtrodden?”  Has he delivered the goods for the millions of “angry white blue-collar workers” who looked to him for salvation?

Or – instead – Is this (just)“deja vu all over again?”  (Another post from 2016.  That one noted the “brittle, bitter climate of distrust in national politics today:  the loss of civility amid endless personal accusations, the stalemates that develop on issue after issue when both sides are unable to approach the grounds where reasonable compromise can occur.”  And that was in 1998!)   

And about that name, “the Donald.”  It turns out it got started by Ivana Trump‘s “broken English,” then got a boost – from all people – a writer at The Washington Post.

I noted that nickname in a May 12, 2017 post:  “He’ll be impeached within two years:”

If Trump turns out to be as bad as people expect – based on how he presented himself, both in his campaigns and in office – fully 75% of the country could be strongly against him by the time of the mid-term elections in 2018.  Which could turn out to be a single-issue race.

Seal of the U.S. House of RepresentativesThe prediction – based on analysis by a number of pundits – hasn’t yet come to pass.  Though in some respects the 2018 mid-term elections were a single-issue race, at least for the House.

On the other hand, consider the post, Trump is like a box of chocolates,” from November 13, 2016.

It first quoted Professor Allan Lichtman, who predicted in September 2016 that Trump would win the election.  But he went on to say Trump would be impeached, but not by Democrats.  The Republicans – he said – would much rather have Mike Pence as president, as “far easier to control.”

They don’t want Trump as president, because they can’t control him.  He’s unpredictable. They’d love to have [Mike] Pence – an absolutely down-the-line, conservative, controllable Republican…  “Pence in the White House would put a more trusted establishment Republican in the job.”

That hasn’t come to pass either, but that post went on to ask:  “In light of Donald Trump’s chameleon-like shifting political positions – especially since last Tuesday – will he eventually be seen as an ‘effective elected official,’ or a funhouse showman?”

The jury’s still out on that one…

But the part I remember was the “Gump-like” surprise of the election itself, which led one well-known American icon to ask:  “Are you telling me Donald Trump just got elected president?”

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The upper image is courtesy of Maverick (TV series) – Wikipedia.  See also Donald Trump – The new Johnny Yuma (From November 22, 2016.)  And “Is there a new ‘Maverick’ in town?  (April 26, 2016.)  

Re:  The “angry words” candidate who wasn’t Donald Trump.  It was actually Newt Gingrich, as detailed in the November 12, 1998 edition of Rolling Stone magazine.  See the May 9, 2016 post, Is this “deja vu all over again?”

Re:  The November 8, 2016 post:  “He’ll be impeached within two years.”  It includes a screwed-up image to the right of the opening paragraph that I wanted to delete but couldn’t figure out how.

Other past posts from 2016 -considered for inclusion herein – included:  From September 15:  Donald Trump and the Hell’s Angel; from November 8:  ‘Mi Dulce’ – and Donald Trump – made me a Contrarian; and from November 22: Donald Trump – The new Johnny Yuma?

I wanted to close the post with the Calvin and Hobbes [cartoon] for July 07, 1995, but couldn’t cut and paste it.  The punch line was “enmity sells,” and it seems to have been an on-the-mark foreshadowing of Trump’s style of governing.   (Check it out yourself…)

The lower image is courtesy of Forrest Gump (1994) – IMDb, as featured in “Trump is like a box of chocolates.”  See also Forrest Gump – Wikipedia, and Life is like a box of chocolates – Wiktionary.  The latter indicated that the book “Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami, first published in Japanese in 1987, and in English in 1989, has the following: ‘Just remember, life is like a box of chocolates.’”  (I.e., that quote was published some seven years before the movie.)

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Re:  The Israelite.  Harry Golden grew up in the Jewish ghetto of New York City, but eventually moved to Charlotte, North Carolina.  Thus the “Carolina Israelite.”  I on the other hand am a “classic 67-year-old “WASP” – White Anglo-Saxon Protestant – and live in north Georgia.  Thus the “Georgia Wasp.”    

Anyway, in North Carolina Harry wrote and published the “israelite” from the 1940s through the 1960s.  He was a “cigar-smoking, bourbon-loving raconteur.”  (He told good stories.) That also means if he was around today, the “Israelite would be done as a blog.”  But what made Harry special was his positive outlook on life.  As he got older but didn’t turn sour, like many do today.  He still got a kick out of life.  For more on the blog-name connection, see “Wasp” and/or The blog.