Category Archives: Politics

“Let’s hear it for lawyers!”

atticus finch

Atticus Finch:  Old school lawyer who now might say “First thing we do, let’s kill all the clients…“

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Students at Middlebury College shouted down Charles Murray rather than listen to his controversial ideas when he came to speak at their campus in MarchI just read a great piece in the July 13 issue of Time magazine, Free Speech on Campus.

It noted there are some college campuses where a robust freedom of speech still exists.  That is, there are notable exceptions to those college campuses – especially lately – where demonstrations disrupt controversial speakers (As show at left.)

And what are those campuses with freedom of speech still?  They’re called law schools:

 Law school conditions you to know the difference between righteousness and self-righteousness.  That’s why lawyers know how to go to war without turning the other side into an enemy.  People love to tell lawyer jokes, but maybe it’s time for the rest of the country to take a lesson from the profession they love to hate.

Put another way, law schools teach people – and hopefully lawyers as a profession – how to zealously argue the merits of an issue without demonizing their opponentsname calling, or character assassination.  And that’s something we could use in this era of polarized politics.  That is, in this time where “moderate voices often lose power and influence.”

Charles Murray Speaking at FreedomFest.jpegThe article noted the telling example of Charles Murray, shown at right.  He’s a conservative political scientist who argued – for example – “that all social welfare programs cannot be successful and should ultimately be eliminated altogether.”

When he tried to speak at Middlebury College last March 2, he got shouted down.  Rather than listen to his controversial ideas, students chanted “Racist, sexist, anti-gay, Charles Murray, go away” and “Your message is hatred.  We cannot tolerate it.”

Compare that with Murray’s reception at Yale Law School, where Murray spoke “twice during the past few years,” with a different reception:

Students and faculty engaged with him, and students held a separate event to protest and discuss the implications of his work.  But he spoke without interruption.  That’s exactly how a university is supposed to work…   People love to tell lawyer jokes, but maybe it’s time for the rest of the country to take a lesson from the profession they love to hate.  (E.A.)

And speaking of lawyer jokes:  That brings up Dick the Butcher, a character in Shakespeare‘s not-so-well-known play, Henry The Sixth, Part 2 He’s the character who famously said, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”  (The quote is more famous than the play…)

I wrote about Dick the Butcher in On Reagan, Kennedy – and “Dick the Butcher.”  That post from April 2016 noted a number of things about that infamous quote.  But the main point was that maybe people don’t like either lawyers or politicians mostly because they are an accurate reflection of themselves.  (As shown at left;  “Mirror, mirror, on the wall…”)

That is, maybe there are too many nasty-bastard lawyers and politicians precisely because there are too many nasty-bastard clients – and voters – who hire them.  “The problem with lawyers is – after all – that they’re only doing what their clients want them to do.”

Which leads to my better quote:  The first thing we should do is, let’s kill all the clients.”  

Or the nasty-bastard voters who keep electing nasty-bastard politicians to represent them.

But the better course would be to bring back respect for the “professionalism” shown by old school lawyers and politicians.  (The term old school is “commonly used to suggest a high regard for something that has been shown to have lasting value or quality.”)  In this case, it could refer to the kind of professionalism shown by the likes of Ronald Reagan and Ted Kennedy.

For example, even though they were political arch-enemies, Kennedy admired Reagan:

He [Reagan]’s absolutely professional.  When the sun goes down, the battles of the day are really gone.  He gave the Robert Kennedy Medal, which President Carter refused to do…   He’s very sure of himself, and I think that people sense that he’s comfortable with himself…   He had a philosophy and he’s fought for it.  There’s a consistency and continuity at a time when many others are flopping back and forth.  And that’s an important and instructive lesson for politicians, that people admire that.

Having a personal philosophy and fighting for it with consistency and continuity.  And with professionalism.  What a great idea!  Which brings us back to Atticus Finch.

Even though he’s a fictional character, one law-school professor wrote that “the most influential textbook from which he taught was To Kill a Mockingbird.”  Another wrote that “Atticus has become something of a folk hero in legal circles.”  And no small wonder:

The folk hero often begins life as a normal person, but is transformed into someone extraordinary by significant life events…  One major category of folk hero is the defender of the common people against the oppression or corruption of the established power structure.

It is true that Atticus Finch is a fictional character.  And it’s also true that far too many lawyers fail to live up to the standard of “defending the oppressed” that he set.  But the main truth is that lawyers as a whole have made him the kind of folk hero they try to imitate.  And they are willing to listen to and “engage” with people they disagree with, sometimes vehemently.

People like Charles Murray.  Yale law students disagreed with him, some vehemently.  But they were willing to hear him out, to listen to him and engage with him.  And people like Ronald Reagan and Ted Kennedy, political arch-rivals who could “fund-raise” together, back in 1985.

So as I noted in closing the post on Reagan, Kennedy – and “Dick the Butcher:”

Now that’s what I would call True Conservativism

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Two lawyer-like political rivals – in the old days when they could “sup with their enemies…”

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The upper image is courtesy of gospelcoalition.org/blogs … atticus finch.  And as to Atticus Finch – the fictional lawyer in Harper Lee‘s To Kill a Mockingbird – a Michigan Law Review article said “No real-life lawyer has done more for the self-image or public perception of the legal profession.”

The full title of the Time article, Yale Law School Dean: Free Speech on Campus | Time.com.  For an opposing point of view, see No, Law School Didn’t Teach Us to ‘Engage’ With Racists, and Yale Students Demolish A Dean’s Weak Argument | Above the Law:

Confronting racism is difficult, but essential, work.  Promoting civility can undermine this work by policing the tone and speech of those who are oppressed, diverting our attention away from efforts to combat ongoing white supremacy.

Re:  The True Conservativism link:  The article linked-to began by saying that in the last 50 years “the word conservative has undergone diverse changes in meaning and value…  in short, a word reduced in quality of character and integrity.”   The writer –  – added this:

…our conservatism is ultimately the moral exemplification of our conservatorship; that the conservative as conservator guards against violations of our reverent traditions and legacy, and is, in fine, a preserver, a keeper, a custodian of sacred things and signs and texts…

All of which led me to the home page for The Imaginative Conservative.  (Which to some people may seem a contradiction in terms.)  The key difference:  That site offers a “conservatism of hope:”

Far too often, those who call themselves conservative offer nothing in the realm of art, literature, or theology, choosing instead to adopt the petty practices of modern American politics, interrupting questioners and hurling epithets at those who dare to disagree with them.  In addition, an essential part of true conservatism … is a commitment to liberal learning.  [“Be still, my beating heart…”]

Another point of view:  “Moderation is the true conservatism.”  See for example, A Conservative’s Case for Moderation | RealClearPolitics.

The lower image is courtesy of www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/08/senator_ted_kennedy.  The caption:  “Senator Edward Kennedy talks with President Ronald Reagan, left, on June 24, 1985, as they look over an American Eagle that graced President John F. Kennedy’s desk during a fund raising event for the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library at McLean, Virginia.  (AP Photo/Charles Tasnadi).”  

No Donald, you CAN’T pardon yourself…

“Are you telling me that President Donald Trump can’t just up and pardon himself?”

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There’s been a lot of hubbub lately about whether President Donald Trump can pardon himself.

The short answer?  No, he can’t.*

Why?  The simple answer:  The idea that a sitting president could murder someone – in cold blood – and then blithely pardon himself,* is patently absurd.  The idea is so patently absurd that the Founding Fathers would never have dreamed that a future president would be so full of himself that he would even think of that idea, let alone implement it.

Which brings up the “legal theory in American courts” known as the absurdity doctrine:

The absurdity doctrine is a legal theory in American courts.  One type … called “evaluative absurdity,” arises when a legal provision, despite appropriate spelling and grammar, “makes no substantive sense.”  An example would be a statute that mistakenly provided for a winning rather than losing party to pay the other side’s reasonable attorney’s fees.

 (Emphasis added.)   Thus the Absurdity Doctrine would keep a court of law – a judge – from enforcing a statute that rewarded a losing party in a court case.  (By awarding that party attorney’s fees.)  However – according to Donald Trump – the Absurdity Doctrine would not keep him from committing murder – or treason – and then pardoning himself.

Then there’s the long-established legal rule that “no man can be a judge in his own case.”

Natreview.jpgIn fact, it’s so old that it goes back to the original Latin:  “Nemo iudex in causa sua.”  And even the conservative National Review – as seen at right – has called it that “familiar legal principle,” to wit:  That judges must “remove themselves from cases where their own interest is at stake or their bias will come into play.”

(Or put another way, what would Donald Trump’s ardent supporters have said if Bill Clinton had tried to pardon himself?)

Then there is the fundamental tenet of American law that all men are created equal.  The phrase has been called the “immortal declaration,'” and also been called the one phrase in the Declaration of Independence “with the greatest ‘continuing importance.'”

Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch Official Portrait.jpgThen there’s the related idea that no man is above the law.   (It’s also known as the rule of law.)  And that’s a rule of law which at least one Supreme Court justice has vowed to uphold:

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch [ – he was confirmed on April 7, 2017 – ] said Tuesday that “no man is above the law” when pressed on whether President Donald Trump could reinstitute torture as a U.S. interrogation method.

So again the comparison:  According to our newest Supreme Court Justice, Donald Trump could not “reinstitute torture,” but according to Trump he could murder someone – or rape a dozen women, or molest a child – and then pardon himself.

Which – finally – brings up the legal doctrine of equality before the law.

That’s an idea that goes back to the time of the Bible.  For example Deuteronomy 16:19 holds, “You shall not distort justice;  you shall not be partial, and you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous.”

EleanorRooseveltHumanRights.pngPut in more modern terms, the principle holds that “each independent human being must be treated equally by the law,” and that “all people are subject to the same laws of justice (due process).”  “Thus, everyone must be treated equally under the law … without privilegediscrimination, or bias.”

And yet in Donald Trump’s world, that phrase would be turned on its head.  To borrow a phrase from George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm, The Donald might say, “All Americans are equal before the law, but of course I am way more equal than any other American…*”

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The upper image is courtesy of Forrest Gump (1994) – IMDb.  I used the image in the November 13, 2016 post, “Trump is like a box of chocolates.”  (The caption for that post was, “Are you telling me Donald Trump just got elected president?”)  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., some seven years before the movie.)

The image to the left of the first, “simple answer” paragraph is courtesy of The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, by Joseph J. Ellis.  The four Founding Fathers pictured on the cover include Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, John Jay, and James Madison.

“Note” also that an asterisk in the main text indicates a statement supported by a reference detailed further in this “notes” section.  Thus as to the “short answer” that Trump can’t pardon himself:  For an opposing view see Yes, Trump can legally pardon himself or his family.

As to the idea that a “sitting president could murder someone – in cold blood – and then blithely pardon himself,” see The Use of Hypothetical Questions as Weapons at Trial:

Hypothetical questions are a vital tool for a trial lawyer.  Without them, we would have more difficulty proving cases, more difficulty disproving opposing theories, and more difficulty convincing juries of the righteousness of our cause.

The point being there would be literally no limit to Trump’s claim of a complete power to pardon.

Re:  Equality before the law.  The Wikipedia article noted the author Anatole France, who said in 1894 that “In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets, and steal loaves of bread.”

The image to the right of the paragraph starting “Put in modern terms” is courtesy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights link in the Wikipedia article equality before the law.  Caption:  “Eleanor Roosevelt with the Spanish language version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” 

Re:  “I am way more equal.”  The actual quote from Animal Farm occurs when the original laws “are abridged to a single phrase:  ‘All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.'”

For a more learned analysis of the issue at hand, see No, Trump can’t pardon himself. The Constitution tells us so.  Then there’s the article No president can pardon himself:

Here’s some unsolicited advice for President Donald Trump:  Don’t listen to any lawyers who might tell you that you can pardon yourself, or even that it’s a close legal question.  You can’t — and no court is going to rule otherwise.

Or see OPINION | Dershowitz: Can the president pardon himself?  It included the legal tenet that No man is allowed to be a judge in his own case.  That’s from James Madison, in his Federalist 10.

Re:  The National Review on a man judging his own case.  See, Misreading Federalist No. 10

The lower image is courtesy of the web article Attorneys Explain Why Trump Must Be Impeached!  The image was featured in From 11/8/16: “He’ll be impeached within two years…

From 11/8/16: “He’ll be impeached within two years…”

President Trump's first 100 days make it seem like he might not make it through his first term.

Does this look like the face of a president about to be impeached … within two years or otherwise???

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Image may contain: one or more peopleMy last post was on March 22.  Since then, aside from a “pain in the back,” I’ve undergone some other big  life events including but not limited to a surgery – like the one at right – to have a lens put back in one eye.  (See On that nail in my right eye.)

But now things have calmed down a bit, even if only in my own life.  Which means I can get back to blogging

And speaking of stress:  How about that Donald Trump? 

On that note, here are some recent predictions that “the Donald” will end up impeached.

Two are from “one day ago,” as of May 9, 2017.  One said Attorneys Explain Why Trump Must Be Impeached!  (Which included the image at left.)  The second said, 2 Men Pass Away Happy After Believing … Donald Trump Was Impeached:

Two people who recently passed away were led to believe President Trump was impeached. Corliss Gilchrist, of Iowa, was told by a loved one that “Trump’s impeachment process had begun so he would rest in peace,” according to Gilchrist’s obituary.  Gilchrist was a few days from turning 92 years old.  In Oregon, relatives say Michael Elliott, 75, passed away peacefully last month as soon as he was told Trump had been impeached.

The third one – from April 29, 2017 – said this:  After first 100 days, Trump impeachment seems like a safe bet.  That was from the New York Daily News, which – by the way – endorsed George W. Bush for president in 2004Barack Obama in 2008, and Mitt Romney in 2012.  (Arguably showing an editorial stance best called “‘flexibly centrist’ with a populist streak.”)

Briefly, the Daily News compared certain before-and-after “expert predictions” about Trump.  (The paper used the front page at right in 1975, about then-president Ford.)  The first predictions were made in January, and the second set came after Trump’s first 100 days in office.

In January the four experts said – ahead of the inauguration – that Trump had “set himself for potential impeachment.”  After those first 100 days, the predictions got worse:  “The trouble Trump took to the White House has only deepened or expanded in his short tenure…”

But heck, I was saying that back on Election Day.  (November 8, 2016, in case you forgot.)

On the morning of November 8 – when everyone and his brother were predicting Hillary Clinton would be the next president – I prepared some notes, “Just in case Trump gets elected.”

It’s simple math.

Half the country already hates him – and what he seems to stand for.  On the other hand, a large majority of people willing to vote for him simply and sincerely believe that “Washington” is broken and needs to be shaken up.  Or they simply can’t stand Hillary…

That last was based on an observation that 51 percent of Trump backers “mainly oppose Clinton, rather than supporting him.”  That in turn was from the online article, Clinton Continues to Expand National Lead, posted early on the morning of November 6, 2016.

Which brings up the fact that I have that Paranoid Streak shared by many Americans.  Which is another way of saying that in the months leading up to Election Day, I had many a sleepless night, in large part based on the nightmare that Trump might actually end up getting elected…

(That is, on many a sleepless night leading up to the election, I would wake up and have to check the latest online posts, just to make sure the polls still showed that a Responsible Adult would be the next president, not Donald Trump…)  

But he did get elected – I still don’t know how – and the “horror” turned out to be not as bad as expected.  (Or as those great philosophers Crosby, Stills & Nash once said, “You will survive being bested…)  One of the reasons for that includes but is not limited to the fact that the “Sovereign People” seem to be finally coming to their senses, when it comes to “the Donald.”

But we digress…  

I was writing about a prediction – back on Election Day – that even if Trump did get elected, he probably wouldn’t serve a full term.  Then – based on a poll in February – I added this:

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.

For example, challengers for Congressional office could be elected based on the simple vow: “I will vote to impeach Donald.”  (Or convict him, in races for the Senate.)  So in simple self-defense – or more precisely, in hopes of keeping their jobs – those Members already in office will “do a preemptive:”  Move to impeach and convict before the election.

(The poll in question was titled Does Trump’s support have a ceiling — or a floor?)

All of which seems to be coming true.  See for example this from May 10, Poll: Trump’s approval rating sinks, near new record low as base support shrinks, which noted that ” just 36 percent of registered voters approve of the president’s job, with 56 percent saying they disapprove.”

And by the way:  Speaking of the Russian connection, whatever happened to Boris Epshteyn?

According to Wikipedia, Epshteyn served as the “Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations” for the Trump Administration.  Wikipedia added that he served just a little over two months, from January 20 – when Trump took office – to March 25, 2017.

Do you think maybe he was setting a precedent???

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boris epshteyn donald trump foundation solicitation response ath_00023921

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Notes:

The upper image is courtesy of After first 100 days, Trump impeachment seems like a safe bet:

President Trump has courted so much constitutional disaster in his first 100 days that an impeachment now seems like a safe bet, government ethics experts say…  In January, the Daily News spoke with four experts ahead of Trump’s inauguration about how he had set himself for potential impeachment from the moment he took the Oath of Office.  The experts highlighted Trump’s financial conflicts of interest, his hints at obstruction of justice and his potential for perjury in dozens of open lawsuits.  No other President, they argued, had ever taken the job with so many causes to lose it.

The News checked back with those same four experts about Trump’s first 100 days, and they saw only more reasons to anticipate an ouster.  The trouble Trump took to the White House has only deepened or expanded in his short tenure, they said.

For more on the New York Daily News, see Wikipedia, which noted this:

The New York Times has reported that the Daily News has consistently “occupied an inimitable niche, speaking to and for the city’s working class and offering a schizophrenic mix of titillating crime reportage and hard-hitting coverage of public issues…  The Daily Newss editorial stance is “flexibly centrist” with a populist streak.  In presidential elections, the paper endorsed Republican George W. Bush in 2004, Democrat Barack Obama in 2008, Republican Mitt Romney in 2012, and Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The nightmare image is courtesy of wallpapers: Nightmare Wallpaperswallpapers-xs.blogspot.com.

The lower image is courtesy of Trump aide Boris Epshteyn leaving White House.  (CNN.)  See also Boris Epshteyn – Wikipedia.

“Meet Bizarro Trump?”

Bizarro-statue-620

At least you could easily tell the Bizarro version – seen above – from the real Superman

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Remember “The Name Game?”  It was a popular song by Shirley Ellis, released in 1964.  it hit #3 on Billboard Charts, as a rhyming game that created “variations on a person’s name.”  So if we played the game today – with the name of our new president – the variation would be:  “Donald, Donald, bo-bonald, Banana-fana fo-fonald, Fee-fy-mo-monald, Donald!”

And speaking of parlor games

ClassicBizarro.PNGSome time ago I planned a post on “Bizarro Trump.”  (A name that to some may seem “redundant redundant.”)  The allusion would be to the Bizarro Superman, as shown at left.  But as noted, the project is turning out to be way more complicated than I ever imagined.*

As noted in a previous post, “That’s mostly because it’s becoming increasingly difficult these days to tell which version of ‘the Donald‘ is more weird:  Bizarro Trump or the real thing.”

For example, during the campaign Trump threatened to jail Hillary Clinton if he won.  But once he did win, he changed his mind.  (See Trump flips, now opposes prosecution for Clinton, posted 11/22/16.  See also Statement About Putting Hillary in Jail Was a “Quip.”)  Then there was Trump’s red-meat campaign promise to “kill Barack Obama’s unilateral actions to shield hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants from deportation.*”  But then just today – February 21 – he changed his mind again.  (See Trump to spare U.S. ‘dreamer’ immigrants from crackdown.)

So which is the real “Donald,” and which is the “Bizarro Trump?”

In light of the foregoing, here’s another stopgap post while I figure this guy out.

Getting back to the new “Bizarro Trump parlor game…”  The goal in that new game would be to come up with whatever crazy responses, arguments and comments that may pop into your mind.  And which were – or are – the complete opposite of what the real Donald would say.  But as we’ve seen, that’s getting harder and harder to figure out.  But there is one thing this Bizarro Trump could do:  He could blame everything wrong in this country on conservatives.

That would be the “bizarro opposite” of 70 years of hard-line conservatives blaming liberals for everything bad in this country these past 70 years.  (And getting away with it…)  See e.g., Ann Coulter‘s books:  Every Liberal Cause Is Based on a Lie, All Assassins Are LiberalsLiberals are assaulting America.

But Bizarro Trump wouldn’t break a sweat in response.  He’d simply say “No, every conservative cause is based on a lie, all assassins are conservatives, and conservatives are assaulting America!”

See how easy that is?  And conservatives have been doing this for 70 years….

That is, it all seemed to start back in 1947.  Democrats had been in power pretty much since the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, and Republicans had been largely marginalized.  But then came the end of the war, and a strong desire by voters to simply “change horses.”

So for 1947, Wikipedia noted the following transformative events:

On March 12 – “The Truman Doctrine is proclaimed to help stem the spread of Communism.” On May 22 – “The Cold War begins:  In an effort to fight the spread of Communism, President Harry S. Truman signs an Act of Congress that implements the Truman Doctrine.”  Later still – and most ominously – under the heading November 24:

McCarthyism:  The United States House of Representatives votes 346–17 to approve citations of Contempt of Congress against the “Hollywood Ten” after the screenwriters and directors refuse to co-operate with the House Un-American Activities Committee concerning allegations of communist influences in the movie business.  The ten men are blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studios on the following day.

That was followed by a note under “date unknown:”  The already-noted “House Un-American Activities Committee begins its investigations into communism in Hollywood.”

In other words, you could say that 1947 was the year conservatives started blaming liberals for everything bad in this country.  And that trend would continue in the election of 1950.  (And beyond…)

That is, 1950 was when “Tricky Dick” Nixon accused his opponent in the California Senate race of being “pink right down to her underwear.” This suggestion that his opponent “sympathized with the Soviet Union” referred to Helen Gahagan Douglas.

As Wikipedia noted, Nixon implied that Douglas was a Communist “fellow traveler.”  The end result?  Nixon won the election with more than 59 percent of the vote, and Gahagan Douglas’ political career came to an end.

Which seems especially ironic given the results of the 2016 presidential election.  (When hard-line conservatives seemed to say it was fine if the Russians affected election results, so long as their candidate won.  And a historical note:  Gahagan Douglas, “in return, popularized a nickname for Nixon which became one of the most enduring nicknames in American politics: “Tricky Dick.”)

But we seem to be digressing…

The idea for this Bizarro Trump came when I remembered an old Seinfeld TV episode, The Bizarro Jerry.  The Seinfeld episode in turn referred to the earlier twin concepts of both the Bizarro Superman and the Bizarro World, as described in by DC Comics.

Bizarro is depicted as having all the abilities of Superman, although these traits are reversed, such as[:]  “freeze vision” instead of heat vision[;]  “flame breath” instead of freeze breath[; and] “vacuum breath” instead of super breath…

In the case of the real Donald, he campaigned as pretty much “the ultimate anti-Obama.”  (Or perhaps the “BIzarro Obama…”)  Which means the reverse-trait Bizarro Trump should be the very model of moderation, cooperation and compromise.  (See “Frankentrump” … Trump [As] Manifestation Of The GOP’s Obstructionism And Extremism.)

But that probably isn’t going to happen any time soon.

Which brings us back to the Bizarro Jerry episode prompting this post.  It showed Jerry, George and Kramer meeting their “weird” – to them – doppelgängersKevin, Gene and Feldman:

Kevin [is] Jerry’s opposite since Kevin is reliable and kind, contrasted to Jerry’s forgetfulness and indifference.  Gene is shown to be quiet, courteous, charitable and well-dressed as opposed to George being loud, obnoxious, cheap and slobbish.  Feldman acts generously to his friends…  He also always knocks on Kevin’s door and waits for him to unlock it[, unlike] Kramer, who constantly takes Jerry’s groceries and bursts through his door without warning.

Now about those doppelgängers.  They’re kind of “bizarro opposites” as well.  For example, Edgar Allan Poe described such a “bizarro double” has having the “sinister, demonic qualities of a pursuer or challenger of the real self.”  Dostoyevsky represented a doppelgänger as an “opposite personality who exploits the character failings of the protagonist to take over his life.”  And in Alfred Hitchcock‘s The Case of Mr. Pelham, the title character “has a paranoid suspicion that he has a double who is slowly taking over his life.”

All of which may sound vaguely familiar to anyone keeping up with politics these days.

In the end, it’s hard to imagine what kind of “real Donald” will emerge over the next four years. (Or less.  See Professor predicts President Trump will be impeached.)  But who knows?  Some day soon we may be treated to a “bizarro” confrontation in politics like the one shown below…

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Kramer, George and Jerry – at right – meet their “bizarro opposites…”

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Notes:

The upper image is courtesy of kotobukiya created a statue that the bizarro version of jerry seinfeld would totally get on board with … dailydead.com:  “Standing eight inches tall, this Bizarro anti-Superman statue is based on DC Comics’ New 52 version of the popular villain and will be released in November [2016].”  (Which is actually kind of appropriate…)

“Note” also that an asterisk in the main text indicates a statement supported by a reference detailed further in this “notes” section.  Thus as to the “project [being] more complicated than I imagined,” see the beginning of  the last post, “That which doesn’t kill me…”

Also, as to Parlor games [spelled “p-a-r-l-o-u-r” in the article], Wikipedia defined the term as a “group game played indoors.  During the Victorian era in Great Britain and in the United States, these games were extremely popular among the upper and middle classes.  They were often played in a parlour, hence the name.”

Re: Trump’s promise to “kill Barack Obama’s unilateral actions to shield…”  See Immigration hard-liners angered by Trump’s softer tone “Dreamers.”  

The “Tricky Dick and Pink Lady” image is courtesy of Tricky Dick and the Pink Lady: Richard Nixon vs. Helen Gahagan Douglas …barnesandnoble.com.

Re:  The “old Seinfeld episode, Bizarro Jerry.”  It was the 137th episode, and the third episode for the eighth season.  Originally aired on October 3, 1996, the “title and plot extensively reference the Bizarro (the polar opposite of Superman) and Bizarro-Earth concepts that originally appeared in various comic books published by DC Comics.”

The lower image is courtesy of Bizarro Jerry – WikiSein, the Seinfeld Encyclopediaseinfeld.wikia.com.

“That which doesn’t kill me…”

A portrait of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, by artist Edvard Munch – of whom more later…

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Bizarro-statue-620As noted at the end of the last post,* my next post was supposed to be on the idea of a “Bizarro Trump.” (An idea based in part on the Bizarro Jerry and in turn the Bizarro Superman, one interpretation of which is seen at left.)  

But the project is turning out to be more complicated than I thought.  That’s mostly because it’s becoming increasingly difficult these days to tell which version of “the Donald” is more weird: Bizarro Trump or the real thing.   So here’s a kind of stopgap post.

The theme for this post is that no matter how bad our current political situation may seem now, we will get through it.  And more than that, we’re going to come out stronger.  Or as Friedrich Nietzsche put it in Twilight of the Idols:  “What does not kill me, makes me stronger.”

And incidentally, the alternate title was “How to Philosophize with a Hammer.”

Will (1982) video tape cover.jpgAnd speaking of philosophizing with a hammer:  Nietzsche’s phrase got some notoriety back in 1977.  That’s when G. Gordon Liddy was released from prison for his role in the Watergate scandal.  And when he was released he quoted the phrase to reporters.  But he quoted it In the original German – “Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich stärker” – which of course caused those reporters to scramble for a translation.

In turn it should be noted that in the movie version of Liddy’s life – as seen at right – the phrase was translated, “What doesn’t destroy me, makes me stronger.”  See Friedrich Nietzsche – Wikiquote. (Which included another timely quote: “Everything the State says is a lie, and everything it has it has stolen.”  Depending – I suppose – on which party is in power…)

And now for some background:  Nietzsche (1844-1900) was a “German philosophercultural criticpoetphilologist, and Latin and Greek scholar whose work has exerted a profound influence on Western philosophy and modern intellectual history.”

But unfortunately, Nietzsche’s work came into disrepute after it became indelibly associated with Fascism and Nazism.   Put another way, his “growing prominence suffered a severe setback when his works became closely associated with Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich.”

Nietzsche187a.jpgThat is, one key to understanding – or misunderstanding – Nietzsche was his concept of the Übermensch.  In English the term is often translated as “Superman,” but it’s also translated as Overman, Superhuman, Hyperman, or Hyperhuman.  

Ironically, some scholars have seen the term as referring to a person “willing to risk all for the sake of enhancement of humanity.”*  Which of course would be a good thing.  But somewhere along the line the idea got bastardized – by other Germans and at a later time – for pure political gain:

The term Übermensch was utilized frequently by Hitler and the Nazi regime to describe their idea of a biologically superior Aryan or Germanic master race [and] became a philosophical foundation for the National Socialist ideas…  The Nazi notion of the master race also spawned the idea of “inferior humans” (Untermenschen) which could be dominated and enslaved;  [however] this term does not originate with Nietzsche.  Nietzsche himself was critical of both antisemitism and German nationalism.

See Übermensch – Wikipedia.  But there are of course differing points of view.

For example, What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Weaker | Psychology Today, which noted the irony that Nietzsche’s own life was ” rather short and miserable.”  (So much for his being a “Superman.”)  Or “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Really?:

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”  Nietzsche, history’s greatest angsty teenage boy, blithely asserted this whopper of an untruth in his 1888 book “Twilight of the Idols…” [But] Nietzsche’s struggle with Syphilis at the end of his life did not make him stronger.  It weakened his body and mind, to the degree that his work was later able to be twisted into Nazi propaganda.

On the other hand, we’re not talking about individuals here.  We’re talking about We the People, the ongoing, undying American entity that survived a bloody Civil War, a Great Depression and two World Wars.  And after each catastrophe, we as a people came out stronger.

And so it will be with our current political situation.  In the meantime there’s this note:  The famous artist Edvard Munch did the portrait of Nietzsche shown at the top of the page.  But he was also famous as the artist who painted “The Scream,” shown below.

Which pretty much sums up how I feel these days, when surveying the current political scene.

(Or after a round-and-round conversation with “Mi Dulce,” but that’s a whole ‘nother story…*)

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The Scream, by Edvard Munch, 1906.

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The upper image is courtesy of Friedrich Nietzsche – Wikipedia.  The caption:  “Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche by Edvard Munch, 1906.”

“Note” also that an asterisk in the main text indicates a statement supported by a reference detailed further in this “notes” section.  Thus, as to the last post, see Obama was “our president” too.

Re:  “Willing to risk all for the sake of enhancement of humanity.”  See “Nietzsche’s idea of [an] overman [Ubermensch] and life from his point of view.

Re: “Mi Dulce.”  See ‘Mi Dulce’ – and Donald Trump – made me a Contrarian.

The lower image is courtesy of Edvard Munch – Wikipedia.  See also The Scream – Wikipedia, which noted that  the title was “given to each of four versions of a composition, created as both paintings and pastels, by Norwegian Expressionist artist Edvard Munch between 1893 and 1910.”  One critic described the work(s) as “an icon of modern art, a Mona Lisa for our time.”  The article further noted that Munch did five versions, two in 1893, two in 1895 and one in 1910.  The most recognizable version is said to be the 1893 “oil, tempera and pastel on cardboard,” and is currently located at the National Gallery in Oslo, Norway.

Obama was “our president” too…

An illustration of Karma – where the term “Trumpism,” might be substituted…

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Well, it didn’t happen.  On Inauguration Day we didn’t have another “deja vu all over again,” in terms of a Hard Hat Riot like in May 1970.  (Or – five years earlier – of Hell’s Angels Attacking a Peace Protest.)

That is, on Inauguration Day 2017 we didn’t have history repeating Itself.  (As I feared in the last post, or at least not to the extent of the Hard Hat Riots of 1970.)  And BTW:  The caption for the photo at left reads:

Hard hats on cabinet table after Nixon meeting with supporting construction trades group (05/26/1970) less than three weeks after the New York City Hard Hat Riot.

Meaning this:  A few weeks after hard-hat construction workers beat up peace protesters in 1970 – with lead pipes and crowbars – President Richard Nixon invited them to the White House.  Which leads to this question:  If either “Hard hats” or Bikers for Trump had started beating up protesters on Inauguration Day 2017, would the Donald have invited them to the White House for a similar “victory lap,” like Nixon?  Fortunately, we didn’t have to find out…

Also incidentally, within four years of the Hard-hat riot, Richard Nixon resigned under the threat of impeacnment.  See also That OTHER “Teflon Don,” which wondered back in March 2016 whether – if Donald Trump did manage to get elected – “he may well be the first president in American history to get both impeached and convicted.”

On other hand, that post also noted that Trump might just surprise us, like that “other Great American Showman, P. T. Barnum.”  (That is, though often called the Prince Of Humbug, Barnum later ran for office and turned out to be a quite effective “public servant.*”)

Which brings us to certain Facebook exchanges in the days after the inauguration.  A Facebook friend (“FF”) wrote, “Donald Trump is now our president.”  (Which of course included an unspoken addendum:  “And so we should all support him even if we voted for Hillary.”)  That led to a couple of thoughts.

First, “Obama was our president too,” as already noted.  And second:  “Where the hell have you been the last eight years?”  But I didn’t respond with either of those thoughts.  As to Trump being now our president I replied, “So was Lyndon Johnson, and we ran his ass out of town!”

The “FF” caught me at a bad moment.

35But that led me to go back and review the moment – in 1968 -when then-president Johnson shocked the nation by saying, “I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.”  (Caricatured at left.)

Ironically, he did so to help “guard against divisiveness and all its ugly consequences.”  He added, “I should not permit the Presidency to become involved in the partisan divisions that are developing in this political year.”  (Which led to this thought: Oh, for an hour of Johnson…”)

That in turn led me to two other web articles:  1) Specter of Lyndon Johnson haunts Trump as President-elect, and New president should remember fates of LBJ and Richard Nixon:

Trump has been elected precisely because most people, including even many people who did not vote for him, understand that the country has declined during the Obama administration – that living standards for the majority are eroding, that the touted national health insurance legislation has only made costs explode without covering everyone, and that the country’s standing in the world has diminished…

Which could lead to this response by “Bizarro Trump.”  (Discussed more fully in the next post and as shown in the bottom image.)  Bizarro Trump would say:  “If America has ‘declined’ over the past eight years, it’s all the fault of those right-wing traitors in Congress!

Luther Martin - Hulton Archive / Stringer/ Archive Photos/ Getty ImagesTo extend that thought:  They’re the ones who refused to deal with Obama; who refused to compromise.  In doing so they violated the spirit of American politics, going back to the Constitution itself.  (See U.S. Constitutional Convention:  Key Compromises, and also Why the GOP Became the Party of No.  That article – from 2012 – detailed “the Republican plot to obstruct President Obama before he even took office.”)

Incidentally, Googling “the party of no” got me some 8,890,000 results.

And that brings us back to karma.  My theory is:  If you put together Exodus 22:28, Luke 6:38,  Hosea 8:7, and the concept of karma, you come up with this:

Donald Trump can’t do what he’s done and say what he’s said – especially as a candidate – without karma coming back and biting him on the ass!

And that brings us back to Trumpism, as illustrated in the top image, a political cartoon from 1918.  (Another BTW:  Googling “Trumpism” got me 606,000 results.)  By substituting “Trumpism” for the term “militarism,” you get the idea that people generally reap what they sow, and that those who live by the sword shall die by the sword.

All of which led me to the idea of a post on a new parlor game, “Bizarro Trump.”  (Based in part on Bizarro Jerry and Bizarro Superman.)  The tentative caption for the lead image below:  “Does this guy look familiar?  (At least metaphorically?)  BTW:  He ‘debuted‘ in November 2016…”

That idea – of Americans using Trump’s tactics against him – will be explored more fully in the next post.  In the meantime, Democrats should probably hone their skill at gutter politics

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Bizarro-statue-620

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Notes:

The upper image is courtesy of Karma – Wikipedia.  It accompanies a segment on the suggestion that the term is “akin to ‘Christian notions of sin and its effects’ …  that the Christian teaching on Last Judgment according to one’s charity is a teaching on karma.  Christianity also teaches morals such as reap what one sows (Galatians 6:7) and live by the sword, die by the sword (Matthew 26:52).

 “Note” also that an asterisk in the main text indicates a statement supported by a reference detailed further in this “notes” section.  Thus, as to P.T. Barnum turning out to be an effective politician:

Barnum supposedly coined the phrase “There’s a sucker born every minute,” which sounds like classic Donald Trump.  On the other hand, he served two terms in the Connecticut legislature, then got elected Mayor of Bridgeport, CT, in 1875, where he “worked to improve the water supply, bring gas lighting to streets, and enforce liquor and prostitution laws.”  He also favored the abolition of slavery and worked hard for “African-American suffrage.”

Barnum hull image2.jpgSee That OTHER “Teflon Don.”  As to the “Prince Of Humbug,” that link refers to one musical number from Barnum, the Broadway play “based on the life of showman P. T. Barnum.”  The original Broadway production opened in 1980, and was later revived “at the Chichester Festival Theatre from 15 July to 31 August 2013.”  (Which leads to the question:  “A century from now will there be a Broadway musical based on the life of Donald Trump?”) 

Re:  Karma.  It refers to the “spiritual principle of cause and effect.” Wikipedia:

[The] actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect).  Good intent and good deed contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering.

Re:  “Oh, for an hour of Johnson.”  The original phrase was “Oh, but for an hour of [Andrew] Jackson.” See History for Kossacks: Election of 1860 – Daily Kos, which – speaking of the interlude between Abraham Lincoln’s election and his actually taking office in 1860 – noted:

Lincoln found himself armed with nothing but words to stop the South from seceding before he could even take office…   President James Buchanan, nearing 70 … looked at the Constitution and saw his hands being tied by a lack of specific instruction.  The cry went up from frustrated members of his own party: “Oh, but for an hour of Jackson!

The image to the right of the paragraph “the ones who refused to compromise” is of Luther Martin, the Founding Father who promoted the Great Compromise that made the Constitution possible.

Re:  The Bible citations and karma.  Exodus 22:28 reads, “You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people.”  (As to the last eight years, see “more honored in the breach.”)  Luke 6:38 holds that the measure you use will be the measure you receive.  (In the ISV, “you’ll be evaluated by the same standard with which you evaluate others.”)  Which arguably nullifies the mandate of Exodus 22:28, as to those people who failed to observe it.  And finally – on this point – there’s this gem from Hosea 8:7, “They that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind.”

Re:  “Trumpism.”  The noted “606,000 results” included Donald Trump and the Causes of ‘Trumpism’ – The Atlantic.  Those eight causes included Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh and Roger Ailes – among others – contributing to “raging populism; coarsened culture; bitter, invective-laced politics; demagoguery and nativism.”

Re:  “Gutter politics.”  The link in the text is to Cruz Condemns Trump’s ‘Gutter Politics’ – The Daily Beast.  See also Trump campaign blasts Clinton’s ‘gutter politics,’ and Cruz defends Huckabee, accuses Obama of ‘gutter politics.’

The lower image is courtesy of kotobukiya created a statue that the bizarro version of jerry seinfeld would totally get on board with … dailydead.com:  “Standing eight inches tall, this Bizarro anti-Superman statue is based on DC Comics’ New 52 version of the popular villain and will be released in November [2016].”  (Which is actually kind of appropriate…)

The original “lower image” was going to be the painting at right, of “The senators encircl[ing] Caesar,” and referring to Roman senators literally stabbing Caesar in the back.  (Not merely metaphorically, as has been the case for the last eight years.)  That image would have been courtesy of Julius Caesar – Wikipedia, with the caption:  “The senators encircle Caesar, a 19th-century interpretation of the event by Carl Theodor von Piloty.”  The event is detailed further in Assassination of Julius Caesar – Wikipedia, which includes a similar painting by Vincenzo Camuccini, “La morte di Cesare.”

A funeral and an NTE (Near-Ticket Experience)

Image may contain: night

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything.  In fact it’s been since December 6, when I posted “I dreamed I saw Don Trump last night.”   But I have a good excuse:  I had to go to a funeral.

My aunt died on December 7.  She was a mere 80 years old, and so still fairly young by today’s standards.  (Especially as I myself get closer to that age.)  But she had a host of health problems, and so it wasn’t really surprising to get a text from my sister-in-law on December 3.  It said Joan was in the ICU, “critical but stable.”  But unfortunately she went downhill from there.

So I had to attend “another stinkin’ funeral!”  (As we say in our family, having gone through too many lately.)  I had to work up until 2:00 in the afternoon, last Saturday, the 10th.  Then I headed north, making Gastonia (NC) that night.

The following day I had an NTE.  (Near-Ticket Experience, an allusion to an NDE, as illustrated at right.)

I had crossed the line into Virginia about noon, on I-85, and about 20 minutes later some obnoxious guy in a brand-new BMW passed me.  (The BMW was so new it still had the paper-temporary license tag.)  To make matters worse, he did the old “thread the needle trick,” squeezing between two cars – one was mine – as we rocketed along about 76 mph.

At first I was a bit miffed, but then I figured I’d use him as a “rabbit car.”  A Rabbit Car is the mythical entity by which you can go well over the speed limit but not get caught.  The theory is that the police will stop the rabbit car first.

So, we were both barreling along about 85 mph.  I was slightly behind, and in the right-hand lane.

Right there on I-85 in Virginia the median is full of trees and woods, interspersed with service roads between the north-bound and south-bound sets of lanes.

And in one such service road I saw a police car.

Unfortunately the obnoxious guy in the new BMW saw him first, so he slowed down first.  Which meant that I actually passed him before I could slow down myself.

There were seven or eight cars fairly close behind us, so the trooper had to wait to pull out.  But sure enough, in my rear-view mirror I could see him get out on the road and start to follow us.  Then – quite soon after that – he turned on his “rollers” and sped up.

So I slowed down a whole lot, and also tried getting into the “rocking chair” position, nestled snugly between two other cars, one right in front of me and one right behind.

And for a moment or two I cursed my luck.  I didn’t need either an expensive ticket or an increase in insurance rates.  But fortunately the trooper passed me and commenced to pull over the obnoxious guy in the BMW.  (Who by then was about 10 car lengths ahead of me.)

After my heart-rate and breathing got back to near normal, I figured there was some kind of object lesson there…  I may write more about the funeral later, but speaking of object lessons, I got another one a day or two after I got back.

I made it back home from the funeral on Thursday, the 15th.  I worked all day Friday, and Friday night was busy unpacking and getting stuff sorted out.  Then this happened on Saturday…

I was at K-Mart, buying wrapping paper.  It came out to $4.76, so I handed the sweet young cashier a 5-dollar bill and a penny.  She said, “Sir, it’s four dollars and seventy-six cents.”  And I said, “Yes, it is.”  So she said again, real slow,  “Sir, the price is four dollars and seventy-six cents.” I said, “Yes, and I gave you a five and a penny.”

So once again she repeated – pointing to each individual number on the cash register, one number at a time – “Sir, it’s four dollars and seventy-six cents.”  (As noted, she said it really slow, like she was talking to a moron, or an old geezer.  As in, “OMG, this old guy came in today…”)

Naturally my mind HAD been racing with all kinds of thoughts, off in la-la land, your might say.

Part of it was the hectic travel involved in the funeral I’d just been to, and part of it was the upcoming Christmas season, with all the demands that go along with it.  But this little encounter slowed me down.  (“Grounded me,” you might say.)  

I had been on automatic pilot, but now I had to be “in the moment”

So finally I was able to “become the moment,” and explain.  I said to her, real slow, “If I had given you a five dollar bill, you would have had to hand me six coins back.  Two dimes and four pennies.  But by handing you a 5-dollar bill and a penny, all you have to do is give me ONE coin back, a quarter.”  So she said, “Oh…”

I figure that somewhere in this combination of experience there’s yet another object lesson.

But one thing is, one day her generation is going to be running the country.  Like when we’re in our nursing homes.  I mean, who knows? These young people today might end up electing some doofus who’s totally unqualified and untrained to run the country!

Oh, wait…

Or they might do things like rocket along an interstate highway at 85 miles an hour – or more – two cars at a time, on some delusional “rabbit car” theory.

In the meantime, the encounter with the cashier reminded of the cartoon below.

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The upper image is courtesy of Police Car Lights Flashing …police led light bar …galleryhip.com.

The lower image is courtesy of http://lowres.cartoonstock.com/food-drink-koala-koala_bear.”

“I dreamed I saw Don Trump last night…”

Baez stands behind a too-tall podium bristling with microphones, wearing a plaid sleeveless top, longish hair in a feather cut

50 years hence, will some dulcet-toned lass sing “I dreamed I saw Don Trump last night?”

*   *   *   *

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.)

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:

Woodstock poster.jpgA word of explanation:  50 years from now that dulcet-toned lass could 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 Woodstockback in the summer of 1969.

Another word of explanation.  The day after the last election – November 9, 2016, in case you’ve forgotten – a phrase came trickling up from my memory vault.  In fact, I did a post on Facebook, reminding people of “what Joan Baez said:  ‘DON’T MOURN.  ORGANIZE!

But then I had to explain it was actually Joe Hill who said that, but she’s the one who made the saying famous.  (At Woodstock, “back in our hippie days.”)  As an aside, Joe Hill was both a labor activist and a song-writer, and as such was credited with inventing the term pie in the sky.

(Which could also refer to Donald Trump, but that would mean going off on a tangent…)

So anyway – and to make a long story short:  Today I finally uploaded Joan’s “Joe Hill last night,” and listened to it on my iPod Shuffle as I did my weekly two hours of kayaking.

That’s when I was struck by the line at the end of the song:  “Where working men defend their rights, it’s there you’ll find Joe Hill.”  Which is what makes the resulting comparison in this post so ironic.  (Either that, or incongruous.  I always get those two  mixed up.)

A black-and-white photograph of Donald Trump as a teenager, smiling and wearing a dark uniform with various badges and a light-colored stripe crossing his right shoulder. This image was taken while Trump was in the New York Military Academy in 1964.The thing is, in some strange way Donald Trump – educated at the New York Military Academy, then the Wharton School (at right) and worth an estimated 3.7 billion dollars* – has somehow become a hero to the (white) American working man.

See for example Trump’s fans have more to lose than Trump himself.  That article noted that whatever the outcome of the election, Trump would remain “more or less intact … rich and privileged and more famous than ever.”  However:

The same cannot be said for the millions of Americans who 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.

See also Donald Trump a working man’s hero in US coal country.

But the future may not be so rosy for The Donald.  In another line from from “Joe Hill,” Joan Baez noted, “‘The Copper Bosses killed you Joe, They shot you Joe’ says I.”  In DJT’s case, the same professor who predicted – back in September – that Trump would win is now saying that he’ll be impeached.  And in another irony the Democrats won’t be behind the impeachment.

Professor Allan Lichtman recently noted that Republicans are nervous about Donald Trump, for reasons including that he’s a “loose cannon” and that no one know what he really believes.  “He can’t be controlled.  The Republicans would vastly prefer to have Mike Pence, an absolutely predictable down-the-pipe conservative Republican.*”

Which – you could say – was what happened to Joe Hill.  The “Copper bosses” couldn’t control him, so they had him convicted of murder in a “controversial trial.”  In Donald’s case, if his party bosses can’t control him, they may resort to impeaching him in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, and seeing him convicted in the Republican-controlled Senate.

 (See also – for example – That OTHER “Teflon Don,” which noted – back in March – that Trump “may well be the first president in American history to get both impeached and convicted.”)

And if that were to happen, Trump would remain forever as a hero to many.  (Untarnished by his actual performance in office.)  As the original song said, “Takes more than guns to kill a man…  Says Joe ‘I didn’t die.'”  And it may well take more than an impeachment-and-conviction to tarnish the Donald’s reputation with the American working man.  

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!

*   *   *   *

Hey, it could happen!

*   *   *   *

The upper image is courtesy of Joan Baez – Wikipedia.  The caption:  “Baez playing at the March on Washington in August 1963.”  See also the “Portrait of Joan Baez in 1961.”

For a live version of the song see Joan Baez Live @ Woodstock 1969 Joe Hill.mpg – YouTube, or Joan Baez At Woodstock: Her Song For Joe Hill (VIDEO).”  For the full lyrics see JOAN BAEZ LYRICS – Joe Hill.

Re:  “Hence.”  I used the term in main caption in the sense of “archaic, of a length of time,” and/or meaning “in the future from now.”  An example:  “A year hence it will be forgotten.”

Re:  Joe Hill.  See Wikipedia, which noted that as a labor activist and songwriter, he was “variously celebrated as a martyr or a villain.”  And as a song-writer, one of his best-known songs was “The Preacher and the Slave,” in which he coined the phrase “pie in the sky.”

Re:  “Memory vauit.”  The link will take you to Confabulation – Wikipedia, which defined the term in psychiatry as “a disturbance of memory, defined as the production of fabricated, distorted or misinterpreted memories about oneself or the world.”  (Which could “also again” refer to Donald Trump, but as in the main text “that would mean going off on [another] tangent.”)

“Note” also that an asterisk in the main text indicates a statement supported by a reference detailed in these “notes.”  Thus, as to the professor predicting Trump’s impeachment, see Professor predicted Trump win, says he will be impeached.

Re: Trump’s net worth.  See Donald Trump Net Worth | Bankrate.com.

The lower image is courtesy of APG 146 – When Pigs Fly?airlinepilotguy.com.  See also Flying pig – Wikipedia, which defined the phrase in pertinent part as “an adynaton—a figure of speech so hyperbolic that it describes an impossibility.”

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Re:  The Israelite.  Harry Golden wrote and published it from the 1940s through the 1960s.  He was a “cigar-smoking, bourbon-loving raconteur.”  (Another way of saying 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 so many do today.  He still got a kick out of life.  And for more on the blog-name connection, see “Wasp” and/or The blog.

On Alice and her restaurant – yet again…

reprise from last December’s Alice’s Restaurant – Revisited.  

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Last December I posted Alice’s Restaurant – Revisited.  It included the photo-montage above, but who’da thunk it?  Who would have thought that one of those men – (the guy at top center) – would be elected president, a year later, in 2016?  (And I’m sure Donald didn’t inhale either.)

So once again the question is:  “Can you say prescient?”

But back to the point.  Alice’s Restaurant – Revisited was about a Thanksgiving tradition I started back in 1993.  Listening – every Thanksgiving – to the full 18 minutes and 34 seconds of Alice’s Restaurant.  (The “musical monologue by singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie,” released in 1967.)

I do that to “help my team win.”  Just like Moses did, holding his arms up at the Battle of Rephidim.  (At right.)

That is, Moses held his arms up at the Battle of Rephidim to help his team win.  I do the same thing, in part by listening to Alice’s Restaurant every Thanksgiving.  (To help my team beat its hated arch-rival, just like Moses helped his team beat “the dreaded Amalekites.”  For more see On football, Moses and Rephidim.)

But this year is different.  My team is out of the hunt for a national championship, so the outcome of tonight’s game isn’t going to change much.  (At most it’ll be the difference between going 9-3 in the regular season, or “falling” to 8-4.)  So whatever happens tonight, “we” will still have to wait until next year to win “our” fourth national championship.

This year is different because there are bigger events going on in the world outside sports.

The biggest difference?  This country has now embarked on what we might call “the Donald Experiment.”  Which means the question to be decided over the next four years is whether Donald Trump can deliver on the veritable plethora of promises that he made in his recent campaigns.  (First for the Republican nomination, then for the presidency itself.)  

Or whether those promises are merely “negotiable campaign devices.*”

Alice's Restaurant.jpgAnd that’s where Alice’s Restaurant comes back in.  For one thing, the full title of the song refers to the “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,” and as Wikipedia noted:

The term “massacree,” used by Guthrie[,] is a colloquialism originating in the Ozark Mountains that describes “an event so wildly and improbably and baroquely messed up that the results are almost impossible to believe.”  It is a corruption of the word massacre … but carries a much lighter and more sarcastic connotation, never being used to describe anything involving actual death.

In turn that phrase – so wildly and improbably and baroquely messed up that the results are almost impossible to believe – perfectly describes the election we just went through.

But getting back to the song itself:  “Alice’s Restaurant” described the Kafkaesque way that Guthrie managed to avoid the Draft – illustrated at right – in 1965.  Briefly, he was rejected because he’d been convicted of littering on Thanksgiving Day.  There followed his encounter with the “surreal bureaucracy at the New York City induction center at 39 Whitehall Street:”

[A]sked whether he had ever been convicted of a crime, Guthrie mentioned the littering incident, and learned that incident was bureaucratically indistinguishable from a violent felony…  In Guthrie’s words, they wanted “to know if I’m moral enough to join the Army – burn women, kids, houses and villages – after bein’ a litterbug.”  (E.A.)

Or as I noted in Alice’s Restaurant, in that song “Arlo Guthrie turned a patently absurd situation into a timeless classic.”  Which brings us back to the challenges raised by a Trump presidency.

To many this last election presents many Americans with a “patently absurd situation.”  But it could also present both a challenge and an opportunity.

Official portrait of Vice President Joe Biden.jpgOr in the immortal words of Joe Biden (at left):

“Calling it an opportunity is a little like saying:  ‘I’ve been dropped in the water that is shark-infested.  But you know, it’s an opportunity.  If I make it to shore, I will set a world’s record.  No one has ever done this before.”*

So if – on the morning after the last election – you started to feel like the next four years will be something like swimming in shark-infested waters, remember this:  It’s an opportunity!

But we digress…  We were talking about the Alice’s Restaurant Massacree and other such blasts from the past.  Which brings up another point that I made in Alice … Revisited:

Alice’s Restaurant reminds us that – for many folks – those good old days weren’t so good[, as seen in the] image at right: “segregated seating at the Super Bowl in 1955.”

Segregated Super Bowl 1955And here’s that image, of “segregated seating …1955.”  You can see the full image at Alice’s Restaurant – Revisited, but the point I’m wondering about is whether we’ve made any progress at all.

Or – to put it another way – there always seems to be a significant segment of Americans who keep wanting to drag us back into the past.  And that’s true even though for many people, “those good old days weren’t so good.”

So it seems to me the slogan “Make America Great Again” carries an implied proviso:  “That is, ‘great’ for the people who did have it made back in the good old days.”

But just for kicks, how about this slogan instead:  Make America Better! 

As in, make America better for all those people who didn’t have it so good back in those “good old days.”  Or for that matter, those people who don’t have it so good right now.  And how about working to Make America Better by fulfilling that promise on the Statue Of Liberty:

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…  Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

And that brings us back to the election we just went through.  In some ways the outcome of that election is perfectly illustrated by this, The House GOP just took the whitest selfie ever:

The House GOP surrounds VP-elect Mike Pence in this extremely bright, white selfie

Which brings up this observation:

“Sometimes you don’t know whether to laugh or cry…”

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The upper image – which I borrowed from Alice … Revisited – is courtesy of courtesy of Liberal group claims Mitt Romney, Dick Cheney, Donald Trump, others are draft dodgers.  “Note” also that an asterisk in the main text indicates a statement supported by a reference detailed in these “notes.” Thus, as to Trump’s promises being negotiable or campaign devices, see Before taking office, Trump signals campaign promises are negotiableAll the Campaign Promises Donald Trump Has Broken in the Last 24 Hours, and/or Trump backs away from some of his strident campaign promises.

The “Draft” image is courtesy of Draft evasion – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The caption, “U.S. anti-Vietnam War protesters at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.  A placard to the right reads ‘Use your head – not your draft card.’”

Re: The image “segregated seating at the Super Bowl in 1955.”  In Alice’s Restaurant – Revisited I noted an anachronism, a “chronological inconsistency.”  That is, “the first Super Bowl was not played until 1967 – not 1955.  (The Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.)”  The image in question – and the “Super Bowl 1955” caption with it – came from ivman’s blague.  The “blague” or “blogue” – apparently French for “blog” – is about “one French professor’s humorous and serious perspectives on life.”  (And specifically, his post on the Good Old Days of Yesteryear.”)  Accordingly, even though the “Super Bowl 1955” caption was written by a cheese-eating surrender monkey – who got the timing of that ostensible Super Bowl wrong by a full decade – the photo is real enough…

The Joe Biden quote is courtesy of Ethan Bronner‘s book, Battle for Justice:  How the [Robert] Bork Nomination Shook America (1989), Anchor Books edition, at page 211.

A final note:   I borrowed the quote beneath the lower photo – “Sometimes you don’t know whether to laugh or cry” – from On rectal thermometers and “you’re entitle.”  That referred to an essay by Harry Golden, involving “our sense of American ingenuity,” the law of unintended consequences, and a concept he called “gradual integration,” referring once again to those “good old days:”

In the emergency room of the Alachua General Hospital at Gainesville, Florida [in 1962], there are three thermometers.  They stand in a row on a small shelf with nothing else.  The first is in an open container labeled:  “WHITE – ORAL,” the third is in an identical container labeled, “COLORED – ORAL,” and the middle one, which protrudes through a cork, in its otherwise sameness, is labeled “RECTAL.”  This is what I call gradual integration.

Donald Trump – The new Johnny Yuma?

The answer?  (From last April.)  Yes, there seems to be a new rebel – or Maverick – in town…

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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.”  (Posted November 13, nine days ago.)

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

Anyway, one project I’m working on is the recent hubbub about  Mike Pence [being] ‘harassed’ by the cast of ‘Hamilton,’ the Broadway musical.  My point there would be that that was simply an exercise of the First Amendment’s right to petition in the United States:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Another project was inspired by a recent comment from my wacko lady friend.  (See ‘Mi Dulce’ – and Donald Trump – made me a Contrarian.)  It was about Donald Trump basically saying to Obama, “You’re fired!”  The point there would be that according to her reasoning – “and I use the term loosely*” – the American people will be able to say the same thing to DJT within four years.  (See Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution.)

But both projects are slow-going.

Nick Adams The Rebel.JPGThen I hit on the idea of comparing Donald Trump to “Johnny Yuma,” the original Rebel from the TV show back in the early 1960s.  (1959-1961.)  But first a word about the photo at the top of the page.  

There’s a simple explanation.  I like the top image in any post to be a full column wide.  But the best photo I could find of “Johnny Yuma” was a half-column wide.  See On “Johnny YUMA was a rebel.”

So instead I borrowed a photo from “Is there a new ‘Maverick’ in town?”  That post from last April was 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.”

It also asked the musical question:  “Can you say prescient?”

But we digress!   Speaking of Donald Trump, I Googled the words “Donald Trump rebel” and got 46,300,00 results.  Of course some results were about something different than my idea. (Things like Donald Trump Likely to End Aid for Rebels Fighting Syrian Government, and Donald Trump‘s wife, daughters rebel in ‘SNL’ parody.)  But others were more on point.  Kind of…

From June 2015 came this:  Donald Trump’s announcement “refreshing,” “inspiring.”  It was about immigration and “the current situation in Iraq,” courtesy of The Rebel Media.  (The “conservative Canadian online political and social commentary media platform founded in February 2015 by former Sun News Network host Ezra Levant.”)

A Confederate flag for sale at a recent Trump rally in Richmond, Virginia.Another one was How the Rebel Flag Rose Again – and Is Helping Trump.  That title pretty much speaks for itself.

But what about “Johnny YUMA,” the rebel we knew and loved from 1959 to 1961?  That post had two key points, the first being that true rebels tend to die young.  (Think James Dean.)

The second was that we’re fascinated by rebels, a term defined at least two ways.  One says a rebel is a person who “refuses allegiance to, resists, or rises in arms against the government or ruler of his or her country.”  The alternate definition is of a “person who stands up for their own personal opinions despite what anyone else says.”  See Urban Dictionary, which added:

It’s all about being an individual and refusing to follow a crowd that forces you to think the same way they do even if it means becoming an outcast to society.  True rebels know who they are and do not compromise their individuality…

All of which could apply to Donald Trump.

But then there was this observation, from The Rebel | Television Obscurities:

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.)

Which brought up The Establishment.  “Remember that?  Also known as The Man?  Either refers to a ‘dominant group or elite that holds power or authority in a nation.’  And either can also be used to describe oppression, and that seemed to be what Johnny Yuma pledged to face down.”

Which raises the question:  Is “The Donald” a Johnny Yuma kind of rebel?  The kind that Johnny Cash sang about?  (And exemplified himself.)  Or will he be just another version of The Man

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Notes:

The upper image – borrowed from “Is there a new ‘Maverick’ in town?” – is courtesy of Maverick (TV series) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.   “Note” also that an asterisk in the main text indicates a statement supported by a reference detailed in this “notes” section.  Thus, as to “according to her reasoning – ‘and I use the term loosely:’”  I borrowed that phrase from The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, another old TV series.  It aired from 1959 to 1963, for two years concurrently with “The Rebel.”  Mr. Pomfrit – Dobie’s English teacher, played by William Schallert – routinely began his classes by saying, “Students – and I use that term loosely…”  He also referred to them as “my young barbarians.” 

J. R. CashThe lower image is courtesy of popsike.com – JOHNNY CASH – THE REBEL – JOHNNY YUMA … popsike.com.  See also Johnny Cash – Wikipedia:

Cash was known for his deep, calm bass-baritone voice … a rebelliousness coupled with an increasingly somber and humble demeanor, free prison concerts, and a trademark look…  Much of Cash’s music contained themes of sorrow, moral tribulation and redemption, especially in the later stages of his career.