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The Emperor of Chaos

 

Trump, Comey and Shakespeare: Post 499 - Every Good Morning

For a long time, like many people today, I have been talking about Donald Trump.  As far as the public written record goes my offerings and suggested theories about the nature of the man are here for the world to see from mid-2018, but for me it really goes all the way back to the early 1990s, my brutal collegiate, English/Political Science major’s know-it-all criticism of a transparently plastic man (the sort of pun I used to attempt back then too.)  But my psychological profile stories have never been personal, not about him anyway.  I have only hoped to reflect an empathetic version of a thoroughly miserable man’s personality and motivations.

Much of my generation was introduced in childhood to this character, “The Donald,” a person equally at home selling million dollar apartments as he was messing up one of his cheaper suits, body slamming a smaller professional wrestler.  He was a gleaming figure, handsome, a certain negative charm that kept him in focus; every time the light hit him on television there was a gleam of gold.  Certainly this was intentional, as we have learned in the uncontrolled 24-hour media spotlight of the present tense.  And yet there he remained, a gossipy megalomaniac who would do anything for a laugh.

I remember reading his book,  The Art of the Deal, the summer after I graduated from high school.  My father recommended it, annoyed by the titular intellectualism of my declared programs of study.  He told me that reading the book would clear my head and teach me that, like himself, the business world was the only way to make money in America.  I had shrugged, and when I finished the book–I remember this exactly–I said to myself out loud, “What a fucking asshole,” directing this remark at both Donald Trump and my blood-related proselytizer. After that I put the garbage in a milk crate and brought it over to my favorite used bookstore, unloading some of the terrible shit I’d read for store credit, enough to finish my collection of everything by Dostoevsky and Philip K. Dick.

Later, as Trump seethed through his 1990s failures and frequent missteps, publicly suing everyone for hurting his feelings, the man become a parody of himself, a cartoon of the image he’d spent so long promoting.  It took a short time before he decided he would be the true asshole that he’d always been behind closed doors, and put on public display the great joy he got from firing people and fucking with their lives and well-being.  Networks put this on TV, the collapse of reality with the rush of cheap products called “reality TV.”

The Apprentice was very popular, making tabloid figures out of the cast, the second and third tier celebrities appearing with hopes of reviving their sagging careers.  Some of these vaguely familiar names had once had leading roles in terrible movies; it made stars of a creepy, grotesque family.  Look at the Trumps–I mean seriously look at the way they expressed themselves on TV, this soap opera fantasy, exaggerations of the soullessness of themselves.  One has to believe that reality is far worse, much more perverse than the sanitized hero worship presented for public consumption.

This man, this creature who had been so awful to so many people for so long; this terrible boss; this angry, paranoid man, probably correct in some of his suspicions, the cutthroat world he thrived within still providing the mutual greed of corporate enemies.  He is now convinced that everything going against him, ever, has all been some sort of secret plot.  A deep state.  The gang of thugs.  Cults formed to challenge him and him alone.  He condemns crazy opposition figures who don’t understand how much of a genius Donald Trump has tried convincing everyone he is and always was.  If only everyone listened to him.  He could show you the way.  If you disagree with me “You’re fired,”  If you grovel then you can stay.

Think about the temerity of such a man, about his ability to manipulate his own misunderstanding of everything besides his momentary wanton lust.  He can just call someone a name, an elementary school yard bully, inventing silly slurs and then repeating them over and over again until all of them lose credibility.  Donald Trump, if nothing else, is a master of killjoy cynicism.

Think about a person in charge who constantly tells you.your work is shit and that at any time you could be fired.  Think about a man like this running a business called Trump Nation, a terrible boss.  He is a terrible boss.

Donald Trump is a terrible, terrible boss.

Think about all those proud and dignified people who quit.  The several who were fired (all those who quit were fired after the fact to give the boss a perception of who was really in charge.)  Think about the turnover and the debt.  People get fired.  They write books.  They get sued.  They go on TV.  They are condemned, condemned.  Just another partisan voice in the media.

Think about the excuses, all those excuses, deflecting responsibility for everything going wrong and then retaking the credit when other people’s hard work turn things around.

He goes blabbermouth. He proves he can’t understand.  He exposes that to him everything is a casino game.  He plays with people’s lives.  He loses far more often than he wins.

President Donald J. Trump is.the emperor of chaos, more of a gremlin than a gargoyle, someone standing by and watching the results of his bet, snorting when he wins and calling the dealer a cheat when he doesn’t.  He gets angry when he loses.  He takes it out on everybody else.

The Emperor of Chaos.  Here is a title for a near future history.  Here is a judgment of a soft, thin-skinned, hyper-emotional man (snowflake?) pretending to be strong and confident.  The Emperor of Chaos is a fearful, cowering slave to the outside world’s perception of himself.  He cannot stand if someone disapproves.  He cannot even laugh them off.  He can’t take it.  He is so bruised inside, no doubt treated like an imbecile by his hateful father, so psychologically destroyed before he ever brought himself to our attention that we have been given front row seats to the collapse into hysteria of a person with no belief in anything.  And so he destroys.  He destroys.  It is the only thing which gives him pleasure, the emotional ruination of other people, setting them to war with each other like he no doubt did with his toy soldiers as a child.  He watches the unraveling world on TV, taking credit for starting it, then refusing responsibility for the consequences.  It has happened over and over and over again, all the way back to the day he kicked a kid in the face in a playpen, or, as he claims, punched a teacher when he was a child, saying that everything is somebody else’s fault.  “They started it!”  “I’m a counter puncher!”  “I put people in their place!”  “I am always right.”

He is a tragic figure, Donald Trump, a sad, lonely man who just wants people to love him.  Or at least notice him.  Hatred–true hatred–is not so very different, strong emotions keeping minds thinking only of him.  He is a superstar, the most famous man in the world, talked about and praised or derided everyplace, everywhere in the world.  He is the result of what a man will do when incapable of loving or caring about anything outside his unhappiness, a desperate, helpless individual who wants to make the world as miserable as he is to justify his value as a human being.

Fuck you Dr. Freud.

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Who Should We Blame?

Usually I trash Donald Trump in pieces such as this, but it is a little unfair for the agenda I have for this editorial.  Yes, he has fucked up everything in 2020, from the indifference to the virus, his cruel inability to care about life and death, sickness and health, personal wealth and the droning majority too honest to profit off other people’s misery.  Yes, it is very easy to blame this petty, insignificant failure as history will finally paint him, a dart board for the real horrors to follow.  It is easy to dismiss our time with Donald Trump as a singular villain.

But let’s try not to do this because it is an overblown mess, everybody saying it.  You know where you get the deepest insight into just how awful the Donald Trump era of American government is?  It’s from his lingering supporters, the desperate and frequently pathetic justifications, and the weird twists on reality, those irrational QAnon conspiracy theories that remain too stupid to claw their way into the mainstream.  I mean, try listening to this nonsense, connections to international child trafficking alleged towards the most moderately asexual democrats still mouthing their bland philosophies about suggested equality and the corporate takeover of their friendly financial supporters.  It is hilarious in its depressing reality.  The fact that people promote such grim silliness displays how far gone the rest of us on one side or the other of the middle have become.

Who are we to blame?

For a long time I have believed that it is all of us, our bipartisan cynicism and indifferent lies, pretending that those we disagree with are far worse than we really are.  We call ourselves names, pervert our customs and demands, insulting one another so vitriolically that those on the hyper-reactive fringe cannot help but take their offense seven steps too far.

I mean, consider the absurdity of the moment, the crashing of statues and refusal to wear masks.  Teddy Roosevelt, the father of the burgeoning progressive movement, declared a racist over a statue some talented moron sculpted after his death.  Ulysses S. Grant, a product of his times, a hero who fought to end the great evil of slavery in his native land–and won!–because his wife’s southern parents gifted the couple in their ignorance a dowry of some poor slave shortly thereafter freed with an apology and a handful of cash.  These reckonings are absurd, gone too far, a gleeful cynicism on the reactionary left to shove a small-minded middle finger of righteousness up the ass of our horrible past.  They even demand that liberal popular culture instantly straighten their act, dismissing the art of the past, replaced by the elementary pastel of self-righteous finger-paint.

Those on the right are perhaps even worse, these cawing absolutists declaring anyone disputing their basic morality an absolutist, their hypocrisy far more on display than the petty children on the left.  When they use the wannabe derisive term ‘snowflake’ they cannot be talking about anybody other than themselves.  I mean, have you listened to their hurt feeling-ed rants, condemning everyone as weak while they cry like broken-hearted teenagers over the perceived betrayal they see in America, disregarding the reality that they were dumped for very good reasons.

Those on the right are much better liars, convincing themselves that their fantasies are the truth.  They invent the viewpoints of their opposition, generalizing their perception on their reality based entirely upon one left-wing moron holding an offensive sign as standing in for the entire cause.  They call them socialists, commies, pinkos and Nazis, or whatever other derisive slur they can dredge up from a forgotten cold war past, and plunge it at college kids who have no comprehension of the past.  They are all desperate frustration, a yearning for a past that never was, their mindless alignment to a Trump that couldn’t care less about them.

Of course the idiots on the left, a terminally self-destructive crowd, decide to take advantage of momentary trends and go too far and piss off the rational center left and center right, going past the abolition of confederate images (the confederates were traitors, so fuck all consideration for those defending them: I am a historian, ultimately, and believe in sustaining the narrative, but no one has ever learned anything from an honorable statue of whomever the fuck you name.  Go to a museum.  Read a fucking book.  Removing these celebrations of treason from a town square is not a concealment of history.  It is justice.  It is history writ by the winners.)  No, the sneering self-righteous children (no matter their age) who have gone so far as to pressure artists and demand a modern justification for history simply do not understand anything about the value of before towards after, nor the grudgingly slow process of social evolution.  Sure things move far too slowly, and yes, many complaints need to be addressed, but it is an ignoral of reality, a self-righteous demand for all change to happen now.

I started this piece by saying that Donald Trump, a miserable failure as a human being, does not deserve the blame for everything.  I mean, we elected him–and before you nasally go too far and squawk nonsense like “not my president,” it is important to realize that many (perhaps most) of those who elected Donald Trump did it more so because they wanted to upset those righteous young liberals (a gang that plenty of liberals tear apart too) than any sort of belief in Donald Trump’s merits.  It was a fuck you vote, a fuck you against the very idea of America.  It was saying fuck you to everyone, to everything, to even the idea of themselves.

So if you ask me, were you to ask me, who should we blame for just how terrible 2020 has been, I would admit that Trump and the sneering Democrats out to get him are only partially to blame.  The real pointed finger of condemnation really belongs to us, the American people, the blindly disillusioned and cynical creeps so many of us have become.  We choose to negate instead of support, deny instead of believe, attack instead of defend and destroy instead of create.  It is us, our fault, all of our faults.  This is what we’ve yearned for.  This is what we get.  How many of us are truly happy?

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Elsewhere: Preface to Series Five

My favorite pieces of Recording Editorial History have been these deep historical studies of times and changes and how history influences the present.  This latest edition will deal with the endless revolutions that have altered human civilization throughout the development of organized society.  It is hard work, requiring long stretches of  research and analysis of a past that most are not interested in discussing.  But I am an adamant historian (when I take this guise as a shield) and I vow to discuss reality in the face of partisan sniping, and the anger over what we believe.

It has been a while since I have submitted a commentary on this site, and this has mostly been personal (I am, after all, a professional writer, and sometimes the work for the money that sustains my existence and that of my family must supplant these commentaries that make me a handful of dollars a year.)  But I do not wish to discuss myself and hopefully the word ‘I’ will be supplanted in what follows.

This is called a preface, but it is a historical discussion of the moment.  With all the statues going down and the pandemic causing terror like nothing seen before–I mean nothing (goddamn the ‘I’) because any time these death sentences have happened in the past there has been either prayers to God or broken submission to the helplessness we all feel in the face of the world.  Yet now in our conspiratorial arrogance we all believe we have a solution to the presumed lies we must counter.  No, what needs to be discussed is actual history in this latest edition of Elsewhere is the grim realities of Revolution throughout the development of human society.  And this is important–this is something that I wish my handful of thousand readers between the many sites Recording Editorial History is submitted (check out medium.com/@asphlex7 if you would like to throw a few pennies into my coffers) could hear, a discussion (or debate) over the grotesque partisanship that has turned historical reality into a talking point to support whatever idiotic theory people from all sides wish to justify their actions with.

History is the most important subject children learn in school.  Oh, I hear you–science, math, the basic fundamentals of language (I used to be a high school English teacher and so I have my own partisan bias)–but all of this is merely a part of the greater aspect of history, of how we started and where we have wound up.

Let’s talk, as an introduction, about this latest craze among generally valid protesters over racial injustice, of the smashing of statues and the re-modification of the past.  Now there is no reason to keep Confederate soldiers alight with bronze celebrations of their subjugating passion.  Robert E. Lee, to take the most significant example, was a traitor to the United States of America.  Here was a presumptively honorable man, a beloved general of immaculate talent, who not only renounced his oath of loyalty to his nation, but chose to lead an army against the those he had once promised to defend.  He was a traitor.  He was a human disgrace.  No one should honor him.  No one should pretend he was noble simply because he fought for a cause that was not only vile, but was unsuccessful.  He was a failure, a loser, and how some people still attribute honor to this man who in modern times would have been executed for treason is beyond me.

You listen to and read the defenders of General Lee gibbering the nonsense that “if you ignore history you are destined to repeat it,” or whatever phrasing they choose to offer this cliche, and it is easy to realize that in this instance the speaker has no understanding of history whatsoever.  Should the statues of Confederate leaders be removed from public squares?  Of course they should.  Does that mean they should be demolished?  Of course not.  Jab them into a museum with all the other traitors of American history, with Benedict Arnold’s diary and with Alfred Rosenberg’s nervous letters to his Soviet masters.  Those people need to be remembered, they need to be condemned for their pathetic failure to be patriots to anything, to any cause, because they believed only in their selfishness.

There are those who pretend that taking down such statues is a destruction of history, is a crime greater than the treason these individuals were guilty of.  This is stupid, pure stupidity, an acknowledgement of the speaker’s incipient not just racism (for example), but their profound misunderstanding of how the past influences the present.  Such defenses are foolish, dumb, or perhaps they are merely a reflection of the treasonous instincts of those defending the very idea of celebrating failure.

Yes, history has always been written by the winners (here is a cliche with valid specificity), and so the failures, the losers, need only be dismissed as ideological stooges whose intentions were renounced by society.  But for those whining about the removal of Confederate disgraces celebrated in bronze, why do they pretend that this will somehow alter history?  When have any of you learned anything from a statue?  When have you walked by a historical monument, the preface to much deeper study, and thought that if that frozen moment in time (for the Confederacy put into place as a warning to anyone that the war was still going on) were removed then American history was lost?  Read a fucking book.  Learn about what actually happened, and quit walking past some monster of the past with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and pretend like you care what it stands for at all.

Now, for those attacking the winners, those true patriots of the past, no matter their moral flaws, there is a problem.  Yes, George Washington (for example) owned slaves.  But what he also did was help forge a nation with the idea of freedom deeply ingrained, the concept of the future the primary goal of a hideous time where no one was truly free.  And while the sin of continued slavery haunts the otherwise noble founding fathers, their efforts, the attempts they made to initiate the process of independence deserves serious recognition, no matter the sins of the father.

People have been tearing down statues of Ulysses S. Grant, a mostly mediocre President whose past is a little shifty, because his wife owned a handful of slaves.  Awful, right?  But this is the same man who finally led the Union army to victory over that disgraceful, traitorous confederacy, helping to finally free the slaves, and granting to humanity the right to create a hopeful future for everyone.  There is no reason his statue should be torn down.

Teddy Roosevelt is another historical figure who has unjustly been targeted by young and angry people overwhelmed with their success.  I mean, the statue is rather condescending, but the man himself was practically honorable.  So there is a black man and a native essentially kneeling at his behorsed side.  It is a poor image.  This does not remove the importance of the man to the development of the nation such anger and protests celebrate.  This is an example of going too far, of missing the point of history.  Of not knowing history.  History is the most important knowledge if you want to change civilization in the moment which we live.

It is suffocating to hear people from any and every side rant their self-righteous views about if and when and how and why over anything that has ever happened, and how they supply whichever interpretation they choose for the angry cause of the moment.  It is not just stupid and horrifying to hear, but it is wrong, simply wrong, the sort of thinking not of revolutionaries, but of those cliches we are warned about who will repeat the same mistakes over and over again because they ignore the lessons of the past.  This is not the smug defense of any individual side, but acknowledgment that no one really understands history unless they pervert their goals into something vague that actually had nothing to do with what they wish to say.

And so Elsewhere Series Five, a resumption of what was and remains the best work I have ever offered on this site (please–please please please check out some of the earlier pieces from such a naive time as 2019), will be a study of revolutions, something I believe the present moment is experiencing, the parallel issues from the past of plague, economic worries, growing unemployment, radical kinship or opposition to a leader, and a violent partisan divide of cynical, hopeless outrage that has changed society into a new and questionable world, time and time again, something we would know if we only remembered the history so many people warn us about forgetting.

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Donald Trump is Not Adolf Hitler

 

Signs of Fascism Rising – Brewminate

 

People like comparing Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler because that is the modern reference for human evil.  But it isn’t accurate.  Trump hates everyone equally, using them against each other for his own amusement. He’s closer to Nero, laughing while the nation burns to the ground.

Mythbusting Ancient Rome – the emperor Nero

All Hail Nero! | The Worlds of Doctor Who Amino

What is Emperor Nero mostly remembered for? - Quora

Looking at history, this church burning

Fire causes minor damage to St. John's, the 'church of presidents ...

might compare to the burning of the Reichstag by the Nazis as a publicity stunt.

The Reichstag Fire – The Holocaust Explained: Designed for schools

Perhaps the cause of this fire isn’t the same, perhaps ravenous anarchists really are guilty this time, but the exploitation of the fear certainly is. It worked then and appears to be working now, regardless of how poor an actor Trump is compared to Hitler.

 

We should note that every revolutionary movement, ever, has deep comparisons to the actions of people and government now seeping daily into present days. Economic collapse and a plague riling the people; continued injustice mixing with need and boredom; a leader calling on the military to suppress the public (there is a long list of South American dictators who have claimed absolute control with the same tactic); the abandonment of legislative rules and laws; the radicalization of a terrified group of people–regular armchair warriors, afraid of the join or die nature of the revolution, then hypocritically picking a side (this does, in varying degrees, hit every idea of a revolution); and the standing on the sidelines cowards, indifferent to injustice, figuring if they just follow orders everything will be okay. This is where we are. Beware the cycles of history because we are at the collapse and eventual reformation of how people are going to live.

 

But the Hitler parallel is distracting.

Does This Trump Tweet Echo 'Mein Kampf'?

Yes, some of the same mannerisms are similar, desperately so on Donald Trump’s part, despite the fact that he shares none of Hitler’s passion or conviction for a blood-thirsty cause.  No, Donald Trump does not care–he does not care.  He is an old man screaming at his television, demanding something more entertaining to distract him from the empty failure of his life.

 

Now of course we can make an argument that Trump is anything but a failure, his palaces dripping with gold and jewels,

Will he go for the gold? Donald Trump's redecorating plans for the ...

his royal ambitions,

10 Luxurious Donald Trump Properties Better Than The White House ...

A night in Doonbeg: Trump's world of fake designer bags, Nescafé ...

Pin on Home Ideas

Trump Castle in Atlantic City (With images) | Casino resort, Trump ...

and the sheer arrogant ostentation of his lifestyle.

Quick Tour Inside Donald Trump's House! - Arch2O.com

Inside Trump Tower Trump's 'grand vision' that is losing NYC ...

arch2o-trump-house-009 - Arch2O.com

arch2o-trump-house-029 - Arch2O.com

Trump's inauguration paid Trump's company -- with Ivanka in the ...

and yet

Trump inauguration crowd photos were edited after he intervened ...

Ghost Hotels of Trump's Atlantic City Empire

Trump Plaza Set for Demolition in Atlantic City, Liquidation Underway

How Donald Trump Bankrupted His Atlantic City Casinos, but Still ...

If You Hate Donald Trump, You're Gonna Really Love These Reviews ...

Welch's Grape Jelly with Alcohol”: How Trump's Horrific Wine ...

Judge Makes Trump Pay For Trump University Scam - YouTube

Will Donald Trump be the first president who has been divorced ...

A Scientific Explanation of How Donald Trump's Kids Turned Out ...

Donald Trump and the art of losing money

What IRS Data Shows About How Far Trump Pushed Tax Rules in 1995 ...

And yet Donald Trump continues to surge in titles, magnate, billionaire, TV star, president.  His brand is well defined, one that, without question, will never be forgotten so long as our memories continue to ignore smaller and more personal realities when thinking about the past.

What Does The Raised Fist Mean In 2017?

Integration of church and state: Mussolini and Pope Pius XI ...

There is no form of righteousness to Donald Trump.  One never gets the impression he believes in what he’s doing, or not really.  Everything seems like a game to him, like a TV show where he has fired the director (repeatedly) and taken over with no idea what he’s doing.  He is only aware of how to get a reaction, whether positive or negative does not matter, just so long as everyone is talking about him.

 

Trump is known, really, for just a two things.  Remove all his business triumphs and failures like partisans on any side praise or attack (clearly I am guilty of this as well), forget his many wives and mistresses, and his public conduct and private hideousness, and let’s narrow it down:

You're Fired: The 'Constructive Dismissal' of Entrepreneurs ...

and an adolescent boy’s excessively thin skin

Trump Workshopping Strategy to Psychologically Devastate Opponents ...

Bush's funeral wasn't about Trump. But of course it was. – POLITICO

Donald Trump's Weird Oval Office Pose Sparks Hilarious 'Photoshop ...

The President Is Not Above the Law - POLITICO Magazine

Donald Trump Is Putting Every Journalist in Every Country at Risk ...Yes, nothing financial he halfheartedly attempted, nor the sad, pitiful efforts he has made to convince people he is strong, will have any impact other than in future comedies where he is painted as a buffoon.  All this will be forgotten.  But you know what won’t be?  The damage he has seen, looked the other way, and then blamed someone else for the consequences of his indifference.

Trump throws paper towels into crowd in Puerto Rico - YouTube

Trump tweets '3,000 people did not die' in Puerto Rico Hurricane

Farms, military, day cares: Who waited on disaster aid amid Trump ...

Stop taking vacations." White House whines at senators after ...

Trump's Twitter Account Will Explode If March Quarter's GDP Growth ...

President Trump will visit California to meet wildfire victims ...

Trump tees up controversy as he plays golf in a pandemic | US news ...

Blaming California's forest management, Trump threatens to end ...

London hospitals overwhelmed with virus patients, risking collapse

Trump golf cart rentals have now cost US taxpayers $550,000 — Quartz

Timeline of the Coronavirus Pandemic and U.S. Response

El Pasoan travels to Minnesota to join protests | KFOX

Governors Push Back On Trump's Threat To Deploy Federal Troops To ...

Robert Reich: Trump's Failures Are Exposing the Dark Side of ...

Trump stokes tensions over George Floyd protests before calling ...

Twitter hides tweets from Trump and White House account for ...

Bishop Mariann Budde On Donald Trump's Photo Op At St. John's ...

trump's tweets - Google Search | Trump tweets, Trump, Beach scenes

And so no, Donald Trump is far from Adolph Hitler.  Hitler was raw evil, a demon with a plan to reorder the world into his perverted version of an Aryan paradise.  Hitler honestly believed he was saving the world.  Trump wants none of that.  Trump doesn’t want to hear about it.  Trump wants no complaints.

 

Those who supported and for some reason continue to support this temporary tyrant with scattered ideas and no capacity to accomplish any of them, control of federal government or not, those people wanted to hire a gruff businessman to run the country.  These are the cynics who saw the nation as a business, as a large scale profit-earning corporation.  And while elements of such activity have certainly always existed (and let us continue to ignore the naive young socialists howling about economic inequality–a genuinely valid concern–and their quixotic solutions gleaned from their own misunderstanding of a text book they partially read in college), a union is not a company.  And even if it were–even if nations were soulless, fascist operations,

WE HAVE NO OPPOSITION PARTY on Twitter: ""FASCISM should more ...

why would anyone want a selfish speck of bacteria like Donald Trump running and organizing the human factory?

Criminal Fraud + Business Failure = Donald Trump - No Holds Barred ...

No, Trump is no Hitler.  Trump isn’t even Mussolini, as I and plenty of others have mocked him as

Donald Trump Is Putting Every Journalist in Every Country at Risk ...

Wondered why we have been seeing so many photos of Trump with ...

For all his cruelty and hatefulness, Benito Mussolini stood there with pride, believing that what he was doing was for the best.  Trump?  Donald Trump?  He simply does not care.

Don't confuse Donald Trump with America - Telegraph

 

 

 

©2020 Lance Polin

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Racial Politics and the Intentional Misunderstanding of Difference: (Dispatches From the Fly on the Wall)

 

Photos: Riots erupt in Minneapolis, other cities over death of ...

 

 

Let’s run down 2020 for a bit, give this as preface to the discussions observed this edition.  During one week in January these were some of the disasters that happened around the world:

Ilonggos asked to pray amid Taal Volcano eruption - Daily Guardian

A brutal volcanic eruption in the Philippines, destroying towns.

Cyclone Tino upgraded to 'severe' Category 3 | 1 NEWS | TVNZ

Hurricane Tino.

Puerto Rico hit by 6.4-magnitude earthquake - BBC News

Three out of five days, Puerto Rico suffered earthquakes.

Why is Caribbean shaking from earthquakes in January 2020? | Miami ...

The rumbles hit South and Central America.

Mexico earthquake MAPPED: Where did 5.2 magnitude quake strike ...

This was in Mexico.

Mexico City's Earthquake Alert Worked. The Rest of the Country ...

Which caused this.

Strong earthquake shakes vast area from Mexico to Florida | World ...

They even felt it in Florida.

Newfoundlanders, hunkered down in blistering winter storm ...

This blizzard covered people who eventually died by suffocation or drowning in Vancouver.

Heavy snow hits Hokkaido after below-average December, Japan

Here’s Japan.

Winter storms bringing bone-chilling temperatures to the Midwest ...

Kansas.

Australia's Fires Test Its Winning Growth Formula - The New York Times

Of course there’s Australia.

Saddleridge Fire Near Los Angles Rages, More Than 7,500 Acres Burn ...

and California.

 

All this in a single week, and believe me, I am limiting this list for space, merely giving a sample of the weather-bound apocalypses from the second to third week of January.

 

Of course there remains

These 10 countries are facing biggest humanitarian crises of 2020 ...

Syria.

Yemen minister warns Houthis against turning country into theater ...

Yemen.

Ellsworth airman killed in Afghanistan E-11A crash

Afghanistan.

Protests and Strikes Spread in Iran; Regime Respond With ... Iran.

Ukraine Joint Forces Operation HQ named the casualty toll of ...

Ukraine.

Russia announces ceasefire deal with Turkey in Syria's Idlib ...

Turkey.

UN names Gaza war-crimes panel — RT World News

Gaza Strip.

January 2020's Humble Choice includes Shadow of War, Street ...

Everywhere else.

 

2020’s main preoccupation however has been plague, certainly a death scare that turns paranoid people into fanatics..  Then there’s this:

Brother of George Floyd: 'I just want justice' | News | Al Jazeera

Not to mention this:

Riots erupt in several US cities over Minnesota police killing of ...

and this,

George Floyd: Scenes from protests in Minneapolis and around the ...

and this,

US Protests Erupt After Cop Charged In George Floyd Death ...

State and Federal Leaders Appeal for Peace and Unity in the Wake ...

Do the Riots in Minneapolis Forebode Greater Civil Unrest for the US?

and this and this and this!

 

And then there’s this asshole, living out his comic book fantasy of someday leading a rebellion.

Curfews announced in major US cities after riots

Douchebag.

 

But this is the era we are surging through, this year, in this horrible, horrible year.

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Now of course all these massive protests, marred more because of the press than reality over the occasional and inevitable act of violence that spirals out of control. occur because some protesters are much more than just angry, wracked with disdain for the put-into-servitude reality they have been struggling with for far too many generations. Right now, reminiscent of earlier times when the nation and, still, the larger world, people are so divided they declare war upon each other.  It is not just the protests and riots, and criminal activity and looting, and the many-sided duel outrages among the serious and their angry opposition that pour gasoline on the fires.  In the immediate we find a poster child featuring a base piece of human shit, a cop coldly choking the breath out of a man with his knee.  I bet the guy’s pulse never got above 90, his effortless, hand-in-the-pocket use of his weight, perhaps checking his watch, providing the match for the fire next time. Then there are those other cops, the detritus dripping down a glory hole’s active side, two guys gently holding the dying man, refusing to look death in the face.  And the other guy  just stood there, watching the commission of a murder, something by definition it is his job to stop.

 

I can imagine that this standing guy is the one who doesn’t go to jail.  He gets fined, he walks around shamed, having only racists and other bigots offering him jobs.  He is consumed by regret–not by guilt.  He had almost forgotten what he’d witnessed until they started showing it on TV.  This guy is thoroughly humiliated , laughed at on every sides.  He probably gets beaten up a few times.  Plenty see him and threaten to kill, which he walks past with his head down.  He is seen slumping around town, hands in his pockets on a windy day, his baldness advancing, his complete ostracization from everyone in the world leading him to hang around cemeteries in the rain, staring at his parents’ graves.

 

The world seems broken, yet another disaster to unravel the soul of a nation, a deal with the devil for death.  It has been seventy-five years (at the time that I write this) since the last battle referred to as a world war was fought.  There were twenty years between World War I and II, a timed of lapsed personal responsibility where everyone danced and prayed and drank and fucked and didn’t care about society, just so long as they stayed entertained, their faux radical politics nothing more than social clubs  And booze was illegal, turning it into an extra dirty vice, opening possibilities for anything.

 

Of course all this crashed with the death of the stock market, people out nightly, getting high, suddenly shuddered at home, worried about paying their mortgage.  Everything was going wrong at the time.  Let’s call it 1932:

Benchmarks: May 8, 1902: The deadly eruption of Mount Pelée ...

Mt. Pelee, St. Pierre.

1932 Freeport hurricane analysis 13 Aug 1932.png

Bahamas hurricane, category five.

Hurricane Fourteen Analysis 8 Nov 1932.png

Pre-Communist, gangster Cuba, category five.

San Ciprien Hurricane Analysis 27 Sept 1932.png

Puerto Rico, and all the way through the Caribbean, Category four.

1932 Eureka earthquake is located in USA West

Northern California, magnitude 6.4

1932 Jalisco earthquakes is located in Mexico

Mexic), magnitude 8.1 with the first earthquake, 7.7 fifteen days later, tearing open a section of earth thirty-seven miles long.  People in Florida were complaining that for the second time in two weeks they were feeling rumbles, and they should keep their disasters to themselves.  It killed over 300 people.  It was 1932.  Everyone was an isolationist during the Great Depression.

This giant aftershock of the first quake caused a massive tsunami to storm in the ocean, rolling in through the Pacific coast, a huge tidal vortex that covered much of Mexico, roiling all the way to Honolulu.

 

There were tornadoes caused by the quakes too, swirling up and into the southern United States.

 

Then came the third quake, the weakest one, a staggering magnitude 7.0, turning the crumbled society into literal dust.  Another tsunami formed as a result of this, and this one destroyed every hotel on the coast of Cuyutlán, along with hundreds more people, bringing the death total throughout this three week span to a staggering number that June.

 

In addition to this there was the rage and frustration–the world stopped working and we are gonna protest and scream about injustice and burn the whole world down.  And to get to that better place what would they do?

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This many-headed dragon ranged all over the political spectrum in 1932.

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So there was the world–no money, rampant class and social warfare, terrible disasters eating up the few remaining foods people could afford, and, well . . .

Russian famine, killing millions (some of them intentionally).

 

There was a meningitis epidemic spreading around and outside Portugal, a terrible flu season, killing hundreds of thousands, polio was still at its peak, and small pox killed tens of thousands more people.

 

And so the world cracked open into ideological warfare, as was stated before, and this sort of crack, this aftermath of rage-fueled division and outrage led to total global warfare.  It was war for property.  For money.  Chemicals.  Drugs.  Religion.  All the toxic cynicism and bold lies ruffled through the minds of people, bombarded with bombast in the newspapers, and the radio programs getting more tabloid and serialized.  Movie theaters would support political causes, rolling through the propaganda reels before propaganda for the kids, then a few grimmer admissions about the world before a glorious feature to escape into, movie stars more of our friends than most of the people we knew.  All the people talked about was themselves.

 

(Before we get into this grim transcription of what people are thinking about the things unfolding before their eyes I would like to offer a sidestep promotion for my two favorite blogs, offering widely diverse subjects, neither anywhere as grim as me:

(First please visit the absolutely brilliant Janel Comeau’s allwitnobrevity.com, a deliriously hysterical reminiscence journal relating experiences from Janel’s life.  She is a brilliant writer, her essays gorgeously designed with cute, rather pointed illustrations she self-deprecatingly (and inaccurately) dismisses with a laugh.   Everything about every single one of her pieces I have read are very pure, very poignant, and hilarious.  I do not know Janel personally either, so this praise is all the more sincere.

(The other blog I wish to promote is a bit closer to the material I offer, but with a far less gruesome twine.  mediavsreality.com takes our perceptions of various topics, unravels how these products and ideas are presented to us, and attempts to expose them to a more rational world.  Also beautifully written, with solid historical background to state the arguments.  I have suggested to the author, whose name is not offered and whom I do not know, that several of the pieces be submitted for commentary Pulitzer prizes.  Please check both of them out.)

 

Now, back to the present tense, I will offer a series of conversations engaged between others and my own divergent comments.  As always with these “Dispatches” I change the names into generalized characters most people have encountered in some form or another–certainly online, and otherwise occasionally throughout their lives.  This is not done to protect anyone.  I do not correct spelling, grammar, tense, or contextual errors of the respondents.

 

This conversation took on the guise of a very serious one, the clowns dropping out pretty quickly because everyone was sounding so grim (and subsequently edited out because they had nothing of value to say).  The original post was submitted by one of the regular right-wing cynics I follow to hear a form of voice braying outrage into the world.  Here:

Me, pretending that what I am doing is actually work:
  • Stupid comment. Republicans aren’t Americans either. Republicans are the ones overtly defiling the constitution. Democrats merely snivel, using guilt trips to get some of us (or them), on their side for a moment. Treason all around.
Cynical, moderate right-wing dude exhausted from assigning stereotypes to his opposition, repeating mantras:
  • . . . where have you been the last few years? Democrats are scum of the Earth. We all know liberalism is a mental disease.

 

Me, having convinced myself that I am exposing buried truths, refusing partisanship: 
  • Sure, that’s fine.  I’m more interested in the opposing ideologies on the farthest ends. Fanaticism on every side continues to grow mainstream. We keep going like this, life a college football game, rooting sides painting their bodies in stripes, we keep doing this, something is bound to erupt. That’s the division we’re dealing with in the actual world, not something so petty over which side are the more successful crooks, who fucks the better people, and how far the fringe are willing to go to start a revolution–that is the mindset that keeps oozing closer and closer together. When two extremes join in the center the whole world explodes. It has before.  It will again. A bloody, apocalyptic revolution. Is that what you’re vying for?

 

He, becoming thoughtful for a moment:
  • I actually agree with THAT statement. I think the fringe on both ends cause more problems, but what to do about that? That’s the billion dollar question. Nobody want’s to listen.
This remark surprised me, a rational turnaround from someone until this moment disengaged into partisan blathering, a simple good versus evil paradigm, not interested in seeing the flaws of his own superficial world views.  He is clearly a real person, an actual individual interested in living in a better world.  He has merely given up hope, rolling his eyes, plunged into the depths of cynicism, into the Slough of Dispond (https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?isbn=&an=john%20bunyan&tn=pilgrims%20progress&n=100121503&cm_sp=mbc-_-ats-_-used).
Me, further announcing my contempt for cynical partisanship:
  •  Yes. This whole theme of partisan warfare has consumed me. I’m not defending anybody.I just watch and mourn over the selfish, ghoulish, terrified hags all of us are turning into. Shout shout shout all of them down! “You should be listening to me!” is our sodden bark, not bothering to wait for an answer.

    We’re a bunch of hags, screaming at an empty room.

 

The conversation dissolved as other people joined in, their own cynicism destroying any value of anything either of us may have said.

 

Woman, hands thrown up with cold indifference, desiring what she is saying, proud of herself for prognosticating a mournful future:

  • It will be both parties against one another, already rumors of blacks against whites, and yes, North against South too.  All peoples and races, political and not against each other.  I have seen this coming.
Another gloomy cynic, expecting their own selfish hopelessness, their watching the end of the world on TV attitude to be everyone’s desolate comeuppance:
  • Then China, Russia, North Korea and Iran will be laughing watching you all destroy each other!!!!
This person’s detachment from real world problems is apparently so intense that when he says “watching YOU all destroy each other,” he seems to renounce his citizenship.  I checked his profile.  He’s from Texas.
A younger white guy, still convinced that his personal version of hope can win, and that the ideas he’s learned about in college make a bit of difference in a far more rigid world, consumed by selfish greed:
  • We need to get rid of the 2 party political system. Our forefathers said it was a bad idea. We are all American! Creating tribes inside OUR tribe(AMERICAN) is divisive. The fact is it was wrong what happened to that man. Systematic changes are needed for this country to heal.
    Ppl speak peacefully protesting. Well that was done and it was said he is insulting the military and the US. so that was the wrong way to protest. I don’t believe in looting and destroying neighborhoods. I do believe there are groups that are going to these demonstrations and are creating the violence. We are seeing around the nation ppl protestors are surrounding some of these police from getting beating from the mobs. These anarchists are trying to discredit these protests. Look at what’s happening. I’m not saying it is in every situation such as looting!!! But more so in the violent acts.

Let’s break this comment down before moving on.  Clearly the kid is barking subdued white privilege.  Yeah, he sort of agrees with the protesters, but remains one of those nervous folks with an inkling of morality saying, essentially, “Yes, it was wrong what the cops did to George Floyd, but . . .”  Such a comment displays a lack of sincerity in his voice.  At the very least it is a lack of understanding, someone so cut off and inexperienced with the social problems at hand that they can only offer gentle armchair suggestions, a head-shaking presumption that every side is equally wrong.

 

This is dead inside, such an idea on the unraveling social chaos spreading across America, as well as growing pockets throughout the world.  This shows an educated middle class, likely suburban youth wanting to be a part of a movement, but too scared to join.  Of course this makes a certain bit of sense in present circumstances.  The white folks involved–and white people should definitely be protesting not just the cruel murder, but the larger picture of dismissive governmental attitudes to the endless cycle of injustice–seem to take on two primary faces (and as with all generalizations, “not everybody”).  They are the rampant radicals, somehow angrier even than the victims of institutional crimes, spinning around and wearing masks and burning everything in their path.  I referred to one individual earlier, wearing a Guy Fawkes mask (and he was black to boot!) as a “douchebag . . . living out a comic book fantasy of leading a rebellion.”  There are plenty of other people like this in the crowds.

Halloween in Hong Kong brings a surreal mash-up of partygoers ...

Playtime at the riots.

 

 

The thing about many of the white people–and the news endlessly repeats how diverse the crowds of protesters are, a good thing for sure, people rising up together, having had enough of the same things–many of them are making  racial crimes against, let’s admit it, the entire African race over hundreds and hundreds of years, into something about themselves they can boast about.  They scream less about justice and more “look what I’m doing mom and dad!”  Some even stop protesting to take selfies, soon to be posted on their Instagram accounts.

Look at the people glaring.  Check out the blonde woman behind them doing the same thing.  Opportunism is not just non-political looting

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It is the righteousness people sometimes demand others submit to when they shout in other people’s faces.

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The above creature is white supremacist Rob Cantrell, shouting about who knows what to cops smirking behind their masks.  This was taken from an anti-mask protest in Michigan, but the point makes a clear comparison to

Goldie Taylor―What Would Happen if I Got in White Cop's Face?

What follows, the author claims, is a letter-to-the-editor he submitted to “Texas and National newspapers.”  Let’s call him

 

Trying to understand this moment in history from a wide perspective, impressing the Fly-on-the-Wall: 

 

  • George Floyd, another black man, died. For 8 minutes a police officer’s knee pressed on his neck. 3 others kept citizens from preventing his prolonged execution.  This is not the country envisioned during my upbringing and public service career. However, it is the product of unaddressed issues of race, economic injustice and political corruption.  The consequences of racism’s inescapable. Euro-Caucasian culture committed great wrongs against peoples of color. To a lesser extent, successive waves of white ethnic-national-religious immigrants, too. Minority neighborhoods and native tribes struggle most.  Structures tethered to hubris buckled under the stress of complacency. Covid-19 provided the jolt. Witness the absence of a coordinated national response as Trump fiddles and Tweet rants. Healthcare systems and supply lines falter on the backs of overworked, underpaid at-risk employees. Critical infrastructure is D-. A dam ruptured, flooding thousands in Michigan. Yet trillions of dollars are borrowed against our future for endless wars.  “American Exceptionalism” shoots the messenger daring to mention the obvious. Will we ever learn from our sins of omission and commission? Hope’s so.  Taken from the Second Letter of Peter, an old spiritual warns: “God gave Noah the rainbow sign, no more water but the fire next time.” Martin Luther King, Jr. observed during his 1966 CBS Mike Wallace interview: “A riot is the language of the unheard.”  Nation-wide, angry demonstrators shout: “Let him breathe!” Let us breathe, too, cleansed by the power of sincere introspection and loving forgivenes

 

Certainly a well argued perspective, occasionally lapsed into liberal power points which deserve at least to be heard.  The tired arguments  over military spending and oppressing the poor in addition to minorities is certainly relevant circumstantially.

 

Me, needing to put things much harsher, and in a critical sense, in order to call up the passionate opposition, trying to question their cynically dismissive absolutism:

  • You handle the point very well. One aside, when you talk about the historical prejudice of the white man.

    The white man has always been an asshole. To everybody. Thousands of years of never leaving Europe led to innumerable barbaric wars, all the way back, slaughtering their own opposing sides long before they ever met another race.
    When they did finally meet, these people accustomed to conquest brought their brutal talents to the east, the west, and the south (Europe had already claimed the north hundreds of years before). They set out to take everything of value, land and gold and iron and women. Having better weapons and a much less tranquil nature, whitey targeted minorities. Whitey claimed possession. The white man took advantage of their numbers and took over.

    Generalizing this historic white villain, however, is a mistake. Smaller tribes among them are still at war with themselves too. They always have been.  It has never really been about race exclusively. It was about who they believed could be conquered. Slavery wasn’t really so many years ago. There are even some of the oldest people whose parents had been born slaves still tinkering around.

    Be that as it may, every land they conquered adopted the war like European impatience that had so direly oppressed them. We are the result. That’s a big part of the problem running wild. We are all so angry and resentful. We quietly scream at the television, no one ever listening to our rage.

      
    • Guy more offended by the suggestion that white people have ever done anything wrong than by present reality spilling into the streets of the nation:
      • What about the Moore’s?
        And African tribes killing each other as they are doing in the streets of many US cities? Biggest murder rate among blacks is by blacks.
       Me, trying to be more tolerant than him, exploiting my personal historical research to explain the suggestions he is making:
              • I’m talking about human history. I am referring to how we got to the frustrated rage we are facing now. Of course it isn’t just the white man. Brutal African kings and dictators not only sold their enemies into slavery, but have ordered the slaughter of entire tribes, massacring more than 800,000 people in something like eleven days in Rwanda.
      But this is not the point either. The historical fact remains that the only thing the white man has ever really been good at is conquest.
    • Trying to one-up me with his knowledge of the past for reasons of stubborn pride:
            • As were Spaniards, Arab Muslims, Moores, Cosaks(sp) etc…
    • Me, I suppose returning to my own past as a teacher, trying to teach this defensive man something about history:
      • Spaniards were white; Muslims were dominated by Europeans so badly they formed a new religion; Moors were warriors from Africa so technologically advanced that they made it to Europe and conquered some space of their own, until Britain and the Holy Roman Empire, in the midst of their wars, captured and enslaved them. Cossacks were native Russians being slaughtered by the french moving east. You forget Asians, the only other race every bit the conquerors of their own people as the Europeans. This is much deeper than your–‘oh yeah? Everyone’s bad!’ argument. That justification towards all people is why this our hatreds reign.
      Him, perhaps grown thoughtful:
      • Interesting….Still not so sure about Spaniards being white…. 
     

    I let the Spaniards thing go other than to say, “They are.”  I wanted to tell him about the conquest of the New World and about how Spain, Britain and France swept in with their giant warships and killed or enslaved everyone, before going to war with one another in the new land for their piece of the pie.  I could have said that speaking Spanish does not make you an aborigine whose distant ancestors were forced to speak the language of their conquerors, and that all those European kings and queens were somehow of the same bloodline, and on and on and on into a history lesson going back to the Norman Conquests, but I figured I would have lost him from the considerations I hope were inspired.

 

There are so many of these conversations trapped in the smaller spaces of final opinions on the world that rages in quarantine.  The brief glimpses most of us are getting from the outside are terrifying–fires, smashed glass, beatings and chaos surrounding the genuine uprising going on around the nation.  And everything gets poisoned, our terror seeking comfort in justifying our rigid beliefs, condemning only chaos and not considering what causes it.  “What the police did was wrong, but . . .”  This is not a solution.  This is a plea for a return to whatever was once considered normal after being scared for so very very long.

 

© 2020 Lance Polin

 

 

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