“Is Donald Trump a Fascist?”

Donald Trump has again provoked the question, this time in the New Republic, “Is Donald Trump a Fascist?” This question again signals the ongoing failure among political people to confront and understand America’s, the West’s present economic, social and moral conundrum. Back in 1852 when he published his first edition of The 18’th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte in New York Karl Marx thought

…Man makes his own history, but he does not make it out of the whole cloth; he does not make it out of conditions chosen by himself, but out of such as he finds close at hand. The tradition of all past generations weighs like an alp upon the brain of the living. At the very time when men appear engaged in revolutionizing things and themselves, in bringing
about what never was before, at such very epochs of revolutionary crisis do they anxiously conjure up into their service the spirits of the past, assume their names, their battle cries, their costumes to enact a new historic scene in such time-honored disguise and with such borrowed language Thus did Luther masquerade as the Apostle Paul; thus did the revolution of 1789-1814 drape itself alternately as Roman Republic and as Roman Empire; nor did the revolution of 1818 know what better to do than to parody at one time the year 1789, at another the revolutionary traditions of 1793-95 Thus does the beginner, who has acquired a new language, keep on translating it back into his own mother tongue; only
then has he grasped the spirit of the new language and is able freely to express himself therewith when he moves in it without recollections of the old, and has forgotten in its use his own hereditary tongue…

And so today we waste precious time and resources attempting to make sense of the present by conjuring the spirits of the actors in Mankind’s greatest man-made catastrophe.

A Can of Worms or Just A Hot Potato

“First you say you do then you don’t you’re undecided now so what are you gohohona do?”

The bill to permit victims of 9/11 bombing to sue citizens of  Saudi Arabia that President Obama vetoed has become a can of worms that seemed straight forward when I first  heard about it; though I was rather surprised that the bill became law because of the intimate relationship shared by America and Arabia since early in the 20th century.

And I was again surprised when President Obama vetoed this bill that had been accepted as law by both Republicans and Democrats in  both houses of the American congress. But when the veto was overturned by the senate with only one Democrat senator voting against  Obama’s veto it seemed incomprehensible that the president would have vetoed the bill in the first place. Didn’t he know that all but three of his own party supporters would vote to nullify his veto, with Mrs. Clinton’s VP Mr. Kaine and her supporter Mr. Sanders both absent. And when I heard that the political representatives, even House leader Ryan, who’d voted against the veto were having second thoughts  about the bill they’d made law , I could not but be mystified by the political intricacies entailed by this revisiting the legislation they’d in effect accepted  a second time by  overriding the president’s attempt to nullify it with his veto.

Presidential Debates in 2012&2016

Today is the third day after the presidential candidates’ debates of September 26 2016. What’s different from the debates in 2012 is more people watched Monday’s debates than in 2012, and there are no neutral opinions about the results: everything I’ve read says Mr. Trump got trounced. Only Rush Limbaugh, a right-winger, believes he won by changing the style of political debates. I’ll assume that Mr. Limbaugh’s view is subjective as I assume most of those he calls the “drive bys” views are tainted by leftism. But today I read a Mr. Bai’s kind of grudging acceptance of the fact that Mr. Trump was hard for Mrs. Clinton to finish off even though Trump dared admitting having made money at the expense of others, which he justified by saying that making money at the expense of others was just doing business. Overall Mr. Bai, a respected writer on politics, felt that what kept Mr. Trump alive was the emotion with which he delivered his responses like the way he said taking advantage of others was just doing business; sounds like something I heard Judge Judy say to someone complaining he got ripped off; Well this is America, she said, as though he should have been on his toes and not made the deal.

My way of observing this recent debate is the same as my approach in 2012. I didn’t watch it directly. with Mr. Obama’s characterization of political debates ” as media-driven gamesmanship”. ringing in my ear I waited to see what media opinion makers had to say:

Me and Mr. Obama

October 8, 2012

Hey Mr. Obama is just like me; he thinks that political debates are just a media circus or in his October 7, New York Times media reported words ” media-driven gamesmanship” : “…Mr. Obama does not like debates to begin with, aides have long said, viewing them as media-driven gamesmanship…” at least that’s what they’re saying, whether you believe it or not. And if that’s what he thinks you might wonder why the President would have openly acted against his own beliefs by participating in an event the Times story calls

… a singular event in the life of the campaign, watched by more than 67 million people – a larger audience than for any of Mr. Obama’s 2008 debates, either of his nominating conventions or any of his State of the Union addresses…

Well, maybe his advisers wanted him to do it. I gather one of them is helping the Vice President prepare for his debate. Oh well I still think that what’s important about these political debates is how they are characterized in talk by professional opinion shapers:

Mr. Obama is said to believe political debates to be “media-driven gamesmanship” . But he apparently thought his October 4, 2012 debate was a good one,”This was a terrific debate”. But most commentators feel he wasn’t that effective, despite his continuing lead in the polls. But they say that’s what happened in 2008: thanks to Mr McCain’s grumpy debate style Mr. Obama came back to win the presidency in November. Maybe that’s what’s going to happen this time: one more win by the mythical “Come Back Kid”. Maybe that’s how they’re shaping it?

October 6, 2012

More than 2 days have passed since the debates on Wednesday, October 4, 2012, that as usual I refused to watch. For to me televised political debates are a kind of show business, presenting a small part of an election campaign puzzle, a kind of distraction from real problems that Presidential campaigns themselves distract from. These real concerns include who gets the money spent on these increasingly expensive contests. Is it the entertainment community, corporations, or investors like Mr. Romney, or the $250,000. a year middle classers? These real concerns also include the increasing cost of necessities while wages stagnate or diminish. And one of these necessities is fuel: for furnaces, shipping of food from far across the world, driving of autos for employment, and who the candidates for president and their parties represent, despite personal attacks. For what matters most about these debates is what is said about them on television and in newspapers later. On Thursday, October 4, 2012, New York Times articles suggested that Mr. Obama had been a surprisingly ineffective speaker, but by the next day, and by today, October 6, 2012, debate performance seems forgotten,(1) so too the reported largest audience in debate watching history( a much advertised event, paid for by ?) And time, time helps sift things to bring perspective so that today October 6, 2012 Mr. Obama’s apparent oratorical meekness seems unimportant and the time worn pronouncement about these debates is promulgated with emphasis on the moderators less than demanding questions and not how Mr. Romney or Mr. Obama might have been the winner, and that this has all been “Much Ado About Nothing”.

(1)

NAFTA

I wrote what follows way back in 2008 during the Democrat and Republican  presidential primaries. I don’t understand what I meant By “Democrat victor Hillary Clinton” because Obama eventually defeated Clinton (probably reflects the popular inevitability of her beating Obama) and defeated Republican McCain in the 2008 election. The NAFTA issue and the Iraq war were central to presidential politics back then as they are today. Today NAFTA seems even more important because since that 2008 election its helped give life to Donald Trump’s candidacy and the formidable group arrayed against him led by Hillary Clinton whose husband ensured that NAFTA became law.

War, NAFTA and Primary Victors

Wed. March 5, 2008

On March 4, 2008 the war backers and NAFTA promoters came out on top.

Why do I say that? Well McCain now Republican presidential candidate as a result of his March 4 victories would support the war in Iraq for 100 years, and believes most Americans would too if no Americans were physically harmed.

And Democrat victor Hillary Clinton signed the legislation authorizing the war, and refused to sign the amendment to that authorization, and adamantly refuses to rescind that authorization. And she recently voted to authorize Bush’s using force against Iran if he thinks it necessary.

NAFTA promoters Hillary and Bill Clinton, early in her husband’s first Presidential term ensured that NAFTA would become law.

And McCain who accepts lost American jobs as gone forever defends NAFTA as adamantly as he supports the Mid- East war.


 

September 28, 2016

I hear that no big name CEO’s are supporting Donald Trump. Anti Trumpists  like Larry  Cramer (not Cudlow)  of CNBC whose words are quoted below favoring NAFTA tells me why: – Donald Trump has been telling people that trade deals like NAFTA are making America poorer.

…”These trade deals that ship American jobs overseas also have an upside for the American consumer: lower prices on just about everything. It’s a bargain, some would say an unholy bargain, but this tradeoff is very real and it needs to be explored,” the “Mad Money” host said…

NAFTA is a central feature of that Victorian, Adam Smithian ideal “free trade” which eliminates tariffs, a government source of income which must be replaced by the downside of taxing the consumers of those tariff free goods. It’s been said that free trade in England of the early 18 hundreds led to the beginning of the now ubiquitous income tax.

Fact and Opinion

Back when Mr. Trump began telling everyone he was trying to be the Republican candidate for president, just after Shields and Brooks on PBS said he wasn’t a serious contender; former president Mr. Bill Clinton husband of Mrs. Clinton the Democrat candidate said that Mr. Trump was running a “fact free” campaign kinda like “fat free”. Everyone who’s followed online reports about Trump now that he’s the Republican presidential  candidate has seen the “fact check” media headers that seem to be confirming Mr. Clinton’s view that Mr. Trump’s campaign for president is “fact free”. There are so many of these “fact check” headers all looking the same like leaves on summer trees that they don‘t look worth reading. Mr. Rush Limbaugh one of the few media workers still sticking his neck out to support Trump says these fact check articles are about journalists’ opinions, and not really about correcting Trump’s factual/ “fact free” errors. I remember reading an article online about the time Mr. Pence was chosen as Mr. Trump’s vice president partner. The article’s writer apologized for having devoted years to writing about Mr. Pence’s scarce understanding of the issues that he was voting on, because, he says, most politicians don’t know much more than Mr. Pence.


This morning of September 28, 2016; I read of a proposed law giving victims of the 2001 September 11 World Trade Center terrorist bombing the right to sue the nation where the bombers had originated. This legal proposal was passed unanimously in the U.S congress and senate by only a nameless show of hands. Now that President Obama has vetoed the proposal it’s been said that the same elected representatives are now finally reading the bill before their names are publicised in the veto override vote.


This afternoon according to Associated Press

…Senators voted 97-1 to override Obama’s veto. The lone “no” vote was Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev…

Liar Liar!

I read much of the online commentary about the 2012 election between Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney I don’t recall the liar theme ever appearing. But over the past year cries of “liar” directed against political opponents most notably by Mr. Trump against lying Ted, and now by journalists in online articles  with headers numbering Trump lies reported by news organizations with even Canada’s Toronto Star informing the American electorate are appearing with increased frequency. In today’s Toronto Star we read that “Donald Trump said 52 false things last week”.

Story image for donald trump from Toronto Star

Donald Trump said 52 false things last week

Toronto Star12 hours ago
A woman wearing a Muslim headscarf walks past Donald Trump supporters before the start of the annual Muslim Day Parade in Manhattan on …

All this anti Trump stuff does what they say Donald Trump is responsible for. It incites people. The raging words and statements they all attribute to him in bold headers seem shouted in anger to provoke anger. For weeks his accusations against illegal migrants from Mexico have been inaccurately blasted as attacks on all Mexican immigrants. Hence Donald Trump is against immigration, a racist, a bigot, and a liar. Their comments seem not to be reports of what Trump has actually said he wants to do, but paraphrases of how what he says makes them feel about him. So he’s become a “low life liar” a conspicuous rant by Agatha and Harry in the movie “Matilda”, liar, an unexplained epithet hurled throughout online articles as though the vehemence conveyed by the word “liar” has become a media weapon like “racist” and “sexist”, added to the verbal quiver of the educated elite. These rather mindless characterizations of the man that no self respecting media/articulate person could favour too often seem lacking in fore thought, relevant experience or learning. It’s as though a journalist may paraphrase Trump’s most recent rhetorical outbursts and all English language media organizations from Australia to England and North America repeat it, almost word for word as though the only world media people know is the “fact free” collegial world of righteous media. A recent confession by one of those writers, one I used to consider informed about current political affairs illustrates how I’ve been viewing media coverage of the Republican primaries following the August 6, 2015 debates.

In his March 18, 2016 article, “No, Not Trump, Not Ever“,journalist Brooks  says, “…Moreover, many in the media, especially me, did not understand how they would express their alienation. We expected Trump to fizzle because we were not socially intermingled with his supporters and did not listen carefully enough. For me, It’s a lesson that I have to change the way I do my job if I’m going to report accurately on this country…”Though this confession tells how political experts erred in predicting Mr. Trump’s success to date by not “socially intermingl[ing] with his supporters” it fails to mention that Trump’s supporters and Mr. Trump himself are members of a coarsened North American society, and reminds me of his dismissive PBS News Hour comments about Mr. Trump after the August 6, 2015 debates. Perhaps pundits’ choosing to not mingle with Trump’s supporters shows a preference for the ethereal confines of middle class collegiality and an intergalactic aversion to rubbing shoulders with this poorer populace “alienated” through nearly 2 generations of ongoing economic, social and cultural neglect.

They say he’s a socialist.

Maybe I’m the only one thinking this way, but I can’t stop thinking that the term socialist has taken on a new meaning especially since I heard that former World Bank head Mr. Straus Khan was expected to become socialist leader of France before he got tarred for an escapade with a New York hotel maid. And I gather that he’s not poor  like I used to think socialists were supposed to be. And there’s that last NDP convention that chose a former Quebec Liberal cabinet minister as leader whose great-grandfather had once been  Quebec’s premiere, like an informal inherited right: passing a title down the family line you might say.
And socialist policies don’t seem what I grew up imagining they were meant for, like helping protect the disadvantaged, the way Tommy Douglas boxer and Baptist preacher was supposed to have led the NDP’s precursor, the CCF to help poor widows in Western Canada.
And I can’t stop thinking of the time the now deceased Jack Layton knocked on my door to ask that I vote for the NDP to protect the environment about the same time that people began populating sidewalks not far from my door. And since they started the Democrat party primaries down in the states they keep calling Bernie Sanders a socialist; but it’s difficult to understand how one of his priorities fighting global warming can solace the needy,or how free tuition can solace people sleeping in the street, or how his hanging in the 2016 Democrat  primaries after he’d been mathematically defeated spending the tax money of the very people I used to believe socialists wanted to help so he could pay for secret service protection long after the viability of his candidacy had ended.

And today, October 5, 2016, I read that Vice President Biden was wondering why his net worth is less than  Mr. Sander’s, a socialist; and today Feb. 2,2020, I’m wondering what Sanders – celebrator movie-maker Mike Moore would have in common with a  socialist.