sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

September 25, 2016

Is Donald Trump A Victim of Predatory Women?

Filed under: politics, whatever — Tags: , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 10:09 am

I am a strong believer in keeping an eye on the significant others of political figures.  We need to mind the size of their shoes closets, but, more importantly, the choice of partner reveals more about a man’s personality and decision-making than anything in his public life. Also, I’m not above a bit of middlebrow gossip.

That a wealthy man like Donald Trump is able to stage appearances surrounded by an array of hot escorts is not at all surprising.  Admittedly, I know next to nothing about the lives of multimillionaires, but judging by the steadiness with which stories about the likes of DC madame or Trump’s and Clinton’s buddy Jeffrey Epstien pop up, arranging a rendezvous with “a young a beautiful piece of ass” is not an insurmountable challenge in this income tax bracket.

What sets the Donald apart from other rich and famous is the degree to which he very publicly and conspicuously perfects his womanizing image.  Not content with merely sleeping with hotties, he has to established his own bordellos (he’d slept with his Miss USA contestants and his modeling agency’s employees) and then make the reputation for himself as an owner of said bordello by publicizing his affairs.

Some Trump champions, especially at the intersection of the Pick-up and the Artist/altRight, hail him as an “all-American alpha” and vow to support the presidential contender for that very reason: just look at him, he’s wealthy, powerful, and he has the women.  Surely he has a good game, which, in their view, is a manifestation of good leadership skills.

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Although the autistic precision with which many PUA’s build their theories of womanizing makes the whole enterprise a bit silly, certain biological rules of courtship doubtlessly exist.  That some men are more gifted at the dating game (or that there are natural born leaders) is obvious at plain sight.  An alpha would have easy and satisfying relationships with the kind of women that seem out of his league, and he’d get the most out of them — and out of life.

This brings me back to the Donald.  At no point did he bed a gal above his social status — or even one at his own level.  For instance, in two of his Howard Stern interviews the tangerine playboy revealed that he’d developed somewhat of a crush on Princess Dianna.  Well, did he get anywhere near her?

The businessman from New York and his now wife Melania once admired the sex tape of family friend Paris Hilton.  (Gross, I know.  But the fact that Trump himself bragged about it and that he would like for us to believe that he’s such a Casanova makes it fair game to mention it.  Also, I’m sure he can take it as well as he gives.)  I suppose Paris just wasn’t that into them.

Although the mogul has a habit of regurgitating the lists of female celebs who arouse him, he sleeps with marginal, ambitious women he dedicated his life to collecting.  Most puzzling, he marries out of his harem — he already has the woman, why does he need to put the ring on her finger? If most wealthy men don’t follow in his footsteps, it’s probably because this is not a good idea.

When he divorced her, Trump’s first wife, a noted gold digger, accused him of rape.  Wife number two played the oldest trick in the book — she got pregnant on him.  According to the official story, the current appropriation accordingly traveled to New York City at the sunset stage of her modeling career. There, she attempted a business connection with Donald Trump, the man who, she was forewarned, would make a pass at her.  When he did, she took his number instead of giving away hers and called him a week later.  In other words, she had him in her sights for a while.

Not to say that Melania and the Donald aren’t made for each other.  The two share the taste for the unironically opulent decor, for instance.  Melania doesn’t nag.  The respective worldviews of this daughter of a nomneclaturish Yugoslav communist and the free world mogul appear to align.  Consider their opinions of the First Amendment.  I previously wrote:

When Pamela Geller organized Draw Mohamed contest, attracting, predictably, jihadist violence, Trump blamed Geller for “provok[ing]” the Religion of Peace.  Likewise, when Julia Ioffe profiled the mogul’s third wife in Vanity Fair in the feature that was not entirely to Melania Trump’s liking, bands of altRight antisemites  barraged Ioffe online.  Melania’s reaction?  “She provoked them.”

One can imagine them finishing each other’s sentences — to the extent to which Melania is capable of formulating sentences in English.

Trump once said that he doesn’t think Nancy Reagan was all that beautiful, provoking the outcry that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  What’s not in the eye of the beholder is that Ronald Reagan is a two-term president and a revered conservative icon.  And what is Donald Trump?  The all-American alpha is currently stuck in a close race with a corpse of a diaper granny.  She’s winning, too, albeit by a nose.  And if she’s bleeding votes, she’s bleeding them not to Trump but to a not exactly charismatic, yet trim and youthful third party candidate who once climbed Mt. Everest.

What Trump seems to be lacking is a trusted adviser, somebody who can say: “Darling, put down your cell. You will not be baited with a tweet” and then makes sure he does.  A real man will marry a woman who will help him to live up to his potential; the thin-skinned Donald purchases arm candies who let him be himself.

In April of this year Liz Mair produced an ad with a photograph of Melania posing in the character of a high society call-girl.  I thought Trump would laugh it off: the picture in question was not pornographic, it was humorous, actually. It accompanied a decade-old magazine piece that the mogul himself approved, presumably, that further advanced the lucky gold digger image of his future wife.  Yet he became incensed.  Why?  It could be because he knew Melania’s porn work will eventually come up.  More likely, however, hiding behind the orange spray tan and the shiny teeth is a lonely man who never found his soulmate.

Why do I get the impression that the closest he ever came to finding a soulmate was in his daughter Ivanka?  Maybe because he makes incest jokes about her, or maybe because he’s entirely comfortable with putting the liberal democrat in charge of high level policy decisions.  Daddy granted Ivanka’s wish to craft the federal maternity leave policy, a government handout staunchly opposed by the GOP. Is it not ironic that at the time conservatives are told by Trump loyalists to put their party above the country and vote for him, Trump is putting his loyalty to family above the party?

For the altRight PUA’s to jump on the Trumptrain is a form of self-congratulation. In their dating science, alphas are attracted to alphas, and, therefore, their conviction that Trump is an alpha proves that they are too. (But wait, what about Reince?)

The flip side of this kind of self-congratulatory thinking is the desire to by 47% of American women.  No less than Rush Limbaugh, a fellow who certainly knows how to hold on to a wife, opined that “real” “wholesome American women” like Trump.  He elaborated:

He’s not PC-whipped. He’s not politically correct-whipped. He stands up for himself.

Remains to be explained: if wholesome women like The Don, how come he never dated any?  What does he have against wholesome women?  And: is our society really so emasculated that We can’t tell a hero from a clown?

In an essay way too good to be written on the occasion of the Donald Trump candidacy, David French wrote about heroes:

Trump’s masculinity is a cheap counterfeit of the masculinity that’s truly threatening to the cultural Left: man not as predator but as protector, the “sheepdog” of American Sniper fame. This is the brave man, the selfless man who channels his aggression and sense of adventure into building a nation, an economy, and — yes — a family. This is the man who kicks down doors in Fallujah or gathers a makeshift militia to rush hijackers in the skies above Pennsylvania. Or, to choose a more mundane — though no less important — example: This is the man who packs up the household to take a chance on a new job, models strength for his family when life turns hard, teaches his son to stand against bullies on the playground, and lives at all times with dignity and honor.

Clowns are different.  Their role is to disobey the normal rules and conventional behavior, to question societal conventions.  Political correctness is something to be questioned, no doubt.  Thank you, Donald Trump, for your service, now please be dismissed because you are right up there with Sid Vicious and Candy Darling with your disobedience.

There is a category of women who like men that constantly embarrass them.  The Squint is one, I suspect — she allowed Donald to drag her into this campaign, something she doesn’t seem to want at all.  Most of us will love a guy who can tell a good joke (or a bad joke), but not when the joke is on us or on him.  When smashing of the idols is in order, we’d love our man to go out and do just that.  What we don’t want our men to do is to make fun of disability or diminish the heroism of others.  We cannot take Donald Trump seriously as a leader.

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Global elites: daddy’s girl Ivanka and Wendy Deng, the alleged Putin’s girlfriend.  Ivanka posted the picture of herself with GF to her Instagram account this August

Lack of leadership qualities is important for reasons other than mere optics.  Make no mistake, if elected, Trump will be Putin’s mat.  He will be otherwise manipulated by individuals who know how to properly massage his ego.  And if in 2020 Democrats nominate somebody with a modicum of charisma, that person will win.

July 2, 2016

The New and Expanded SF MOMA: Now Open for Gazing

Filed under: art, politics — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 5:39 pm

I’m a big fan of modern art. I like the way it permits an artist to break the rules to achieve his objectives.  Its inherent quirkiness makes it more dear to my heart than anything created before 1880 (personal opinion here, I realize).

I was excited to check out the newly expanded San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to see what they were able to bring out of the coffers after it reopened this May.

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OK, this one is funny.

During the remodeling stage, the museum boasted that they are now erecting the largest modern and contemporary art museum in the world.  Unfortunately, most visitors won’t get the impression that San Francisco has finally arrived on the world art scene.  The museum either doesn’t have much of anything in storage or prefers to hoard it.  This is what the museum looks like today:

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Nice chairs, is this a garage sale or are they going for the chic vintage boutique look?

MOMA’s permanent collection, which I like very much, hardly expanded.  They are still featuring the same artwork by Matisse, Magritte and Kahlo that visitors have admired for decades.  (As much as I want to hate Frida Kahlo for her politics and her all-around annoying persona, Me And Diego, her self-portrait with her equally annoying husband, is so very tender that I can’t.  I do think she’s overrated, though.)  That’s nice, I suppose.

Unfortunately, for the most part SF MOMA is not so much a museum of modern art, as it is a museum of contemporary art.  Second floor aside, all exhibits were produced after 1950, and most of them are nearly impossible to like.

I can’t deny appreciating some of the contemporary art exhibits.  For instance, Andy Warhol, whose work is scattered throughout the museum space, is among my favorites.  Considering how Andy is the man of the current four 15-minute intervals, MOMA should probably give his prints more prominent placement.

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The ironic likeness of a mass murderer right next to rather trannyish Dolly Parton.  Not Warhol’s best work, but it’s amusing to see them side by side

I like Wayne Thiebault’s landscapes and my kids like his deserts.  Having been both a student and a teacher, I found his painting of a student at her desk evocative.  I feel both that I’ve seen this girl many times and that I once was her.  That Thiebault is a local artist makes it all the more exiting to see his work.

I’m impartial to Richter’s eerie, blurred photorealism.  Richter is from West Germany, but his black and white image a sprawling, unimpressive midcetury administrative building looks familiar to those who, like me, grew up with east block bureaucracy.

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Feels like a snapshot taken out of a car’s side window.  Makes me a bit dizzy…

Richter, Warhol and Thiebault are exceptions in the sea of MOMA’s contemporary offerings that are, as a rule, neither evocative nor thought-provoking.  I walked through gallery after gallery of abstract expressionism.  I can squint and note that there is a certain “rhythm” to the way the paint is splashed on the canvas… and  I don’t care.  That said, giant abstract expressionist canvases fill the galleries rather nicely.

Likewise, Alexander Calder’s mobiles are likewise helpful in taking up exhibition space.  Several galleries were devoted to the sculpture subgenre known as an installation.  The common denominator in the exhibit appears to be the place of origin of the installation, Great Britain.

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A pertinent question: is this some authentic UK fishing gear, a backdrop for an S&M nightclub or both?

“What is it, mommy?” Asked my son about a two-feet high heap of red sand quartered by two perpendicular glass walls in the middle of one gallery.

“Soil.”

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Right next door was a circle of rock.  Did the artiste trek it across the Atlantic or did he use local, sustainable material?

Check out this fine contemporary art specimen:

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Having recently painted my house, I think I know what the iconoclast creator was trying to do here.  The museum generously mixed some wall paint meant to resemble Benjamin Moor’s 50% Gray Owl, the hue touted to be the new Navaho White.  The white oak floor is tres chic these days and every self-respecting cafe uses black chalk boards to advertise its menu.  So the piece above, with its erased blackboard must be evocative of an empty trendy eatery, something akin to Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks.  Or else it’s an exercise in empty self-congratulatory hipsterism.

In his very excellent 1975 essay The Painted Word, Tom Wolfe recalled that the arty New York socialites turned up at the opening of an Op Art exhibit wearing dresses cut out of fabric printed with the very paintings on display.  Wolfe commented that back in the 60’s it was possible, by looking at the brochures of the forthcoming exhibit, to have the Op Art fabric printed and the dresses manufactured just in time for the opening.  In 2016, however, minimalist grays were in fashion for nearly a decade before the leading museum of contemporary art put the blackboard against the grey wall.  It’s no longer the case of art leading design but of mass culture leading art.

The Brit show is on rotation, visiting the leading exhibition spaces around the world, but I recall seeing some of the other MOMA installations years ago.  The one bellow, for instance.

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If only Omar Mateen had seen that splash of silver paint in the corner, he would never have shot up that gay club!

Oversize objects displayed were by no means limited to installations.  Observe the masterpiece below:

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This one is located in the Sculpture Garden

This configuration of pipes and sheet metal shook when touched, and, as curators put no rope around it, it was touched often.  When that happened, a soft-spoken Muslim lady with a museum badge invariably approached the meddling visitor and asked him to “please stop”.  Is she part of the exhibit too?  Is she there to challenge our ideas about what a bouncer should be?

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Both the metal creation in center and the wall of ivy appear to be a part of the museum collection

Then there is the case of the sculpture garden wall covered in a variety of ivies.  It’s pleasant, and I have nothing against gardening.  I can see how the project can strike all the right notes on the grant application: the artist wants to explore the use of natural materials while “pushing the boundaries of art” to heighten our awareness of the climate change.  Except that “climate change” is ubiquitous, gardening is a millennia-old activity and no, he’s not creating any conceptual breakthroughs.  One hundred years ago Marcel Duchamp already pushed “the boundaries” as far as they go.  What artistic establishment does today is dutifully policing the boundaries, making sure that, God forbid, they don’t slip back to where they belong – to making something meaningful.

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Predictably, the most famous potty in the world is a part of SF MOMA’s permanent collection

Tom Wolfe’s brilliant insight was that most of contemporary art amounts to an illustration of lofty art theory, and that the art theory comes first.  The artists and the critic insist that they want to get beyond narrative, but, in effect, they do just the opposite, artists would be nowhere had critics not developed a thesis that they later paint.  In reward critics write books about them.

The 1970’s were the apogee of obscure academic theory, resulting in equally obscure art trends like abstract expressionism.  That’s because if the viewer didn’t understand those trends or jargon-laden theories, it was because he was stupid, and, incidentally, because he was stupid, he also didn’t understand Marxism. Today, as the long march through the institutions achieved its ends, every artist wants to be “relevant”.  He takes his dictate directly from the politicians and the bureaucrats, hence the incorporation of  environmentalism and the language of “natural elements” like sand, rocks and plants into their projects.

Some MOMA artists paint words literally.  I apparently glossed over the one canvas that had the words YOU ARE ALL FOOLS drafted on it.  My husband was less fortunate.  “How true,” he commented. “If one is not somehow making a living off this kind of ‘art’, but allows himself to be suckered into even entertaining the idea of admiring it, he is a fool.”

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A number of visitor sat gazing at an installation that flashed random words at them

Is there any surprise that one critic left their own mark on the museum floor?  (Via Legal Insurrection):

Several visitors to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art this week were fooled into thinking a pair of glasses set on the floor by a 17-year-old prankster was a postmodern masterpiece.

“Upon first arrival we were quite impressed with the artwork and paintings presented in the huge facility,” TJ Khayatan toldBuzzFeed. “However, some of the ‘art’ wasn’t very surprising to some of us.”

“We stumbled upon a stuffed animal on a gray blanket and questioned if this was really impressive to some of the nearby people.”

To test out the theory that people will stare at, and try and artistically interpret, anything if it’s in a gallery setting, Khayatan set a pair of glasses down and walked away.

Soon, people began to surround them, maintaining a safe distance from the ‘artwork’ and several of them taking pictures.

I like to think they imagined the floored glasses to represent the dumbing down of culture, or perhaps the viewing of life through a lens, possibly with a nice, lower-case title like ‘myopia‘ or ‘real eyes (real lies)‘.

SF MOMA charges a $25 admission fee.

One of the better works displayed in the pop art section of SF MOMA is the ceramic self-portrait by Robert Arneson titled California Artist.  The sculptor made it as a response to a New York critic in whose opinion Arneson represented “impoverished sensibility of the provincial cultural life of California”.  Arneson sculpted a smirking hippy perched on a podium adorned with marijuana leaves and squirrels grazing on acorns, a stereotype of a California artist.

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Arnesen deserves our thanks for his glossy f*** you! to the art establishment

It didn’t take the establishment long to figure out that Arneson is actually one of them and to properly enshrine him at the MOMA.  And yet his story makes me wonder how many artists who live and work here in Northern California today are disregarded of utterly despised by the taste-makers for their provincial sensibilities.  Meantime we fill gargantuan  museum spaces with sand.

June 3, 2016

Does Trump Want His Fans To Die For Him?

Filed under: election2016, politics — Tags: , , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 1:57 pm

Donald Trump is a free man and this is still a free country.  He can schedule a rally in California, in Utah or New York.  We don’t have dictators in power telling us we can or cannot go and who we can or cannot listen to.

And yet, judged by the presumptive Republican nominee’s own standards, the responsibility for yesterday’s violent San Jose riots during which Trump’s adherents were attacked is on Trump.  When Pamela Geller organized Draw Mohamed contest, attracting, predictably, jihadist violence, Trump blamed Geller for “provok[ing]” the Religion of Peace.  Likewise, when Julia Ioffe profiled the mogul’s third wife in Vanity Fair in the feature that was not entirely to Melania Trump’s liking, bands of altRight antisemites  barraged Ioffe online.  Melania’s reaction?  “She provoked them.”  In Trump’s mind, the onus for violence is on the provocateur.  Milo Yiannopoulos and other assorted AltRight professional trolls should know that Daddy doesn’t like them petty mischief makers; he only tolerates them so long as they are of service.

To make it clear, this is how Trump thinks, not me.  Like Senator Cruz, I believe that the direct responsibility for violence is with the people who insight and commit it. At the same time, it’s important to acknowledge Daddy’s own ideology and strategy to understand what it is that we are asked to cast our votes for.  After all, none of the riot organizers are on the ballot this November, at least not on the national level.

Trump says he will campaign heavily in California and New York, assuring his followers that he can turn those states red.  I live in California.  In the past few months I began to notice “Now Hiring” signs in my neighborhood; this is something that had not been happening for many years.  The mood here is upbeat, favoring the incumbent party.  And this is already a heavily Democratic state with surging (thanks to Trump, no doubt) youth and Latino voter registration.

No way he wins California.  It’s a gorgeous state, and campaigning here is a pleasure, I’m sure, especially considering that with the Secret Service protection the candidate himself doesn’t need to worry his bright (color-wise, anyway) head about the violence.  But I’m sure there is more to Trump’s campaign strategy than quality of life.  The reason Trump campaigns in CA is to produce spectacles for national TV hoping that it will move the needle in some other state. Trump fans are ponds in this game.  If they are pelted with eggs and it’s a national news story, can you imagine (it’s easy if you try) what will happen if someone, lets say a person with a heart condition, dies?

Trump’s lack of action in re BLM is unnerving.  BLM thugs who attacked Trump’s fans are financed by George Soros.  But Soros is a friend of Trump, so much so that the left wing benefactor built the Trump tower in Chicago.  If Trump cares at all about the well-being of his followers, why doesn’t he pick up the phone and tell his buddy to cut it off?

I wrote about Trump and victimhood before.  Like all bullies he knows how to make himself into a victim, and he knows how to channel violence to benefit himself. Before we start imagining Trump as a victim in need of our defense and our votes, we need to remind ourselves that Trump himself actively encouraged violence when he notoriously offered to pay his violent fan’s legal fees.  Trump’s courting KKK and the neoNazis also worth remembering.  The New York billionaire continuously retweets them, and only disowed the KKK endorsement when under media pressure, and even then doing it in an entirely unconvincing manner.  I can’t help but wonder what other plans Trump has for his neoNazi contingent.

The Donald’s belief that the responsibility for the offensive speech lies with the offender and his hunt for the status of victimhood are not hard to reconcile.  This is the man who sided with the ChiComs at Tienanmen and who sings praises to Putin.  This is the man who slept with Mein Kampf by his bedside.  This is the man who believes that the three key functions of the federal government are defense, healthcare and education.  Donald Trump has no clue about federalism, limited government and liberty.  I don’t believe his little hands ever touched the Constitution.  He fancies himself a father of the nation and his overarching worldview is that might makes right.

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Donald Trump is a run-of-the-mill statist

And so the provocateurs like Pamela Geller are at fault simply because they misjudged the power dynamics.  Journalists like Julia Ioffe are at fault because she should have known that somebody is not going to like what she said.  (Say what you want about Hillary, but journalists don’t buy guns because of threats emanating from her fanbase.)  Similarly, if a lady is attacked just for wanting to listen to her candidate talk — well, how can we ask Trump to sympathize with her if she is the one who put herself in peril?  The candidate, on the other hand, has all the right to exploit her suffering simply because he can.  Again, this is not my line of thought.

A true lover of liberty will not ally himself with Trump.  In the face of violence and threats coming from both the Democratic core and the Trumpistas it is very important to be with neither violent lefties nor Trump.  And let us not forget that we, those who are unhappy with the Hillary/Trump choice, are a clear, overwhelming, absolute 4/5 majority in this country.

May 24, 2016

Gary Johnson, The New Voldemort

Filed under: election2016, Gary Johnson, politics — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 4:46 pm
I caught on Stefanie Miller that (or some kind of generic female libtalker, anyway) that the”Libertarian presidential candidate” was in hot water for comparing the Holocaust to mass deportations.  A little research yielded this:
Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld — who is expected to be picked alongside [Gary] Johnson to run on the Libertarian Party ticket at a nominating convention this weekend — told The New York Times on Thursday that Trump’s plan to remove the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants from the U.S. reminded him of “Kristallnacht,” or the “Night of Broken Glass.”
“I can hear the glass crunching on Kristallnacht in the ghettos of Warsaw and Vienna when I hear (Trump’s plan), honest,” Weld told the Times.
The 1938 pogrom against European Jewry occurred when anti-semitic mobs burned synagogues, destroyed Jewish-owned stores and killed scores of Jews, but not in Warsaw, as stated by Weld.
On Saturday, Johnson told CNN’s Victor Blackwell on “CNN Newsroom” that he wouldn’t have made the Holocaust reference but defended the sentiments behind the remark.
I’m glad liberals are outraged because they should be.  To compare the extermination of European Jewry to sending home the non-citizens residing in the US illegally is simply repulsive.
I’m not a liberal, of course, and I am on record being pro-deportations, which, I trust, would be conducted humanely, so long as we keep the most eager Trumpkins out of the process.  We can agree or disagree about it, but I think it’s reassuring that we both find Weld’s histrionics questionable.
In a normal election year Weld’s statement would be a deal-breaker to me, but with both Hillary and “Mr.” Trump being so vile and so corrupt and so authoritarian, I’m willing to give the Libertarian duo a pass.
One can argue that a veep candidate making such a rookie mistake is not ready for prime time, but neither is Trump.  Besides, both Johnson and Weld have gubernatorial experience, which is more than both Hillary and “Mr.” can boast.
I think it’s interesting that the libtalker didn’t refer to the “Libertarian candidate” by name.  She clearly wanted to highlight the controversy, and, again, I’m glad we are on the same side here, sort of, but was she afraid of being devoured by a death eater?
Nuh.  She knows how weak Hillary is, and suspects that Johnson has a real chance to appeal to both the right and the left.  Perhaps he can even win.
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#BeLibertarianWithMe

In related news, another poll shows Johnson is in double digits in a three-way race.

May 19, 2016

Clearly We Need A Dictator

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 6:20 pm

Robert Kagan frets about fascism coming to America:

The Republican Party’s attempt to treat Donald Trump as a normal political candidate would be laughable were it not so perilous to the republic. If only he would mouth the party’s “conservative” principles, all would be well.

But of course the entire Trump phenomenon has nothing to do with policy or ideology. It has nothing to do with the Republican Party, either, except in its historic role as incubator of this singular threat to our democracy. Trump has transcended the party that produced him. His growing army of supporters no longer cares about the party. Because it did not immediately and fully embrace Trump, because a dwindling number of its political and intellectual leaders still resist him, the party is regarded with suspicion and even hostility by his followers. Their allegiance is to him and him alone.

I don’t know about the “historic role” bit, but the cult of personality is definitely there.  As is always the case with the strongman types, what the fans find charismatic is highly subjective.  Was Hitler not a bloviating idiot with a funny mustache?  Is Putin’s bare chest something to laugh about?  Is our short-fingered vulgarian too bloated and pasty?

Graceful!

Are Americans too bloated?  Yes.  Good news, there is always time to slim down.  Take the example of North Korea, the world’s number one thinnest nation:

Don’t mention it to the exalted leader Kim Jong-un, but his people are literally starving. They’re poor (earning an average of only $2-30 per month), their every move is monitored and controlled, and the government constantly mismanages the economy by buying weapons for a hypothetical war it is obsessed with, but would never win. North Korean food, to its credit, is relatively healthy (and includes dishes like rice, noodles, corn porridge, kimchi, soybean sausage, and bulgogi), so that deserves part of the credit for the population’s shockingly-low 4.4 percent overweight/obesity rate. Yet an even bigger factor is the ongoing famine, which caused the deaths of as many as 3.5 million citizens in the last 20 years.

I suspect the bulk of the 4.4% overweight/obesity population of the Hermit Kingdom hails from the nomenklatura class:

While malnutrition is widespread in North Korea, the restaurant scene in Pyongyang is thriving. It is never a problem to find a really good meal if you can afford it – and you know where to look. The newer, semi-private eateries tend to keep a low-profile, and often have their windows covered with heavy curtains. The signboards are also small, if not absent, so outsiders would have few clues of the luxury inside.[…]

All these pleasures might appear cheap for a visiting foreigner, but for the average North Korean restaurants are prohibitively expensive. A dinner in a regular upmarket restaurant would cost about $7-10 (excluding alcohol), but the most expensive places charge around $30-40. To appreciate how out of reach this is, remember that the average monthly salary of a university professor in North Korea is about 80 cents. In most cases, the consumers pay in foreign currency, usually Chinese yuan, which has long been a currency of choice in the up-market North Korean shops.

While Mr. Dpumpf lacks the trim physique, so does Baby Kim, and Putin’s been getting bloated lately.  Yet They are not us, and as a country we can stand to lose some weight.  It’s good for us.  Michelle Obama said so.

May 9, 2016

Programming Notes

Filed under: Uncategorized — edge of the sandbox @ 9:54 pm

As some of my readers know, I had a five week long adventure in living room painting which included chapters on stomach flu and my husband stepping through the ceiling while trying to install an electrical box. 

I was looking forward to some peace and quiet, and to posting my heart away, but alas! — now comes Harry Potter birthday party and one cannot take such event lightly. So, anyhow, hopefully next week I will be back. 

Happy belated Mother’s Day, VE Day, Victory Day — or whichever applies to you. 

March 14, 2016

Trump in Chicago: Leading from behind

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:42 pm

Last September I commented on Trump’s enduring popularity:

He’s not bound by conventions, unscripted, an outsider, supposedly, with an aura of machismo, and he hit a nerve with his opening salvo on immigration.  None of which explains why Trump’s defenders forgive his support for partial birth abortion or his hob-nobbing with the Clintons.

I think I have an answer for that, and it’s not because Americans (or conservatives) are stupid or racist.  My answer comes from Maurice Bloch’s Prey into Hunter, a book exceptionally annoying even by the French standards.  I mentioned this book in the past a few times because, even though I can’t stand Bloch’s style, I value his insights.  Looking at the hunting ritual in Africa, Bloch noted that hunters dress like prey and identify with prey in order to then go on an offensive against an animal in a hunt.

It’s not hard to notice similar rituals in the political world.  A photo of a dead toddler washed up on the beach in Turkey is printed on the front pages of Western papers, bleeding hearts identify with the child (the Donald was among them for 5 minutes), demanding opening the borders to “refugees” without thinking through the consequences or even looking into the toddler’s story. (As Peter Hitchens pointed out, he was a victim of human traffickers.)

Back to Trump, when he burst into the race with his common sense remarks about Mexican illegals, the media, business and political elite all but declared a war on him.  The perpetual defenders of the perpetually offended were screaming their heads off; Macy’s was dropping his merchandise, Univision was canceling his contracts.  Any of that could happen to any one of us — if only we were so lucky.  We identified with the Donald, the victim, not the underdog, but the victim; we wanted to stand up for him, we called for Macy’s boycotts.

It is now clear that playing victim is the businessman’s forte.  After a half a year of dominating the media, Trump failed to consolidate the Republican majority, commanding about 35% of the primary vote.  The Donald thought the masses would flock to power, that his candidacy would snowball, but we conservatives stood by our principles and he never gained momentum.  So, in the desperate attempt to gather support prior to winner-take-all primaries, he plays his favorite trick again.

That Black Lives Matter, Move On and Bernies wanted to shut down the Trump rally in Chicago and that they gleefully took credit for shutting it down is not in dispute.  At this point the totalitarian tendencies of the left are well established.  Who gets credit for shutting it down is another issue.  The Chicago Police Department denied recommending Trump to cancel the event.  Trump himself canceled it to play the victim.

trump

Chicago Police removes a protester from the Trump event

As many commentators pointed out, the candidate courted violence at his rallies, commenting that “in the old days” a protester would be “carried out in the stretcher” and that he’d like to punch somebody in the face.  Not surprisingly, people were hurt at his rallies and a journalist was manhandled.

As per the script, shortly after the Chicago rally was canceled Trump felt empowered to go on offensive, intimidating Bernie supporters.  The following tweet is now heavily promoted by Twitter:

While Trumpster might appeal to our sense of justice and our passion for the First Amendment, he himself is no staunch proponent of freedom of speech.  He threatened the Chicago Cubs owners for funding a campaign against him and told us that he would like to open up liable laws to sue his critics.  Before his presidential run, Trump blamed Pamela Geller for the jihadist attack at the Draw Mohamed event

Trump’s views on First Amendment do not annihilate his right to free speech.  What I question is his status as a victim, our identification with him as a victim and our willingness to get defensive on his behalf.  Our blood boils because some on the left assaults the First Amendment, but it should not matter if the target is Trump or anyone else.  If the goal is to defend our natural rights, we should vote for a constitutional conservative leader like Ted Cruz, not an amorphous self-styled victim like Trump.

I’m not sure to what extent the Donald is aware of the effects of his strategies.  It could be that he’s just doing what worked for him all his life.  And what worked for him? What kind of person he is? Who plays victim?  Donald is the kind of guy who, when standing on the podium, with all the lights on him, all microphones on, finds it necessary to make fun of a man with cerebral palsy.  Tiny Fingers is nothing but a bully.  When after months of igniting tensions he canceled his Chicago rally, Trumpster was leading from behind.

Will his strategy work?  We’ll find out tomorrow.

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