sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

December 1, 2016

1930’s Revival Ideas — in case Steve Bannon Needs Help Strategizing

Filed under: politics, Soviet Union, the Holocaust, Ukraine — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 11:01 am

Last month (this blog moves veeery slowly) the President-elect’s “Chief Strategist” — or whatever — Steve Bannon rejected the term “white nationalist” opting instead for “economic nationalist” — or whatever:

“Like [Andrew] Jackson’s populism, we’re going to build an entirely new political movement,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy. I’m the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. [Andrew Breitbart is spinning in his grave– ed.] With negative interest rates throughout the world, it’s the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Shipyards, iron works [I hear Trump used to host cocaine parties, — ed.], get them all jacked up. We’re just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution – conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement.”

Thanks, in part, to the rather unfortunate 1930’s experience, I am very much an economic internationalist, globalist even.  My biases are no secret.  And as a very biased person I find the claim that the 30’s were “exciting” rather odd. Can we replicate this 80-year-old success story in the 21st century?

1. Ask an average American what comes to his mind when we talk about the “exciting” 30’s, he’ll inevitably mention bread lines.  Being familiar with scarcity economy of the Soviet Union, I can assure you that yes, food lines are a fascinating part of social life.  You never know when a fist-fight will break out, for instance, or who the sales lady is going to berate and why.  I have no idea what it was like in the 1930’s US, however.  Judging by the vintage photos Americans might just be a tad more civilized.

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The length of this 1932 bread line is not unimpressive

How likely are we to witness the emergence of Depression-era bread lines? The federal government had been in the business of subsidizing agriculture since the Great Depression; the size of the hand-outs to America’s farmers is now in the tens of billions. We produce more food than we can consume and historically we’ve been feeding our enemies, like the Soviet Union. We are not going to run out of food, it’s just a matter of passing it on to the plebes. Thanks to Barack Obama we have EBT so that the handouts to individuals can be distributed through privately owned groceries and a with pretense of dignity.

It looks like we are poised for Trumpulus and that the increased federal spending which crippled the US economy over the previous decade is here to stay.  However, the incoming president is unlikely to get rid of federal  programs that masks poverty. So, no, breadlines are not coming back.

2. Most inspirational rallies. Uh, who can forget Nuremberg! Immortalized by Leni Riefenstahl, one of the most celebrated filmmaker of her age, Nuremberg showed adoring, orderly crowds cheering Der Furher at a 1934 mass gathering. Can we see a revival of this type of mass events in the Western world?

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A 1942 close-up of some of the individuals in this picture can be found at the bottom of this post

The Nuremberg rally was attended by 700,000 Nazis and supporters.  By comparison, the biggest rally in the United States is said to be the 2008 Obama event in St Louis that drew 100,000 attendees.   Although the outgoing president once spoke to 200,000 people in Berlin, I have little doubt that the crowd was far less lockstepish than thier great-grandparents.  I highly suspect most of them came to see whatever band was headlining that show, anyway.

Contemporary rallies lack the organization on display in Leni Riefenstahl’s film. Donald Trump rallies, for instance, were frequently marked by violence.  Even when the neoNazis get together, a soccer-inspired street brawl is more probable outcome than an orderly march. Verdict: in contemporary Western world, at least, a replication of Triumph of The Will is unlikely.

3. Impressive parades. While Hollywood adored Leni, it completely ignored her equally talented and arguably just as morally warped Soviet counterparts. Much groundbreaking propaganda photography was produced in the 1930’s USSR.

Every state holiday (and there were many) Joseph Stalin observed parades from the Masoleum tribune. Army units came at the head of the procession, followed by marching athletes, workers, folk dancers children, children athletes– and what have you– from every corner of the vast homeland.

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No, this is not a still from a horror flick. This is a male athlete unit at an 1937 Red Square parade.  It should be a still from a horror flick, though

My town has 4th of July parades.  It’s mostly happy people in vintage cars and Trader Joe’s handing out candy to tots.  Cute.

4. Kristallnacht. Aryan blood was brooding with excitement on November 9, 1938.  On that day, countless Jewish homes and public buildings were ransacked, 1000 synagogues burned and 7000 businesses destroyed by Nazi paramilitary forces and German civilians.  The pogrom left hundreds, if not thousands, of German Jews dead and 30,000 were shipped off to concentration camps.  Kristallnacht marked the beginning of the Holocaust.

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Fire makes for a captivating scene

Unfortunately, race riots happen in the United States with predictable regularity.  However, they are highly unlikely to result in anything like the Final Solution.  Instead, we have young black men with vague feeling of dissatisfaction and wounded pride burning and looting their own neighborhoods.  The rioters might be egged on by powerful individuals who use the rioters’ desperate circumstances for their own political gain, but we don’t have a state apparatus dedicated to annihilating a minority.  Our institutions are too strong and Americans are too good of a people.

5. Holodomor.  Literally translated as starvationdeath from both Ukrainian and Russian, Holodomor was a man-made famine, a function of the Soviet collectivization of agriculture.  In 1932, Stalin stepped up grain confiscation from peasants in the most fertile regions of Ukraine, Don basin, northern Caucasus and Kazakhstan.  The idea was to force farmers into feudal-like collective farms, prop up the cities (USSR sold some of the grain and directed the funds towards industrialization) and to punish the areas that resisted the Bolshevik takeover a decade earlier.  During that year, Ukraine had lost 4 million souls and the population of Kazakhstan had shrunk by 38%, with ethnic Russians soon overtaking the Kazakhs as the largest ethnic group in the “republic”.

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1933. Starved peasants lining up the streets of Kharkov, my native city and then capital of Ukraine

Over the last quarter century, Ukraine made Holodomor raison d’etre of its independence.  Good for them.

No country willing to accept economic aid from the United States will experience a famine today.  Then again, Holodomor was man made, and there’s North Korea.

5. Awe-inspiring labor camps and purges. GULAG is Russian abbreviation for Main Administration of the Camps; it was set up shortly after Bolshevik revolution but the party didn’t really start until the 30’s.  That’s when the Great Purge haunted, in no particular order, Soviet intelligentsia, government and party officials, peasants, military officers, persons with non-Russian sounding names, hapless jokesters and those in a wrong place at a wrong time. Although the exact number of victims is hard to calculate, historians estimate that up to 1.2 million Soviet subjects perished in the 1937-38 Terror and about 14 million went to GULAGS in the period between 1929 and 1953, Both criminals and “enemies of the people”.  Over a million died in the GULAGS.

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This is the mugshot of one of my favorite poets, Osip Mandelshtam.  After witnessing Holodomor in southern Ukraine, Mandelshtam wrote a poem sharply critical of Stalin. He was imprisoned in 1938 and charged with counterrevolutionary activities. Mandelshtam died in a transit camp the same year

GULAGS today? Do we still have an embargo on Cuba?

6. Nothing highlights the geopolitical excitement of the 1930’s like the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact which split Europe between German and Russian spheres of influence.  Presented as a “non-aggression pact”, it led to the Nazi-Soviet division of Poland, Soviet occupation of the Baltics, parts of Finland and Romania and German occupation of Czechia.  The arrangement failed to thwart the war between Germany and USSR.

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“To your health!” Said Stalin.  “To Poland!” Exclaimed Ribbentrop

Germany today is contained within NATO and Eastern Europe is now under our nuclear umbrella.  Under this arrangement, a direct Russian attack unlikely. Yet Donald Trump’s surrogate Newt Gingrich opined in July that “Estonia is in the suburbs of St. Petersburg” adding that the Baltic nations need to worry about our commitment to some of the NATO members’ defense.  On the other hand, Trump’s pick for Secretary of Defense general James Mattis Appears to be a fan of the Baltic country, so the future of NATO and Central Europe does not seem to be in jeopardy.

7. If you got an impression that Europeans had all the fun in 30’s, consider the Rape of Nanjing.  Imperial Japanese Army executed up to 300,000 of Chinese civilians and disarmed soldiers, tortured, raped and looted.  Riveting!

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A disarmed Chinese POW about to be beheaded by a Japanese soldier

Given how Japanese birth rates are through the floor, they are not likely to invade and slaughter anyone.  In other parts of the world such things continue to happen: think Aleppo.

Exciting time, as you can see. Some of the excitement ended in 1942 on the shores of Volga.

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Who doesn’t want to crash after a whole decade of excitement?

Historical change can be hard to spot.  In December 2014 my friends in Ukraine could not believe what was happening to their country.  Looking back, of course, it all seems obvious: Ukraine was, and still is, a failed state.  The self-proclaimed Leninist Bannon is wrong, however.  We are not going to party like it’s 1938 any time soon.  We are, in all likelihood, going to have a corrupt, wasteful presidency.  Conservatism might just eviscerate.  Divisions along the racial lines will only get worse.  National debt will soar.  International order will be checked by Trump’s real estate ambitions.  Autocratic regimes will flourish. And so on.  We are not about to experience a totalitarian nightmare on the global scale like that of the 1930’s and 40’s.

November 21, 2016

The Deplorables Versus The Insufferables

Filed under: art, politics, whatever — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 5:55 pm

This is going to be your next four years, America. Future Vice President Mike Pence went to see the musical Hamilton, and the crew thought it was necessary to replace the traditional bow, with a short lecture, just to let Pence know that simply because he shelled out a few thousand bucks for the tickets, he shouldn’t expect to feel welcome.

The reaction was immediate and as moronic as the incident itself: Trumpkins nearly broke Twitter, urging a boycott of the sold out show.  A little more than a year ago the followers of the reality star were incensed when the the liberals called for boycotts of his products because they found his words offensive.  Seems like yesterday.

The #BoycottHamilton calls weren’t the worst of it.  An entity that calls itself Bikers4Trump, vowed to block the entrance to the theater to help others boycott the musical:

Can we call them deplorable? Yes, we can.

I am impressed by Stevie Van Zandt’s policing of his comrades:

As a former Republican, I have to shrug.  Trumpists voted in a man notorious for his bullying antics and Mike Pence is his Vice President.  A vote for Trump was not, as some attempt to claim, a vote against political correctness.  It was an overreaction to political correctness and a vote against common decency.  If our president is a clown, what can we expect from actors?

The Hamilton crew’s self-righteousness betrays a lack of confidence.  They made a play about multicultural America, and the play should be a powerful conduit of their ideas.  It should stand on its own, without any editorializing.  I always thought that a rap production about a Founding Father is a bit silly, and the troupe’s behavior only confirms my suspicion about the quality of their art, which I am not going to see. But since the Hamilton movie is in the works, I will probably check it out when it comes out on DVD.  Controversy is generally good for performers (ask Donald Trump) so, I assume, the Hamilton musical stands to gain from the brouhaha.

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On the second thought, maybe I’ll pass

In the coming years we will see anti-Trumpism generously recorded by the public.  Additionally, the president apparently being so easily ticked off only guarantees more insufferable behavior on the left.  Poking fun at the potentially least popular president ever is looking to be the new national pastime.  The Left is going to be insufferable. Trump’s election is good for The New York Times who immediately saw their subscriptions rate jump, Hamilton and Alternative Tentacles, bad for Rush Limbaugh and trumsplainers.  The audience interested in tuning in into soliloquies in defense of their special snowflake is rather limited and will diminish.

So far we hear a lot from team Deplorables and team Insufferables, both screaming loudly at each other, but, hopefully, conservative voices will be heard more and more as time goes on.

November 16, 2016

Anti-Trump Protests: Searching for A Method to The Madness

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:30 am

The year was 2000, and Maximum Rock-n-Roll editorialized that there is no difference between Al Gore and George W Bush. Both candidates were defenders of the existing order, and in MMR’s view the system was rotten. W’s election, the radicals reasoned, might even be preferable because, unlike Gore, he was a self-proclaimed conservative, which gives kids a reason to rebel, which is better for rock-n-roll.

Then 9/11 happened, then the War in Iraq, and MRR subscribers poured out onto the streets and joined the anti-war protests. While it’s doubtful that any of it was good for rock-n-roll, which for the most part remained rather dull during the Bush presidency, they certainly had fun.

Leftists don’t necessarily make winning elections a priority. They prefer to think of themselves as beautiful losers; they romanticize opposition. In their worldview, people on the streets have the power to force historical change. They remember that in the last half a century Richard Nixon was the best presidents for their cause.  On the surface, Nixon was  law and order, elected on the backlash against the People like themselves. And yet Tricky Dick gave them a lot of what they wanted both domestically and internationally (think withdrawal from Vietnam and the EPA). And, oh, did the left have fun protesting!

The hard left will vote for a candidate if he’s in full agreement with their zeitgeist, like a younger, overeducated black man whose only long-term job was that of a community organizer. And yet, even after the war in Iraq, they will not compromise themselves by voting for the wife of a former centrist president who was recently in charge of the State Department.  It’s easy to laugh at superficiality of it all, but look at it from another perspective: the left deserves credit for refusing to vote for their corrupt crony.

Who is Donald Trump anyway? A tacky, crooked perhaps billionaire with little discernible policy agenda whose favorite daughter’s federal maternity leave proposal was met with applause at the RNC.

The jokes about the thin-skinned septuagenarian write themselves. His never-ending flirtation with the alt-Right makes him a perfectly legitimate object of resentment.  The Left will go to town opposing Trump.  They are the maestros of the Hamilton Rule.

The kids protesting the president-elect are not necessarily Hillary voters.  In blue states like California, New York and Oregon, the states most affected by riots, a vote for Hillary was a wasted vote.  There was never a doubt that she was going to win there.  If they went to the polls at all, they probably pulled the lever for Stein.

I’m not sure how much individual protesters understand about the goals of their movement.  There is, no doubt, a grass roots anger about Trump.  Directing this anger are community organizers, of course, as the ready availability of pre-printed signs suggests. There is a method to the madness.

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I bet the organizers are prepping a grass roots movement for the entire presidential term. Step one is to let a sense of illegitimacy set in. There are plenty of reasons to feel that Trump is not their president. International and domestic  spy agencies played a role in this election. There is a feeling that voter suppression took place in North Carolina and Wisconsin. Although the ballots are still being counted, it looks like Clinton won the popular vote by over a million and a half ballots.  Vast swaths of the left-leaning America will never accept Trump.

He won the electoral college on a razor-thin margin in a four key states. The GOP has the control of both chambers, but it’s very narrow in the Senate. Suppose The Donald attempts to appoint an originalist to SCOTUS. Originalists themselves are highly skeptical of such a turn of events. Suppose he does; Democrats threaten filibuster, protests break out: “Not my president!” “Pussy grabs back!”  Trump turns around “Sorry guys, I have to compromise” and appoints a moderate with a fascist bent. Evangelicals, who during the election were told that their salvation depends of voting for Trump, swallow hard.

Amnesty is a key issue for the protesters.  While it was always doubtful that Trump will build the wall and deport illegals, he didn’t waste a minute after the election to start walking back his promises. The ink is still wet on the ballots, the chads are still hanging, but he already talks about “the wall” being a fence, and deporting 2-3 million with criminal record, or about the same as Obama.

Mexican flag-wavers will get what they want. Just watch. Alt-Right might be slightly upset of course, but presently their goal is to grow their movement. They intend to take care of the untermensch later, via a race war.

Likewise, there is a talk of Democrats mobilizing to save Obamacare:

Trump was originally a supporter of Obamacare who said during the presidential debate that he would prefer single payer.

I, for one, would like to see the Tea Party conservatives to regroup and oppose the Republican president whose proposed trillion dollar infrastructure spending is already dubbed Trumpulus. If you opposed Obama for reasons other that he is our first black president, please raise your hand. We were successful in putting breaks on Obama’s big government agenda (don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!) because Obama’s second term was pretty much a bust. We are also on the verge of a Constitutional Convention. It would be a shame to allow Donald Trump to highjack the Republican Party now, after all our hard won victories.

October 11, 2016

Deplorable’s Deplorables

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 4:15 pm

What I find most deplorable about Trump’s “grab them by the p****” boast is not the explicit language, not even the sexual violence, it’s the entitlement: “I am automatically attracted to beautiful women. I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss, I don’t even wait … and when you’re a star they let you do it.” He bragged. “You can do anything.”

It takes a healthy amount of willing disbelief to imagine that Trump’s exploits are nothing more than mere locker room talk. A recent report of Trump’s sexual abuse was a story from a beauty queen who said that he walked into the contestants’s dressing room (I’m glad we are still shocked by such behavior). Previous reports had to do with assault and harassed women exactly as described in the “boast” tape.  All that’s missing is an actual recording of the crime which I fully expect it to turn up this month – who doesn’t?

The obese septuagenarian was once a little boy who was repeatedly told by his father that he is a king. I guess it stuck in the little head of his because Der Drumpf insists that he is entitled to the sexual services of every single woman and that the men stand by and applaud.

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Melania, please go easy on those cat eyes and European “pussy bow” blouses.  Yes, we know that some women are smitten when rich and powerful men assault them

What was that about Hillary saying that half of Trumpkins are a basket full of deplorables?  To Trump every American is a deplorable. It doesn’t stop with disrespecting women, in Trump’s opinion every American is his subject, the White House is duly his.  And, of course, Congressional Republicans are “disloyal” for opposing his depravity.

Now that Trump is poised to lose, his most ardent supporters are spewing hatred for the American people. Take this altRight opinion maker:

#MAGA! Everyone. #MAGA!

It’s actually his fans that Donald Trump detests the most. During the primaries he boasted that he could go out on the 5th Avenue and start shooting people and he wouldn’t lose any followers. He sees them as dogs and doesn’t even bother disguising his repulsion, granted, average Americans don’t fare much better.  Still Trumpkins are twice deplored, by both Hillary and their jointly-challenged man-god.

He is not going to build their shiny wall or keep any other promise. He will, however, bow down to Putin and his oligarchs because he admires what they did to their women and their country — after all, Russian people are notorious for slavish devotion to their strongmen. Trump is in owe of their power.

October 5, 2016

Donald Trump Sure Knows How To Pick A Wife

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 12:40 pm

During the primary campaign we, Republican voters, were advised to disregard Trump’s lack of political experience.  His altRight supporters assured us that it’s not a big deal, that if one needs to imagine what he would be like as a chief executive, he’d have to look no further than his family. Sure he had several, but he runs them well, his wives have his children and no one else’s.  His children are all grown up now and are upstanding individuals.

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Marla Maples’s only daughter speaks at the 2016 Republican National Convention, for some reason

I wrote about The Don’s marriages a few weeks ago.  Far from being an all-American stud, the billionaire appears a victim of predatory women.  That Trump’s wives were after his money is plainly obvious — and that’s why they had his children, of course.  Donald never found a soulmate, a trusted adviser.  His answer to female ambition is a prenup, preferably signed by a woman who can’t get by on her own very well (due to inability to speak fluent English).

This week’s October surprise contender was Trump’s tax return published in New York Times.  The document didn’t tell us anything we don’t already know about the presidential contender, but it still hurts him in as much as in the final weeks of the election it keeps the focus on miscellaneous nonsense and not on anything that will help him catch up with Hillary.

The likely source of the document leak is believed to be his second wife Marla Maples.  First, as some observers noted, the “sign here” tab points to Marla’s signature.  Furthermore,

And as the Daily Beast’s Olivia Nuzzi noted, Maples had an interesting Twitter exchange on Sunday. Maples, who’s practiced Kabbalah for 20 years, celebrated the arrival of a new season (or her glorious act of revenge) with this tweet:

Politico’s Marc Caputo responded with a joke, and @PoliticalBuffs replied to both of them:

It seems the question was directed at Caputo, but Maples answered:

https://twitter.com/itsmarlamaples/status/782705669820542977

If Donald Trump can’t manage his harem, how can we trust him to run the country?

In terms of presidential politics none of this matters at this point, I suppose. Donnie’s subpar pick-up skills are not really an issue in this final stretch of the election. However, judging by how well-oiled altRight is, their noxious ideas are worthy of destroying.

October 3, 2016

#Deplorables Please Follow Jello’s Instructions

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 5:46 pm

Over at a hipster deplorable altRight publication called Taki, Steve Sailer updated his following of the exploits of the rootless cosmopolitans:

Hillary was hanging out in Steven Spielberg’s guesthouse in the Hamptons, going to fund-raisers with the Rothschilds, and emerging mostly to denounce the “alt-right.”

In the same essay he attempts to create a mystique around himself and his comrades:

If you can remember back four decades, it might strike you that the alt-right phenomenon of 2016 is basically political punk rock: loud, abrasive, hostile, white, back to basics, and fun.

His description of Punk is rather self-serving because the whiteness of the genre is not prescriptive.  Even though it originated in New York and London, the appeal of Punk Rock knows no borders.  From the altRight point of view it’s not descriptive either because so many key personalities were Jewish and the altRight doesn’t necessarily consider Jews white.

I have to admit, it’s tempting to think of Trump as a political three-chord wonder.  He can be funny, he knows how to please his fan base, but has no clue how to appeal to anyone else.  He’s decidedly low-brow: no, he’s not going to cram for the next debate.  Yet neither he nor his altRight champions are Punk rock because abrasiveness is necessary but not sufficient for this rock-n-roll subgenre. Malcolm McLaren didn’t invent rudeness after all.

I once wrote about Andrew Breitbart as a Punk Rock situationist, and James Parker’s essay Donald Trump, Sex Pistol is more to my liking:

Donald Trump is not Igor Stravinsky. And although, yes, he boasted about the size of his ding-dong in the middle of a televised debate (kick in that screen!), he’s not a Sex Pistol either. Nonetheless, with his followers—about whom one should not generalize, except to say that most of them would rather be waterboarded than sit through an episode of Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!—he has co-created a space in American politics that is uniquely transgressive, volatile, carnivalesque, and (from a certain angle) punk rock.

This is an interesting argument, but I’m afraid Parker is giving too much credit to #EmperorHiroCheeto and his flock.  Trump is reality TV, not Punk.  There isn’t a hint of ironic distance between Trump’s performance at campaign events and Trumpkins’ expectations. More about it later.

In response to these two pieces Mark Judge noted that when it comes to women altRight is very much anti-Punk:

Women aspire to be—and are—journalists, doctors, musicians and scientists, and it is anything but punk to deny them these roles. Punk has always been about more than just giving offense—it has been about the ability to “become what you are.” That phrase was once sung by punk-inspired musician Juliana Hatfield, who came to music in the 1970s, when a babysitter introduced her to the great Los Angeles punk band X. The lead singer for X is Exene Cervenka, a poet and political conservative who recently moved to Texas because California has become “a liberal oppressive police state.” Punk music would be far less rich had Exene done what Gavin McInnes advises—stayed home and had children. Ditto the women in the punk bands Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney. Of course, it’s also possible to be a working female musician and have a family.

One last point is worth noting. One of the most infamous moments in punk history was the live 1976 interview the Sex Pistols did with British journalist Bill Grundy. The Pistols cussed on the show, dropping S-bombs and F-bombs, and the appearance became a sensation. Most rock and roll fans know the story, citing it as a flashpoint of punk nihilism, but few remember what actually set the band off. In the Pistols’ entourage was a nineteen-year-old woman named Siouxsie Sioux, who told Grundy, an established, middle-aged man who goaded the Pistols throughout the entire interview, that she’d “always wanted to meet you.” Grundy replied they could “meet after” the show. The Pistols’ guitarist Steve Jones called Grundy a “dirty old sod” and a “dirty bastard” and a “f***ing rotter.” Siouxsie Sioux would go on to become one of the most talented and accomplished songwriters to come out of the punk movement.

So a pivotal punk rock moment was not about louche rebellion and senseless anarchy, but defending a talented woman, an artist, against a leering old man with views about women that belong in another age. Trump and the Alt-Right should get that story right, and think about its implications, before calling themselves punk.

Trump and Trumpkins are wholly at odds with what every Punk rocker knows about gender.  In Punk Rock, wearing a tiara is an ironic statement and Melania Trump is the very bimbo stereotype against which the young women rebelled. Yet for Donald Trump crowning a beauty queen is a life’s achievement, especially if he gets to humiliate her in the process.

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The Donuld’s aesthetic sensibility, or whatever passes for it, is as un-Punk as it gets.  The man made a name for himself erecting unironically flashy skyscrapers.  Not only did he built the costly monstrosities, it turns out he was wholly unappreciative of an effort to make anything artistic out of them — he failed to buy Andy Warhol’s paintings of his marquee property. Andy Warhol’s!  The only people who don’t know that the Trumpster has crappy taste are Russian mobsters and Donald Trump.

This excess earnestness does not stop with gold-plated nurseries; it is characteristic of the entire Trump public life.  While it’s true that, as Parker points out, Trump creates a carnivalesque atmosphere at his rallies, I think it’s wrong to reduce them to mere performance.  Sure, to Parker it’s a spectacle, to white college grads who will probably cast the decisive votes in this election it’s a spectacle, but for the participants it’s not.  They actually believe that Mexico will pay for the wall and that Trump “fulfill every single wish and every single promise”:

Punk rock brought egalitarianism and can-do attitude — equality between the bands and the audience and the DIY ethic. Trumpkins have idol worship, and their idol lives in the above-mentioned opulent towers and manufactures his ties in China.  They might live on the margins of the society, masturbating to Anime in their mothers’ basements, but altRight internet memes are financed by a near-billionaire.  Generally, their creative energy is what you’d think it is and what it’s always been: their darling frog Pepe is the work of a Hillary voter.

Sailer recalls that early Punks, we are talking 1970’s-early 80’s, wore swastikas.  That much is true.  Why they did so is well-known: they attempted to shock and to create a picture of human depravity.  And how did that end?

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Siouxsie Sioux (center) was a first-rate moron in her first youth. The singer’s shtick was to piss off WWII vets.  One of the main reasons I don’t really enjoy her song Israel is because, as my husband likes to say, that was her doing community service

Nazis across the Atlantic saw an opportunity. UK’s National Front started recruiting from the punk scene, neoNazis adopted the hard mod look of shaved heads and leather boots.  The American scene was always less political, but in Southern California neo-Nazis showed up at the shows and beat up people.  That’s why Rock Against Racism festivals became necessary, Siouxsie Sioux wrote “Israel”, Jello Biafra wrote “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” and every European squat has the graphic of a stick figure throwing swastika into a garbage can.  Nazi chic is most certainly out.

By the early 90’s Nazi Punks, or, in contemporary lore, #Deplorables, were run out of the Punk scene.  They still exist, though, ghettoized into their own subcultures.  Far from legitimizing Nazism, Punks first embracing and then rejecting the Fascist paraphernalia became that dreaded (for the altRight, anyway) moment in history of the West when profanity, for which Punks never apologized, came to be viewed as a mild transgression and racism, for which they atoned, became the ultimate taboo.

There is something Punk rock in some Trump’s supporters’ embrace of the term deplorables levied on them by Hillary Clinton.  It’s the elevation of the depraved and the perverse pleasure taken in the process.  On substance, however, altRight ideology has been explicitly rejected.

What is not at all rock-n-roll in spirit is pretending that Hillary’s attack on Trumpkins is somehow anti-working class or not grounded in substance. No, the deplorables are real, and while they are certainly less than “half” of Trump’s constituency, they clearly command an outsize influenced.  To insist otherwise is either dishonest or manipulative.

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A common meme of the Don gassing an altRigh nemesis, a Jewish one in this case.

One can pretend that the AltRight is simply having “trolly fun” – I believe this is Milo Yiannopoulos’s description. But if they are merely posting memes of their political opponents in gas chambers to get a rise out of us, how come their friends espouse alleged black genetic inferiority and Holocaust denial?

And even if it is just “trolly fun”? Every society has taboos, every society has villains. Our greatest villains are the Nazis.  I’m very comfortable with organizing our society this way. Yes, Hitler was the most evil person to ever walk this earth (I know about Stalin and Mao).  I would like for our country to remain the outpost for individual rights, something that is anathema to Nazism.

I noticed people on social media added the word “deplorable” to their profiles. I don’t believe most of them are neoNazis; I believe they are wrong in doing so.  Dislike for the Democratic nominee is one thing, embrace of racial supremacy is another.  For a “normie”, which is what me and you are to altRight, to call himself a deplorable is to give legitimacy to them: see we, ordinary Americans, don’t mind at all being lumped together with David Duke and Alex Jones.  In this case David and Alex become so much more acceptable. The fact is, ordinary voters are being played, and they are being played not by Hillary but by Eric Trump and the white nationalists who wasted no time distributing deplorable memes.

Part of altRight’s pitch to conservatives is that liberals don’t make a distinction between conservatives and neoNazis, that to them we are all the same.  Unfortunately, to a large extent this is true.  However, simply because the left is bigoted, doesn’t mean that we need to act out their fantasy of evil racist conservatives.  Their name-calling should not force anyone to join the KKK.  We are more disciplined, more measured, more thoughtful, more moral than that.  (Did I say “moral”? According to altRight I’m “virtue signaling”.  Or maybe I’m just a cunning Jewess.) It’s up to us to run Trumpkins out of the conservative movement and the Republican Party — just like punk rockers did thirty years ago.

September 29, 2016

The Donald Is Un-Middle Class

Filed under: elections2016, politics — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:53 am

In this week’s debate, Hillary’s goal was to show that she has a pulse and a heart, and Trump’s goal was to show that he’s something like presidential. Trump went into the debate as a psychopath with stamina and Hillary — as a tell-tale lung on the take.

I didn’t care much for either candidate on the issues. I would like to hear a serious discussion about Liberty, the Constitution and the size and scope of the federal government.  Because no conservative was present on stage, it didn’t happen.

Watching as a suburban middle class woman with a college degree, a demo that might turn this election, I have to say Hillary won.  Not because she was any good — she was mediocre, but because Trump destroyed himself.  For Donald Trump, the optics were just awful. Bill Kristol thinks he choked under pressure; many other commentators noticed his lack of preparation.

In my demographic his lack of preparation was off-putting.  We run our families sweating every detail: kids’ pick up time from different schools rounded up to the nearest 3 minutes, the tempera colors for the class auction art project, the volume of Harry Potter to be ordered on Amazon for niece’s Birthday.   It’s not because we are particularly uptight (in fact, I praise myself on being relatively lax), it’s because what it takes to maintain the normal flow of life.  That volume of Harry Potter means a whole lot to somebody.  Organization is a simple necessity, and even the most laid back among us have to start each and every day prepared.

Enter Donald Trump, who appears for presidential debate unrehearsed. It’s not just that he missed many opportunities to hit his opponent and hit her hard, the most damage came when he bursted into bumbling, incoherent tirades. Consider his unexplainable references to celebrities or his answer to the question about nuclear weapons, of all things, which deserves to be reprinted in its entirety:

Well, I have to say that, you know, for what Secretary Clinton was saying about nuclear with Russia, she’s very cavalier in the way she talks about various countries. But Russia has been expanding their — they have a much newer capability than we do. We have not been updating from the new standpoint.

I looked the other night. I was seeing B-52s, they’re old enough that your father, your grandfather could be flying them. We are not — we are not keeping up with other countries. I would like everybody to end it, just get rid of it. But I would certainly not do first strike.

I think that once the nuclear alternative happens, it’s over. At the same time, we have to be prepared. I can’t take anything off the table. Because you look at some of these countries, you look at North Korea, we’re doing nothing there. China should solve that problem for us. China should go into North Korea. China is totally powerful as it relates to North Korea.

And by the way, another one powerful is the worst deal I think I’ve ever seen negotiated that you started is the Iran deal. Iran is one of their biggest trading partners. Iran has power over North Korea.

And when they made that horrible deal with Iran, they should have included the fact that they do something with respect to North Korea. And they should have done something with respect to Yemen and all these other places.

And when asked to Secretary Kerry, why didn’t you do that? Why didn’t you add other things into the deal? One of the great giveaways of all time, of all time, including $400 million in cash. Nobody’s ever seen that before. That turned out to be wrong. It was actually $1.7 billion in cash, obviously, I guess for the hostages. It certainly looks that way.

So you say to yourself, why didn’t they make the right deal? This is one of the worst deals ever made by any country in history. The deal with Iran will lead to nuclear problems. All they have to do is sit back 10 years, and they don’t have to do much.

Trump’s inability to form a complete sentence, let alone use the sentences to express his vision for our country, is most troubling.  W got knocked down for clumsy wording of otherwise well-thought-out ideas. The Donald is not even halfway there; he showed himself unable to form an idea. For our demographic, for people who went to college, who write essays, who give presentations on a regular basis, this is unacceptable.

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Grimacing and body language didn’t help either.  Sniffling invited all sorts of [trolly] speculations of drug use.

In the weeks leading up to the debate, instead of immersing himself into policy details, Trump chose to bask in the attention of admiring crowds and spend his time chatting with friends.  This is not aspirational middle class behavior, this is not what we teach our kids.  If he was their son, some mothers I know would go as far as to put Donald Trump on Ritalin for his inability to focus and pay attention.  I personally don’t approve of it: the GOP candidate is a brat; he doesn’t need meds, he needs discipline.

As I mentioned above, Trump’s strong suit, according to his admirers at least, was his stamina, a component of muscular vigor.  After this debate the myth of Trump’s stamina is busted.  While he started out on more or less equal footing with his opponent, his energy and focus evaporated within a half an hour.  A man unable to participate in an intellectually challenging conversation for a few hours should occupy a rocking chair, not the Oval Office.

His asking for my vote is paramount to an insult.  His lack of respect for the American people is stunning: If you are running for the president of the United States, have some decency and prepare for the nationally televised debate!

To remain a Trump fan at this point is to ask for more abuse.  Monday night Donald Trump went in front of the audience of 80 million people and let his supporters down. Their votes, the money they contributed, their hopes and dreams — all of it means absolutely nothing to their Cheeto idol.  He could have easily found the time to master basic facts, to commit a few dozen coherent paragraphs to memory, and he didn’t.  He was winging it, and you need an intervention.

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