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"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up."

Arthur Koestler 

Friday
Nov162018

Trump Apologist? 

I know a large number of people think I am a Trump apologist. Except for Immigration and Tariffs I am in profound disagreement with him. Even on this two issues his application of policies on these two issues has been borderline moronic. While only 15% of it was caused by ill designed tax cuts, we have trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see. While most of the proposed defense increases are really smoke and mirrors, Trump is wasting hundreds of billions on defense that we don’t need. 

If I can regain my composure, I may blog about the latest US vote in the UN. The US voted against a resolution condemning fascism. Also voting against were Palau, population 21,000, and Ukraine, where an important part of the current government is fascist. There were a number of abstentions because it was known how the US would vote. It is embarrassing.

Yet, if I decide to vote in 2020, it is likely I will vote for Trump. I am a stranger in a strange land. Things are now accepted as commonplace would have been regarded as clinical insanity just a few years ago. Here is an example of “entertainment” that we are offered as normal. From the show Madame Secretary: 

Nationalism is not racism. 

 

Friday
Nov162018

Manufactured Consent

It is important to revisit how the “powers that be” use media to give us the illusion that we actually decide government policy. No there is no conspiracy, it is group think:  

Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.

We accept these ideas by the media we consume. 

While two hours is a big commitment, it is worth it. The next time I post I will embed an entertainment video that continues the theme that nationalism is racism. This is what we are supposed to think. 

Thursday
Nov152018

Of Course He Did Not Know! 

Interesting that Saudi Arabia is indicting and asking for the death penalty for those involved in Khashoggi‘s murder. The Crown Prince is, of course, not involved. This might even be true, but it raises an interesting point, how would these very low level people know that? The Watergate burglars were ultimately acquitted because they thought they were doing government work. These men obviously thought the same thing. Everyone will believe that, of course, the Prince was not involved. Plausible Deniability. 

This does not actually matter one way or the other. Only recently did the US military stop fueling Saudi Arabia’s planes and their war crimes, er bombing in the war in Yemen. The US is still selling weapons to the Saudis. At least 100,000 have died, and millions will starve if the war is not stopped. Only Rand Paul seems interested in the issue. 

Wednesday
Nov142018

America is Running Like A Maniac

Things seem to be going well, at least that is what Trump is telling us. Before his election, (one has to wonder if he actually expected to be elected), he said the obvious truth that the numbers are fixed in order to hide that fact that things are not going well. Since he is now "in charge," he is singing a different tune. 

There has not been as much economic expansion as the numbers indicate. Inflation is not 2 or 3 percent, it is higher. The books are being cooked. I do not think that the very high estimates you read in the alternative economic press of inflation at 7 or 8 percent are right either, they seem too high. Trump understands this, as a real estate guy he lives by the numbers. But now that it is in his own interest not to point it out he won't. He is a recent politician, but he is still a politician. 

It is like the average person is stuck in a scene  from Alice In Wonderland. So says the Red Queen: 

“Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"


Tuesday
Nov132018

E pluribus unum

While I still disagree with Macron's statement on Sunday, after mulling it over I understand it better. It was still designed as a direct insult to Trump and America. Trump did attend a memorial service to commemorate the dead, but he did not attend both of them. I wonder if the Macron insult, which followed an earlier insult, was the reason. 

For a European, nationalism is bound up in which ethnic group you belong to. There is German nationalism, French nationalism, and it is linked to those ethnic groups. One reason for the hard time that the EU is giving Hungary's refusal to allow immigration is that that form of nationalism is against the "European Values" that the EU is trying to foster. But there is no Europe, as a country, right now. Nationalism fights against a future European unity. In a sense, the EU is trying to make the motto of the United States, E pluribus unum, as its unofficial motto, out of many one. To the European mindset, at least the ones that want a Europe as a country, is that nationalism is a form of ethnic pride. It can be, but does not have to be. 

In US history we had considerable reluctance to accept Caucasians from European countries that were not English. You can google for signs that say, "No Irish Need Apply." This is inconceivable today. The "No blacks" part of the sign I chose is unfortunately conceivable. Italians were looked down upon, the fact that they might have a white tone to their skin did not matter. The Know Nothing Party is a good example of this:

The Native American Party, renamed the American Party in 1855 and commonly known as the Know Nothing movement, was an American nativist political party that operated nationally in the mid-1850s. It was primarily anti-Catholicxenophobic, and hostile to immigration, starting originally as a secret society. The movement briefly emerged as a major political party in the form of the American Party. Adherents to the movement were to reply "I know nothing" when asked about its specifics by outsiders, thus providing the group with its common name.

They were the Alex Joneses of the 19th century. 

As I said, this is inconceivable today. 

Does Trump consider himself German because his grandfather was born in Germany? Does Trump consider himself a Scot since his mother was born there? He does not, because out of many (countries) one (country) is formed. (I can picture Trump trolling his adversaries in a kilt.) 

My own family history also indicates this. In 1699 My ancestor Jean De Jarnette arrived in Virginia as an immigrant. He was 19. He married Mary Mumford and had a family. His grandson, James De Jarnette, served as a Major General in the war of 1812. Did James consider himself French? He did not. 

I recently did an ancestry.com test. It showed pretty much what I expected. An English cluster, and a Northwest French cluster. While Jean left La Rochelle, his ancestry was more Normandy than French. But what was surprising was that the second largest nationality in my background was Swedish. Do I regard myself as Swedish, or English or French? I do not. I am American, because out of many one is formed.  

In other words, the nationalism that Trump advocates is Civic Nationalism:

Civic nationalism, also known as liberal nationalism, is a form of nationalism identified by political philosophers who believe in an inclusive form of nationalism that adheres with traditional liberal values of freedomtoleranceequality, and individual rights.[1][2]

Civic nationalists often defend the value of national identity by saying that individuals need a national identity in order to lead meaningful, autonomous lives[3] and that democratic polities need national identity in order to function properly.[4] Civic nationalism is frequently contrasted with ethnic nationalism.

Trump is not advocating a nationalism based on an ethnic group, being both "German" and "Scottish" which would he pick? He is proposing a nation based on shared values. This is quite different. 

Charles De Gaulle, the founder of the current French republic that Macron has the privilege to serve as president had this to say in 1913:

He who does not love his mother more than other mothers and his country more than other countries, loves neither his mother nor his country. 

Sounds right to me.