Oh, but you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Bury the rag deep in your face,For now’s no time for your tears —Bob Dylan, Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll, 1964
Bob Dylan wrote a song based on a newspaper story about a rich and politically connected man, who in a private Baltimore Club lost his temper at a serving girl, Hattie Carroll, a 51 year old Black woman, and beat her to death with a toy cane cane. The young man and his family were stunned that he was booked on charges of Second Degree Murder; eventually, that was reduced to Manslaughter and Assault.
I have to think that the Trump family would agree with the judge who handed down the sentence that it was horrible, and that the murderer could learn to repent and reform himself during his incarceration…for six months. “Hell, she was just a nigger maid, who cares?” you can hear the judge thinking. Who cares?
Fast forward to the release of the “Grab ’em by the pussy!” tape. The same entitled sense of lunacy that resulted in Hattie Carroll’s death, and indeed in the dead of Mary Jo Kopechne shows in that tape, and in the various accusations leveled against Trump for sexual harassment and assault. Why are we ever surprised…
Possibly because we expect things to be better now; possibly because we know that as a country we’re better than that now; but when we are reminded by entitled creeps buying their way into schools, paying off mistresses and casually abused women, stealing from the poor and generall violating all the dictates of God and Man for decent and civilized behavior, we need to wake up and raise some hell. In itself, it might not do any good, but on the other hand, that murderer’s name is still notorious.
Is anyone surprised to hear that a Massage Parlor Queen with ties to the wealthy in China — which means the Chinese Communist Party, of course as wealthy investor in Russia means ties to Putin –has been selling access to Trump and friends at Mir a Lago? OF course not, we kind of expect that at this point…compared to some of the things that happen on a daily basis, this is kind of quaint, actually. Did you know that you can buy MAGA hats in the White House Gift Store, which seems to me to be a politicization of what is supposed to be the People’s Mansion to an extension of the gift shop at any of the hotels, golf courses, condos and apartment buildings in Trump Universe?
Of course we’re not surprised. We’re absolutely numb at the various heaps of nonsense these horrible people have continued to do. It’s not the corruption, which is horrible enough — Hell, there’s a Trump Boondoggle Hotel that defines everything wrong with his “Family Trust” and acceptance of wealth from those with business before the Executive Branch just down the street. It’s not the blatant nature of this stuff, it’s so obvious it’s somewhat amazing. It’s not the hypocrisy — a guy who brags about never drinking is selling wine? Is it alcohol free wine? Is it kosher? — and a bunch of other stuff that he’s really not selling anywhere. It’s that they know we know, they know we’re watching, and they are so used to getting away with doing stuff, horribly distasteful at best and bloody well criminal and treasonous at worst. (In the lexicon sense as opposed to Constitutional, although if you define information war as war, well…) and doing this in public that confounds many of us. To make it worse, then they lie about what happened, whether or not it happened in public.
Making it worse, of course, is that a lot of Trump’s followers and idolaters believe the lies. “No collusion! No collusion!” is one example, despite public evidence in the form of emails showing that the meeting between Junior, Kushner, Manifort and a bunch of Russians in Trump tower was to get dirt on Hillary Clinton. Claiming it wasn’t is stupid; claiming it was about sanctions as though those are irritants as opposed to a significant tool in foreign policy is disingenuous; claiming that they didn’t know that there was anything wrong in doing this is scary on a variety of levels, since one guy is an executive in a company doing foreign deals and having to conform to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, another is a NYU Law School Graduate and also involved in things that might run into the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and the last was…Paul Manafort, who seems in some sense to embody the Foreign Corrupt Practices act like a Golem.
Trump et al, to a certain extent, remind me of a PFC named Clark I knew in the dim and distant past in Germany. My lieutenant and I were normally TDY, and we were young and approachable so the minions in S3 were comfortable when we were there coming into our office and telling us their troubles. This was Germany circa 1977, and they all had problems. Anyway, this kid came in and started whining that, “They’re going to blame me, I know it, and it’s not fair.” LT and I looked at each other, and I shrugged meaning basically, “You take it, Boss.” “Clark what are they going to blame you for? What happened?” “There was this wall locker up on the third floor, by the hall window, and somebody threw it out the window. They’re gonna blame me, I know they’re gonna blame me!” My LT, a reasonable man from Texas A&I in Kingsville and a Ranger, said. “Oh, that’s too bad. Did you do it?” Clark looked at him like the LT must have been stupid, said” Well, yeah, Sir, of course I did. But, they’re just going to blame me, I know they will. They always blame me!!”
While the behavior is similar, it’s worth noting the PFC Mel Clark was working class,not a graduate of any Ivy League School or wealthy; that he had at least intended to serve his country and did so by enlisting; and, he joined the Army and served in the 3rd Infantry Division and in 32d Army Air Defense Command in Germany. More to the point, he was punished for his crimes and misdemeanors, in that last case, getting busted to E-nothing. Further, Clark admitted he’d done the awful stuff whatever it was when asked; not confronted but just asked.
What makes me saddest as I think of that story, is that Mr. Mel Clark, if he’s still alive and votes, probably has a MAGA hat and voted for Trump, and probably will next time. And, Trump and the R’s will screw him, and his family and then they’ll blame the Democrats, the Illegals and the blacks and the Socialists…and Clark will march his family to the polls and vote for Trump again.
One person they don’t remind me of is Rachel Corrie. She surely represented us far better in the Middle East than Jared Kushner could; she had no agenda, no wealth, no vested interest. She’d never stayed with Netanyahu’s family; she just had what at our best is that common sense American understanding of right and wrong, what Guy Clark called a “playground sense of justice.”
When the Israeli Army announced that they were going to bulldoze a number of homes, with no provision for or reimbursement for the people who lived there, Rachel an Evergreen University student spending a semester abroad working with a Peace Project in Gaza, went to the area the next morning and in the best tradition of nonviolent action, stood between the bulldozers and the homes. And, in the worst tradition of totalitarian, racist, anti-semites — you understand that the Palestinians are also a Semitic people? — ran her over and crushed her.
The only reason Kushner or Trump or any of the rest of the crowd baying that the Democratic party hates Jews would visit Gaza will be after Israel has their way, and it’s empty of Palestinians. Then, the Trump and Kushner organizations can develop it as a great resort and beach condominium community for retired plutocrats and first and second and third world dictators and brutalizers of people, poetry, ideas and religion.
The United States already enables too many of these malefactors of great wealth, hatred and evil. If it’s going to stop, then we need a see change in our government and our culture, our economy and our society. If not we are doomed to be no different than that Israeli Battalion Commander who saw nothing wrong with running over and grinding an American College Student’s body into the dust and ruins of Gaza.
The Democrats need to recapture the fire that made them the dominant party for 60 years. They’ve shown signs of getting there again, and then done stupid things like boink an intern or forget about electability in seeking a nominee to replace a highly respected and popular but polarizing President. While I am personally fonder of Roosevelt’s rhetoric, we should remember Harry S. Truman who represented the common man in ways that other Democratic leaders have not and wasn’t afraid to say exactly what he thought.
This was sent to me by Jack Brown, a friend of mine in North Carolina, who for some reason likes to read what I write. Anyway, if you substitute Democrats for Liberals and Trump and his enablers for Wall Street Republicans, it would work well as a stump speech for lots of the Democrats this year. This is reality, and has been since Harding replaced Wilson.
Today the forces of liberalism face a crisis. The people of the United States must make a choice between two ways of living — a decision which will affect us the rest of our lives and our children and our grandchildren after us.
On the other side, there is the Wall Street way of life and politics. Trust the leader! Let big business take care of prices and profits! Measure all things by money! That is the philosophy of the masters of the Republican Party.
Well, I have been studying the Republican Party for over 12 years at close hand in the Capital of the United States. And by this time, I have discovered where the Republicans stand on most of the major issues.
Since they won’t tell you themselves, I am going to tell you.
They approve of the American farmer — but they are willing to help him go broke.They stand four-square for the American home — but not for housing.They are strong for labor — but they are stronger for restricting labor’s rights. They favor a minimum wage — the smaller the minimum the better. They endorse educational opportunity for all — but they won’t spend money for teachers or for schools.They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine — for people who can afford them. They approve of Social Security benefits — so much so that they took them away from almost a million people. They believe in international trade — so much so that they crippled our reciprocal trade program, and killed our International Wheat Agreement. They favor the admission of displaced persons — but only within shameful racial and religious limitations.They consider electric power a great blessing — but only when the private power companies get their rake-off. They say TVA is wonderful — but we ought never to try it again. They condemn “cruelly high prices” — but fight to the death every effort to bring them down. They think the American standard of living is a fine thing — so long as it doesn’t spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Now, my friends, that is the Wall Street Republican way of life. But there is another way — there is another way — the Democratic way, the way of the Democratic Party. — Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States, October 13, 1948, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Let me put it a bit more bluntly. Should we be the country of Ivanka Trump and Donny Junior and Rand Paul and Preston Graham and FOX News? Is that what you want? Then don’t vote or vote for Trump and anyone with an R after their name or for some third party candidate who can do nothing make help your ego feel like you showed the man. Which of course you will potentially do — Show him and his repulsive deplorables like McConnell and Kennedy of Louisiana, and Mark Meadows and Jim Jeffords all the way back into power.
What we have been historically for the world and for it’s people is something different. We have been the country of of Rachel Corrie, and we should make that our cause. When there is injustice, horror and stupidity, greed and lust, hatred and lies, then American should step in.
Yeah. I have a younger friend here in Barstow, a Palestinian Christian whose family lost a child to Israeli fire and whose parents immediately emigrated to the United States. He worked hard, saved his money as the rest of his family did, and recently started his own restaurant, doing “Mediterranean Cuisine, Palestinian Style.” It’s really interesting — good, but you’re definitely not in Turkey. He loves this country ferociously, is proud of his families success and has lots of hope for the future. But, if you talk to him about Palestine, he says something simple about the people of Gaza. “They are all going to die, and nobody cares.”
Maybe if enough of us remember Rachel Corrie, my friend may be proven wrong. Inshallah.
Michael is a Retired Army First Sergeant, retired Corporate HR Executive, Occasional Adjunct Professor of Management, Organizational Effectiveness Free Range Consultant, Stoic Philosopher of sorts, Proud Heritage Irish Catholic Apostate…
He went from turning down fellowships to Graduate School after Holy Cross to Fort Jackson and a guy with few teeth from Georgia screaming at me to move his ass! And he enlisted after the draft ended. Twenty-three years active duty from 1974 to 1997 flipping between duty as REMF-Unit designated Grunt to Grunt Unit designated Smart Guy.
Last ten years either an Operations Sergeant Major (4 years) or First Sergeant (6 years). Made the CSM list a week after retirement papers went in.
He went into Human Resources because people said it was like being a First Sergeant.
Michael is retired these days, with time to think, write and occasionally enjoy life a bit. He reads five papers every day, lots of books on what interests me and pays attention. He has basic Socialist leanings. He is also a musician – fifty years plus with a guitar. Ex-marathon runner now lifting weights and grunting a lot to stay sort of in shape.
Michael is deadly serious about the issues but he likes to present with a lot of dry humor and satire. He discomforts the rich, offends the powerful and laughs at the pompous. So, stay awake and pay attention, or you’ll miss the jokes.
He refers to himself as a Progressive with an anarchist tendency. Think Bobby Kennedy Democrat at home with Sinn Fein; either a saintly advocate of sweet reason and justice or an arrogant self-righteous SOB with a traditional First Sergeant’s vulgar mouth and dislike of anyone’s rules but his own. That’s Michael Farrell