Archive for August, 2016

1968 and 2016 — differences on which was harsher

Monday, August 29th, 2016

The latest Washington Monthly posited twice on the differences between the tumultuous paranoia political currents for the years 1968 and 2016.  But it’s like this

Despite Donald Trump’s aspiration to re-create 1968’s law-and-order election (with Trump cast in the unflattering role of Richard Nixon), the violent crime rate isn’t doubling, as it did during the 1960s; it’s halved over the past two decades. When we look back on 1968, we understand that its tumult was mostly a reaction to large and abrupt shifts in societal arrangements concerning race, sexuality, and deference to any sort of authority.

The current year is quite different. Americans are worried not about sudden disruptions but about problems of long standing like wage stagnation, growing income inequality, Islamist terrorism, easy access to military-style firearms, and police brutality. The only really rapid change has been in social acceptance of homosexuals and, now, transgenders, and I’d be very surprised if LGBT issues play much of a role in the general election; Trump just doesn’t feel comfortable discussing them. Otherwise, the issues that voters are worked up about aren’t new. People don’t feel scared so much as fed up.

But still…

The biggest shock is that the generational divisions and racial intolerance that created so many ugly images and memories in 1968 are back with a vengeance nearly a half century later, along with a dizzying sense that we have no idea what comes next.

The National Review, meanwhile, compares 1968 to 2016 and finds…

Nineteen sixty-eight was a good year for a candidate to run on a platform of kicking the status quo to hell, but 2016 is the darker moment. Nineteen sixty-eight opened with the country getting pummeled in Vietnam in the Tet Offensive, saw the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, and witnessed urban rioting that killed twelve in Washington, 16 in Detroit, 26 in Newark, and twelve more in Baltimore and Chicago. But in the ghoulish stakes of murder, ISIS-inspired terrorism against the West in the last year has spilt more blood than all the urban unrest of 1968.

In terms of violence, National Review ranks a couple of mass attacks — particularly the ones they can align to Islam (and remember, from the National Review’s political perspective, the attack in the Orlando night-club was something that doubles over to ISIS, as opposed to lone gun man claiming whatever’s available) than the overall violent crime rate, down over a two decade span if up a tad recently — as opposed to the 60s where the rate went up…

And while the Tet Offensive was, as Teddy White observed, “a complete military failure” for Hanoi, today’s jihadists have been all too successful in bringing their madness into the heart of Western communities.

But the real difference is economic.  The 1960s were a golden age.

And we’re back to issues of long-standing concern, as opposed to startlingly sudden dis-ruptures.

The National Review does make an interesting point about Nixon’s public temperament as opposed to Trump…

Nor did Nixon embrace a politics of rage in the way Trump has. Throughout 1968 he tempered calls for a crackdown on “rampant lawlessness” with assurances of moderation; sensing that the nation wanted calm, he purposefully ran a bland campaign with little overt choler. Where Trump’s anger is exuberant and bouffe, Nixon’s was closeted. He disliked face-to face confrontation. “You’re fired”? Not for Nixon. He would have sent Haldeman to get rid of the guy. In private he talked about kicking people, but the talk was mostly cathartic. “People blow off steam in different ways,” he explained to journalist David Frost. “Some of them kick the cat. I don’t like cats, but my daughters I should not have said that. But nevertheless, if there were one around I would probably kick the cat.”

Nixon’s most egregious cat-kicking was hypothetical. He once startled Henry Kissinger by talking about going nuclear in Vietnam, but it was just that, talk. When he came to act he was generally sober and self-controlled. He liked to invoke Teddy Roosevelt’s man-in-the-arena bloodlust, but he was always stealing away from the amphitheater, retiring to his hideaway in the Old Executive Office Building; he did much of his governing by memo. Gentle Dick.

Sure.  But America was watching Lawrence Welk instead of reality television.  Or at least the “Silent Majority” was… maybe that’s a key difference on Nixon’s “quiet” for Law and Order and Trump’s twitter-shouting — the tastes of the great masses.

Hillary Clinton exposes something or other.

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

Stephen Colbert rummaging through a familiar trope — the eerie noises and conspiracy rambling questions.

Speaking of which…  Time for Point / Counterpoint:

Point — wonkette:  Hillary Clinton gave a great speech exposing Trump’s connection with the new-fangled “alt right“.
Counterpoint:  Hillary Clinton’s had one minute on the alt right in a speech, than wisely moved over to dumping on Donald Trump.
Alex Jones:  Yah!  Hillary Clinton mentioned me.  My entire media empire of radio and websites will now be devoted to Hillary Clinton mentioning me by name for the next three days!!!

Who is the “alt right”?  Apparently Breitbart, Alex Jones, David Duke, Nigel Farage, and Vladimir Putin.

Hm…  Comments:
Where is Andrew Dice Clay when you need him?
F%ing Mother Goose?

Ba de dum!

Time to reach out to… uh?

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

The stupid, the stupid, the stupid.

Mr. Trump began his recent appeal to black voters last Tuesday in Washington County, Wis., where 96% of the population is white. The campaign speech took place at a fairgrounds 25 miles from a largely African-American Milwaukee neighborhood that was at the time engulfed in turmoil after a black man was fatally shot by a police officer.

Mr. Trump continued his appeal to black voters on Friday at a rally outside of Lansing, Mich. In a county that is 88% white, Mr. Trump said African-Americans have “nothing to lose” by supporting him, because their plight in America’s Democratic-run inner cities is so dismal.

Next up.  Caspar, Wyoming.  Salt Lake, Utah.  Portland, Oregon.  Burlington, Vermont.

Michael Steele, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, said he has passed along requests from historically black colleges for Mr. Trump to speak. The requests were conveyed to the campaign, which didn’t respond, said Mr. Steele, who is black.

“The fact of the matter is it’s something that you’ve got to be a little bit smarter about,” said Mr. Steele, who said he would vote for Mr. Trump, with whom he said he speaks regularly to offer advice. “You don’t go to a white community to talk about black folks. Hello, it doesn’t make sense.”

Ah, yes.  Michael Steele.  The bizarre “I speak jive” Republican chairman, never mind his prior history in electoral politics was pretty devoid of black lingo.  But never mind…

Still, he’s onto something in castigating the third party run of Evan McMullin.

I don’t know where Trump can go on immigration.  I know Americans have somewhat famously short attention span on some things, but when you’ve already referenced Mexicans (illegally in the United States or not) as rapists, a “softening” of the rhetoric does… what?

The election campaign confuses me somewhat.  This comes off the heels of a “into the echo chamber” and “were gonna win, polls be damned, because of embarrassed Trump voters” [Which just might be worth a couple points] tacit.  Maybe these Breitbartian voices actually do have a pulse into real America after all?

la la land

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

How David Duke could give the Democrats a Senate seat in Louisiana.

‘Tis silly season of speculation.  By all accounts, Duke’s vote won’t carry — the one thing I can speculate is that he’ll siphon off a white racist vote that’d splinter various ways and get us a Senator Joseph Cao…

… the accidental Congressman who was the one Republican vote for “Obamacare”, or the first version.

Unless there’s some other candidate in this mass of Republicans, this name springs up as about optimal hope for someone who a sense of liberality, a moderating influence on a Republican party ambling out of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz needing to get past White America.  We could do without a month-long election process from November to December with David Duke having a platform.

Nostradamus on the coming trumpet sounding

Friday, August 19th, 2016

Hey!  Nostradamus predicted the rise of Donald Trump!

“The trumpet shakes with great discord.
An agreement broken: lifting the face to heaven:
the bloody mouth will swim with blood;
the face anointed with milk and honey lies on the ground.”

Couldn’t be clearer, the many references to “Trumpet”s as representing Donald Trump.

The false trumpet concealing madness
will cause Byzantium to change its laws.
From Egypt there will go forth a man who wants
the edict withdrawn, changing money and standards.

Donald Trump is Egyptian, or is someone from Egyptian going to come in and challenge Donald Trump somehow?  I don’t get it.

This one predicts the coming issues with immigration, I think.

The republic of the great city
Will not want to consent to the great severity:
King summoned by trumpet to go out,
The ladder at the wall, the city will repent.

And, it looks like President Trump is going to get … impeached?

The great Senate will ordain the triumph
For one who afterwards will be vanquished, driven out:
At the sound of the trumpet of his adherents there will be
Put up for sale their possessions, enemies expelled.