Category: Geoffrey P. Hunt

The Cultural Roots of Trumpism


President Donald Trump’s occasional unfiltered coarse cloudbursts belie a man who is enormously joyful, having an abundance of entertaining good humor easily expressed, fairly shared.  Trump is having a ball, for good reasons.

Trump’s first year as president may have been the most extraordinary since the 1840s.  While Trump has disrupted almost all presidential governance and communication norms, his tenure so far has produced capital market gains of some $7 trillion, spreading investment wealth to millions of regular Joes and Marys, while tax cuts have already distributed $3 billion in bonuses and wage hikes to over 2 million workers and counting.

The Trump-inspired American economic revival, accompanied by a cultural earthquake in newfound respect, self-esteem, and optimism for working-class citizens, rural and urban – ignored and maligned since the industrial heartland was eviscerated in the 1980s – matches the economic and territorial expansions under presidents John Tyler and James Polk.

Westward expansion, Manifest Destiny, abetted by industrial innovation from the telegraph to steam engines to sewing machines, ushered in the longest economic growth period in American history – 1841 to 1859.

The 1840s also propelled the American Renaissance in literature and art.  The fabulous Hudson River School of landscape painting, originating around 1825, spawned two major shifts in the 1840s: landscapes capturing Easterners’ imagination about the West and illustrations of people in everyday scenes with the Americana backdrops.  Perhaps the best practitioner of the new genre was George Caleb Bingham, portrait painter and politician, who lived most of his life in Missouri.

Bingham captured the heart of the American spirit – a mix of personal liberty and economic fortunes – in his iconic 1846 painting, “The Jolly Flatboatmen,” now owned by and usually on display at the National Gallery of Art.

NGA director Rusty Powell says The Jolly Flatboatmen is ” the most important genre painting in American history.”

No one knows whether Bingham’s boatmen, dancing and luxuriating on the deck of a river flatboat barge loaded with furs, bolts of cloth, and other premium cargo, are floating downstream on the upper Missouri or Mississippi.  The exact topography doesn’t matter; the image conveying understated exuberance is infectious.

The solitary fiddler, the frying pan-tambourine man, and the other boatmen could have been figures drawn by Caravaggio, inviting the viewer to join in the moment, to take a seat on the hand-hewn oar or on top of the chicken coop – no more, no less.

Bingham’s clarity of purpose matches his clarity of brushstrokes.  The viewer’s angle could be from a small river skiff, such as a Mackinaw boat.  The closest boatman bemused at our attention seems contented enough, despite his toes sticking out from the welt of his shoe.  The slightly impish man in the Quaker wide-awake hat, alongside the steering-oarsman, looks self-satisfied, confident, and prosperous enough.

Franklin Kelly, curator at the NGA, said this about “The Jolly Flatboatmen”:

It’s very democratic.  These are working people; they’re wearing their ordinary clothes – tattered – but they’re having a good time.  It’s that notion of a democratic art in a democratic society.

Donald Trump, the NYC luxury high rise-builder, should be the most unlikely populist egalitarian.  Yet Trump would be at home with the jolly flatboatmen.  These are the people who built the nation, unmolested by a suffocating federal government.  By 1846, only Missouri and Iowa among the Missouri River territories had been admitted to the Union.

People of the frontier, anyplace west of the Appalachians, in the 1840s were tamers of the wilderness.  Life could be nasty, brutish, and short, as wrote Hobbes in another century.  Yet endurance, calculated risk-taking, commercial cleverness, and even desperation produced American pragmatism, and exeptionalism.

These are Hillary Clinton’s deplorables.  These are the Walmart shoppers.  These are the truck-drivers, machine tool-operators, steamfitters, and grocery aisle shelf-stockers.  These are the diverse line-up of Trump voters in Youngstown, Ohio, who stunned CNN about a week ago with their full-throated approval of Trump’s first year.

Bingham, the painter, was no stranger to the imperfect, messy features of frontier and small-town democracy. He dabbled in politics as a Missouri state senator and Missouri treasurer, among other statewide offices.

In his “The County Election” (St. Louis Museum of Art), Bingham displays both porcelain and pockmarks on the faces of a remarkable collection of backgrounds and temperaments, where each vote is equal, the outcome accepted.

There are four sweeping themes occupying American socio-economic history: westward expansion, slavery, immigration, and industrialization.  These themes have a common narrative: labor and natural resources.  The narrative about labor invokes contradictory notions about liberty and submission.  Moreover, the history of the American people is a complex saga of bloodshed for freedom from authoritarian tyranny, repudiation of an aristocracy to assure equality of opportunity, and the yearning for self-sufficiency and dignity.

The delivery of socio-economic justice, ameliorating the worst excesses within the labor narrative, has always been through the gifts of fertile land, “the fruited plain,” an abundance of natural resources.  The “peoples’ history,” expropriated by deconstructive historians using disingenuous storylines of labor oppression and subjugation, is really about rivers, harbors, timber, cotton, corn, wheat, coal, oil, and iron ore.  Ships, sails, barges, mills, machines, furnaces, coke and coal, iron, steel, rails and roads, steam engines, trucks, tractors, and airplanes – this is the stuff of nation-building, prosperity, and empire – and ultimate redemption.

Donald Trump gets it.  There are no Democrats remaining who get it.  No one should underestimate Trump’s legion of Jolly Flatboatmen who freely voted for their self-interest and can now dance to their own tune, all because of Donald Trump.

President Donald Trump’s occasional unfiltered coarse cloudbursts belie a man who is enormously joyful, having an abundance of entertaining good humor easily expressed, fairly shared.  Trump is having a ball, for good reasons.

Trump’s first year as president may have been the most extraordinary since the 1840s.  While Trump has disrupted almost all presidential governance and communication norms, his tenure so far has produced capital market gains of some $7 trillion, spreading investment wealth to millions of regular Joes and Marys, while tax cuts have already distributed $3 billion in bonuses and wage hikes to over 2 million workers and counting.

The Trump-inspired American economic revival, accompanied by a cultural earthquake in newfound respect, self-esteem, and optimism for working-class citizens, rural and urban – ignored and maligned since the industrial heartland was eviscerated in the 1980s – matches the economic and territorial expansions under presidents John Tyler and James Polk.

Westward expansion, Manifest Destiny, abetted by industrial innovation from the telegraph to steam engines to sewing machines, ushered in the longest economic growth period in American history – 1841 to 1859.

The 1840s also propelled the American Renaissance in literature and art.  The fabulous Hudson River School of landscape painting, originating around 1825, spawned two major shifts in the 1840s: landscapes capturing Easterners’ imagination about the West and illustrations of people in everyday scenes with the Americana backdrops.  Perhaps the best practitioner of the new genre was George Caleb Bingham, portrait painter and politician, who lived most of his life in Missouri.

Bingham captured the heart of the American spirit – a mix of personal liberty and economic fortunes – in his iconic 1846 painting, “The Jolly Flatboatmen,” now owned by and usually on display at the National Gallery of Art.

NGA director Rusty Powell says The Jolly Flatboatmen is ” the most important genre painting in American history.”

No one knows whether Bingham’s boatmen, dancing and luxuriating on the deck of a river flatboat barge loaded with furs, bolts of cloth, and other premium cargo, are floating downstream on the upper Missouri or Mississippi.  The exact topography doesn’t matter; the image conveying understated exuberance is infectious.

The solitary fiddler, the frying pan-tambourine man, and the other boatmen could have been figures drawn by Caravaggio, inviting the viewer to join in the moment, to take a seat on the hand-hewn oar or on top of the chicken coop – no more, no less.

Bingham’s clarity of purpose matches his clarity of brushstrokes.  The viewer’s angle could be from a small river skiff, such as a Mackinaw boat.  The closest boatman bemused at our attention seems contented enough, despite his toes sticking out from the welt of his shoe.  The slightly impish man in the Quaker wide-awake hat, alongside the steering-oarsman, looks self-satisfied, confident, and prosperous enough.

Franklin Kelly, curator at the NGA, said this about “The Jolly Flatboatmen”:

It’s very democratic.  These are working people; they’re wearing their ordinary clothes – tattered – but they’re having a good time.  It’s that notion of a democratic art in a democratic society.

Donald Trump, the NYC luxury high rise-builder, should be the most unlikely populist egalitarian.  Yet Trump would be at home with the jolly flatboatmen.  These are the people who built the nation, unmolested by a suffocating federal government.  By 1846, only Missouri and Iowa among the Missouri River territories had been admitted to the Union.

People of the frontier, anyplace west of the Appalachians, in the 1840s were tamers of the wilderness.  Life could be nasty, brutish, and short, as wrote Hobbes in another century.  Yet endurance, calculated risk-taking, commercial cleverness, and even desperation produced American pragmatism, and exeptionalism.

These are Hillary Clinton’s deplorables.  These are the Walmart shoppers.  These are the truck-drivers, machine tool-operators, steamfitters, and grocery aisle shelf-stockers.  These are the diverse line-up of Trump voters in Youngstown, Ohio, who stunned CNN about a week ago with their full-throated approval of Trump’s first year.

Bingham, the painter, was no stranger to the imperfect, messy features of frontier and small-town democracy. He dabbled in politics as a Missouri state senator and Missouri treasurer, among other statewide offices.

In his “The County Election” (St. Louis Museum of Art), Bingham displays both porcelain and pockmarks on the faces of a remarkable collection of backgrounds and temperaments, where each vote is equal, the outcome accepted.

There are four sweeping themes occupying American socio-economic history: westward expansion, slavery, immigration, and industrialization.  These themes have a common narrative: labor and natural resources.  The narrative about labor invokes contradictory notions about liberty and submission.  Moreover, the history of the American people is a complex saga of bloodshed for freedom from authoritarian tyranny, repudiation of an aristocracy to assure equality of opportunity, and the yearning for self-sufficiency and dignity.

The delivery of socio-economic justice, ameliorating the worst excesses within the labor narrative, has always been through the gifts of fertile land, “the fruited plain,” an abundance of natural resources.  The “peoples’ history,” expropriated by deconstructive historians using disingenuous storylines of labor oppression and subjugation, is really about rivers, harbors, timber, cotton, corn, wheat, coal, oil, and iron ore.  Ships, sails, barges, mills, machines, furnaces, coke and coal, iron, steel, rails and roads, steam engines, trucks, tractors, and airplanes – this is the stuff of nation-building, prosperity, and empire – and ultimate redemption.

Donald Trump gets it.  There are no Democrats remaining who get it.  No one should underestimate Trump’s legion of Jolly Flatboatmen who freely voted for their self-interest and can now dance to their own tune, all because of Donald Trump.



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Christmas, Fruit of The Word


Christmastide is the season that provokes the most spiritual reflection, accompanied by abundant joy. Amongst feasts in the liturgical calendar, over the centuries Christmas has either enjoyed a most favored festive status or been nearly ignored.

Two of the four Gospel authors, Mark and John, omit any mention of the birth of Jesus. Matthew’s account is the abridged version. It is Luke’s full-figured account of the pilgrimage to Bethlehem, the lowly manger scene, the Angels, shepherds, the guiding star, the gifts of the Magi, all of which we never tire, reading a million times over.

After all, Christmas celebrating the birth of Jesus is a simple fait accompli. Preceding Christmas by an infinite distance is the most profound event, the foundational mystery of the Christian faith, the a priori Incarnation of the Son of God.

In the Church calendar at ground level, the Incarnation is manifest in the Annunciation to Mary — the perfection of the Word according to the opening of John’s Gospel — celebrated in late March, proximo to the vernal equinox. Luke devotes the most poetic ink to the Annunciation, with his Magnificat (Luke1:46-55 KJV), the Song of Mary, settings of which are sung, or said every day within the Liturgy of the Hours, be it Roman Catholic and Lutheran vespers, Anglican evensong, or Eastern Rite morning service.

The Incarnation is necessary, according to Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century, as the most elegant and graceful solution in bestowing the option for redemption and salvation upon humankind. A millennium earlier Tertullian declared that God becoming Man was shameful, absurd, and impossible; thus certain.

I suppose students of philosophical theology might consider Christmas a posteriori, while the Incarnation a priori. Yet Christmas is also necessary to transport the theological abstraction of the Incarnation, albeit true and real enough, into the realm of human experience as God amongst us. None of this is remarkable for mature Christians, accustomed to spiritual self-examination, and sober appraisal, during Advent. Yet there are fewer and fewer Christians, mature or otherwise, willing to submit to such celebral toil.

It is said Luke was a physician, so fitting as a healer with words. It is Luke’s narrative of the Nativity, taking on the coloratura of folklore rather than strictly a sacred chronicle, a tale of a humble hardscrabble family inspiring awe and wonder. Christmas reveals the life of the Son of Man, compressed into the ensuing four months of the Church calendar, leading to the death of God on the Cross, and His resurrection.

Again Tertullian’s words offer an unlikely opening to faith: “The Son of God died; it is by all means to be believed, because it is absurd. And He was buried and rose again; the fact is certain, because it is impossible” (Tertullian, On the Flesh of Christ 5.4).

Tertullian identifies the three core beliefs in the Christian mind: Incarnation, Death, and Resurrection. Nothing else matters, all three must be taken together.

Arguably it is the Incarnation that matters most, where “the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us”. (John 1:14). On one level it is God’s do-over, since His first human creation Adam, “Lay Ybounden”. On another plane, the Life of Jesus, set out in all four of the Gospels, is a more intellectually approachable record that God is, has been, and always will be with us.

The phrase “mature Christians” is a rank-order label, used in bible study circles to identify the most literate, and learned daily readers who navigate the New and the Old Testaments with ease. Yet ‘mature Christian” is a misnomer. No one “matures” beyond the astonishing truth of the Incarnation. We are all children, seeing the night sky dome for the first time, believing in the moment, yet utterly unable to comprehend any of it.

Barton Swaim, writing a book review in the Wall Street Journal on Jay Parini’s Jesus: The Face of God takes a well-placed swipe at “mature” intellectuals, somehow embarrassed by the demands of faith, unwilling to enter Tertullian’s glorious paradoxical labyrinth. Says Swaim:

“It’s the same with all attempts to make religion palatable to the learned. Rather than accepting its authority or ditching it altogether, the urge is to weaken its demands and make its doctrines vague or optional. The result is usually an agreeable but boring philosophy that anyone can adopt and no one would die for.”

Swaim then references Parini’s perspective:

“The Way of Jesus…” Mr. Parini writes, “involves self-denial, a sense of losing oneself in order to find oneself, moving through the inevitable pain of life with good cheer, accepting gracefully the burdens that fall on our shoulders and the tasks that lie before us. This is true discipleship.”

Swaim concludes:

“If that’s all Jesus came here to tell us, it’s hard to see what all the fuss was about.”

Christmas is the best place to embrace the fuss, enter that space, the light of the world, where demands on the human intellect are incontrovertible, yet never resolved. And yes, Christmas is the fruit of the Beginning, but also the beginning of a journey into the holy world of the wholly other.

Christmastide is the season that provokes the most spiritual reflection, accompanied by abundant joy. Amongst feasts in the liturgical calendar, over the centuries Christmas has either enjoyed a most favored festive status or been nearly ignored.

Two of the four Gospel authors, Mark and John, omit any mention of the birth of Jesus. Matthew’s account is the abridged version. It is Luke’s full-figured account of the pilgrimage to Bethlehem, the lowly manger scene, the Angels, shepherds, the guiding star, the gifts of the Magi, all of which we never tire, reading a million times over.

After all, Christmas celebrating the birth of Jesus is a simple fait accompli. Preceding Christmas by an infinite distance is the most profound event, the foundational mystery of the Christian faith, the a priori Incarnation of the Son of God.

In the Church calendar at ground level, the Incarnation is manifest in the Annunciation to Mary — the perfection of the Word according to the opening of John’s Gospel — celebrated in late March, proximo to the vernal equinox. Luke devotes the most poetic ink to the Annunciation, with his Magnificat (Luke1:46-55 KJV), the Song of Mary, settings of which are sung, or said every day within the Liturgy of the Hours, be it Roman Catholic and Lutheran vespers, Anglican evensong, or Eastern Rite morning service.

The Incarnation is necessary, according to Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century, as the most elegant and graceful solution in bestowing the option for redemption and salvation upon humankind. A millennium earlier Tertullian declared that God becoming Man was shameful, absurd, and impossible; thus certain.

I suppose students of philosophical theology might consider Christmas a posteriori, while the Incarnation a priori. Yet Christmas is also necessary to transport the theological abstraction of the Incarnation, albeit true and real enough, into the realm of human experience as God amongst us. None of this is remarkable for mature Christians, accustomed to spiritual self-examination, and sober appraisal, during Advent. Yet there are fewer and fewer Christians, mature or otherwise, willing to submit to such celebral toil.

It is said Luke was a physician, so fitting as a healer with words. It is Luke’s narrative of the Nativity, taking on the coloratura of folklore rather than strictly a sacred chronicle, a tale of a humble hardscrabble family inspiring awe and wonder. Christmas reveals the life of the Son of Man, compressed into the ensuing four months of the Church calendar, leading to the death of God on the Cross, and His resurrection.

Again Tertullian’s words offer an unlikely opening to faith: “The Son of God died; it is by all means to be believed, because it is absurd. And He was buried and rose again; the fact is certain, because it is impossible” (Tertullian, On the Flesh of Christ 5.4).

Tertullian identifies the three core beliefs in the Christian mind: Incarnation, Death, and Resurrection. Nothing else matters, all three must be taken together.

Arguably it is the Incarnation that matters most, where “the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us”. (John 1:14). On one level it is God’s do-over, since His first human creation Adam, “Lay Ybounden”. On another plane, the Life of Jesus, set out in all four of the Gospels, is a more intellectually approachable record that God is, has been, and always will be with us.

The phrase “mature Christians” is a rank-order label, used in bible study circles to identify the most literate, and learned daily readers who navigate the New and the Old Testaments with ease. Yet ‘mature Christian” is a misnomer. No one “matures” beyond the astonishing truth of the Incarnation. We are all children, seeing the night sky dome for the first time, believing in the moment, yet utterly unable to comprehend any of it.

Barton Swaim, writing a book review in the Wall Street Journal on Jay Parini’s Jesus: The Face of God takes a well-placed swipe at “mature” intellectuals, somehow embarrassed by the demands of faith, unwilling to enter Tertullian’s glorious paradoxical labyrinth. Says Swaim:

“It’s the same with all attempts to make religion palatable to the learned. Rather than accepting its authority or ditching it altogether, the urge is to weaken its demands and make its doctrines vague or optional. The result is usually an agreeable but boring philosophy that anyone can adopt and no one would die for.”

Swaim then references Parini’s perspective:

“The Way of Jesus…” Mr. Parini writes, “involves self-denial, a sense of losing oneself in order to find oneself, moving through the inevitable pain of life with good cheer, accepting gracefully the burdens that fall on our shoulders and the tasks that lie before us. This is true discipleship.”

Swaim concludes:

“If that’s all Jesus came here to tell us, it’s hard to see what all the fuss was about.”

Christmas is the best place to embrace the fuss, enter that space, the light of the world, where demands on the human intellect are incontrovertible, yet never resolved. And yes, Christmas is the fruit of the Beginning, but also the beginning of a journey into the holy world of the wholly other.



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Dems Need Plus-Size Fig Leaf in Ouster of Al Franken


So, Al Franken is a lewd boor, an unfunny buffoon, an intellectual midget, and an adolescent crude serial invader of womens’ space. The latter triggered his blindfolded walk-the-plank exit from the USS Senate. 

How convenient for the Democrats to have a do-over, only a third of the way through Franken’s second underwhelming term. 

But the gaggle of Democrat moral peacocks only purged Franken from their caucus because his political value didn’t extend beyond another replaceable vote, a mere commodity. Franken offered zero policy depth, wholly bereft of legislative scholarship, whose exposure on vital Senate committees, such as the Judiciary Committee, was an embarrassment.

Franken’s sacrifice is sleeves off the Dems’ vests. No political risk, an easy flush of a useless white male, clearing the bowl for another swirl of identity politics, a Democrat staple, enabled by fellow progressive Minnesota governor Mark Dayton appointing his #2– a woman– to replace Franken.

Just another brazen calculation by the Democrats hoping nobody will notice their naked cynicism.  How gallant, how courageous, how intrepid to now align themselves with sexual mores of the Shakers.

Of course they have tolerated, indeed venerated, womanizers, harassers, sexual predators, rapists, and all-purpose deviants since the days of JFK and his brother Bobby’s peccadilloes, only to be outsized by younger brother “Lion of the Senate” Ted’s willful negligence in forsaking what might have been his pro tempore mistress/girlfriend in tide-swept waters under the Dike Bridge on Chappaquiddick.

Harboring Gerry Studds, and Barney Frank, is a wholly other Democrat party protectorate over sordid abuse, for the sake of celebrating diversity.

This is the legacy of Gerry Studds, the long-serving Massachusetts Democrat who was, for those who followed his lead, every bit the historical figure as the first gay athlete, movie star and politician, but is best known as the congressman censured by his own colleagues in 1983 for a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old male congressional page.


“I think that people in politics and especially people like me who are in politics and lived through that will remember him as being a real hero, because he was willing to be first,” said Richard Socarides, a longtime Democratic operative who served as an adviser to President Bill Clinton for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. “Even though he was forced into it a little bit by circumstances, I think that people think of him as a hero and someone we look up to and someone who was a trailblazer.”

Well at least Jimmy Carter can’t be lumped in with the likes of Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton. The worst of Carter’s sins is that he “… looked on a lot of women with lust. I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times.”, according to the sensational Playboy interview in 1976.

Nonetheless even Tony the tent maker can’t stitch a fig leaf big enough to cover two generations of Democrat sleaze.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, Al Franken is a lewd boor, an unfunny buffoon, an intellectual midget, and an adolescent crude serial invader of womens’ space. The latter triggered his blindfolded walk-the-plank exit from the USS Senate. 

How convenient for the Democrats to have a do-over, only a third of the way through Franken’s second underwhelming term. 

But the gaggle of Democrat moral peacocks only purged Franken from their caucus because his political value didn’t extend beyond another replaceable vote, a mere commodity. Franken offered zero policy depth, wholly bereft of legislative scholarship, whose exposure on vital Senate committees, such as the Judiciary Committee, was an embarrassment.

Franken’s sacrifice is sleeves off the Dems’ vests. No political risk, an easy flush of a useless white male, clearing the bowl for another swirl of identity politics, a Democrat staple, enabled by fellow progressive Minnesota governor Mark Dayton appointing his #2– a woman– to replace Franken.

Just another brazen calculation by the Democrats hoping nobody will notice their naked cynicism.  How gallant, how courageous, how intrepid to now align themselves with sexual mores of the Shakers.

Of course they have tolerated, indeed venerated, womanizers, harassers, sexual predators, rapists, and all-purpose deviants since the days of JFK and his brother Bobby’s peccadilloes, only to be outsized by younger brother “Lion of the Senate” Ted’s willful negligence in forsaking what might have been his pro tempore mistress/girlfriend in tide-swept waters under the Dike Bridge on Chappaquiddick.

Harboring Gerry Studds, and Barney Frank, is a wholly other Democrat party protectorate over sordid abuse, for the sake of celebrating diversity.

This is the legacy of Gerry Studds, the long-serving Massachusetts Democrat who was, for those who followed his lead, every bit the historical figure as the first gay athlete, movie star and politician, but is best known as the congressman censured by his own colleagues in 1983 for a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old male congressional page.


“I think that people in politics and especially people like me who are in politics and lived through that will remember him as being a real hero, because he was willing to be first,” said Richard Socarides, a longtime Democratic operative who served as an adviser to President Bill Clinton for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. “Even though he was forced into it a little bit by circumstances, I think that people think of him as a hero and someone we look up to and someone who was a trailblazer.”

Well at least Jimmy Carter can’t be lumped in with the likes of Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton. The worst of Carter’s sins is that he “… looked on a lot of women with lust. I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times.”, according to the sensational Playboy interview in 1976.

Nonetheless even Tony the tent maker can’t stitch a fig leaf big enough to cover two generations of Democrat sleaze.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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While Percherons Graze, Mueller Perfects Whetstone Grinding


Oh my, how will the erstwhile unimpeachable, and irreproachable Robert Mueller rescue his reputation? In mid-June the former FBI director under presidents Bush and Obama — Washington DC’s liege lord — recruited thirteen, now up to twenty-one, mostly partisan adventure seeking knights-errant formerly pledged to Hillary, presumably determined to slay the “Russians, and Trump hacked the election” dragon.

Any honorable counselor would have demurred. Not Robert Mueller. Bored with semi-retirement, he could have gone gathering black winter truffles in the royal forest. Not Robert Mueller. He chose to search for the Black Knight.

Meanwhile, Independence Day, Veterans’ Day, and Thanksgiving have come and gone. Mueller’s armorers have outfitted his legion with lance, mail, and mace. Percherons are groomed, and well fed. But where have these knights-errant trotted about to find a worthy errand? Capturing beleaguered Michael Flynn who admitted lying to the FBI about conversations that were perfectly legal. Where is the evidence of collusion, and nefarious collaboration charges against Trump and his insurgents? There isn’t any.

Trump’s threats to the republic have vanished, like so many ghosts evaporating from a misty heath after sunrise.

Former Obama valet, Jeh Johnson, also holding the tenuous title Secretary of Homeland Security — stumbling over honesty carelessly discarded at the bottom of the turret stairs — was the most recent Obama official to debunk the ‘Russia hacked the election” theme. And president Barack Obama was well aware of the attempts by the Russians to hack into more than 100 state election polling systems, amongst other mischief-makings. Yet Obama informed no one else, much less sounded any alarms, until Trump was elected, instead creating the phony chronicle that it was Donald Trump who facilitated the Russian malfeasance.

But there was no Trump criminal conspiracy with the Russians, a longstanding truth finally disgorged by Chaucer’s glutton of sanctimony, former FBI chief James Comey, a Mueller pal, and confidant.

As Andrew McCarthy writing in National Review and others have pointed out — notably retired Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, not exactly a Trump partisan — collusion without a crime is no more nefarious than two passersby tipping their hats. Collaboration is equally innocuous, unless it drifts into a conspiracy to commit a crime, which no one, including Comey, Mueller, nor any Democrat party member of Congress, except resorting to innuendo, have shown any evidence, neither blood nor motive.

And Trump’s so-called obstruction was never to frustrate the finding of truth, already known to Comey, and Senate/House leaders. Instead Trump called out the conspirators who refused to reveal the truth — that Trump has never been the target of a conspiracy nor an obstruction probe, and there is zero evidence of Trump or his associates in conspiring with anybody — except legitimate voters — to seize electoral victory.

Moreover, Comey’s unwitting, and Johnson’s nearly prostrate, confessions opened the drawbridge inviting Mueller to redirect his probe into those Democrat party co-conspirators, the DNC, Comey’s FBI, and the Obama Justice Department.

Comey unveiled Obama’s late-term AG Loretta Lynch’s conspiracy to keep the unindicted criminal Hillary Clinton screened off from charging her with obvious felonies, by obstructing the FBI investigation, and providing secret warnings and tip-offs to the DNC.

Or was it Obama himself who desperately wanted Hillary to succeed him, not to secure an honorable legacy, but inoculate himself from post-presidency opposition scrutiny on his entire administration — ranging from gunrunning into Mexico, to illicit arms trading via Libya to Syrian rebels, to spying on members of Congress, to Benghazi, to IRS targeting of conservatives, to unmasking of U.S. citizens via intelligence bureau sweeps of opponents’ communications.

Meanwhile South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy, teased out from Jeh Johnson how the FBI was itself an accessory to the coverup — and diversion — over the mysterious DNC refusal to “cooperate” with the FBI in examining its server for alleged Russian hacking evidence — more likely containing evidence that the hacking was an inside job. More sinister are the FBI’s and DNC’s fingerprints all over the procurement, assembly, and dissemination of the salacious fake smear dossier on Trump.

Mueller’s own incompetence, and cover up in the FBI malfeasance over the Uranium One pay-for-play conspiracy directed by Bill and Hillary, is just more of the same sordid intrigue undermining truth, justice and the American Way.

Mueller and his knights-errant could accept a compelling crusade, the beckoning to cross the drawbridge into the Democrat courtyard cum cesspool which would yield a treasure of corruption, and criminal conspiracy, justifying millions of special prosecutor salaries, office costs, IT security, travel expenses, special consultants, leather briefcases and black trench coats. Something to show for all of the melodrama.

Instead, Robert Mueller can only muster a feeble roundup of a few poachers in the royal forest who have taken a wild boar or two for Christmas Eve’s past, snatched a wayward goose, and dragged a red herring across a sheriff’s trail.

Thus, Mueller’s percherons savor grasses on the high meadow, waiting to be saddled up for something athletic, while his knights yearn for tales of brave cunning that will never be. And Robert Mueller, the inscrutable Grand Prior, seems content to wield a mighty whetstone grinding on idle blades, ready to slay only trifles and tangents. 

Oh my, how will the erstwhile unimpeachable, and irreproachable Robert Mueller rescue his reputation? In mid-June the former FBI director under presidents Bush and Obama — Washington DC’s liege lord — recruited thirteen, now up to twenty-one, mostly partisan adventure seeking knights-errant formerly pledged to Hillary, presumably determined to slay the “Russians, and Trump hacked the election” dragon.

Any honorable counselor would have demurred. Not Robert Mueller. Bored with semi-retirement, he could have gone gathering black winter truffles in the royal forest. Not Robert Mueller. He chose to search for the Black Knight.

Meanwhile, Independence Day, Veterans’ Day, and Thanksgiving have come and gone. Mueller’s armorers have outfitted his legion with lance, mail, and mace. Percherons are groomed, and well fed. But where have these knights-errant trotted about to find a worthy errand? Capturing beleaguered Michael Flynn who admitted lying to the FBI about conversations that were perfectly legal. Where is the evidence of collusion, and nefarious collaboration charges against Trump and his insurgents? There isn’t any.

Trump’s threats to the republic have vanished, like so many ghosts evaporating from a misty heath after sunrise.

Former Obama valet, Jeh Johnson, also holding the tenuous title Secretary of Homeland Security — stumbling over honesty carelessly discarded at the bottom of the turret stairs — was the most recent Obama official to debunk the ‘Russia hacked the election” theme. And president Barack Obama was well aware of the attempts by the Russians to hack into more than 100 state election polling systems, amongst other mischief-makings. Yet Obama informed no one else, much less sounded any alarms, until Trump was elected, instead creating the phony chronicle that it was Donald Trump who facilitated the Russian malfeasance.

But there was no Trump criminal conspiracy with the Russians, a longstanding truth finally disgorged by Chaucer’s glutton of sanctimony, former FBI chief James Comey, a Mueller pal, and confidant.

As Andrew McCarthy writing in National Review and others have pointed out — notably retired Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, not exactly a Trump partisan — collusion without a crime is no more nefarious than two passersby tipping their hats. Collaboration is equally innocuous, unless it drifts into a conspiracy to commit a crime, which no one, including Comey, Mueller, nor any Democrat party member of Congress, except resorting to innuendo, have shown any evidence, neither blood nor motive.

And Trump’s so-called obstruction was never to frustrate the finding of truth, already known to Comey, and Senate/House leaders. Instead Trump called out the conspirators who refused to reveal the truth — that Trump has never been the target of a conspiracy nor an obstruction probe, and there is zero evidence of Trump or his associates in conspiring with anybody — except legitimate voters — to seize electoral victory.

Moreover, Comey’s unwitting, and Johnson’s nearly prostrate, confessions opened the drawbridge inviting Mueller to redirect his probe into those Democrat party co-conspirators, the DNC, Comey’s FBI, and the Obama Justice Department.

Comey unveiled Obama’s late-term AG Loretta Lynch’s conspiracy to keep the unindicted criminal Hillary Clinton screened off from charging her with obvious felonies, by obstructing the FBI investigation, and providing secret warnings and tip-offs to the DNC.

Or was it Obama himself who desperately wanted Hillary to succeed him, not to secure an honorable legacy, but inoculate himself from post-presidency opposition scrutiny on his entire administration — ranging from gunrunning into Mexico, to illicit arms trading via Libya to Syrian rebels, to spying on members of Congress, to Benghazi, to IRS targeting of conservatives, to unmasking of U.S. citizens via intelligence bureau sweeps of opponents’ communications.

Meanwhile South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy, teased out from Jeh Johnson how the FBI was itself an accessory to the coverup — and diversion — over the mysterious DNC refusal to “cooperate” with the FBI in examining its server for alleged Russian hacking evidence — more likely containing evidence that the hacking was an inside job. More sinister are the FBI’s and DNC’s fingerprints all over the procurement, assembly, and dissemination of the salacious fake smear dossier on Trump.

Mueller’s own incompetence, and cover up in the FBI malfeasance over the Uranium One pay-for-play conspiracy directed by Bill and Hillary, is just more of the same sordid intrigue undermining truth, justice and the American Way.

Mueller and his knights-errant could accept a compelling crusade, the beckoning to cross the drawbridge into the Democrat courtyard cum cesspool which would yield a treasure of corruption, and criminal conspiracy, justifying millions of special prosecutor salaries, office costs, IT security, travel expenses, special consultants, leather briefcases and black trench coats. Something to show for all of the melodrama.

Instead, Robert Mueller can only muster a feeble roundup of a few poachers in the royal forest who have taken a wild boar or two for Christmas Eve’s past, snatched a wayward goose, and dragged a red herring across a sheriff’s trail.

Thus, Mueller’s percherons savor grasses on the high meadow, waiting to be saddled up for something athletic, while his knights yearn for tales of brave cunning that will never be. And Robert Mueller, the inscrutable Grand Prior, seems content to wield a mighty whetstone grinding on idle blades, ready to slay only trifles and tangents. 



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Remembrance Day and Lessons Forgotten


Rupert Brooke, perhaps the literary dandy prototype, product of Rugby and Cambridge, before his death in 1915 while an officer for the Royal Navy, penned the typical overwrought elegy, exhorting gallantry, elevating the supreme sacrifice as a handmaiden to duty, and fealty in his “Soldier”:

If I should die, think only this of me:

That there’s
some corner of a foreign field

That is forever England. There shall be

In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;

A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,

Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,

A body of England’s, breathing English air…


 

Wilfred Owen, whose literary education was more hand hewn than Brooke’s, but who was a more gifted writer, was an infantry officer that suffered multiple near fatal concussions from artillery shell blasts, finally was killed four days before the Armistice in 1918, after being awarded the Military Cross for bravery.

Owen’s immediate taste and smell of the unvarnished wretchedness, and raw terror of battle is front-and-center in his “Dulce et Decorum Est”, drafted in 1917, published posthumously in 1920:

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,


Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, 


Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs, 


And towards our distant rest began to trudge. 


Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots, 


But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; 


Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots 


Of gas-shells dropping softly behind. 


 


Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling 


Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time, 


But someone still was yelling out and stumbling 


And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—


Dim through the misty panes and thick green light, 


As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. 


 


In all my dreams before my helpless sight, 


He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. 


 


If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace 


Behind the wagon that we flung him in, 


And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, 


His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin; 


If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood 


Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, 


Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud 


Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,— 


My friend, you would not tell with such high zest 


To children ardent for some desperate glory, 


The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est 


Pro patria mori.


 

Note: Latin phrase is from the Roman poet Horace: “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”

Source: Poems (Viking Press, 1921)

Nearly thirty years later, the American sometime poet but mostly literary critic Randall Jarrell, who served in the WWII US Army Air Corps based in Britain, seized the summit of the genre in a terse five stanza Caravaggio style declaration, revealing the brutal clarity of war, and the men summoned to fight, and perish, alone and undignified in his “Death of the Ball-Turret Gunner”:

From my mother’s sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.

Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,

I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.

When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

It has been one hundred years since American soldiers were sent to France. Like Great Britain, the only other steadfast bastion of civil liberties since the late 18th century, America sought to confine its necessary military campaigns to foreign lands in preserving a constitutional democratic republic, and a constitutional monarchy, sparing America’s continent, and Britain’s island.

The sum of Great Britain’s sacrifice is staggering. Death in the trenches, amongst the icy waters of Scapa Flow, and Dunkirk. All to protect an island from the ravages of dark, and Godless ideologies.

Who remembers those sacrifices? Who remembers Winston Churchill’s speech in 1940 to the House of Commons, right after the ignominy of the evacuation from Dunkirk:

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

Is it all in vain, seventy-five years later? In the 20th century over a million British servicemen, and women, perished to preserve their island and a way of life. The generation that came of age in the 1940s has been replaced by their children, and grandchildren, now infected with the incurable morbid diseases of politically correct progressive collectivism, socialism’s path of least resistance, and secular laziness.

National security, and fidelity to a nation’s sovereignty is now labeled xenophobia, and worse. 400,000 Britons perished in WWII to rid the world of Nazism, Churchill’s nemesis.

Today radical Islamic barbarians — free ranging Muslim anarchists — are given a hero’s welcome, with open border immigration policies that invite unmitigated and abject dread, the most recent evil visiting the innocent concert goers in Manchester, the bombing victims primarily children.

The Times of London now reports that some 23,000 Muslim jihadists are in Britain, all recent émigrés — numbers roughly equivalent to two German WWII divisions. Imagine not a shot fired, nor a single Sptifire or Hurricane fighter sent aloft. Two WWII German divisions given BritRail passes from Dover to London to Durham.

Who will remember? Who will defend that island, and our continent from the unspeakable horrors of an indiscriminate assault on western civilization?

When the State, governed by an elite faction in a temporary protectorate, shall no longer remember its ideals, indeed repudiate foundational principles, who shall defend the rest of us?

Well, Wilfred Owen, and Randall Jarrell had it right. Dying for the State is grievous, not glorious, when the State is willing to stuff its children into its own ideological ball-turret, then wash them out with a hose.

Who is Winston Churchill to this generation? An historical trifle, another dead white guy reeking of privilege, and toxic masculinity?  Or instead will anyone remember Churchill as the last defender of the western canon, his singing Sunday service hymns with FDR in 1941 on the deck of HMS Prince of Wales at Placentia Bay, Newfoundland? Who will remember?

If the generation born in this decade can somehow recall the exploits of their great-grandfathers, and the reasons why those exploits mattered, they may be willing to emulate those historical offerings of a holy gift, for a noble purpose. If not, submission will lead to subjugation, and slaughter. And no one will remember.

On this Remembrance Day 99 years later, recall that some 750,000 British soldiers, marines, and sailors were killed in WWI; nearly 400,000 more in WWII.

The most heralded British war poets, emerging in 1915, were not practitioners of armchair verse. They were officers, and men, at the front in the trenches. Over four years their tone changed from lofty patriotic apologetics, to stark portraits of everyday horrors, and instant death within arm’s reach.

The British Legion commemorates Remembrance Day

Rupert Brooke, perhaps the literary dandy prototype, product of Rugby and Cambridge, before his death in 1915 while an officer for the Royal Navy, penned the typical overwrought elegy, exhorting gallantry, elevating the supreme sacrifice as a handmaiden to duty, and fealty in his “Soldier”:

If I should die, think only this of me:

That there’s
some corner of a foreign field

That is forever England. There shall be

In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;

A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,

Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,

A body of England’s, breathing English air…


 

Wilfred Owen, whose literary education was more hand hewn than Brooke’s, but who was a more gifted writer, was an infantry officer that suffered multiple near fatal concussions from artillery shell blasts, finally was killed four days before the Armistice in 1918, after being awarded the Military Cross for bravery.

Owen’s immediate taste and smell of the unvarnished wretchedness, and raw terror of battle is front-and-center in his “Dulce et Decorum Est”, drafted in 1917, published posthumously in 1920:

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,


Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, 


Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs, 


And towards our distant rest began to trudge. 


Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots, 


But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; 


Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots 


Of gas-shells dropping softly behind. 


 


Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling 


Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time, 


But someone still was yelling out and stumbling 


And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—


Dim through the misty panes and thick green light, 


As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. 


 


In all my dreams before my helpless sight, 


He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. 


 


If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace 


Behind the wagon that we flung him in, 


And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, 


His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin; 


If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood 


Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, 


Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud 


Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,— 


My friend, you would not tell with such high zest 


To children ardent for some desperate glory, 


The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est 


Pro patria mori.


 

Note: Latin phrase is from the Roman poet Horace: “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”

Source: Poems (Viking Press, 1921)

Nearly thirty years later, the American sometime poet but mostly literary critic Randall Jarrell, who served in the WWII US Army Air Corps based in Britain, seized the summit of the genre in a terse five stanza Caravaggio style declaration, revealing the brutal clarity of war, and the men summoned to fight, and perish, alone and undignified in his “Death of the Ball-Turret Gunner”:

From my mother’s sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.

Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,

I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.

When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

It has been one hundred years since American soldiers were sent to France. Like Great Britain, the only other steadfast bastion of civil liberties since the late 18th century, America sought to confine its necessary military campaigns to foreign lands in preserving a constitutional democratic republic, and a constitutional monarchy, sparing America’s continent, and Britain’s island.

The sum of Great Britain’s sacrifice is staggering. Death in the trenches, amongst the icy waters of Scapa Flow, and Dunkirk. All to protect an island from the ravages of dark, and Godless ideologies.

Who remembers those sacrifices? Who remembers Winston Churchill’s speech in 1940 to the House of Commons, right after the ignominy of the evacuation from Dunkirk:

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

Is it all in vain, seventy-five years later? In the 20th century over a million British servicemen, and women, perished to preserve their island and a way of life. The generation that came of age in the 1940s has been replaced by their children, and grandchildren, now infected with the incurable morbid diseases of politically correct progressive collectivism, socialism’s path of least resistance, and secular laziness.

National security, and fidelity to a nation’s sovereignty is now labeled xenophobia, and worse. 400,000 Britons perished in WWII to rid the world of Nazism, Churchill’s nemesis.

Today radical Islamic barbarians — free ranging Muslim anarchists — are given a hero’s welcome, with open border immigration policies that invite unmitigated and abject dread, the most recent evil visiting the innocent concert goers in Manchester, the bombing victims primarily children.

The Times of London now reports that some 23,000 Muslim jihadists are in Britain, all recent émigrés — numbers roughly equivalent to two German WWII divisions. Imagine not a shot fired, nor a single Sptifire or Hurricane fighter sent aloft. Two WWII German divisions given BritRail passes from Dover to London to Durham.

Who will remember? Who will defend that island, and our continent from the unspeakable horrors of an indiscriminate assault on western civilization?

When the State, governed by an elite faction in a temporary protectorate, shall no longer remember its ideals, indeed repudiate foundational principles, who shall defend the rest of us?

Well, Wilfred Owen, and Randall Jarrell had it right. Dying for the State is grievous, not glorious, when the State is willing to stuff its children into its own ideological ball-turret, then wash them out with a hose.

Who is Winston Churchill to this generation? An historical trifle, another dead white guy reeking of privilege, and toxic masculinity?  Or instead will anyone remember Churchill as the last defender of the western canon, his singing Sunday service hymns with FDR in 1941 on the deck of HMS Prince of Wales at Placentia Bay, Newfoundland? Who will remember?

If the generation born in this decade can somehow recall the exploits of their great-grandfathers, and the reasons why those exploits mattered, they may be willing to emulate those historical offerings of a holy gift, for a noble purpose. If not, submission will lead to subjugation, and slaughter. And no one will remember.



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Beneath the Dignity of the Office


The first article of impeachment against president Donald J. Trump — if the Democrats regain the U.S. House majority — will be that his behavior demeans the office of the President.  Set aside for a moment that for Dem loons just electing Trump irreparably tarnished the stature of the office. 

But now, the Dems have Exhibit A to the impeachment article: Trump’s image-shopped WWE parody of himself “body-slamming” CNN, perhaps the most accomplished, and persistent purveyor of fake news. 

Unlike Bill Clinton — whose pants around the ankles in the Oval Office, while being serviced by an intern, redefined dignity of the Presidency — Trump at least picked a venue that couldn’t be conflated with the new age White House protocols.  But unlike Clinton, Trump kept his belt buckled, four-in-hand knot untouched, with nary a strand of hair displaced. 

Trump displayed the most dignified body-slam ever in WWE, or anyplace else. Winston Churchill’s soul is agonizing that he didn’t think of it first.

Trump’s communication style is certainly an abrupt detour from presidential norms, yet norms, according to Donald Trump, are made to be broken. And “beneath the dignity of the office” is a hyperventilating overreach, or as we say in the trade, a steaming pile.

In fact, Donald Trump has restored dignity to the office, when you consider how Barack Obama soiled the office with his own dissembling, fabrications, and manipulations, not to mention the sort of race hustlers, hoodlums, felons, and traitors routinely welcomed to Obama’s White House.

Beneath the dignity of the office: Bill Clinton spawned the genre. Obama fertilized it.

Lest we forget, Obama welcomed Al Sharpton 60-70-100 times at the White House.

At the same time, Obama hosted soirees with the Muslim Brotherhood. Celebrated the swap of five terrorists for U.S. Army deserter Bergdahl in the Rose Garden. Embraced Rick Ross, notorious rapper indicted for assault and kidnapping, whose ankle bracelet alarm went off at the White House

If you would like a refresher on the Obamas’ exercise of dignity, here’s a handy inventory of their nobility of purpose, from Gossip Extra:

“Michelle and President Barack Obama have hosted some of the crudest, foulest-mouthed rappers out there, thus legitimizing money- and fame-hungry cultural influencers whose demeaning lyrics urge a generation of young men to grope and objectify women.


“The Obamas may hate Trump’s infamous locker room talk, but they’ve got no problem with White House visitor Lamar.


Kendrick Lamar, a thug style singer whose Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe, is the best of a disgusting lot,  trashed up Sunfest’s family night in 2013 with an hour and a half of n-words, “f”-bombs and “c”-bombs the likes of which the festival had ever heard.


“Here is a sample of his lyrics from Hol’ Up:


Stewardess complimentin’ me on my nappy hair/If I can fuck in front of all these passengers … Back in this bitch in the the back of that bitch/ Wit’ my back against the wall and yo’ bitch on the edge of my dick/ Jump off/ I call a bitch a bitch, a ho a ho, a woman a woman.


“Then there’s Ludacris, another repeat White House visitor. This guy’s lyrics include the self-esteem boosting song for little girls called Fatty Girl.

Of course, years earlier on the campaign trail, before Obama was elected as the first black president, Obama’s campaign couldn’t denounce Ludacris fast enough:  “As Barack Obama has said many, many times in the past, rap lyrics today too often perpetuate misogyny, materialism, and degrading images that he doesn’t want his daughters or any children exposed to,” campaign spokesman Bill Burton said in an e-mail statement.

Here’s more from Gossip Extra:

“And, finally Jay Z, the convicted felon who stabbed a record producer at a nightclub in 2001 and then married Beyonce, joined the Obamas for the White House Easter Egg roll. Jay Z, a major campaign contributor and fundraiser for the Obamas, is the promoter of classic tunes like Pussy. 


I-I know this girl we call her Sweet Cooch Brown/ Hands down Mami had the bombest pussy in town/ One dip in the girl pool, thatz all it took/ One sample of the snappa and ya ass was whooped.”

How delicious. How dignified.

And so, via WWE of all places, the redemption of old-fashioned dignity at the White House begins.

As campy art form, WWE has no peer. It is a purely American cocktail of simple morality tales combining villainy with virtue, quasi-sport mixed with choreographed, carefully scripted athletic mayhem. Compellingly bad taste, yet still amusing in its outsized caricatures. Pure parody, upon which its fans can’t feast enough, especially Wrestlemania, WWE’s annual Super Bowl.

Of course, beyond the 20 million or so in the universe of the WWE subculture, wrestling entertainment is seen as vulgar, low-brow, the stuff of trailer-park heaven. Just the tool for contrarian and disrupter Donald Trump to pummel the phony sensitivity of the media, and to hammer-lock sanctimonious posturing by the political establishment, whom Trump soundly thrashed last November, and whose diehard supporters will be ever cheering for more.

WWE is the perfect metaphor for the mainstream media. Phony but authentic in its phoniness. Mostly fabricated, but built upon a few truths once upon a time. Mostly forgettable, yet having enough whimsy for a return visit, if only to reaffirm loathing, or loving it.

An earlier Americana icon, The Ringling Bros. three-ring circus, after 146 years saw its final performance in May, as reported by CNN.

The irony is lost on CNN that WWE replaced the three-ring circus, with Trump, and CNN the main event. And CNN will taste the clammy canvas every time, with Trump still president, refreshed for another bout, where the outcome is already known. 

The first article of impeachment against president Donald J. Trump — if the Democrats regain the U.S. House majority — will be that his behavior demeans the office of the President.  Set aside for a moment that for Dem loons just electing Trump irreparably tarnished the stature of the office. 

But now, the Dems have Exhibit A to the impeachment article: Trump’s image-shopped WWE parody of himself “body-slamming” CNN, perhaps the most accomplished, and persistent purveyor of fake news. 

Unlike Bill Clinton — whose pants around the ankles in the Oval Office, while being serviced by an intern, redefined dignity of the Presidency — Trump at least picked a venue that couldn’t be conflated with the new age White House protocols.  But unlike Clinton, Trump kept his belt buckled, four-in-hand knot untouched, with nary a strand of hair displaced. 

Trump displayed the most dignified body-slam ever in WWE, or anyplace else. Winston Churchill’s soul is agonizing that he didn’t think of it first.

Trump’s communication style is certainly an abrupt detour from presidential norms, yet norms, according to Donald Trump, are made to be broken. And “beneath the dignity of the office” is a hyperventilating overreach, or as we say in the trade, a steaming pile.

In fact, Donald Trump has restored dignity to the office, when you consider how Barack Obama soiled the office with his own dissembling, fabrications, and manipulations, not to mention the sort of race hustlers, hoodlums, felons, and traitors routinely welcomed to Obama’s White House.

Beneath the dignity of the office: Bill Clinton spawned the genre. Obama fertilized it.

Lest we forget, Obama welcomed Al Sharpton 60-70-100 times at the White House.

At the same time, Obama hosted soirees with the Muslim Brotherhood. Celebrated the swap of five terrorists for U.S. Army deserter Bergdahl in the Rose Garden. Embraced Rick Ross, notorious rapper indicted for assault and kidnapping, whose ankle bracelet alarm went off at the White House

If you would like a refresher on the Obamas’ exercise of dignity, here’s a handy inventory of their nobility of purpose, from Gossip Extra:

“Michelle and President Barack Obama have hosted some of the crudest, foulest-mouthed rappers out there, thus legitimizing money- and fame-hungry cultural influencers whose demeaning lyrics urge a generation of young men to grope and objectify women.


“The Obamas may hate Trump’s infamous locker room talk, but they’ve got no problem with White House visitor Lamar.


Kendrick Lamar, a thug style singer whose Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe, is the best of a disgusting lot,  trashed up Sunfest’s family night in 2013 with an hour and a half of n-words, “f”-bombs and “c”-bombs the likes of which the festival had ever heard.


“Here is a sample of his lyrics from Hol’ Up:


Stewardess complimentin’ me on my nappy hair/If I can fuck in front of all these passengers … Back in this bitch in the the back of that bitch/ Wit’ my back against the wall and yo’ bitch on the edge of my dick/ Jump off/ I call a bitch a bitch, a ho a ho, a woman a woman.


“Then there’s Ludacris, another repeat White House visitor. This guy’s lyrics include the self-esteem boosting song for little girls called Fatty Girl.

Of course, years earlier on the campaign trail, before Obama was elected as the first black president, Obama’s campaign couldn’t denounce Ludacris fast enough:  “As Barack Obama has said many, many times in the past, rap lyrics today too often perpetuate misogyny, materialism, and degrading images that he doesn’t want his daughters or any children exposed to,” campaign spokesman Bill Burton said in an e-mail statement.

Here’s more from Gossip Extra:

“And, finally Jay Z, the convicted felon who stabbed a record producer at a nightclub in 2001 and then married Beyonce, joined the Obamas for the White House Easter Egg roll. Jay Z, a major campaign contributor and fundraiser for the Obamas, is the promoter of classic tunes like Pussy. 


I-I know this girl we call her Sweet Cooch Brown/ Hands down Mami had the bombest pussy in town/ One dip in the girl pool, thatz all it took/ One sample of the snappa and ya ass was whooped.”

How delicious. How dignified.

And so, via WWE of all places, the redemption of old-fashioned dignity at the White House begins.

As campy art form, WWE has no peer. It is a purely American cocktail of simple morality tales combining villainy with virtue, quasi-sport mixed with choreographed, carefully scripted athletic mayhem. Compellingly bad taste, yet still amusing in its outsized caricatures. Pure parody, upon which its fans can’t feast enough, especially Wrestlemania, WWE’s annual Super Bowl.

Of course, beyond the 20 million or so in the universe of the WWE subculture, wrestling entertainment is seen as vulgar, low-brow, the stuff of trailer-park heaven. Just the tool for contrarian and disrupter Donald Trump to pummel the phony sensitivity of the media, and to hammer-lock sanctimonious posturing by the political establishment, whom Trump soundly thrashed last November, and whose diehard supporters will be ever cheering for more.

WWE is the perfect metaphor for the mainstream media. Phony but authentic in its phoniness. Mostly fabricated, but built upon a few truths once upon a time. Mostly forgettable, yet having enough whimsy for a return visit, if only to reaffirm loathing, or loving it.

An earlier Americana icon, The Ringling Bros. three-ring circus, after 146 years saw its final performance in May, as reported by CNN.

The irony is lost on CNN that WWE replaced the three-ring circus, with Trump, and CNN the main event. And CNN will taste the clammy canvas every time, with Trump still president, refreshed for another bout, where the outcome is already known. 



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198795_5_.jpg

Trump Ignores Lessons From CEO 101


Which is why we voted for him.

What makes Donald Trump’s freshening tenure astonishing is that he has accomplished anything. Those who dismiss his early-round scorecard as having failed to enact major legislation, sidetracked by personnel controversies, and stymied by federal court restraining orders, have little comprehension about the immense transition from being the boss of his own private enterprise to president of the United States.

We also voted for Donald Trump thinking his CEO stature would be a bonus. Except we see that Trump’s particular type of CEO experience is now a disabling liability.

When you own the company, you have the first and last word — and most of the chatter in between. While CEOs who own their businesses may not have to learn how to be consensus politicians, they often must be bolder, and more athletic risk-takers. They have no safety net of committees, boards, and stakeholders to temper their more radical impulses.

CEO owner/operators entering the public sector quickly learn that a number of the skills enabling their former successes don’t apply, or must be tabled for the right moment.  Most are bewildered and frustrated that decisiveness, speed, authority, and thinly calculated randomized decision making — on the fly hunches — are neither valued nor rewarded, and are often a barrier to getting much done, even inviting political and legal jeopardy.

And as a CEO owner/operator who inherited his business when it was a pedestrian enterprise as compared to today, Donald Trump never had to re-engineer a company culture. He merely built it in his own image.

Trump was his company’s culture.

Lessons learned by public company CEOs, especially those who zigzagged their way up from entry-level whatever to the corner office, were never important, nor useful to Trump the CEO owner/operator. Such lessons were irrelevant.

There are two survival lessons for public company CEOs:

  1. Never be alone in a room with a powerful potential enemy who is a known dissembler, when your topic can be twisted for his gain to your detriment.
  2. Never disparage a powerful potential enemy who is a known dissembler, after you’ve demoted or fired him.

Donald Trump never had to deploy those lessons because if in trouble — from alleged wrongful discharge, or employment discrimination, harassment, business transaction malfeasance, or any other civil claim — he could invoke a legion of tenacious private litigators, accompanied by sizeable bank accounts for negotiated settlements. Public company CEOs can count on those luxuries only rarely, if they want to keep their job or their company reputations safe from media hounds and shareholder activists.

Donald Trump as CEO of his own business, and especially in the real estate development business, had been accustomed to navigating state, local, and at times federal agencies — with deal making at the core of getting things done.

But being piloting around government bureaucracies as a CEO of your own business — whether it is worth a million, or billions — has little resemblance to running government bureaucracies and navigating the labyrinth of norms, procedures and cautions, not to mention legal governance statutes, codes, and federal court precedents.

Landmines, trapdoors, and ambushes inside government would challenge the most seasoned CEO of a public company. Private company CEOs by comparison are at an even more desperate disadvantage, especially when they can’t rip out the prevailing culture, and its protocols, because it is someone else’s culture, protected by more than two centuries of a governing legal mosaic.

Moreover, as a completely different species of organization men, private company CEO decision makers don’t suffer second-guessing or oversight by anybody. They may suffer consequences of poor decisions — defections by and occasional plaintiff claims from customers and suppliers, reluctant bank lenders, or loss of brand equity, even bankruptcy. But CEO owner /operators are their own supreme masters, and commanders — to their glory or demise.

Public company CEOs are accountable to boards of directors, and stockholders. Major financial, and personnel decisions are subject to assent or veto by audit committees and compensation committees. Public company CEOs are constrained by regulatory hedgerows  from the SEC, Dodd-Frank, and Sarbanes-Oxley.

CEOs of the most prominent public global enterprises can be charismatic transformational leaders, such as GE’s Jack Welch, or brutally efficient transaction chiefs, largely unseen on the public stage, such as CEOs of ExxonMobil.  Yet while they have hierarchical authority bestowed on them from company bylaws, limits on those CEOs’ unilateral decisions, e.g. betting the company, are considerable.

CEO owner/operators have compliance burdens, of course, just like their public CEO cousins, from ERISA, OSHA, Fair Labor Standards, EPA, export regs, Federal contracting regs, FTC, FDA, anti-trust statutes, etc. But the spotlight has fewer lumens. And the color rendering is blurred.

The best public company CEOs devote lifetimes cultivating bi-lateral skills in collaboration, persuasion, diplomacy, and negotiation, often in obscurity.  What often appears as an autocratic decree is a well-greased prior consensus.

And successful public company CEOs comport themselves within their lawyers’ warnings, and don’t expose themselves, or their organizations to needless PR or legal perils.

Of course too many public company CEOs are excessively risk-averse, which is what made a candidate Trump, the exact opposite, so appealing. Yet as President Trump, taking needless risks is reckless and unnecessary, doing nothing to advance his agenda, but everything to derail it.

So Donald Trump could have relied upon the only maxim readily transferable from CEO owner/operator to U.S. president — that singular trait amongst all first-rate executives, be they entrepreneurs, private enterprise CEOs, CEO owner/operators, institutional heads, public CEOs, governors, military flag officers: the ability to choose the right people at the right moment. And getting rid of those who don’t fit, pronto.

But Trump never learned that lesson, or militantly ignored it. Thus Trump remains tormented by the residue from Michael Flynn and James Comey.

Be in a position to pick the right person instead of coping with the wrong one.  That was a frequent maxim of Mike Beer, my favorite organization behaviorist guru at Harvard Business School.  For CEOs who follow that advice, life is good. For those who ignore it, life is miserable.

Donald Trump could not have made it to the White House without being resilient, tough, and unconventional. Now he needs to become a lifelong learner, taking to task those lessons he has so far shrugged off, but vital for him to embrace if his White House sojourn will be more than just making a Supreme Court appointment.

Geoffrey P. Hunt is a retired senior executive of a global industrial firm.

President Trump reminds us all too frequently that he has never been a governor, mayor, cabinet secretary, legislator, military officer, police commissioner, nor even a selectman, sheriff, or municipal waste water treatment plant superintendant.   Zero, zilch.  Never been there, nor done that.

This is not to say that any such prior experience was always useful to former presidents. Yet none stepped into the White House with such a blank government service résumé.

Which is why we voted for him.

What makes Donald Trump’s freshening tenure astonishing is that he has accomplished anything. Those who dismiss his early-round scorecard as having failed to enact major legislation, sidetracked by personnel controversies, and stymied by federal court restraining orders, have little comprehension about the immense transition from being the boss of his own private enterprise to president of the United States.

We also voted for Donald Trump thinking his CEO stature would be a bonus. Except we see that Trump’s particular type of CEO experience is now a disabling liability.

When you own the company, you have the first and last word — and most of the chatter in between. While CEOs who own their businesses may not have to learn how to be consensus politicians, they often must be bolder, and more athletic risk-takers. They have no safety net of committees, boards, and stakeholders to temper their more radical impulses.

CEO owner/operators entering the public sector quickly learn that a number of the skills enabling their former successes don’t apply, or must be tabled for the right moment.  Most are bewildered and frustrated that decisiveness, speed, authority, and thinly calculated randomized decision making — on the fly hunches — are neither valued nor rewarded, and are often a barrier to getting much done, even inviting political and legal jeopardy.

And as a CEO owner/operator who inherited his business when it was a pedestrian enterprise as compared to today, Donald Trump never had to re-engineer a company culture. He merely built it in his own image.

Trump was his company’s culture.

Lessons learned by public company CEOs, especially those who zigzagged their way up from entry-level whatever to the corner office, were never important, nor useful to Trump the CEO owner/operator. Such lessons were irrelevant.

There are two survival lessons for public company CEOs:

  1. Never be alone in a room with a powerful potential enemy who is a known dissembler, when your topic can be twisted for his gain to your detriment.
  2. Never disparage a powerful potential enemy who is a known dissembler, after you’ve demoted or fired him.

Donald Trump never had to deploy those lessons because if in trouble — from alleged wrongful discharge, or employment discrimination, harassment, business transaction malfeasance, or any other civil claim — he could invoke a legion of tenacious private litigators, accompanied by sizeable bank accounts for negotiated settlements. Public company CEOs can count on those luxuries only rarely, if they want to keep their job or their company reputations safe from media hounds and shareholder activists.

Donald Trump as CEO of his own business, and especially in the real estate development business, had been accustomed to navigating state, local, and at times federal agencies — with deal making at the core of getting things done.

But being piloting around government bureaucracies as a CEO of your own business — whether it is worth a million, or billions — has little resemblance to running government bureaucracies and navigating the labyrinth of norms, procedures and cautions, not to mention legal governance statutes, codes, and federal court precedents.

Landmines, trapdoors, and ambushes inside government would challenge the most seasoned CEO of a public company. Private company CEOs by comparison are at an even more desperate disadvantage, especially when they can’t rip out the prevailing culture, and its protocols, because it is someone else’s culture, protected by more than two centuries of a governing legal mosaic.

Moreover, as a completely different species of organization men, private company CEO decision makers don’t suffer second-guessing or oversight by anybody. They may suffer consequences of poor decisions — defections by and occasional plaintiff claims from customers and suppliers, reluctant bank lenders, or loss of brand equity, even bankruptcy. But CEO owner /operators are their own supreme masters, and commanders — to their glory or demise.

Public company CEOs are accountable to boards of directors, and stockholders. Major financial, and personnel decisions are subject to assent or veto by audit committees and compensation committees. Public company CEOs are constrained by regulatory hedgerows  from the SEC, Dodd-Frank, and Sarbanes-Oxley.

CEOs of the most prominent public global enterprises can be charismatic transformational leaders, such as GE’s Jack Welch, or brutally efficient transaction chiefs, largely unseen on the public stage, such as CEOs of ExxonMobil.  Yet while they have hierarchical authority bestowed on them from company bylaws, limits on those CEOs’ unilateral decisions, e.g. betting the company, are considerable.

CEO owner/operators have compliance burdens, of course, just like their public CEO cousins, from ERISA, OSHA, Fair Labor Standards, EPA, export regs, Federal contracting regs, FTC, FDA, anti-trust statutes, etc. But the spotlight has fewer lumens. And the color rendering is blurred.

The best public company CEOs devote lifetimes cultivating bi-lateral skills in collaboration, persuasion, diplomacy, and negotiation, often in obscurity.  What often appears as an autocratic decree is a well-greased prior consensus.

And successful public company CEOs comport themselves within their lawyers’ warnings, and don’t expose themselves, or their organizations to needless PR or legal perils.

Of course too many public company CEOs are excessively risk-averse, which is what made a candidate Trump, the exact opposite, so appealing. Yet as President Trump, taking needless risks is reckless and unnecessary, doing nothing to advance his agenda, but everything to derail it.

So Donald Trump could have relied upon the only maxim readily transferable from CEO owner/operator to U.S. president — that singular trait amongst all first-rate executives, be they entrepreneurs, private enterprise CEOs, CEO owner/operators, institutional heads, public CEOs, governors, military flag officers: the ability to choose the right people at the right moment. And getting rid of those who don’t fit, pronto.

But Trump never learned that lesson, or militantly ignored it. Thus Trump remains tormented by the residue from Michael Flynn and James Comey.

Be in a position to pick the right person instead of coping with the wrong one.  That was a frequent maxim of Mike Beer, my favorite organization behaviorist guru at Harvard Business School.  For CEOs who follow that advice, life is good. For those who ignore it, life is miserable.

Donald Trump could not have made it to the White House without being resilient, tough, and unconventional. Now he needs to become a lifelong learner, taking to task those lessons he has so far shrugged off, but vital for him to embrace if his White House sojourn will be more than just making a Supreme Court appointment.

Geoffrey P. Hunt is a retired senior executive of a global industrial firm.



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Trump Drops Bunker Buster on Comey and the Deep State


For all of his stage-crafted gravitas and preening, James Comey was a bantamweight, yearning to be anointed with the heavyweight crown by securing a lifetime sinecure from the Deep State.

After all, his most prominent prosecution in his career as U.S. Attorney was convicting Martha Stewart — not for actual insider securities trading, but for lying to the FBI and misleading her investors by proclaiming her innocence. No matter, Comey the hi-octane prosecutor saved the securities industry from the ravages of Martha — the master manipulator of stuffed endive ginger dip.

And with that coveted scalp, later as assistant AG under John Ashcroft, Comey appointed Patrick Fitzgerald to be the special prosecutor who nailed Dick Cheney’s aide Scooter Libby — not for the actual unmasking of Valerie Plame, a purported undercover CIA operative — but for obstructing the investigation. Fitzgerald, and Comey knew from the beginning the identity of the leaker, Colin Powell’s assistant Richard Armitage. While both Armitage and Powell continued their duplicitous silent assent to damaging W’s second term, Comey did nothing to stop this miscarriage.

Comey’s reputation as an even-handed government lawyer isn’t as fair-and-balanced as it would seem at first blush. His participation in the whitewash of the Clinton Whitewater cover up, when he was assistant counsel for the Senate Whitewater Committee, was accompanied by a simultaneous assertion that the Clintons engaged in  “a highly improper pattern of deliberate misconduct.”

Later, as U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, his Vidi aquam over the corrupt Bill Clinton pardon of Marc Rich, an alleged quid pro quo for campaign contributions, betrayed Comey’s own role as a prosecutor working for Rudy Giuliani’s successful conviction of Rich’s tax evasion fifteen years earlier.

To what end was Comey’s convenient and cynical equivocations? Mere warm-ups for his disgraceful tenure at the FBI.

Comey’s fitness report while heading the FBI is a compendium of incompetence, and dissembling, beyond his blockade-running interference for Hillary’s email felonies, and AG Loretta Lynch’s deliberately compromising encounter with Bill Clinton on the Phoenix airport tarmac:

  • The FBI ignored the Tsarnaev brothers before the Boston Marathon bombing.
  • The FBI ignored U.S. Army psychiatrist and jihadist Nidal Hasan before he murdered 31 people at Fort Hood.
  • The FBI ignored the San Bernardino terrorist killers Farook and Malik; then in an unforced fiasco bullied Apple for a needless unlocking key to the killers’ IPhone.
  • An FBI agent was actually following the Garland, Texas shooters without notifying local law enforcement that armed men were about to carry out a terrorist attack.
  • The FBI ignored Orlando nightclub massacre terrorist Omar Mateen, while under intermittent surveillance, whose lies to the FBI were known by the FBI interrogators.
  • The FBI has done zero investigation into who leaked classified info on Michael Flynn, nor the unmasking of more than a thousand private U.S. citizens, along with who spied on Trump and members of Congress.
  • The FBI has demurred in investigating the Clinton Foundation

Overcoming his record in hardcore prosecutions of first-order crimes, Comey became an accomplished sifter of fly ash, alternating hiding behind investigation protocols when politically convenient, then asserting prosecutorial zeal when personally advantageous.

For all of the dubious claims that Comey “hated the Clintons’”, and “discomforted the Democrats”, his own carefully constructed slow-walking misdirection methods made him indispensable to the Clintons’ political viability, while allowing them to evade criminal indictments. Until Trump fired him, Comey also had been the Democrats’ most productive enabler for subverting the Trump presidency, by creating a persistent cloud of innuendo, promoting interminable suspicions of unspecified, undefined, and unsubstantiated misdeeds committed by unidentified perpetrators.

Still, Comey elicits undeserved sympathy. Michael Barone says untimely intersections with the Clintons have rendered him another hapless victim, “Can something be said in defense of Comey? He was put in a terrible position by Bill and Hillary Clinton and the Obama Justice Department.” 

Baloney.

It is a myth that Comey is a dispassionate balanced arbiter of justice.  As WSJ’s Kimberly Strassel pointed out,

“So what should an honor-bound FBI director do in such a conflicted situation? Call it out. Demand that Ms. Lynch recuse herself and insist on an appropriate process to ensure public confidence. Resign, if need be. Instead Mr. Comey waited until the situation had become a crisis, and then he ignored all protocol to make himself investigator, attorney, judge and jury.”

Convincing the Deep State to trust him as “investigator, attorney, judge, and jury” is precisely how Comey measured himself for a lifetime Kevlar wardrobe. Comey bet that the Deep State power of the federal government rested with the Democrats, confident Hillary would shake off the tarnish from the email scandal, Benghazi, and her string of unindicted crimes and misdemeanors. 

But Comey didn’t count on Donald Trump. Comey thought Trump a fool, more blusterer than disrupter, with an untethered temperament, and not a threat.

Instead Trump dropped his own bunker buster MOAB on Comey’s underground warrens, ending Comey’s sinecure, while unmasking the Democrats reliance on Comey to facilitate their malfeasant undermining of the president.

Trump’s manner in firing Comey, by all conventional assessments, has been a crippling political communications debacle. It is hard to imagine Trump deliberately intending to create such a firestorm to accompany a seemingly unremarkable personnel move that on the surface should have been endorsed by all sides of the political establishment.

Still, the collateral political damage that Trump brought upon himself in the manner of getting rid of Comey doesn’t negate the need to have done it, and thereby commencing the war against the Deep State. Trump had to start it, somehow, someplace. Comey was as good as any place to begin, maybe the best.

Mercilessly Trump fired the first consequential blow against the Deep State. That’s why we voted for him.

Now Trump needs to finish what he started. Cleaning up his communications farce in the meantime would only be a bonus. After all, we can’t savor  the disruption, and its aftershock, if we have to apologize for it. 

For all of his stage-crafted gravitas and preening, James Comey was a bantamweight, yearning to be anointed with the heavyweight crown by securing a lifetime sinecure from the Deep State.

After all, his most prominent prosecution in his career as U.S. Attorney was convicting Martha Stewart — not for actual insider securities trading, but for lying to the FBI and misleading her investors by proclaiming her innocence. No matter, Comey the hi-octane prosecutor saved the securities industry from the ravages of Martha — the master manipulator of stuffed endive ginger dip.

And with that coveted scalp, later as assistant AG under John Ashcroft, Comey appointed Patrick Fitzgerald to be the special prosecutor who nailed Dick Cheney’s aide Scooter Libby — not for the actual unmasking of Valerie Plame, a purported undercover CIA operative — but for obstructing the investigation. Fitzgerald, and Comey knew from the beginning the identity of the leaker, Colin Powell’s assistant Richard Armitage. While both Armitage and Powell continued their duplicitous silent assent to damaging W’s second term, Comey did nothing to stop this miscarriage.

Comey’s reputation as an even-handed government lawyer isn’t as fair-and-balanced as it would seem at first blush. His participation in the whitewash of the Clinton Whitewater cover up, when he was assistant counsel for the Senate Whitewater Committee, was accompanied by a simultaneous assertion that the Clintons engaged in  “a highly improper pattern of deliberate misconduct.”

Later, as U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, his Vidi aquam over the corrupt Bill Clinton pardon of Marc Rich, an alleged quid pro quo for campaign contributions, betrayed Comey’s own role as a prosecutor working for Rudy Giuliani’s successful conviction of Rich’s tax evasion fifteen years earlier.

To what end was Comey’s convenient and cynical equivocations? Mere warm-ups for his disgraceful tenure at the FBI.

Comey’s fitness report while heading the FBI is a compendium of incompetence, and dissembling, beyond his blockade-running interference for Hillary’s email felonies, and AG Loretta Lynch’s deliberately compromising encounter with Bill Clinton on the Phoenix airport tarmac:

  • The FBI ignored the Tsarnaev brothers before the Boston Marathon bombing.
  • The FBI ignored U.S. Army psychiatrist and jihadist Nidal Hasan before he murdered 31 people at Fort Hood.
  • The FBI ignored the San Bernardino terrorist killers Farook and Malik; then in an unforced fiasco bullied Apple for a needless unlocking key to the killers’ IPhone.
  • An FBI agent was actually following the Garland, Texas shooters without notifying local law enforcement that armed men were about to carry out a terrorist attack.
  • The FBI ignored Orlando nightclub massacre terrorist Omar Mateen, while under intermittent surveillance, whose lies to the FBI were known by the FBI interrogators.
  • The FBI has done zero investigation into who leaked classified info on Michael Flynn, nor the unmasking of more than a thousand private U.S. citizens, along with who spied on Trump and members of Congress.
  • The FBI has demurred in investigating the Clinton Foundation

Overcoming his record in hardcore prosecutions of first-order crimes, Comey became an accomplished sifter of fly ash, alternating hiding behind investigation protocols when politically convenient, then asserting prosecutorial zeal when personally advantageous.

For all of the dubious claims that Comey “hated the Clintons’”, and “discomforted the Democrats”, his own carefully constructed slow-walking misdirection methods made him indispensable to the Clintons’ political viability, while allowing them to evade criminal indictments. Until Trump fired him, Comey also had been the Democrats’ most productive enabler for subverting the Trump presidency, by creating a persistent cloud of innuendo, promoting interminable suspicions of unspecified, undefined, and unsubstantiated misdeeds committed by unidentified perpetrators.

Still, Comey elicits undeserved sympathy. Michael Barone says untimely intersections with the Clintons have rendered him another hapless victim, “Can something be said in defense of Comey? He was put in a terrible position by Bill and Hillary Clinton and the Obama Justice Department.” 

Baloney.

It is a myth that Comey is a dispassionate balanced arbiter of justice.  As WSJ’s Kimberly Strassel pointed out,

“So what should an honor-bound FBI director do in such a conflicted situation? Call it out. Demand that Ms. Lynch recuse herself and insist on an appropriate process to ensure public confidence. Resign, if need be. Instead Mr. Comey waited until the situation had become a crisis, and then he ignored all protocol to make himself investigator, attorney, judge and jury.”

Convincing the Deep State to trust him as “investigator, attorney, judge, and jury” is precisely how Comey measured himself for a lifetime Kevlar wardrobe. Comey bet that the Deep State power of the federal government rested with the Democrats, confident Hillary would shake off the tarnish from the email scandal, Benghazi, and her string of unindicted crimes and misdemeanors. 

But Comey didn’t count on Donald Trump. Comey thought Trump a fool, more blusterer than disrupter, with an untethered temperament, and not a threat.

Instead Trump dropped his own bunker buster MOAB on Comey’s underground warrens, ending Comey’s sinecure, while unmasking the Democrats reliance on Comey to facilitate their malfeasant undermining of the president.

Trump’s manner in firing Comey, by all conventional assessments, has been a crippling political communications debacle. It is hard to imagine Trump deliberately intending to create such a firestorm to accompany a seemingly unremarkable personnel move that on the surface should have been endorsed by all sides of the political establishment.

Still, the collateral political damage that Trump brought upon himself in the manner of getting rid of Comey doesn’t negate the need to have done it, and thereby commencing the war against the Deep State. Trump had to start it, somehow, someplace. Comey was as good as any place to begin, maybe the best.

Mercilessly Trump fired the first consequential blow against the Deep State. That’s why we voted for him.

Now Trump needs to finish what he started. Cleaning up his communications farce in the meantime would only be a bonus. After all, we can’t savor  the disruption, and its aftershock, if we have to apologize for it. 



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Why Companies Detest Customers


For a while in the 1990s, gurus on how to make a company great pushed aside traditional management chestnuts on command and control, mass advertising, and shareholder value. Instead new recipes on customer service marketing were all the rage.

“The customer is king” was the motto.

Company execs, especially CEOs looking to score in the newly fashionable customer sensitivity ratings, signed up for every manner, and style of customer surveys, slogans, service metrics, and training courses. Even some emboldened company bosses launched no-excuses warranties where customer claims for defective products, late deliveries, pricing mistakes, and even customer errors in applications were instantly acknowledged with prostrate apologies. To resolve customer claims, cash and credits were issued without fuss or feathers.

Of course, such altruism only endured as long as the economy was robust, margins strong, and serious competition threatened to woo the most lucrative customers. Once recessions hit, and business prospects turned gloomy, infatuation with customers was replaced by the cost accountants’ favorite bunker calculation, “cost to serve,” with cost casting the biggest shadow.

Unconditional deference to customers looked good on paper, especially when espoused by general management savants like Peter Drucker. He also invented modern management commandments such as management-by-objective, and decentralization.

Drucker may have been most famous for new age notions such as “knowledge workers” and “human capital”. But in everyday practice, management in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s was dominated by the WWII generation, where blood-and-guts was the norm; where cost control, units per direct labor hour, daily production quotas, Taylorist scientific management, and industrial engineering time-and-motion studies left little luxury for indulging in customer whims.

By the late 1980s and 90s, boomers inherited virtually all the senior management and CEO positions from their collective fathers — the WWII vets. We had one foot in the old and one in the new with lessons from burgeoning MBA curricula that often belittled the erstwhile truths from our fathers.

But the old style was still in our DNA. Thus, if customers were considered at all, we paid them scant lip service. Embedded wisdom was “business would be swell without all those annoying customers”. The best we could grudgingly muster was the “annual customer appreciation week”. What happened during the other fifty-one?

Could customers be smarter than our double-degreed engineers, accountants armed with HP12C calculators, and marketers first trained as pavement-pounding sales reps? Of course not. While we knew, yet conveniently ignored, the maxim that revenues depend on customers — the wellhead of all cash flows — we treated customers like single transaction names without faces, who would repeat their purchases not because they’re delighted with our service attention, but because our product design, and delivery is brilliant, and they have no better place to go.

In other words, hubris triumphs over humility. And more importantly, customers can’t really be trusted. They’re fickle, impulsive, and finally disloyal. Succumbing to treating customers as partners is a sign of emotional weakness; only soft-in-the-head managers would let customers gain the upper hand.

To wit, the quarterly operations review meeting when the first intrepid division general manager announced to his peers — and rivals — that he would institute an unconditional customer guarantee. After the derisive throat-clearing subsided, the first salvo would arrive from the CFO, warning that returns and credits honoring phony customer claims would swamp cost of sales. Next the corporate engineering VP would openly question the product design and manufacturing competence of that division’s product managers who couldn’t attain zero defects. Then the CEO would remind everybody they were on the hook for the quarterly EPS guidance to security analysts, and it wasn’t a good time to launch unproven and dubious customer incentives.

LL Bean may be the only company where customer-first policies have been the norm for decades. Of course, it helped that founder Leon L Bean, his grandson Leon Gorman and extended family have owned the company, avoiding the pressure on quarterly cash flow and operating income from public stockholders, or private equity investors.

LL bet his company by initiating a 100% satisfaction guarantee some 100 years ago. Yet even LL Bean has announced a few weeks ago  that it is considering modifying or dropping altogether its venerable return policy.

Trust has its limits.

Customers ultimately have the final word. Yet companies punished for lousy service, and mediocre products, can survive for years before suffering bankruptcy.

And so, “customer is king” is empty jargon. Low price, with product and service quality that is good enough, is king. And in turn low price compels low cost.  Anything else is a distraction, and added cost for which customers aren’t much interested, and won’t pay.

So when a company wants you to believe they are “committed to customer satisfaction”, remember they’re only committed to what gets you to the cash register. Neither a fleeting thought of love, nor a penny more.

For a while in the 1990s, gurus on how to make a company great pushed aside traditional management chestnuts on command and control, mass advertising, and shareholder value. Instead new recipes on customer service marketing were all the rage.

“The customer is king” was the motto.

Company execs, especially CEOs looking to score in the newly fashionable customer sensitivity ratings, signed up for every manner, and style of customer surveys, slogans, service metrics, and training courses. Even some emboldened company bosses launched no-excuses warranties where customer claims for defective products, late deliveries, pricing mistakes, and even customer errors in applications were instantly acknowledged with prostrate apologies. To resolve customer claims, cash and credits were issued without fuss or feathers.

Of course, such altruism only endured as long as the economy was robust, margins strong, and serious competition threatened to woo the most lucrative customers. Once recessions hit, and business prospects turned gloomy, infatuation with customers was replaced by the cost accountants’ favorite bunker calculation, “cost to serve,” with cost casting the biggest shadow.

Unconditional deference to customers looked good on paper, especially when espoused by general management savants like Peter Drucker. He also invented modern management commandments such as management-by-objective, and decentralization.

Drucker may have been most famous for new age notions such as “knowledge workers” and “human capital”. But in everyday practice, management in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s was dominated by the WWII generation, where blood-and-guts was the norm; where cost control, units per direct labor hour, daily production quotas, Taylorist scientific management, and industrial engineering time-and-motion studies left little luxury for indulging in customer whims.

By the late 1980s and 90s, boomers inherited virtually all the senior management and CEO positions from their collective fathers — the WWII vets. We had one foot in the old and one in the new with lessons from burgeoning MBA curricula that often belittled the erstwhile truths from our fathers.

But the old style was still in our DNA. Thus, if customers were considered at all, we paid them scant lip service. Embedded wisdom was “business would be swell without all those annoying customers”. The best we could grudgingly muster was the “annual customer appreciation week”. What happened during the other fifty-one?

Could customers be smarter than our double-degreed engineers, accountants armed with HP12C calculators, and marketers first trained as pavement-pounding sales reps? Of course not. While we knew, yet conveniently ignored, the maxim that revenues depend on customers — the wellhead of all cash flows — we treated customers like single transaction names without faces, who would repeat their purchases not because they’re delighted with our service attention, but because our product design, and delivery is brilliant, and they have no better place to go.

In other words, hubris triumphs over humility. And more importantly, customers can’t really be trusted. They’re fickle, impulsive, and finally disloyal. Succumbing to treating customers as partners is a sign of emotional weakness; only soft-in-the-head managers would let customers gain the upper hand.

To wit, the quarterly operations review meeting when the first intrepid division general manager announced to his peers — and rivals — that he would institute an unconditional customer guarantee. After the derisive throat-clearing subsided, the first salvo would arrive from the CFO, warning that returns and credits honoring phony customer claims would swamp cost of sales. Next the corporate engineering VP would openly question the product design and manufacturing competence of that division’s product managers who couldn’t attain zero defects. Then the CEO would remind everybody they were on the hook for the quarterly EPS guidance to security analysts, and it wasn’t a good time to launch unproven and dubious customer incentives.

LL Bean may be the only company where customer-first policies have been the norm for decades. Of course, it helped that founder Leon L Bean, his grandson Leon Gorman and extended family have owned the company, avoiding the pressure on quarterly cash flow and operating income from public stockholders, or private equity investors.

LL bet his company by initiating a 100% satisfaction guarantee some 100 years ago. Yet even LL Bean has announced a few weeks ago  that it is considering modifying or dropping altogether its venerable return policy.

Trust has its limits.

Customers ultimately have the final word. Yet companies punished for lousy service, and mediocre products, can survive for years before suffering bankruptcy.

And so, “customer is king” is empty jargon. Low price, with product and service quality that is good enough, is king. And in turn low price compels low cost.  Anything else is a distraction, and added cost for which customers aren’t much interested, and won’t pay.

So when a company wants you to believe they are “committed to customer satisfaction”, remember they’re only committed to what gets you to the cash register. Neither a fleeting thought of love, nor a penny more.



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Paul Ryan’s Edsel


A few Ford Motor Company successes during the post-WWII era have been spectacular. First the Mustang in the 1960s, more recently the F150 pickup.

Ford’s most stunning defeat was the Edsel, unveiled in 1957. The Edsel endures as a case study of serial flaming screw-ups in automotive design, advertising, production, and rollout.

All of the flawed Edsel’s moving parts were destined for a dumpster. First, the car was overhyped for more than a year, with no actual previews for the automotive press; no clandestine drawings, specs, or features of any kind were revealed. Second, dealers had no advance introductions. Third, when finally launched, the Edsel looked ugly — sensationally ugly… No, breathtakingly ugly. Fourth, workmanship was sloppy, mechanical failures recurred, and frequently. Finally, the Edsel was overengineered, too complicated for average dealer mechanics to service.

Thus, the Edsel collapsed with no redeeming virtues, except as fodder for TV laugh tracks, and the wrong kind of business school case studies.

Paul Ryan could have taken success lessons from the General Motors Chevrolet division. During the same era as the Edsel, Chevy management focused on good looks, simplicity, drivability, reliability, and uncomplicated engineering. And beat Ford routinely 2 to 1.

Instead, Paul Ryan embraced all the failure modes of the Edsel for his epic ObamaCare “repeal-and-replace” humiliation.

In 1989 Anthony Young in a piece for the Foundation for Economic Education wrote about the core issue plaguing the Edsel:

“To build up interest in the new automobile, public relations director Warnock decided on carefully controlled leaks to the print media. These took place over a two-year period prior to the Edsel’s introduction. Both Time and Life made statements to the effect that the mystery car was the first totally new car in 20 years, and that it had been in the planning stages for 10 years. This was patently false. Far from being revolutionary, the Edsel borrowed heavily from both Ford and Mercury components.


“In fact, during the first year of production, Edsels were built in Ford and Mercury plants. The Ranger and Pacer Edsels (including the Roundup, Villager, and Bermuda station wagons) were built on Ford chassis, and the Corsair and Citation Edsels were built on Mercury chassis. The Edsel division paid Ford and Mercury for each Edsel built. Every 61st car down the Ford or Mercury assembly line was an Edsel, so workers had to reach for parts in separate bins. Mistakes were made and quality on these hastily assembled cars suffered.”

When the media were finally invited to join the Edsel road show, the results were disastrous, and predictable:

“Automotive journalists were to drive 75 Edsels from Dearborn, Michigan, to their local Edsel dealers. The cars had to perform without mishap, and couldn’t reveal any defects. After all, the car had been the subject of nearly two years of hype, and expectations were high. After a comprehensive testing procedure that took two months to complete, 68 cars were handed over to journalists and driven to their respective destinations. The other seven had to be cannibalized for parts. The average repair bill for each car came to roughly $10,000, which was more than twice the price of the top-of-the-line Edsel.”

Sounds like RyanCare, doesn’t it? And there’s more:

“When all the concessions were made to accommodate cooling, ventilation, production costs, and a host of opinions, the Edsel that emerged in 1957 is sadly the one we remember today. The front-end was likened to an Oldsmobile sucking a lemon, a horse collar — even a toilet seat. The rest of the car, both inside and out, was really no better or worse than the other offerings in the late fifties. Ford achieved the recognition factor it was shooting for, but it wasn’t positive recognition.”

Lipstick on a pig? Yup — for the both the Edsel and RyanCare.

While the Edsel was a debacle, it was mercifully scuttled only two years after its launch. Because the Edsel was seen to be a Ford outlier, it didn’t derail Ford’s surprising success with its compact Falcon, introduced in 1960. The Mustang, Ford’s most prolific model since the 1920s Model T, followed along in 1965.

Of course, many of the Edsel division managers learned nothing from their mistakes. Richard Feloni, writing in “Business Insider,” refers to a book titled Business Adventures by John Brooks containing a chronicle of Edsel stumbles. Brooks wrote more truth-telling about the Edsel fiasco, particularly the denial syndrome of its clueless progenitors:

“an Edsel marketing manager, even went so far as blaming the American public for the failed launch. He tells Brooks that he was flabbergasted that the American consumer dared to be so fickle”.

Does Paul Ryan deserve all of the blame for the ObamaCare repeal fiasco? Perhaps not. But he was the architect for all that transpired. What then should be Paul Ryan’s fate?

The Edsel executives were exiled. None were involved with the Ford Mustang. If the GOP has any designs on its own Mustang, Paul Ryan can’t be within a million miles of GOP leadership.

Edsel trunk lids were notorious for getting stuck once closed. Maybe Paul Ryan can find an Edsel trunk, and crawl inside, while waiting for a seat on president Trump’s one-way NASA slingshot to Mars.

Now, where to find GOP’s Lee Iacocca?

A few Ford Motor Company successes during the post-WWII era have been spectacular. First the Mustang in the 1960s, more recently the F150 pickup.

Ford’s most stunning defeat was the Edsel, unveiled in 1957. The Edsel endures as a case study of serial flaming screw-ups in automotive design, advertising, production, and rollout.

All of the flawed Edsel’s moving parts were destined for a dumpster. First, the car was overhyped for more than a year, with no actual previews for the automotive press; no clandestine drawings, specs, or features of any kind were revealed. Second, dealers had no advance introductions. Third, when finally launched, the Edsel looked ugly — sensationally ugly… No, breathtakingly ugly. Fourth, workmanship was sloppy, mechanical failures recurred, and frequently. Finally, the Edsel was overengineered, too complicated for average dealer mechanics to service.

Thus, the Edsel collapsed with no redeeming virtues, except as fodder for TV laugh tracks, and the wrong kind of business school case studies.

Paul Ryan could have taken success lessons from the General Motors Chevrolet division. During the same era as the Edsel, Chevy management focused on good looks, simplicity, drivability, reliability, and uncomplicated engineering. And beat Ford routinely 2 to 1.

Instead, Paul Ryan embraced all the failure modes of the Edsel for his epic ObamaCare “repeal-and-replace” humiliation.

In 1989 Anthony Young in a piece for the Foundation for Economic Education wrote about the core issue plaguing the Edsel:

“To build up interest in the new automobile, public relations director Warnock decided on carefully controlled leaks to the print media. These took place over a two-year period prior to the Edsel’s introduction. Both Time and Life made statements to the effect that the mystery car was the first totally new car in 20 years, and that it had been in the planning stages for 10 years. This was patently false. Far from being revolutionary, the Edsel borrowed heavily from both Ford and Mercury components.


“In fact, during the first year of production, Edsels were built in Ford and Mercury plants. The Ranger and Pacer Edsels (including the Roundup, Villager, and Bermuda station wagons) were built on Ford chassis, and the Corsair and Citation Edsels were built on Mercury chassis. The Edsel division paid Ford and Mercury for each Edsel built. Every 61st car down the Ford or Mercury assembly line was an Edsel, so workers had to reach for parts in separate bins. Mistakes were made and quality on these hastily assembled cars suffered.”

When the media were finally invited to join the Edsel road show, the results were disastrous, and predictable:

“Automotive journalists were to drive 75 Edsels from Dearborn, Michigan, to their local Edsel dealers. The cars had to perform without mishap, and couldn’t reveal any defects. After all, the car had been the subject of nearly two years of hype, and expectations were high. After a comprehensive testing procedure that took two months to complete, 68 cars were handed over to journalists and driven to their respective destinations. The other seven had to be cannibalized for parts. The average repair bill for each car came to roughly $10,000, which was more than twice the price of the top-of-the-line Edsel.”

Sounds like RyanCare, doesn’t it? And there’s more:

“When all the concessions were made to accommodate cooling, ventilation, production costs, and a host of opinions, the Edsel that emerged in 1957 is sadly the one we remember today. The front-end was likened to an Oldsmobile sucking a lemon, a horse collar — even a toilet seat. The rest of the car, both inside and out, was really no better or worse than the other offerings in the late fifties. Ford achieved the recognition factor it was shooting for, but it wasn’t positive recognition.”

Lipstick on a pig? Yup — for the both the Edsel and RyanCare.

While the Edsel was a debacle, it was mercifully scuttled only two years after its launch. Because the Edsel was seen to be a Ford outlier, it didn’t derail Ford’s surprising success with its compact Falcon, introduced in 1960. The Mustang, Ford’s most prolific model since the 1920s Model T, followed along in 1965.

Of course, many of the Edsel division managers learned nothing from their mistakes. Richard Feloni, writing in “Business Insider,” refers to a book titled Business Adventures by John Brooks containing a chronicle of Edsel stumbles. Brooks wrote more truth-telling about the Edsel fiasco, particularly the denial syndrome of its clueless progenitors:

“an Edsel marketing manager, even went so far as blaming the American public for the failed launch. He tells Brooks that he was flabbergasted that the American consumer dared to be so fickle”.

Does Paul Ryan deserve all of the blame for the ObamaCare repeal fiasco? Perhaps not. But he was the architect for all that transpired. What then should be Paul Ryan’s fate?

The Edsel executives were exiled. None were involved with the Ford Mustang. If the GOP has any designs on its own Mustang, Paul Ryan can’t be within a million miles of GOP leadership.

Edsel trunk lids were notorious for getting stuck once closed. Maybe Paul Ryan can find an Edsel trunk, and crawl inside, while waiting for a seat on president Trump’s one-way NASA slingshot to Mars.

Now, where to find GOP’s Lee Iacocca?



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