Monday, August 1, 2016

Paul Waldman — Donald Trump's Fight With the Parents of a Fallen Soldier Is Just What His Supporters Want

There are several points operative here than most don't seem to get.

First point, it's about incentives.
As Trump wrote in one of his books, "When someone crosses you, my advice is 'Get Even!' That is not typical advice, but it is real life advice. If you do not get even, you are just a schmuck! When people wrong you, go after those people because it is a good feeling and because other people will see you doing it. I love getting even." I've quoted this passage before, because I think that unlike most of the drivel in Trump's books, it contains an important truth about him. It shows that his impulse to counter every criticism with an attack is nothing new for him. And it's looking less like a strategy and more like a deep-seated need, something Trump couldn't stop himself from doing if he tried.
Un, no. Alphas know that to dominate and maintain dominance there has to be a penalty that is understood as coming with any challenge. In addition, alphas also know that they need support and so they send a strong signal that support will be reciprocated.

Anyone that doesn't get this either has never been close to any serious game or one of the marks in the game.

Second point.
… Trump is giving people something very important: permission. Permission to let some powerful feelings see the light of day, without worrying about whether some liberal will call you a racist because of what you said. "Donald Trump is freeing people," says Samantha Bee, "from the cruel shackles of empathy and mutual respect."
How did he do it, when people like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly have been saying the same things for years, both about minorities and about "political correctness"?
Maybe it's because Trump's platform is bigger and wider than even they ever had. No matter how many millions Limbaugh or O'Reilly speak to, their audiences know it's a semi-private conversation, one meant mostly for those who are already in agreement with each other. 
Trump, on the other hand, is on the front page of every newspaper every day and the lead story of the TV news every night. He's right there speaking to the whole country, saying what they've only been thinking. And no matter how much he's criticized for it, he's managed to win until now, first by beating his primary opponents and then by making almost the whole Republican Party line up behind him, no matter how much they hate themselves for it.
The pundits have not yet grasped that this is a campaign between the Establishment – the status quo – stay the course or up the ante – more of the same, and the anti-Establishment – populist –burn-down-the house and a pox on all of them cohort that feels marginalized, disregarded, disrespected, and being led to slaughter.

The whole point is not being politically correct.

Whatever one thinks of Trump's strategy and tactics, he understand a prevailing mood in the national mindset that can be characterized as fed-up.


Matt Franko said...

I would say that it is not "even" with Iran and KSA.... From the "get even" pov ... (Not an endorsement....)

Kristjan said...

I thought it was pretty low by the Democrats to bring parents of a fallen soldier to their convention to attack Trump. Trump's response wasn't probably very nice but Hillary supported that illegal war. Now parents of fallen soldiers are being used in this political battle and Trump sure didn't start It.

The then United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in September 2004 that: "From our point of view and the UN Charter point of view, it [the war] was illegal."[1][2] Many of the political leaders of the US and UK have argued the war was legal[citation needed], while many legal experts[who?] and other international leaders[who?] have argued that it was illegal[

Matt Franko said...

Report he is Muslim Brotherhood:

John said...

The parents have walked into a stupid partisan trap. They may genuinely have believed that they were honouring their dead son, were helping educate a significant part of the population that is ignorant and reactionary, and would be above partisan party politics. They're just going to get their dead son's name dragged through the mud. As for Trump, what's new? The man is pond life and we all know it. If it weren't for his daddy's money, nobody would give him the time of day - not even Limbaugh. How I hope he becomes president! Not only because he isn't Killary, but because he has no idea whatsoever what he's letting himself in for. He'll be throwing his (glitzy) rattle out of his (glitzy) pram hundreds of times a day. He's never had to make a real deal in his life, and now he's going to be up against people far smarter in every way than him.

Matt, while there are very many in the corridors of power who want to get "even" with Iran, unfortunately nobody wants to get "even" with Saudi Arabia, or preferably allow the House of Saud fall. The establishment are perfectly happy with Saudi Arabia spreading their wacky Wahhabism and jihadi war around the Muslim world. They may be a little peeved that it is now spilling out into the boulevards of sunny Nice, the chic shopping and culinary cities of Paris and Brussels, but to them it's nothing more than cost-benefit analysis: hegemonic power now necessitates thousands of corpses lining the streets of Europe and the United States. How many more thousands before the Saudi jihad is called off? That's the cost-benefit analysis Washington is making. No cost-benefit analysis was required when millions of dead lined the streets of Baghdad, Damascus, Kabul, etc. They don't count, and why waste a cent of perfectly good ink on a cost-benefit analysis you already know the answer to: the cost (of their lives) will never be greater than the benefit to us (energy resources and world hegemony).

Washington, like London before it, only understands defeat, and having tasted defeat they declare "victory" to the saps back home. At some level, everyone knows the US and UK, and any other stragglers who were bribed into going along with these loony wars, were thoroughly defeated in Afghanistan and in Iraq, and are being defeated in Syria. And everyone also knows deep down in their hearts that we've made the jihadi threat unimaginably worse, whether through highly destructive wars that have backfired spectacularly or by aiding Saudi Arabia's inhuman jihad.

Tom Hickey said...

@ Kristjan

My sentiments exactly. Politicizing death.

Tom Hickey said...

Report he is Muslim Brotherhood:

It's gone viral on the sites and blogs that support Trump.

Tom Hickey said...

If it weren't for his daddy's money, nobody would give him the time of day

Similarly, HRC did not make it on her own but only on the coattails of Biil, whose antics she managed to put up with to get this chance.

If HRC wins the presidency and becomes the first female president, it will be pretty much the same as other women who have occupied the top office owing to their family connections, like Indira Gandhi. They would never have gotten close to it otherwise.

Trump may be where he is now because of daddy. But that goes for a number of US presidents, JFK being a notable example. Actually, his father groomed his older brother for the job but he was killed in WWII, so JFK took his place.

John said...

Tom, all fair points, and even if you don't personally have money there is big money behind you.

But it's the myth of Trump that is hard to stomach: the self-made billionaire (would have been twice as rich if he indexed the fortune he inherited), the deal maker (never made a difficult one in his life), the visionary (with Trump University and numerous bankruptcies behind him), the man with the wherewithal to "make America great again" (if he can shave a 500 lb wrestler's head, I suppose he can do just about anything).

Every four years it's the same! Cometh the hour, cometh the candidate! Had it not been for X then America would have gone down the toilet. Thank Jesus, he sent Trump/Clinton, Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, etc.

Not that it matters, all of Trump's silly antics will bite him on his thin-skinned backside come November. There is a genuine revolt against the establishment and business as usual, and although many people will vote for Trump it won't be nearly enough. An anti-establishment candidate could easily have won this election, and Trump was in many ways an ideal candidate, but he can't keep his fucking mouth shut. He just has to say something stupid, insulting, vulgar or batshit crazy like Ted Cruz's father was involved in JFK's assassination.

And this is the point about Trump inheriting such a staggering fortune: he's a crybaby brat who must get what he wants and usually did because moneybags daddy indulged him, he's a narcissist because money does that to people, he believes himself to be some sort of genius in all walks of life and none of his loyal gofers dissuade him of that and instead sing his praises day and night like he's a pharaoh. The man is seriously unhinged, and for the sake of the country the institutions of government would have to impede his presidency at almost every turn. If I were able to vote in this election, to my utter shame I'd vote for him to stop Killary.

Kristjan said...

The muslim brotherhood might be exaggerated (just because you agree with some radical on certain point doesn't make you a radical), but he sure at least has been ideologically radical muslim (Sharia) and might be one even now. His articles don't leave any doubt about it.

Tom Hickey said...

That's all true to some degree, John, but Trump actually did do some stuff. Neither JFK nor HRC ever did, and what W did was laughable. Poppy Bush profited in a similar way in oil through his connections with his wealthy father an in politics also through his father who had been a senator. John McCain famously didn't know how many houses he owned (through his wealthy wife). Trump is probably more personally competent than any of them.

I bring this up because Trump is being vilified as some sort of anomaly in US politics. He is not other than being more flamboyant behaviorally.

John said...

Tom, he isn't an anomaly but he is different to other candidates, and not just because he isn't a politician. All politicians know what they can and cannot get away with. Trump's different. Clearly there is no master plan to his insults and his craziness. It isn't an act - it's real. He gets away with it because there is an underlying mood of discontent that would ordinarily revolt at the sight of such batshit craziness and stupidity.

There is no logic whatever in picking a fight with a gold star family and then behaving in such a way that many gold star families have denounced Trump. No good can possibly come out of it. All Trump has to say is I respect your dead son and the sacrifice he and your family have made. End of story, but that isn't how Trump works! He has to "get even" with a gold star family! Really, WTF? Asked if he ever sacrificed anything, Trump says, yeah, I build buildings! Trump seems to think that it is some sort of contest (like him having "the best words"), and by definition he must win and therefore must have sacrificed in some way. Most people would just say, thankfully I have never had to make any comparable sacrifice, or perhaps any sacrifice because I was lucky enough to be born staggeringly rich, but I nevertheless respect those who have.

And it isn't that Trump just says stupid or vulgar or insulting or paranoid or conspiracy stuff. He says things that are diametrically opposite to what he just said!

And as for Trump's alleged business acumen, which I've never really bought into, I'll have to respectfully disagree. If I gave you or Matt or Malmo or Kristjan or Ignacia or anybody else here at MNE a billion or two billion dollars (which would be the equivalent to Trump's inheritance) I bet you'd make a lot more money than Trump ever did, and none of you would file for bankruptcy numerous times, end up branding your name on steaks and vodka, running casinos - casinos! - into the ground, or running scams like Trump university. Give Mike two billion dollars and he'll become the world's first trillionaire.

Matt Franko said...

He is much less libertarian than past others Tom ....

John said...

Kristjan, very good points. Many people want death sentences for paedophiles, rapists, etc. Does that make them advocates of sharia law? Does that make them fellow travellers of ISIS and Al Qaeda?

You don't have to look particularly hard or long before you'll find something some maniac has said that you yourself agree with. It proves nothing.

It's like that video Matt posted of leading Republican politicians sitting silently or nodding approvingly while some wacko Christian preacher went all Old Testament on the many alleged sins of modern day America. I suppose that Ted Cruz didn't actually want homosexuals to be stoned to death, but he did share the same overall ideals as the preacher.

Tom Hickey said...

All political candidates for office have to deal with the hands they are dealt and the maneuvers of the opposing candidates. Trump buried the GOP field in the primaries. At the time, his dissing McCain as faux war hero was supposed to finish him off.

I am not defending Trump as a person or campaigning for him. I don't plan to vote for either Trump or HRC. In Iowa writing in Bernie is automatically allowed in the general. Iowa is only one of nine states with such a blanket provision.

I am doing two things.

First, I am assessing Trump as a politician. My assessment is that he is unexpected good at it and all the criticism is not sticking, in spite of the fact that just about every media outlet is guns blazing at him. He knows his target audience and how to speak to it.

Secondly, I am comparing Trump historically. A good comparison is with Ronald Reagan, who all the pundits thought was unelectable. Right.

Anyone who doesn't get yet that Trump is speaking for a large bloc of the US electorate is either not paying attention yet or biased cognitively-affectively. If you don't like Trump you don't like the people he is speaking for, and they represent a broad coalition of many cohorts and interests. The common denominator is anti-establishment.

Conversely, HRC is a weak candidate, even thought the media are promoting her. She lost the nomination to a nobody in 2008 and was almost beaten by Bernie, who polls showed to be a much more popular candidate nationally, beating Trump in polling while Clinton lost to him. Moreover, Bernie got a late start, had no prior name recognition, had little by way of donors and was funded by the grassroots, and dismissed by the media if they reported on him at all. Moreover, the DNC secretly worked to elect HRC, against the party rules. What HRC has going for her is her connection with the bipartisan establishment.

This is an election between an anti-establishment, populist candidate with a realistic position, and an establishment, status quo candidate with a more of the same position, a re-do of Bill's eight years and Obama's eight years.

Gary Hart said...

Tom Hickey:
Please never equate JFK and HRC again. JFK was a real hero that served his country and tried to make peace with the USSR. There is no comparison! Also, JFK was the only true American president we have had since FDR. The other presidents from Truman down to the present one have all been ruled by Kennedy’s killers. Read Michael Collins Piper’s “Final Judgement” to find out who our rulers are.
Also, Reagan was a cheap paid actor that did just what he was told-while he was awake. I think he slept through most of his terms.

Kristjan said...

"First, I am assessing Trump as a politician. My assessment is that he is unexpected good at it and all the criticism is not sticking, in spite of the fact that just about every media outlet is guns blazing at him. He knows his target audience and how to speak to it."

Seems he is most scientific candidate and I don't mean climate scientific.(Scott Adams is right) What good is that when you have the best ideas and are so smart, but you can't win elections. All this media going at him and he survives. Is he racist, bigot, stupid or whatever else? He might be but one thing you have to admit, he knows how to play this game better than anyone. He does. I didn't believe he was going very far when I first saw him or heard him. Remember the talk about taking out muslim family members? Or they'd be carried out on a stretcher, folks? I don't believe he is talking that way in a business meeting. He knows what he is doing. He's had a lot experience with the media before.

Tom Hickey said...

Non-Muslims don't understand sharIa. It is not a body of code. It is less so than the Hebrew biblical law with specific injunctions or commandments (mitzvoth, also mitzvoth). A List of the 613 Mitzvot (Commandments) , as interpreted in the Talmud as oral law. But there are prodedural parallels, and present day Orthodox Jews would relate to the orientation of Muslim orthodoxy, even thought the substance may differ.

Sharia is more scriputral-baed guidance than what we in the West recognize as positive law.

Moreover, there is no established authority in Islam. Muslims generally follow the guidance of the learned (imams) in interpreting the Quran. The learned can and do disagree. As in the West, precedent plays a role. The learned also look to the learned of the past in their interpretations. But there is no universal authority or agreement other than the scriptural text.

In some jurisdictions there is a hierarchy of learned as in Iran with the various ayatollahs and the chief ayatollah. There are also sects that follow guidelines that are more or less strict. Wahhabism, for instance, is very strict. In these areas, sharia many be codified iaw a sectarian interpretation of the Quran and Hadith. On the other hand, liberal Muslims would by like Protestants that believe that scriptural interpretation is personal.

See Five myths about sharial by Asifa Quraishi-Landes, associate professor, University of Wisconsin School of Law.

When Westerners criticize others for being illiberal or medieval, they forget that liberalism is recent development that is a manifestation of Western culture as well as determinative of its institutions. Liberalism was instituted to break the lock that religious and state authority had on individual life.

Traditionalists in the West continue to resist this, and a lot of political conflict in the West is over traditionalism versus liberalism.

Proponents of liberalism picture traditionalists as fanatics, medievalist throw-backs, or fascists.

This is a paradox of liberalism that results in illiberalism within liberalism.

This is an area that is still being worked out, as in the political fight over abortion in the US and some other Western countries where Christian traditionalism is strong.

Tom Hickey said...

@ Gary Hart

Everyone is welcome to their opinions here. All heroes have feet of clay if one looks deeply enough. JFK was a philanderer, for example. Someone who cheats on his wife has something seriously wrong with his moral compass.

Matt Franko said...

"Liberalism was instituted to break the lock that religious and state authority had on individual life."

Youre onto it here Tom....


This imo is a true statement from Bill's today: "Beardsley Ruml – who wrote that “Taxes for Revenue are Obsolete”"

BUT this imo is NOT a true statement from Bill's today:

"a primary role for taxation was “the maintenance of a dollar which has a stable purchasing power … the avoidance of inflation” "

That's not the purpose of taxation in a numismatic system...

Paul here: "Let every soul be subject to the superior authorities..... Wherefore it is necessary to be subject,.... For therefore you are settling taxes also" Romans 13

We pay taxes as an act of subjecting ourselves to civil authority... NOT the Mosaic Law or Sharia or wtf.... or to control "inflation!" either or "drive the currency!" or wtf...

Have the US leader stand up there and say "taxes for the purpose of revenue is no longer our view... if you pay taxes in USDs then what you are doing is exhibiting your complete subjection to the authority of the US govt institution...."

The sharia people, the OT morons, and all the secular libertarian assholes will lose their f-ing minds....

John said...

Tom: "Non-Muslims don't understand sharIa."

It seems neither do Muslims! Someone once explained to me that a good deal of sharia law comes from the alleged deeds and sayings of Mohammed, which are found in the sunnah and the hadiths. Apparently there is very little law in the Quran, which is not much more of a retelling of Biblical stories and the glories of God and heaven. His argument was that, if sharia law strictly adhered to the Quran, there wouldn't be that much to object to. All the really objectionable anti-liberal stuff is found in the alleged sayings of Mohammed.

I'm in no position to say one way or the other, but it did seem an interesting insight. I asked some Muslims about this, and they agreed that a sharia law that was solely based on the Quran would be the smallest body of law imaginable: inheritance rights, marriage and divorce rights, and a few criminal laws, including the rather interesting one that there is no punishment for homosexuality in the Quran! Interestingly, they were extremely agitated that anyone could imagine a sharia without the sunnah and hadiths, yet they did question why it was the Quran was apparently insufficient as it is apparently all a Muslim needs to know for a spiritual life.

The reform movements within Islam stress a lot of this, probably in order not to be denounced as satanists. It doesn't work: they're called pagans, satanists, atheists, etc, because they wish to rid themselves of the more extreme and non-Quran laws. They end up getting blown to bits by a Wahhabi jihadi.

John said...

Tom: "Anyone who doesn't get yet that Trump is speaking for a large bloc of the US electorate is either not paying attention yet or biased cognitively-affectively."

I think everybody here agrees with that, and I think you were pretty much the first person here to point out the fertile soil in which Trump was making hay. As much as that is the case, that doesn't mean he's some sort of Moriarty mastermind, knowing what to say and what buttons to push. That's the propaganda his supporters throw around after the latest stupidity didn't blow up in his face. Trump says whatever he wants, with zero political calculation involved, because that's what spoiled rich brats do (pleb, lick my shoes or I'll fire you and your kids will starve) and, less importantly, because he also knows there is a gigantic constituency ready to soak it up. And whenever things go badly, he can just say he was kidding around, or that's an indication of the political correctness that's ruining the country, or that he never said it!

He knows he's tapped into something ugly and he's running with it. He once said that he could murder someone in broad daylight and people would still vote for him. So he knows he can let his inner Trump let rip, and it won't really hinder him. Whether he'll eventually say something so awful that will stop him dead is another matter. Whether he can get more than the numbers he's polling is also another matter. The 40% who'll vote for him no matter what will not be enough to win the election. That's the size of it, and that perhaps is the reason he's complaining that the election may be rigged! People hate Killary, but they'll vote for her over a man whose brain can't control his mouth.

Bob said...

JFK was a philanderer, for example. Someone who cheats on his wife has something seriously wrong with his moral compass.

Who are you to cast judgment on someone's else personal life?

John said...

Tom and Bob, JFK's sexual antics are not really an issue, except for his wife and the STDs he could have spread to the hundreds of women he had relations with. Many of his physical and mental ailments may have been due to STDs.

The real problem with JFK was that he did almost nothing of any worth at home: all the great gains that were later made under LBJ have somehow become JFK's achievements.

On the international arena, he was little short of a madman. He was always trying to engineer a confrontation with the USSR and defeat it in some way, even militarily. He made repeated attempts to do this in Berlin, but the Soviets never took the bait. The Soviets were continually baited, but were aware of JFK's simplemindedness. Ordinarily a president who spends more time banging bimbos than thinking about geopolitics evidently isn't someone to worry that much about. Incidentally, JFK used to complain about crushing headaches, and apparently one of the only things that could help alleviate the pain was "a fresh piece of ass".

However, JFK's lunatic assault on Cuba and the dozens of assassination attempts on Castro forced the USSR to put missiles in Cuba. This was the confrontation JFK wanted and the Soviets didn't because the missiles did not yet have nuclear warheads. Contrary to the all the liberal revisionism, JFK kept upping the ante during the missile crisis and his and and McNamara's aggressive naval tactics almost caused nuclear war. It was Khrushchev who saved the world from JFK's burning desire to murder all life. Even after the Cuban missile crisis and right up until his assassination, JFK was still planning to invade Cuba! Who knows whether we'd even be here were it not for Lee Harvey Oswald.

Tom Hickey said...

Hadith are the sayings, doings and habits of the Prophet during his lifetime. There are different bodies of hadith. These narratives were recorded after his passing like the Gospels. The authenticity of various sayings is disputed, as is also true of the gospels.

Just as a group of scholars called the Jesus Seminar graded the level of authenticity of the sayings attributed to Jesus in the canonical gospels and The Gospel of Thomas, so too Islamic scholars have graded the hadith into authentic (sahih), good (hasan) or weak (da'if).

Hadith is the primary basis of sharia but the Quran takes precedence as the literal Word of Allah, just as Orthodox Jews and Fundamentalist Christians regard their scriptures.

There is a well-known gloss in the Hebrew scripture, "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" (Exodus 21:24). The meaning is not necessarily literal. The hermeneutic reading is reciprocity as the basis for justice — punishment should fit the crime and not exceed it. In tribal societies, justice was often interpreted as revenge, for example, and this led to escalation. The law-giving in early Islam can be interpreted in this light rather than literally.

There is no authoritative source of the Prophet commanding that he be emulated literally in perpetuity the way that some interpret his direction reported in a hadith to follow "his ways." This arose both as a matter of piety and as norms of institutional religion in some sects and under some imams.

Some Muslims (Quranists) do not regard hadith as necessary to follow. Sunni and Shia Islam do, even through there is disagreement among sects and imams over its substance and interpretation. Complicating it further, Sunni and Shia have different bodies of hadith.

Quite evidently, there is no single uniform body of law or doctrine that corresponds to sharia, or an single authoritative interpretation because there is no final authority in Islam since the termination of the Caliphate stemming from the companions of the Prophet. (This is a reason for the push by ISIS to found a new Caliphate that is the final arbiter in Islam.)

Tom Hickey said...

I don't think that there is any end in arguing over who the real Donald Trump is. I am pretty sure that only Donald himself knows and that like many successful negotiators he projects a character suitable for his purposes.

I have know some celebrities that have one something similar, especially actors and entertainers. They know how to create a character and they create one for themselves and live it in real time, never stepping out of character until it just becomes second nature for them. They become as they want the world to see them. This is probably the case with The Donald.

We can psychoanalyst him and see his personality as reaction to his father and their relationship, for example, but I am not sure that it advances understanding all that much.

Whatever, his people seem to like it,much to the consternation of the politically correct. But that's exactly the point. The more he pisses off the PC crowd and the establishment, the more his fans applaud. That's the American reality show right now. The questions is whether he is going to be the last man standing. The fans love it.

Tom Hickey said...

Another thing to notice about Trump and HRC. Trump is rather detached from the process and gives the air of not caring if he wins. It's already well worth the effort, time and money in building his image and enhancing that of his family. Whatever happens, he wins — because he is a winner.

Conversely, HRC gives off the air of desperation. This is do or die for her, her last chance and then she is washed up and will be a footnote in the history books as the first female candidate for POTUS.

This plays enormously in the favor of Trump wrt affect, and persuasion is about feeling rather than reason or evidence.

Tom Hickey said...

A good negotiator exudes the air of being willing to walk away from any deal

Trump is now negotiating with the US electorate for the position of POTUS.

Tom Hickey said...

Who are you to cast judgment on someone's else personal life?

Public figures' personal lives are relevant to assessing their their ability to serve the country and the public. I would expect officials occupying high office, POTUS in particular, to have a well-developed moral compass and to be trustworthy.

In the military, officers cheating on their wives is taken as evidence of not being trustworthy. Adultery is actually illegal for both officers and enlisted according to the UCMJ as contrary to good order, although it's rare for anyone to be prosecuted for it.

All the president’s womenAll the president’s women by Sara Stewart. That would be some of the president's women and the president in question was JFK. But he was not doing it behind Jackie's back. She knew about it. Rather it was concealed from the public. Was that "personal information" relevant to their informed decision-making? A lot of people would say so.

Bill Clinton was similar to JFK, and it stretches the imagination to think that HRC was oblivious to it. The public knew something was up during the first campaign but most people thought the Lewinsky affair was over the top, and then Bill obfuscating about it under oath. HRC apparently did not know about Monica until after the fact. Bill put her in a bad position for sure.

Eisenhower was rumored to have had a longstanding affair with his aide, then secretary, when he was a general, but that is conjecture that most biographers reject.

I am not particularly concerned about a person's sexual activity unless it is relevant to their public life, as in using power to force compliance or using public resources to obtain sexual favors, both of which Bill Clinton has been accused of.

Far more serious in my estimate is breaking trust and betraying loyalty, which is crucial in the case of public figures in high position.

Rupert Murdoch fired Roger Ailes almost immediately after allegations of sexual misconduct with employees under him surfaced. Murdoch was not being prudish but protective of his interests.

If a man's wife can't trust him to honor the deepest commitments, why should the public trust him?.

Bob said...

Did JFK break the law? Was he being blackmailed due to his escapades?
What people do in their personal lives is not relevant unless they break the law, or place the nation's security at risk. General Petraeus comes to mind. You may believe that so-and-so has a bad moral compass because they cheat on their wife, while someone else may have a problem because so-and-so is a catholic. That sort of prejudice is best left to the tabloids, which treats it as entertainment.

Judge JFK by his actions as president. He was your president, not your brother-in-law.

Bob said...


That is a different history than the one we're used to hearing. What is your source?

Tom Hickey said...

JFK's moral compass was off course when he sponsored the Bay of Pigs operation run by the CIA, which was actually an invasion that could be construed as aggression according to international law. Not only that, it was stupid.

Worse, it was JFK that got the US involved in Vietnam, one of the worst mistakes in foreign policy in US history and a disaster morally. The people that perpetrated it was essentially war criminals and JKF was commander-in-chief at the outset.

The president's portfolio is essentially foreign policy and in that regard JFK's presidency was a disaster for the US and world.

One good thing that JFK did though was firing Allen Dulles, although there is reason to think that it got him assassinated.

And General Petraeus was indeed in violation of the UCMJ, Art. 134, according to which adultery is illegal.

The Petraeus Affair

Malmo's Ghost said...

We have a binary choice for president. It's either Hillary or Trump. Period. Neither is Gandhi. I get that. I want the possibility of a change agent for the common man and woman. To me that means Trump is the axiomatic choice. He's a wild card for sure, but Hillary will simply be more of the same Establishment shit-show. Trump isn't Hitler. But if he is then Hitler is about as popular as Hillary. Scary, no?

Bob said...

And General Petraeus was indeed in violation of the UCMJ, Art. 134, according to which adultery is illegal.

According to that article there may have been a number of people who were in violation of the law, yet its the guy who cheats on his wife who takes the fall. Opportunism knows no bounds.

Bob said...

This thread has been an eye-opener. JFK is usually referred to with reverence, as one of the last "good" presidents.

Matt Franko said...

I'd say jimmy carter was "good"... But good isn't everything either...

John said...

Malmo, spot on.

Bob, on JFK's personal life the information is from pretty scattered sources, but nobody denies he was sneaking in bimbos pretty much every day and that he banged perhaps thousands of women. Even former Security Service personnel have become outspoken recently. In fact, it seems that JFK was using the Secret Service to procure women for him - the Secret Service became high class pimps under JFK's watch. Under Clinton they just hushed it up.

Correction! What JFK actually said was not "a fresh piece of ass" but "I get a migraine headache if I don't get a strange piece of ass every day". Strange meaning presumably different. So he banged at least a thousand bimbos and prostitutes in his glorious thousand days, and heaven knows how many thousands before that. The chances of STD would have been high, and it is claimed that the debilitating health he suffered from were caused by some sexual disease, which he probably thought nothing of spreading to his wife and countless other women.

As for JFK on the international arena, David Horowitz wrote a superb book before he went totally bonkers. It's called "From Yalta to Vietnam" and details JFK's shenanigans in deliberately engineering a confrontation with the USSR. There's some pretty good stuff in Howard Zinn. Then there's Chomsky's Rethinking Camelot. There's a very good conservative but honest historian whose name escapes me. If I remember I'll remind you of it. So many people forget that Vietnam was JFK's war!

A truthful appraisal of the Cuban missile crisis and its aftermath can be found here:

More and more books come out each year about Cuba, the missile crisis and JFK's international policies, and each one of them rips to shreds the mythology of JFK as the saviour of the world. Instead, he is rightly seen as a madman and possibly the most dangerous president the US has ever had to endure. Liberals usually make the best warmongers and imperialists - and madmen, imbued as they usually are with infinite self-importance and self-satisfaction.

Unfortunately, people don't read books, especially from the smaller presses who publish the kind of books the big publishers shy away from, but instead watch moronic garbage like Oliver Stone's "JFK" and sentimental made-for-TV miniseries that show a demigod who would have ended all suffering had he but lived. Oliver Stone is a fucking disgrace to film, and no matter what he does for the rest of his life it will not erase the brilliant brainwashing he achieved with his repugnant film JFK.

John said...

Matt, I'd go along with that. For all his faults, Carter was a much more genuine, honest and caring president. He was before his time. He was very smart and understood the real issues facing America. Instead people voted for a Hollywood smile. If the Congress and the White House could be filled with hundreds of Jimmy Carters, most of America's problems would go away. Instead, Americans now get Killary as their Democratic nominee. Shows how far to the right the Democrats have gone. When Killary and Obama are denounced as "socialist", all hope of another Carter, let alone an FDR, is lost!

Malmo's Ghost said...

My social media feeds are instructive. There is absolutely zero enthusiasm regarding Clinton, along with a smattering of anti Trump screeds. This is very different from the Sanders phenomena. Liberals loved him with a passion and expressed it daily on my notification wall. That died out promptly when Sanders threw all his supporters under the bus at the convention.

Subsequent to the D's convention there have been far fewer ad hominem Trump retweets, etc. The only ones I witness are MSM derived (The Dept of Propaganda, ya know).

Trump might be corrupt with a very little "c", but Clinton takes the cake as easily the most corrupt nominee in history--yes, like Bob Woodward says, she's even worse than Nixon. If the so called unbiased press did their jobs she wouldn't be elected dog catcher.

Will get back to all later after I finish watching the rest of Clinton Cash.

Tom Hickey said...

This thread has been an eye-opener. JFK is usually referred to with reverence, as one of the last "good" presidents.

JFK meant well. He was inexperienced and used by Allen Dulles and the spooks. To his credit he fired Allen Dulles, which at the time was like Truman firing Gen. MacArthur, or firing J. Edgar Hoover, which no president dared do.

In this period the US was operating un the red scare and did a lot of stupid stuff because of it that is affecting America adversely now.

But a lot of people were disappointed in JFK when his private life was revealed subsequently. He and Jackie were the model of the ideal couple and the ideal marriage. It was a cultural blow.

Tom Hickey said...

I'd say jimmy carter was "good"... But good isn't everything either...

Jimmy Carter was a good man, but he made some horrible decisions as president.

First, he began the transition of the Democratic Party rightward economically. He was a conservative and was neoliberal rather than Keynesian.

Michael Lind, How Reaganism actually started with Carter: Think Reagan was the first modern president to preach low taxes, free markets and morality?

He also allowed Zbigniew Brzezinski to talk him into inserting Afghan "freedom fighters" into Afghanistan to create Russia's Vietnam there. This turned out to be monumental.

While it was a factor in bringing down the USSR, the unintended consequences are still with us.

Moreover, the US is still using these radicals operationally for destabilization of the Middle East and Central Asia and effect regime change.

This has to be one of the most immortal strategic operations ever. It is basically deploying terrorism as a tactic. Carter got that ball rolling..

John said...

Malmo: "There is absolutely zero enthusiasm regarding Clinton..."

Absolutely. It's gonna be a question of who do you hate the least? If Trump can shut his mouth, enough people may warm to him and vote against Killary. As it is, more voters will hold their noses and vote for Killary. Other than Bubba and cardboard cutout Chelsea, I would say that it is literally, mathematically and biologically impossible to be enthusiastic for Killary. Who wants to listen to a wooden candidate drone on about the delights of neliberalism and neoconservatism. Make no mistake about it, if Killary wins, voters would have voted against Trump and not for anything she might have said to enthuse them.

By the way, I cannot believe that this stuff about the private server has not ended Killary. Well, I can believe it: the whole establishment is behind her, even significant parts of the GOP! The server was so badly damaged that even FBI forensic scientists and engineers couldn't recover a damned thing! Does this not strike everybody as suspicious beyond belief?

Malmo's Ghost said...


Nobody likes Clinton outside of Beltway elites and the Establishment in general. Those who love Trump do so with an intensity seldom seen here in the states. When I'm alone with my friends who are far and away mostly liberal, more than one has told me they will vote for Trump, but for me not to broadcast to anyone else their intentions. When I'm with a larger group, no one says they'll vote for Trump, even those who told me they will privately.

Polls be damned in this election. Unless there is an October surprise, or Trump says something really idiotic, I think he's going to shock the world come November--the Establishment world that is.

Tom Hickey said...

I've heard the same thing privately and in confidence.

This could really skew the polls. I think there could be a lot of people who are not gong to 'fess up about their true voting plans.

Malmo's Ghost said...

I've only told my wife and kids--and those around MNE-- that I'm voting for Trump. Even if I don't vote for him there is no way in hell I'd ever pull the lever for Clinton. Never.

berko said...

Some interesting comments on the history of Islam here, which at least give me cause for hope in the possibility of a moderate version of it, that the hard-line ultra regressive Wahhabist version isn't the only "pure" version. That there is much more grey area in how this religion can be practised than some commentary would have me believe.

That's not to say that Wahhabism isn't a problem, it clearly is, but it sounds like it isn't inevitable.

John said...

Malmo and Tom, with respect to polls being skewed and people not being entirely frank with pollsters, we had the same thing with last year's general election and the EU referendum polling. So Trump may well be well ahead of Killary. It could come down to turn out, with the Trumpsters not turning out in enough numbers.

It's a hard one to call when you hear about all the non-vocal Trump vote! Although, if I have to call it, I'll say Killary by the kind of numbers Obama beat Romney by.

Tom Hickey said...

That's not to say that Wahhabism isn't a problem, it clearly is, but it sounds like it isn't inevitable.

The big reasons that it is a problem is that the Saudis are promoting it and supplying it, and the US uses it a proxy weapon, supplying it too. Otherwise, it would be just a another sect making some noise. Instead, it is financed and armed, as well as promoted by Saudi-trained imams around the world.

John said...

Tom, perfectly put. It's also what all the most respected analysts of Islamist violence claim. Perhaps we read the same analysts, or are honest enough to not be blinded by nationalist hysteria! Vietnam does that to people. Quakerish quasi-socialist parents did that to me! What fun it was growing up "anti-British", that is to say tuned to political lies!

Just have to hope the Saudis get overthrown and the people rid the world of the Wahhabis. Whether Washington would be mad enough to invade Saudi Arabia after a popular revolution and reinstall the House of Saud and their Wahhabi jihadi allies...

Tom Hickey said...

Non-state groups are only dangerous when they are being funded and armed. That's a no brainer. Then the question is who is funding and providing the arms.

To be effective they also need some intel.

So it is not difficult to see that they are being run by intel services.

Malmo's Ghost said...

Tom, I don't doubt your assertions. But could your cite reputable sources? I really do have an interest in getting at the truth here.

Tom Hickey said...

In Syria, militias armed by the Pentagon fight those armed by the CIA

U.S. Delivers 3,000 Tons Of Weapons And Ammo To Al-Qaeda & Co in Syrial

berko said...

@Tom. At the very least the constant western military intervention in the region has helped create an environment more receptive to radical ideologies, particularly amongst angry idle young men.

We may call an accidental drone strike on civilians regrettable, or collateral damage, but I bet it feels a lot more personal on the ground, and all a radical group has to do is point at the injustice of these events.

Tom Hickey said...


I would say that those drone strike that wiped out wedding parties and air strike that destroyed hospitals looks a lot like terrorism to them, just high tech instead of the low tech tactics available to them.

The Same was said by white Americans about the "red savages."