Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Someone on Quora asked "Why do some British people not like Donald Trump?"

Nate White, an articulate and witty writer from England wrote this magnificent response.
A few things spring to mind.
Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem.
For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace - all qualities, funnily enough, with which his predecessor Mr. Obama was generously blessed.
So for us, the stark contrast does rather throw Trump’s limitations into embarrassingly sharp relief.
Plus, we like a laugh. And while Trump may be laughable, he has never once said anything wry, witty or even faintly amusing - not once, ever.
I don’t say that rhetorically, I mean it quite literally: not once, not ever. And that fact is particularly disturbing to the British sensibility - for us, to lack humour is almost inhuman.
But with Trump, it’s a fact. He doesn’t even seem to understand what a joke is - his idea of a joke is a crass comment, an illiterate insult, a casual act of cruelty.
Trump is a troll. And like all trolls, he is never funny and he never laughs; he only crows or jeers.
And scarily, he doesn’t just talk in crude, witless insults - he actually thinks in them. His mind is a simple bot-like algorithm of petty prejudices and knee-jerk nastiness.
There is never any under-layer of irony, complexity, nuance or depth. It’s all surface.
Some Americans might see this as refreshingly upfront.
Well, we don’t. We see it as having no inner world, no soul.
And in Britain we traditionally side with David, not Goliath. All our heroes are plucky underdogs: Robin Hood, Dick Whittington, Oliver Twist.
Trump is neither plucky, nor an underdog. He is the exact opposite of that.
He’s not even a spoiled rich-boy, or a greedy fat-cat.
He’s more a fat white slug. A Jabba the Hutt of privilege.
And worse, he is that most unforgivable of all things to the British: a bully.
That is, except when he is among bullies; then he suddenly transforms into a snivelling sidekick instead.
There are unspoken rules to this stuff - the Queensberry rules of basic decency - and he breaks them all. He punches downwards - which a gentleman should, would, could never do - and every blow he aims is below the belt. He particularly likes to kick the vulnerable or voiceless - and he kicks them when they are down.
So the fact that a significant minority - perhaps a third - of Americans look at what he does, listen to what he says, and then think 'Yeah, he seems like my kind of guy’ is a matter of some confusion and no little distress to British people, given that:
* Americans are supposed to be nicer than us, and mostly are.
* You don't need a particularly keen eye for detail to spot a few flaws in the man.
This last point is what especially confuses and dismays British people, and many other people too; his faults seem pretty bloody hard to miss.
After all, it’s impossible to read a single tweet, or hear him speak a sentence or two, without staring deep into the abyss. He turns being artless into an art form; he is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shit. His faults are fractal: even his flaws have flaws, and so on ad infinitum.
God knows there have always been stupid people in the world, and plenty of nasty people too. But rarely has stupidity been so nasty, or nastiness so stupid.
He makes Nixon look trustworthy and George W look smart.
In fact, if Frankenstein decided to make a monster assembled entirely from human flaws - he would make a Trump.
And a remorseful Doctor Frankenstein would clutch out big clumpfuls of hair and scream in anguish:
'My God… what… have… I… created?
If being a twat was a TV show, Trump would be the boxed set.

Monday, January 28, 2019

A teachable moment

Abridged Charles Pierce:

"It was said by more than a few people that the shutdown would prove to be an alpha test for small government. Instead, it became a demonstration that 40 years of that kind of thinking may finally have run out of energy. Without necessarily meaning to do so, those thousands of Americans made the opposite case by standing in all those lines. Without necessarily meaning to do so, those thousands of Americans decided that government was the solution, and not the problem, at least as far as getting from the ticket counter to the jetway.

"I'm stressing the whole air-traffic business because that's where the long slide toward Trumpism began. When Ronald Reagan broke the controllers' union, he signaled that the federal government was a) open for business, and b) on the side of management, and therefore on the side of capital and not labor, and the Republican Party committed itself to that equation as a matter of faith. Simultaneously, it adopted supply-side economics as its only real policy in that area. And that's where it's been since 1981. Until, I suspect, maybe, now."
..."It's not often in our history that we have had this kind of chance to see what we shouldn't ever be."

Sunday, January 13, 2019

"Why do liberals think Trump supporters are stupid?"

The following is by Florida writer Adam-Troy Castro
'An anguished question from a Trump supporter: "Why do liberals think Trump supporters are stupid?"
The serious answer: Here’s what we really think about Trump supporters - the rich, the poor, the malignant and the innocently well-meaning, the ones who think and the ones who don't...
That when you saw a man who had owned a fraudulent University, intent on scamming poor people, you thought "Fine."
That when you saw a man who had made it his business practice to stiff his creditors, you said, "Okay."
That when you heard him proudly brag about his own history of sexual abuse, you said, "No problem."
That when he made up stories about seeing muslim-Americans in the thousands cheering the destruction of the World Trade Center, you said, "Not an issue."
That when you saw him brag that he could shoot a man on Fifth Avenue and you wouldn't care, you chirped, "He sure knows me."
That when you heard him illustrate his own character by telling that cute story about the elderly guest bleeding on the floor at his country club, the story about how he turned his back and how it was all an imposition on him, you said, "That's cool!"
That when you saw him mock the disabled, you thought it was the funniest thing you ever saw.
That when you heard him brag that he doesn't read books, you said, "Well, who has time?"
That when the Central Park Five were compensated as innocent men convicted of a crime they didn't commit, and he angrily said that they should still be in prison, you said, "That makes sense."
That when you heard him tell his supporters to beat up protesters and that he would hire attorneys, you thought, "Yes!"
That when you heard him tell one rally to confiscate a man's coat before throwing him out into the freezing cold, you said, "What a great guy!"
That you have watched the parade of neo-Nazis and white supremacists with whom he curries favor, while refusing to condemn outright Nazis, and you have said, "Thumbs up!"
That you hear him unable to talk to foreign dignitaries without insulting their countries and demanding that they praise his electoral win, you said, "That's the way I want my President to be."
That you have watched him remove expertise from all layers of government in favor of people who make money off of eliminating protections in the industries they're supposed to be regulating and you have said, "What a genius!"
That you have heard him continue to profit from his businesses, in part by leveraging his position as President, to the point of overcharging the Secret Service for space in the properties he owns, and you have said, "That's smart!"
That you have heard him say that it was difficult to help Puerto Rico because it was the middle of water and you have said, "That makes sense."
That you have seen him start fights with every country from Canada to New Zealand while praising Russia and quote, "falling in love" with the dictator of North Korea, and you have said, "That's statesmanship!"
That Trump separated children from their families and put them in cages, managed to lose track of 1500 kids. has opened a tent city incarceration camp in the desert in Texas - he explains that they’re just “animals” - and you say, “well, ok then.”
That you have witnessed all the thousand and one other manifestations of corruption and low moral character and outright animalistic rudeness and contempt for you, the working American voter, and you still show up grinning and wearing your MAGA hats and threatening to beat up anybody who says otherwise.
What you don't get, Trump supporters in 2019, is that succumbing to frustration and thinking of you as stupid may be wrong and unhelpful, but it's also...hear me...charitable.
Because if you're NOT stupid, we must turn to other explanations, and most of them are less flattering.'

Friday, January 04, 2019

Listen to Spocko!


Michal Spocko
Watching the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination race start on MSNBC makes me weary.
Here is my plan: Every time I see a story about Warren, Beto, Biden, Harris, Sanders or any Democratic presidential nominee. I will stop and ask myself.
"What can I do stop the criminality of Republicans? What can I do to expose the anti-democratic institutions and organization they run? Especially the ones that made Trump, McConnell, and Ryan possible."
Let's say we want our candidate, whomever they are, to support Medicare for all. How can we help ALL of them?
One way is to learn how the drug companies and health insurance companies will attack them and then prepare to beat back their lies and paid liars.
Let's say we want campaign finance reform. How can we help ALL of our side?
One way is to push to have the people who broke campaign finance laws in 2016 and 2018 to be punished. I'm especially looking at the NRA. Busting NRA executives for campaign finance violations and treason is a twofer Democrats.
Focus on REPUBLICAN problems instead of ours. A great way to lose focus on the ongoing criminality of the Republicans is when we are set up for the ol' 'Let's you and him fight" game. Don't fall for it!
The Republicans and their organization enablers should be worried about going to jail, not chortling as they watch Democratic presidential candidates attack each other.
When you have to urge to attack someone on our side or respond to a comment on a post, stop and think, "Who can I attack on THEIR side instead?"
We can channel our shared disgust for Republicans and their terrible behavior away from each other.
Try it today and make this a Happy New Year for our side.
Your comment can be the one that reminds your friends of who is the real problem.
I look forward to hearing about all the internal attacks you stopped and refocused.
LLAP
Spocko

Answer: Very easily.

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