Punching Down An Aspect Of “The New Abnormal”

On the weekend of Martin Luther King day,John Lewis expressed openly his disbelief in the validity of the Trump victory.Trump’s disbelief in the Russian hacking,Trump’s advocacy of Putin and Wikileaks,Trumps condemnation of NATO,Trump’s attacks on the intelligence community etc.lend increasing concern and credibility to the possibility that he is blackmailable by Putin and his cyber spies.Much as we would not want to believe in this degree of U.S. vulnerability it all makes a horrid kind of sense.Trumps behavior in trying to encapsulate himself by distancing from the establishment press figuratively and literally ,continuing to use his old twitter account to punch down at the likes of John Lewis and to presage foreign policy decisions rather than to use POTUS accounts is ominous.The use of Trump Towers and Trump International Hotel as well as Florida sites,indicates a serious lack of veneration for the office and it’s symbols.Obama may have displayed too much veneration and humility and not taken enough victory laps for considerable accomplishment,but the Trolling Trumpeter takes credit for anticipated victories often unrelated and unrelatable to his efforts.
Americans may have elected Trump anyway,voting on bits and bytes where disinformation ,information,and outright lies were equally used to support a position already taken.This parenthetically is one of the huge disadvantages of social media compared to traditional media.Which,when added to the lack of validation of sources by the bits and bytes folks,adds to the danger in the world of “new abnormals”.( A phrase attributable to the editor in chief of The National Review.)



  1. In reference to SB’s brief comment Jan 25, 2:26AM:
    I took the time to look more carefully at each of SB’s list of Democrat “achievements” of the past eight years. A searching mind would welcome honest observations and welcome adjustment to more accurate-to-reality understandings. Instead of correcting my possible mistakes or my misread of the topic (thereby clarifying these important issues for all the readers), SB simply labeled my agreements, observations, and corrections a “diatribe”. “Diatribe” is defined as “a bitter and abusive attack”. It is not that. But one wonders how SB would know its nature given that she claims that she did not have “time to read it”. There is an important lesson here. I think the following may apply:
    Some people identify so deeply with an idea or set of ideas that any criticism or logical diminishment of that idea’s accuracy is taken as an attack against the very soul of the person who holds that idea. This sensitivity tends to be obstructive of adjustment and growth. Typical of much religious belief, it is also often found among those who grow dependent on political ideas for a sense of meaning in their lives. “Protection of” (religious-like) becomes more important than the “testing of” (science-like). The election of Trump has in dramatic numbers brought the symptoms of this confining human trait to the fore.
    If we want to be guided by the most accurate-to-reality ideas we need to embrace those ideas most capable of surviving the best tests we can devise. This format called The Octogenarians provides for us such an opportunity.

  2. What are the possibilities? Given many, why is such certitude given to a few? I suppose specific agendas are better served by focusing on those few that support the desired world view. Trump makes a comment about Putin’s exceptional leadership and by some it is assumed that this is an “advocacy” of Putin. Does this mean that acknowledging Rommel’s leadership skills as a Nazi general is proof that one supported the Nazi agenda? It is written that Trump has “condemned NATO”, but isn’t it possible that a criticism stating the fact that many NATO members are not carrying their own weight means that Trump wants that organization brought up to date and strengthened? Last I heard, Trump acknowledged Russia’s participation in hacking. But hacking of US interests is not new. It happened numerous times during the Obama administration with little if any retribution. The use of Trump Towers, Trump International Hotel, and Florida sites might only mean that Trump isn’t sworn in as president yet. It could also mean that he has assets that make his situation unlike any other and they might well be used to our Country’s benefit. As for what “indicates a serious lack of veneration for the office and its symbols”, isn’t a refusal to attend the historic, peaceful transition ceremony exactly that? John Lewis (who dissed the George W. Bush inauguration as well as that of Trump) and more than two dozen other far leftist Democrats are clearly accelerating the dissolution of veneration.
    In 2008 I remember speculating about the future of the Obama administration. Years attending Reverend Wright’s Church, married by a preacher who sermonized, “God Damn the United States of America”, suggested what for Obama’s “leadership? I thought that this might mean that Obama actually believed the US to be the prime source of much of the world’s conflict and that Obama might retract us from our “leadership” role. He did that and now we face a metastasized, deadly, extreme Islam. “Joe the plumber” clarified the probability that there would be efforts to make government the prime controlling factor (as opposed to a market system) redistributing resources for the sake of economic and health equity. Obama did that and the economy has been crawling along sluggishly – a record period of low growth in GNP.
    No matter these negatives, I also believed that a great benefit would come from the fact that the majority population voted for a man of black heritage for their President. We could finally put to rest the canard that we are a racist country. We would now be well on our way to judging individuals by the content of their character and would move away from tribal-like primitivisms. I misjudged the degree to which so many are addictively needy for identification with their group’s “specialness” (no matter it be victim status or superiority). So, we apparently remain a “racist” country in the sense that many still need to believe that race is important. Despite empirical and logical evidence, we will continue having to navigate among those who guide themselves with myriad forms of distortions applied in order to enhance cherished (but dysfunctional) beliefs.
    But Daedal2207 is justified in having concerns. Trump often “shoots from the hip”, seems over sensitive to criticisms, and is sloppy with his Tweeting retorts. No matter her possibly foolish political views and her misread of Trump gestures, Meryl Streep is not “overrated” as an actress (Do they come any better?). Our Country is experiencing a “conflict of visions”. “Leftist” and “original intent” agendas are different and at their core are not compatible. One will serve the human species better than the other. No idea is any better than the evidence that supports it. I think that this effort at clarification is our most noble task. Thank you Daedal2207 for stimulating this process.

    1. The certitude of obfuscating platitudes.

      DS: “Obama did that and the economy has been crawling along sluggishly – a record period of low growth in GNP.” Really?

      “Lackluster economic growth in the United States REMAINS THE ENVY OF THE DEVELOPED WORLD. The U.S. economy has struggled to grow at much better than a 2% annual pace during the seven-year expansion, and employment gains have been steady but largely unimpressive compared with past recoveries. BUT THOSE IMPROVEMENTS BEAT THOSE OF OTHER DEVELOPED COUNTRIES, says a new report […] (emphasis added) “http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2016/06/16/the-u-s-economy-is-in-great-shape-compared-to-its-peers/

      What is the measuring stick that DS wishes to use? Here are some statistics that apply to the Obama Administration and might assist in clearing some of the fog of hatred and privileged insecurity:

      83.2% high school graduation rate … highest in history;
      10% unemployment in 2009 … now 4.7%;
      Reduced the federal deficit from 9.8% of GDP in 2009 to 3.2% in 2916;
      Saved the American auto industry and monies loaned were paid back — American car companies some of the most profitable in the world, with millions of jobs saved;
      Job growth 82 straight months … longest streak ever in the history of our country;
      Made Medicare solvent for years to come because of slowdown of healthcare cost;
      Affordable Care Act — cannot be denied health insurance because of pre-existing conditions, women cannot be charged more, no lifetime cap on benefits, more than 90% of the country currently insured for the first time;
      Science … put rover on Mars;
      Drop in the federal prison population in decades;
      Homelessness among veteran Americans dropped by half;
      16 countries around the globe gave up their enriched uranium;
      Credit card companies no longer allowed to change interest rate without notification;
      No LGBT discrimination not allowed in the workplace;
      Dependence on foreign oil plummeted public access to Bin Laden’s “Bookshelf” released by National Intelligence Office … outcome of having killed the mastermind of the 9/11/2001 terrorist attack on American soil;
      Syria got rid of its chemical weapons;
      Banned torture by American personnel;
      Established relationship with Cuba after a 50+ years of failed embargo policy;
      Lifted stem cell research ban;
      Increased by billions of dollars funds dedicated to mental healthcare for American service members, veterans and their families;
      Tobacco regulation laws, to inform what is in product;
      Banks can no longer use risky practices in pursuit of profits while using customers funds;
      Muslim registry, created as a result of 9/11, dismantled;
      Solitary confinement for juveniles was banned;
      Overseas “Black Sites” closed down;
      Most diverse cabinet and judgeships in history of country;
      To name a few.

      DS: “… far leftist Democrats are clearly accelerating the dissolution of veneration.”

      Really? Please, sir, sanctimonious pronouncements only reveal biases rather than provide “empirical and logical evidence.” May I remind you of the Bill Kristol Playbook/Manual, which provided the following instructions to the “rightist” Republicans?:

      “Any Republican urge to negotiate a ‘least bad’ compromise with the Democrats, and thereby gain momentary public credit for helping the president ‘do something’ about health care, should be resisted.”

      Michael Grunwald’s book “The New New Deal” thankfully documented the continued Republican strategy:

      “… secret meetings led by House GOP whip Eric Cantor (in December 2008) and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (in early January 2009) in which they laid out their daring (though cynical and political) no-honeymoon strategy of all-out resistance to a popular President-elect during an economic emergency. ‘If he was for it,’ former Ohio Senator George Voinovich explained, ‘we had to be against it.'”

      Is Senator Mitch McConnell’s famous quote as to his goal needed here? Patriotism, support and respect for the office on behalf of the country as a whole had no priorities. Raw power control were the marching orders. It is a disgrace that the president of the United States was denied one of his duties … the appointment of a Supreme Court justice for almost a year.

      The naïveté of blind support in light of the “empirical and logical evidence” of a corrupt life lived is embarrassing at its least, and dangerous at its worst. Reverend Wright’s Church? “Joe the plumber?” This is it? Advocacy of beliefs which ignores the “empirical and logical evidence” to the contrary is deceitful. To attribute by wishful followers, morality, fundamental decency and honor to someone who, through “empirical evidence and logical evidence,” is devoid of such, is a delusional and malicious attempt to persuade everyone to jump off the cliff … it’s only 1″ deep.

      The agenda of the alt-right seems to be to perpetuate the spreading income inequality. Were it not for the safety nets of the New Deal and the Great Society, the Great Recession would have become Great Depression II. These were the very complex conditions that the Obama Administration inherited on January 2009:
      The Great Recession of 2008-2009: Causes, Consequences, and Policy Responses http://ftp.iza.org/dp4934.pdf

      Have not even begun to address the respect and admiration that President Obama earned, upgrading our standing throughout the world. BTW, what was “the original intent?” 3/5 of a person?

      1. Thanks Susanna,It is hard to stand opposed to the shifting sands of rightist argument.By standing on the same ground one risks being on shifting sands oneself.You do well by objectifying the argument and presenting facts.Of course, here again there is a ready made battery of different “facts” i.e. damn lies or twisted data.We’ll see what Americans have to say and do when employment falls and jobs are not returned and trading blocs around the world include us secondarily and at a disadvantage.I call it as occurring within a year of Trump style voodoo economics.

        1. daedal2207: “We’ll see what Americans have to say and do when employment falls and jobs are not returned and trading blocs around the world include us secondarily and at a disadvantage.I call it as occurring within a year of Trump style voodoo economics.”

          Totally concur. How much stronger to state it?

      2. This is in response to an SB comment dated Jan 20, 6:15. I am all for “clearing some of the fog of” inappropriate “hatred” and “privileged insecurity”.
        SB provided a helpful list that presents what she believes are Obama achievements. I agree with a few of them, but most are worthy of a closer look:
        The measuring stick I intended for comparing growth was our entire history of Presidential past performance. America has never endured a stretch equaling the current nine-year streak without GDP growth exceeding 3%.
        Unemployment in 2009 may have reached 10% and today it is 4.7% along with the largest ever percentage of drop outs from the labor force (Those who are no longer looking for work are not counted as being in the unemployed category. This artificially lowers the unemployment rate).
        The rate of the sizable Federal deficit dropped for a number of reasons including: Sequestration (includes cuts in the military) and great oil wealth coming from fracking – no thanks to Obama. Interestingly the National Debt will increase about 1 trillion this year (built in entitlement increases).
        Our government (with Bush’s help) seems to have saved GM and Chrysler. Ford made it on its own. It is uncertain if private money would have been available and if different structuring under bankruptcy laws would have done as well or better, hired more people or fewer.
        There has been job growth, but the quality of new jobs along with wages has not been admirable. This is probably a major reason that Trump is President.
        There has apparently been a diminishment in the rate at which healthcare costs had been increasing. There has also been an increase in premiums, deductibles, a diminishment in coverage, and less access to doctors of choice. (Weren’t we told that there would be an overall diminishment of $2700 per family and “we could keep our doctors”?)
        Science rolls along, supported by both parties.
        If the drop in the Federal prison population reflects an overall drop in crime this is worthy of pride and may reflect some good policy decisions. If the drop in prison population is a matter of too much leniency we will ultimately see more crime as a consequence of fewer criminals being separated from society. We know that the murder rate in some large cities is definitely up – greatly up.
        I am glad to hear that homelessness among veterans is down. (Are there fewer veterans?) Homelessness overall is up almost everywhere.
        16 countries around the world gave up their enriched uranium? They gave up ALL their enriched uranium? Which countries did this? Seems like a good idea if dangerously led countries are among them.
        Syria got rid of its chemical weapons? Apparently not all of them.
        Torture was loosely defined and banned. It is debatable if adhering to this form of “morality” will save more lives than it will cost.
        Opening trade with no concessions means that Cuba is strengthened as a dictator-led country much to the detriment of its population.
        If the resources newly going to improved mental care are used well it is a good thing. If those resources had an even better use, yet were diverted by well-meaning government officials it is not so good.
        I like the freeing of stem cell research.
        A Muslim registry? Banning a registry of US citizens would be a good thing. But what about knowing who among those wishing to immigrate to the U.S. believe in sharia? A religiously led government is advocated by many adherents of the Islamic faith. Should we accept new citizens who advocate a form of government that is in fundamental conflict with our own?
        “Diverse” cabinet and judgeships is listed as an achievement? Does this mean that it is believed that accuracy of judgment and “justice” hinge on race factors?
        If the CIA in its war against terror cannot detain unlawful enemy combatants in facilities offshore we may find ourselves having to contend with more of them here on our shores. This is another feel-good, high-moral, I-am-good and others-are-bad stance that may or may not save lives in the real and often harsh world.
        Many Democrats did not attend the inauguration. Those who do not understand the importance of the peaceful transition of power and its traditions tells us much about what is lacking when measuring their content of character.
        “Social justice” is contrary to “justice”. Leftist and Progressive ideas about group-based rights are in conflict with Original-intent, equal-individual rights. Socialism is counter to capitalism. One cannot advance without a compromise of the other. We are a divided country and it is rational for each side to make an effort to “stop” the other from attaining its fundamental goals. To the degree that we agree on some specific policies we can unify. We can agree to argue our differences without resort to violence. Otherwise, unity will not happen until one dominates the other. Our job here with the Octogenarians (and everywhere) is to honestly and truthfully conduct the debate hoping to clarify why which of the two (or something other) should prevail.
        “Original intent” strives to achieve the maximum possible equality of treatment under the law for each citizen. It tells us something sad about human nature given that it took many years (and a civil war) to define who was a “citizen”. Thus we experienced a period when slaves in some states were “counted” for political purposes as being something less than having full personhood. For pragmatic reasons legal (what works best) differences in liberty between children and adults provides a contemporary example of the ideal being compromised for pragmatic reasons. But I assure SB that “original intent” excludes the labeling of anyone 3/5th of a person.

        1. With apologies, there was not enough time to read this diatribe. Consequently, may one offer the following:

          “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” Sir Walter Raleigh, Benjamin Franklin … take your pick.

          Dogma versus pragmatism. Latter gets the vote.

  3. David Brooks writing in today’s NY Times writes of a “carnival culture” and how ” we’ve crowned a fool king.” He says Donald Trump exists on two levels: the presidential level and the fool level”…”His tweets are classic fool behavior. They are raw, ridiculous and frequently self-destructive…The first problem with today’s carnival culture is that there’s an ocean of sadism lurking just below the surface. The second is that it’s not real…It’s just combative display” unfortunately believed by millions of deluded Americans and supported by the 1% as a means of controlling the nation to their own advantage.

    1. Astute observation! The rapist had “play” handcuffs that happened to work and a government issued badge! Tea party type non cooperation is what’s left.John Lewis’ call has to reverberate.Can American Democracy be destroyed in a few weeks? We are certainly seeing its weaknesses up front and personal!

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