People who habitually employ an abusive and bullying tone, are, at bottom, insecure people with a weak ego. It is weakness that makes such people so aggressive and unkind in their statements. Why are such people so afraid of hearing what they dislike, that they must launch an attack not on what someone has said, but to savage the character of the person who said it? They act very bellicose, baiting, berating, but that warlike manner is a bit of a sham. It conceals drastic insufficiencies of character and will. Certain people walk around with such a huge their chip on the shoulder that it renders them unable to stand upright or think straight. An insecure character is always on the verge of mauling anything that does not agree with its own vulgar ideas. Novelty offends them and turns them sour. Their thoughts travel on a well used road and, in spite of contradicting evidence, they are determined to remain in their usual rut. Anything that collides with their prejudices is seen as treasonous. Their prejudices seem to them to be God’s law, not to be challenged or questioned.
A weak ego is always trying to portray itself as a strong one. But a weak ego is ultimately, defeatist. Such an ego glares, paws the ground, lowers its head, but never charges with telling effect. Its role is merely to alarm and disconcert. People gain strength of character by doing selfless and brave things such as being faithful to comrades or enduring grave dangers, and the result is that they forge their own self-respect. People who have a high regard for themselves, as distinguished from conceit, do not bully nor intimate nor try to overbear and bully. Such things are beneath a person of honor.
I had my first experience with shady and dangerous characters while working as a legal investigator for the U.S. Senate. I was assigned to make a case about widespread fraud in California nursing homes. The attorney who hired me, a friend, clearly didn’t expect me to succeed. The relevant statutes were expiring, and my three-person staff was inexperienced. Yet within six weeks, we had the FEC undertaking a full investigation, as did the San Diego D.A., as well as the FBI, who launched a full field probe.
When I announced these results to my bosses, they were glum. I was puzzled. Then I was abruptly fired. Thanks to an article I happened to see in The Wall Street Journal, a law firm hired me to foil a two billion dollar takeover of an international pharmaceutical company, headed by the target I had been pursuing. At that time, I was getting death threats, hang up calls, etc., because I suspected that the target had ties to organized crime. Thanks to a former California State Trooper, everyday I had to go out and get on my knees to search for bombs strapped to the drive shaft of my car or look for one in the dashboard or the glove box. The takeover collapsed because of the evidence I uncovered. The friend who had hired me for the Senate, soon became the head of the nursing home association. He had been in their pocket from the first
I have also endured at least four plots against my life: the Israelis had planned to assassinate me in Lebanon. State Dept. intelligence warned me that I was going to be garroted while riding in the back of a Mercedes limousine on my way to interview a Christian warlord. In another case, a renegade CIA agent threatened to kill me along with my family unless I stopped looking into his crooked arms deals in Iran. Two and three star U.S. generals told me that the agent had hired assassins in Tehran to murder five Rockwell International employees, plus he had murdered a U.S. Air Force colonel who had tried to bug his Tehran apartment. A vice president of E Systems, who personally knew the agent, said to me, “This man will kill you within two years.” The going rate for a hired killing in Washington, D.C., at that time was $50.00.
For six months, I lived with a 4500-member black gang in the Southside of Chicago where I was constantly told that I would be killed by a shotgun blast, and on two occasions, I was almost beaten to death. When I was in the Arizona State Prison to do an article for LIFE Magazine, there was an inmate plot to have me knifed in the Yard because a corrupt associate warden spread the rumor I was a narcotics agent. Two convict leaders threatened to take me and the prison psychologist hostage unless their ailing comrade, close to death, was taken out of the prison hospital and put in a civilian hospital n the town of Florence. They gave me forty-eight hours; it took two weeks, but I think that getting that sick inmate out was probably the thing that made them call off the plot to kill me.
So I know what is like to endure a hostile environment in which anything can happen and where you can do little to prevent the worst. Sometimes, you can ward off a huge misfortune by going to meet it, which is what I tried to do. Sometimes only very dangerous situations can bring your innate powers into full activity.
My point is that no achievement in life, no amount of bravery or endurance of hardship entitles you to be uncivil, boorish, belligerent or overbearing. In reading some of the comments made at Pat’s site, one wonders if some of the commentators ever doubted their own certainty or ever asked themselves if a different interpretation of a fact was possible. One is forced to ask such people, have you never considered that what you say is mistaken or in error or that your statement perhaps requires re-examination?
First, I want to say that I feel genuine pity for the plight of many of the Trump supporters. Their needs and welfare have been ignored or overlooked or edged to the sidelines. Next, I want to say that my observations are not based on any political bias. I have never belonged to a political party.
I said on the site, that Trump lacks courage, and I believe he does, and when people cry, “evidence,” I cite what my own eyes have seen. Trump doesn’t fight an opponent; he tries to undermine him. Cruz’s Canadian birth rendered him ineligible for the presidency because he is not an American citizen; President Obama was a Muslim who lacked a birth certificate. Those accusations are not forthright. In fact, they are lies. Trump doesn’t confront his opponent head on, but attacks his unguarded flanks. No brave person argues by hearsay or baseless rumor or deliberate falsehood. Such things are not “manly.” (I am keeping in mind the women in the military who are manly and brave.) Pat tendered judgments about Trump and no one asked him to produce evidence. Pat has been what he has seen and has the intellect to make a judgment about it.
If my statement about Trump was flawed, it is because it was so broad and general. But I would urge everyone on this site to study the long New York Times article about Trump’s casinos which makes plain he has no steadiness of will. He vows one thing, and then does another. His word is not his bond; to him it is an inconvenience easily overridden. Instead of being honest, Trump is skilled a being sly, extremely skilled at misrepresentation. His ability to substitute one arrangement for another, his ability to shift casino revenues to cover his personal debt and loans, his ability to get extravagant bonuses out of an ailing company are admirable only for their unscrupulous adroitness.
What do I mean? “How Donald Trump bankrupted His Atlantic City Casinos and Still Made Millions,” published by The New York Times, and it is worth anyone’s study. The article reads, “On the presidential campaign trail, Mr. Trump…often boasts of his success in Atlantic City, of how he outwitted the Wall Street firms that financed his casinos, and rode the value of his name to riches.” (See link.)
It is worth examining that statement. The article notes that while Trump’s casinos did poorly, “Trump put little of his own money into them, and shifted his personal debts to the casinos and collected millions of dollars in salary, bonuses and other payments. The burden of his failures dell on the investors and others who bet on his business acumen.”
When Trump began his casino empire, he borrowed money at high interest rates after telling regulators that he wouldn’t, and, even then, there were signs that his ventures were doomed from the start. His casinos made four trips to bankruptcy court, each time, Trump persuaded bondholders to accept less money than they were due, rather than be wiped out. But his companies would then add even more debt to their balance sheets.
Trump faced financial ruin in the 1990s by delaying payments on his debt, so he took his casinos public and unloaded his risks on shareholders. In one venture, stock and bondholders lost more than $1.5 billion. On the way, Trump put a number of local contractors and suppliers out of business.
In addition, Trump routinely took money out of his casinos to invest in Manhattan real estate projects. The casinos were always underfunded.
As the 90’s wore on and the underfunded casinos continued to fail, Trump’s lenders insisted he make a business plan, appoint a chief financial officer and sell, among other things, the Trump Shuttle Airline, his stake in the New York Plaza Hotel, (which went bankrupt,) and the lenders put him on a $450, 00 a month budget for his personal and household expenses. In spite of mounting failures, he still made money. He always made money.
He was expert at shifting much of his personal debt into the casinos, and then shifted them onto a new group of shareholders. He established a new publicly traded company, Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts, and 19 million shares were sold at $14. But not long after, the company posted losses of $66 million. In 1996 and in 1997 his casinos lost $42 million, and they lost $40 million in 1998. And the loses continued. A week after the initial public offering, the new company began using some of the S300 million it had raised to clear away Trump’s personal debts.
Yet in spite of those losses, Trump made money, receiving a$1 million a year for what was essentially a part time job. In 1996, he was also paid a $5 million bonus, and, in 1999, when the company failed just three years after spending 460 million to buy back the former Trump Regency Hotel and after spending $26 million in renovations, Trump had to demolish the building, taking a $135 million write-off.
The list goes on and on.
In reading about Trump, I get no sense that he values what the philosopher John Dewey called, “…the morals of humility, of obedience to law, of pity, of sympathy” Trump is very Darwinian. Pity and sympathy to him are merely a self-protective devices on the part of the weak, an attempt to limit the ruthlessly strong.
The Uses of Criticism
Most people bridle at anything that slights their knowledge or offends their vanity. But some make it a habit to bridle at anything.
To me, a discussion like the recent on the integrity of the U.S. media is a place to try and indentify your own semi-conscious biases. A discussion is an exchange of opinions, not a dog fight. A discussion is not the place or the occasion to try and discredit whatever collides with your own personal preferences. Our personal preferences are not God’s law. They are merely personal, and therefore extremely limited and full of flaws. Respect for facts should provide the solid ground under any discussion. In any disagreement, a fact should be confronted by another, more accurate fact, instead of throwing a lot of spiteful sand around that acts to obscure the matter.
Of course, people are not going to agree on certain topics because of their different natures, temperaments or gifts of soul and mind. Yet there are always a few participants in a discussion who simply want to prevail at any costs, and they ignore any efforts to try and obtain an objective view of the matter. Instead, they view the opinions of others as bitter rivals of their own, and from the outset, brand them irredeemably mistaken and corrupt. Such critics lack the discipline and patience to hear others out, and instead attack them with scorn and ridicule and with all the little, petty weapons of belittlement.
Yet none of us possesses a mind or a temperament identical to someone else’s. In every human nature, there will be different emphases, a different depth of interest, different degrees of tolerance, and different degrees of intelligence, comprehension and analytical thought. One thing to remember when you listen to a dispute is that no one can see over their own height. You can only admire in another what you already possess in yourself. A carthorse makes a poor racehorse. A pint cannot image a gallon. A cup holds only a little bit of liquid next to a jug. The jug may think it is imparting priceless insight, but its efforts are completely futile. A cup can hold only so much. It is a waste of time to discuss the glory of colors with someone who is colorblind, or praise the masterpieces of classical music if you are tone-deaf. If your intelligence is of a low order, it will mistake the good intentions of another who is simply trying to air his own views honestly and who lacks any intention to insult anyone in the attempt to assert their superiority. If someone says something bitter or sarcastic, they are probably doing the best they can with the gifts God has given them, but sometimes that doesn’t count for very much.
Politeness and Civility
I believe that to discard politeness is to relish in petty malice. It is wise to be polite and stupid to be rude. Politeness is a tacit agreement that another’s defects or shortcomings will be ignored and will not provide grounds for you to air your own personal supremacy. Civility is a bit like wax which responds to warmth but not to cold. Civility can make people receptive, pliable, agreeable and obliging. Rudeness makes people freeze in place.
I believe that some of the harshest critics on the site are captives of the pleasure of hating. Without hating something, their lives would apparently lose their value, savor and meaning. As Hazlitt said, “Nature seems made up of antipathies: without something to hate, we should lose the very spring of thought and action. Life would turn to a stagnant pool, unruffled by jarring interests, the unruly passions of men.” Unfortunately, hatred comes from the heart, said Schopenhauer, and the heart cannot be altered. I agree with Hazlitt when he says hating is “a poisonous mineral,” that turns any discussions. into jealous spleen, bigotry and the desire to wound. Hatred always serves up pretexts to strangle, vilify, and disfigure any opponents.
By definition, people who hate deeply are incapable of taking a purely objective view of anything. Hatred prevents us from seeing the other side of a question. Hatred blinds us. Hatred prevents us from seeing a thing as it really is. Hatred comes from the heart, but I believe that some people become enraged because secretly they know that they are in the wrong. In any case, we cannot alter our heart; its bias is determined by motives and our unique make up. Contempt is not hatred. Someone who treats us with contempt at lest retains an interest in us, but hating somebody will mean that at some point they will hate you back, and this is an invitation o chaos and slaughter.
Do inveterate haters ever feel themselves refreshed, relieved, purified, ennobled, or strengthened by their hate? Does their hate put them in contact with what would elevate or improve them? To get angry about people who hate is a useless pastime. You don’t curse a stone because you find it in your path and have tripped over it. A stone is a stone. You don’t expect much from it.
Archibald Birdbath is a stout fellow, hardworking, fearless, (He is, of course, a fictional character.) To Mr. Birdbath, what the world really needs is correction. He is a busy, dedicated man, who when he looks out at the world, sees nothing but widespread error, mistaken ideas, and systematic ignorance. His job is to rebuke, refute, show up and embarrass the general stupidity of almost all people. He is a man of severe convictions. Nothing gets past him. He never slumbers. He is always on the alert, scanning the countryside in search of flaws. He has a hair trigger in his nature. One must tiptoe around him or else it he will get annoyed and try to wound whatever is nearby. The world must conform to what he designates as right. It is the task of the world has to redeem its failures.
It irks him that so many people believe that they are infallible like the old Popes. They are impervious to correction. There is no “live and let live” in Birdbath’s nature. Not only are they wrong, but they harbor no wish to be right. He sees the bulk of mankind as having no scruples, no delicacy of judgment, the bulk of them condemned to think in unison, addicted to clichés. They have coarse, little souls that lack basic decency. But Birdbath is a man of righteousness. Birdbath, the majestic and all knowing, Birdbath, the wise and decisive, declares this, and then declares that because no one else is qualified to perform his mission.
Birdbath is astounded by the impenetrable denseness of people around him. How exasperating they all are! Most of what people say is mere gibberish. If he had more time, he would cite the books he has read, the studies he has pondered, and the works of scholars who have analyzed the subjects he ejaculates on. He is a bit like Moses – he doesn’t reason or define, he just issues Commandments.
Birdbath is astounded by the impenetrable denseness of people around him. How exasperating they all are! Most of what people say is mere gibberish. If he had more time, he would cite the books he has read, the studies he has pondered, and the works of scholars who have analyzed the subjects he ejaculates on. He is a bit like Moses – he doesn’t reason or define, he just issues Commandments.
He grieves over the fact that most people are unkind, bigoted or mean- spirited. If he had time, he would teach them ethics.
My guess would be that Birdbath perhaps suffers from hypochondria, which Schopenhauer defines “a species of torment which not only makes us unreasonably cross with the things of the present, fills us with groundless anxiety on the score of future misfortunes entirely of our own manufacture but also leads to unmerited self reproach for what we have done in the past.” Inveterate hater suffers from this tormenting disease. People who are always discontented with themselves are likely to be addicted to hunting after things that vex and annoy and infuriate them, because they have a gloomy, restless temperament.
Contempt and hatred are different breeds. Contempt can easily turn into hatred, but people who feel initial contempt can also begin to threat people with respect and indulgent kindness. That is my hope for Birdbath.
1. How Donald Trump Bankrupted His Atlantic City Casinos, but …
Jun 11, 2016 · How Donald Trump Bankrupted His Atlantic City Casinos, … Mr. Trump pulled more than $1 million from his failing public … Still, Mr. Trump made
Jun 11, 2016 · How Donald Trump Bankrupted His Atlantic City Casinos, … Mr. Trump pulled more than $1 million from his failing public … Still, Mr. Trump made
Well said, and one could add Trump’s unwillingness to release his tax returns as further indication of cowardice.
Could we expect a similar analysis of Hillary Clinton?
People who habitually employ an abusive and bullying tone, are, at bottom, insecure people with a weak ego…
This ought to be an interesting thread.
It all depends on the nature of the disagreement. If it’s a question of whether to raise or lower a tax rate by 1% or something similar, then you can have a polite discussion about it. If on the other hand one side is insisting on policies which have a good chance of getting us killed it’s quite hard to have a polite discussion about that. Especially when the people you’re arguing with refuse to see that what they are advocating is insane.
That would be nice. I don’t want either candidate, but I find the questions of Clinton’s health, both psychological and physical, are even more dire than Trump’s.
Are you open to having your Clinton health hypothesis disproven. What would it take for this to happen? What fact or facts would convince you otherwise?
I’m living rent free in your head along with Trump, Dick.
P.S. – Anyone who engages in pop psychoanalysis on the basis of distant observation is either projecting or has no argument.
Tell me about the speeches Clinton gave to Wall Street that she won’t release.
I love pencil necks throwing that word around. This idiot.
People who pop analyze over the internet are child molesters.
Arguments through assertion are fun.
There are two basic forms of aggression; outward, which you address, and passive, which you ignore.
In a discussion, both are equally as fatal and both, IMO, come from the same source that you outline.
One is easier to identify and point a finger at, while the other flourishes, self righteously, while the finger is pointed.
In regards to the death threats against yourself; you had been in good company. Harry Markopolos who had spotted Bernard Madoff’s $65bn Ponzi scheme years earlier, has stated that at some point he stopped alerting the US authorities because he feared for his life.
Just how wide-spread is this phenomenon in the United States, do you know?
I mean, where do Americans get off hectoring the rest of the world about the Rule of Law, when, in their own country, when push comes to shove, one’s life would be in danger – just like so many other countries?
I would certainly not dismiss Mr Trump’s extremely advanced case of foot in mouth disease.
I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for one.
I need to read this post every week or so, to keep my worst impulses in check.
I fear you have not accepted the fact that
the US is “Exceptional ” as the elites from
both parties have told us on a continuing
basis. What is the adage? Rule of law for
thee but not for me is now writ large in this
society on every level IMO. Anarchy awaits!
Is there no low your tribe won’t sink to?
It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble.
it’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so! – Mark Twain
Upton Sinclair: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”
Richard, while I sympathize with any personal discomfort you have endured, and, in general, agree with the *thrust* of your take…my issue is, and I believe yours SHOULD be, as well; there is no longer even a general sense of agreement on what IS an “abusive and bullying tone”. Anything is, these days. To me. I find myself surrounded by people who have never been in the military. Never worked a loading dock or a harbor. Never been in a union or a union battle. In many cases have never been in jail, been in trouble, been in a physical fight, indeed, been in much, that involved danger or aggression. This is a gross generalization, but it has an element of truth in it, I believe. I deal with a nation (or state) full of bureaucratic admins, or Mr Rodgers like professionals. And then there are the college students and soccer Moms. It seems like anything is “bullying” to them. Serving friggin gluten food is bullying. Everybody—exaggeration, ok, but you get my point, hopefully..wraps themselves up in the language and shield (and sword?) of the ‘bullied victim’. It usually ends the discussion, with many saying ‘what is wrong with that guy, he must have a weak ego’. Yeah, maybe, or one must have a weak outer shell.
They are truly “Lost Children” – any challenge, even at the level of questioning some innocuous but dearly held belief is considered an attack.
Young men tell you that you are bullying them, young women tell you that they do not want to hear what you say.
A polite manner that leads to a polite discussion is only possible if BOTH sides think it a good idea or think at all.
I too lived on the “poor side” of the tracks among people who despised me for nothing other than “you don’t belong here”.
There were threats and actions taken against me for that reason alone.
There are NOW , more people that feel they have nothing and have no chance and are not interested in a discussion.
If you run into them at the wrong place there is no time to talk.
I think Hillary could dispel most of this talk by scheduling a press conference, and making sure people see her walking a few blocks and climbing a couple flights of stairs getting to it.
Then answering unscripted questions about her health, followed by another 1/2 hour of other questions & answers showing that she has put this issue to rest.
In short just get out there and be seen doing some things a healthy active individual does.
She might want to go shirtless surfing like our Canadian Prince Trudeau.
It’s interesting, Richard, more personally for me, you bring together Hazlitt and Schopenhauer on hatred.
good read, if I can put it like that.
Actually, the reply to all in this particular thread. What part of Sale’s article on civility did y’all miss?
Don, PLEASE, not right after lunch!!! I might have to go lay down….
Please, no shirtless surfing by either the 60+ Clinton or the 70+ Trump!
Not sure if here extensive campaign schedule counts, but if you go through it, you see lots of walking through factories like this one:
I’m not a believer in the ongoing health issue hypothesis, so I’m not the one that needs to be convinced.
In terms of political realities, Clinton and Trump are in the same boat. There is no upside to releasing that information (speeches or tax returns) this close to the election and lots of possible negative effects.
You decide which you find more onerous and cast your vote.
Well, Will, you are a breathing, living example of a post of mine that shows up below. I guess the part I missed was the part where I had to give up thinking, feeling, and commenting, precisely because it might offend people like you. No, its just fine to accuse a man of “cowardice”, a grievous and provocative insult from where i come from, because he won’t give in to the howl of the crowd and do what FDR thought acceptable. Have a little privacy. That, in your book, is “civility”. Your book stinks…to me. Is that civil enough for y’all?
You assume incorrectly that he has moral authority.
This should be the link to the NY Times story that is referenced in the main posting; you may need to turn on browser cookies to see it–
I don’t care much about “morality” arguments, especially for politicians, but assuming this bleak portrayal is only half-true The Donald looks like a very skilled scoundrel and this raise a disquieting question:
Why the heck would he want to be President?
A) Is he seing the presidency as so corrupt that his skills are a good match?
B) Is he running this “show” on behalf of some concealed party?
Bravo, Richard and well done. Please do not stop reminding us that we can disagree without destroying.
Hillary’s campaign against Obama in the primaries of 2008 initiated the rumors about Obama not being born in the USA. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/sep/23/donald-trump/hillary-clinton-obama-birther-fact-check/
According to Fact Check at link above, HRC herself cannot be tied to the rumor (lie) but her supporters can. (As Cuomo argued on CNN argued this a.m. HRC is responsible for emails by her staff which tie her State Dept. activities to her Foundation)
As for Trump being a COWARD… he states his mind… which is not something one can say about ANY politician. As for undermining his opponent, is there a politician alive or dead who has NOT done that?
The first paragraph in the essay is on the money; but it can be applied to most people.
I too would like to see a similar dissection of Clinton (either Hill or Bill – as they themselves say, when you get one you get two)
Here is a compilation of interviews with Trump wrt to politics going back to the 1960s
I’m a Trump supporter, please no pity, because I see the present situation in our country hopeless under our present style of political governance and the Democrats are offering much of the same that has put us where we are today. A lot of what you imply about Trump has truth to it but then quite a bit is pure garbage, shame on you. You need to come out with your critical view on Mrs Clinton for you to remain whole or at least worth reading.
I work in a business where your skin needs to be a foot deep so politeness and civility are not worth much but honesty, frankness and charity abounds.I had an employee point a gun at me from eight feet away and fire so I can empathize with your concerns about scoundrels. Oh, most head shots miss. Now human beings are all shady its just the degree of shadiness you find that allows you to categorize each one but human beings are good people with good morals and good intentions till it gets to politics. It will be over in November so be a little more charitable to us Trump supporters and God forbid if he wins.
One last thing. It has always been my view that it takes five attempts at making a business before one succeeds its just the four belly flops that wears on you and Trumps Casinos were his belly flops and the real problem was the banks who let it continue. It’s always the banks fault.
Thank you once again for your insights. Whatever quibbles I might have are always overcome by your ethos and logos in the Aristotelian tradition I inherited.
“Please, no shirtless surfing by either the 60+ Clinton or the 70+ Trump!”
This is a little misleading.
Trump just turned 70, and Hillary will be 69 by November.
They are essentially the same age.
hi Tyler, long time, how are you buddy? Glad to see you really took Mr. Sale’s piece to heart. I wish you all the best in your never-ending battle against widespread error, mistaken ideas, and systematic ignorance.
When Blegojevich tried to sell Obama’s old senate seat, he called up Obama’s aides and asked what he could get for it. Their reply was that he would have Obama’s “regard”. Blegojevich was furious. He kept shopping around till he got busted.
One commentator noted that Blegojevich greatly undervalued the value of the President’s regard.
Obama knew how to politic, Bleg is in prison.
HRC was smart enough to keep some distance between herself and the birthers. Donald will pay, is paying, for getting in front of the camera to proclaim himself their leader.
I’ve heard various anecdotes over the years that lead me to believe that presidential candidates from both parties had a tacit agreement to avoid overtly racists campaigns, or to undermine the legitimacy of their opponent.
Donald does not care about that tradition and “speaks his mind”. This doesn’t strike me as bravery, but lack of any sense of responsibility for the future of country.
There were hundreds or thousands of people who attended the speeches that Clinton gave. They are free to divulge the contents of the speeches. The reason that they haven’t is because the speeches were so boring that they can’t even remember what she said. As Clinton has released all of her tax returns for years, I’m not sure that your specious rejoinder even rises to the level of tu quoque.
Although I agree with you that Hillary ought to ‘get out more’, that is complicated when the GOP nominee makes comments about ‘the Second Amendment’. Which circles back to the thread topic of civility.
It’s my view that American politics began to diminish when Bush I ran Willie Horton ads in 1988. Things had been souring, but the work of his campaign manager (Lee Atwater, who later died, rather interestingly, of a tumor in the right frontal lobe) poisoned the norms of what passed for public ‘debate’.
Having served at the lowest level of local commissions and boards, I can say that when taking public testimony — in a room with armed deputies to ensure your safety — when some unfortunate, unhinged person shows up making threats, you begin to understand:
(1) why a lot of talented people in America have turned away from public service, and
(2) why the press and the rest of us need to do a better job of distinguishing between people who are genuinely engaged by public policy issues, as distinct from people who are drawn to ‘politics’ to play out their personal dramas and make others bend to their will.
As for SST comments, I’m coming around to the view that most around here (and I include myself) have been through enough traumas and stress in our lives that we are relatively skilled at ignoring the ‘noise’ as we seek to follow the main arguments and insights on any given thread or topic.
Like Mr Sale, I sympathize with what I see as Trump voters being fed up with government that has not worked for them. It is very frustrating to feel that some of the topics they raise will be denigrated simply because Trump is such a reckless, inconsistent egoist. They need a better champion, as do we all – the issues they are frustrated by will not go away until we have a much better conversation.
But that better conversation will require more civility.
Actually, I believe the problem with gluten is inflammation 😉
And yes, former soccer mom – and avid soccer fan.
Your comment speaks volumes.
I think you’ve nailed a lot of what’s amiss today.
I just want to say thanks, this is a really good essay. I’m saving this as a recommended reading for my younger relatives.
This is quite frankly bovine excrement.
I’ve worked for numerous small businesses since I was fourteen. I knew of only a handful of shady people who used bankruptcy to get out of paying creditors. Nobody respected them. I have my own experience as well. I started my own construction company when I was 21 (which I had to fold) and then another company when I was in my 40’s. After 11 years of that business, and barely surviving the Great Recession, I had to sell that business due to family health issues and in order to cover my creditors. I never declared bankruptcy, I took care to make sure every one of my vendors was compensated 100%. It wasn’t easy, but it was the right, the moral and the ethical thing to do. I could have screwed all my creditors like Trump has, but I didn’t.
So what we have here is the “everyone does it” argument. Who cares what is right, only “winning” matters. Trump dares to blame immigrants for our problems, when it is people like him, and the sleazy corruption he represents (and yes,the banks who fund his kind) that are the real problem with this country.
I have no desire to defend the moral character of Donald Trump.
However, politics is a choice of evils, and – for all his faults – it remains the case that he represents an element of ‘new thinking’ in relation to American foreign policy, which is totally absent in Hillary Clinton.
On this, I would recommend a recent piece by the Russian émigré writer Andrei Tsygankov, entitled ‘Trump’s views on Russia challenge America’s foreign policy identity.’
It does not skate over the candidate’s failings, but makes the point that he really is raising serious questions about what has become a fossilised consensus, and in so doing harking back to older American traditions which may be rather more relevant to today’s world than Hillary’s concept of ‘exceptionalism’.
(See http://www.russia-direct.org/opinion/trumps-views-russia-challenge-americas-foreign-policy-identity .)
In large measure, the ‘establishment’ response to the questions raised by Trump has been neo-McCarthyite. Not simply Trump’s sillier statements, but his eminently sensible raising of the possibility that there may be common interests between the United States and Russia, and problems with NATO, are treated as giving grounds for portraying him as a kind of ‘Manchurian Candidate.’
And it is not simply Hillary Clinton herself, and figures like Michael Morrell, whose contributions we discussed in an earlier thread, who have discovered their inner ‘Tail Gunner Joe’. If you read Jeffrey Goldberg, or David Remnick, or indeed Paul Krugman, it is indeed like being back in the ‘Fifties.
(See http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/07/clinton-trump-putin-nato/492332/ ; http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/trump-and-putin-a-love-story ; http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/22/opinion/donald-trump-the-siberian-candidate.html?_r=0 .)
Perhaps the appropriate response to people like Remnick and Krugman might come in a repeat of the trenchant words of Joseph N. Welch: ‘You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?’
In relation to Donald Trump and his supporters, Richard Sale has asked: ‘Why are such people so afraid of hearing what they dislike, that they must launch an attack not on what someone has said, but to savage the character of the person who said it?’ And he has attempted to provide an answer.
The behaviour of Hillary Clinton and her supporters clearly raises exactly the same question, but the answers would seem to be rather different. Perhaps members of this ‘Committee of Correspondence’ would venture some speculations.
I.Z. It won’t be forthcoming. I (posting as “no one”) had asked Mr Sale why Trump’s transgressions were any more heinous than Clinton’s. He wrote an entire post as a response. It made no sense to me. That was a while ago before many ugly and disturbing revelations about Clinton. Still, I doubt Mr Sale’s skew has changed a bit. What do you want from a reporter?
Sale just particularly hates Trump. He probably doesn’t even really know why.
jonst. I feel you. The last two sentences speak to the passive aggression that is pervasive these days. Mobs of weakling children run to the teacher for protection and the teacher then sets out to use her power to destroy the beast(e.g.you/me).
So I am a pencil neck? I used to bench press 330 while weighing 160. I used do curls with 70 pounds.
Gosh. I am really intimidated.
that’s well put.
I am honored.
I don’t approve of Trump and clearly know the reasons why.
We make inductions from distant observations all the time. If our job is to collaborate or lead, we make inductions about other’s person’s minds and personality as a matter of course.
In social psychology, non-expert estimations of, and attributions about. other person’s behavioral traits and personality characteristics is well -studied.
A non-expert, or, non-clinical, estimation about another is not prevented from being as accurate as that of the expert.
Much of the evidence that supports any folk psychological estimations about Mr. Trump are, in actuality, not in the least bit distant or obscured. I would suppose the amount of video tape adds up to tens of thousands of hours!
Thus, “projecting or has no argument.” are just two of the possibilities. Pop psychoanalysis, or analysis like that of Mr. Sales, is not prevented from being accurate, or, even entirely correct. Tyler, your conclusion itself is researchable.
Thank you Mr. Sales.
I would add that Mr. Trump inhabits an element of his own making, and part it guarantees that there is always a new battle tomorrow. He’s figured out how to dominate and win every such battle in in his own mind, (even if he seems to me to be a wussy.)
However, Trump looks very odd from my perspective. He seems to be making it all up as he goes along, so, it is impossible for me at the moment, to give much credence to the idea that he is a very smart person thinking deeply about geopolitical and economic matters.
Compounding my current sense is that haven’t located information that would overturn my provisional conclusion. I’ve asked Trump supporters too, and they have come up with nothing substantial at all.
Everyone know that the US will never be able to pay off all the government debt so why not have a master of the bankruptcy process handle the coming liquidation?
And may I suggest that those casting stones about his use of the bankruptcy code take a look at your Old Testaments; in particular, Leviticus and Deuteronomy?
Re: making it up as he goes along.
IMO the making it up part are short quotes
the MSM uses too make him look foolish.
Do they show the complete context of the speech
they have excerpted as is done for Hillary
often portrayed as a rebuttal?
Would you have him give the usual canned 5 or 6
talking points almost all politicians use to obfuscate
an honest answer to a serious question that is
rarely even asked much less answered most likely
because pols never will answer them?
This is part of his allure to those who are tired of
hackneyed pols telling us platitudes and once in
office rarely do what they say they were going to
do because “current circumstances require……”
If elected would he be different? No one be he knows.
I knew of only a handful of shady people who used bankruptcy to get out of paying creditors.
Guess you should have been a mortgage banker, Herb, or any number of financial institutions that used this technique that created the Great Recession of 2008. Then you’d know about using bankruptcy.
Listen to an expert describe how they did it, specifically. Highly entertaining as well as informative. Really worth your time if you haven’t heard this. The kind o finterview that clears the cobwebs from your head.
Nobel Prize winners George Akerlof and Paul Romer wrote “Looting: The economic underworld of bankruptcy for profit”in 1993. I think they got their Nobel in 2000, but don’t hold me to it. They got it for clarifying how guys at the top used bankruptcy for profit.
“FBI warns of mortgage fraud ‘epidemic’—Seeks to head off ‘next S&L crisis’” September 17, 2004 [FBI says that 90% of mortgages are fraudulent–need to listen to Bill Black interview to understand how they did it—and the one regulatory body in the country with oversight over mortgage banks, which do not come under the federal bank charter, failed to take action. That was Timothy Geithner’s responsibility as head of the NY Federal Reserve. Direct responsibility.
When I lived in Manhattan, I lived high enough that I could see the most big ship and all helicopter traffic going up and down the Hudson. At that time, it was against the law for helicopters to cross the island. They had to go up/down the East River, around the northern tip of Manhattan, then down/up the Hudson.
Nearly week day in the late 80s and early 90s, I watched Ivana Trump go down the Hudson to Atlantic City in her black Trump helicopter. She ran the casinos. Not Trump. She was the CEO. She also ran the Plaza Hotel. Again, CEO. I never see this reported. According to Trump in off-hand comments, this led to his affair with Marla Maples (sweet, sweet woman)–wife consumed with business, never home, he complained–and Ivana and Donald’s subsequent divorce, but I never heard Trump blame her. Mother of his children, perhaps?
I agree with you 100%, David Habakkuk. None other than Stephen Cohen, Russian history professor emeritus of Princeton and NY and husband of The Nation’s publisher and editor-in-chief, has made the cogent argument for the Left’s neo-McCarthyite in confronting Trump. He does this weekly on WABC Radio’s John Batchelor Show every Tuesday at 10 PM EST. Available online. Cohen wrote a recent op-ed in The Nation describing this neo-McCarthyism, and the danger it represents.
Cohen, who says he is not a Trump supporter, is nonetheless extremely generous and level-headed in his praise for Trump as the more reasonable and sane of the two candidates on foreign policy, and he spells out why. I was a Bernie supporter until I heard his foreign policy ideas, which were anti-deluvian and as deluded as Hillary’s, imo. The only real power a US president has is in foreign policy. A US president is Head of State; that’s his constitutional purview. US presidents can promise all they want on the domestic scene but they have no real power, other than the power of persuasion, to effect their domestic programs and spending ideas. Reagan could because he could go directly to the people; he had that reach, and people bugged their congressmen. Clinton had his youth and vigor even though he drove the economy into the ground (a government surplus, which he is erroneously praised for, means that the exact amount of the surplus equals the private sector’s deficit; that didn’t materialize until 2008).
I forget who US President Andrew Jackson was campaigning against in the 1828, but according to historical records, Jackson’s campaign speeches and actions in that election and during his re-election make Trump sound like a Boy’s Scout. I, for one, love this election. It’s like what a funeral director told me about funerals: all the family craziness comes out in full display, all the hates and secret loves, the repressed vengefulness, the melancholy of unrequited love and loss, the buried madness. I believe we need this purge.
Well said, Richard Sale. Your message on politeness and civility in disagreement is more honored in its breach than in its observance in comments.
I am an occasional reader here. I come here sometimes to get a different view of the Syrian war from that portrayed by the MSM. I am mostly interested in making money speculating on WS and not being right or wrong especially in politics. But my years of experience on WS have shown me that it is absolutely impossible for people to change their mind or opinion even when the facts are crystal clear. On Wall Street, Mr Market always gives a clear and sometime immediate answer on your choice(s). When you have less money now than when you started out with, how much more unequivocal proof does a person need to realize and admit that his initial decision to buy this or that security has been dead wrong. The most common behavior is to blame the loss on various conspiracies and conspirators such as market makers (of securities), corrupt brokerage analysts, corrupt FDA officials etc … If it is so hard for people to see how wrong their opinion is in the case of Wall Street where the feedback is clear cut and quick, how impossible it would be for people to see the consequences of their opinions in areas such as politics where feedback is slow and not always so clear.
I became financially independent and stop working at 59. I did that by speculating only in biotechs especially companies doing research in cancer therapies. When I am wrong I cut bait and move on. I don’t blame anyone, any institution for my losses and I try to learn from my mistakes which is the key to my success.
Yeah I’m sure that’s the reason why.
Are you serious or just this dumb?
I do not remember you but the going is good. Some days its whack a mole around here.
Except when its not accurate, or correct in this instance.
Maybe Dick can let me know his psychological credentials? As far as I know he’s just another journalist who married well.
Since you’re basically a communist its not surprising you don’t understand that bankruptcy is part and parcel of capitalism.
I doubt you’ve got enough zeroes in your bank account to comment on Emperor Trump’s business doings. Its like watching someone who can’t tie his shoes tell you how he’d do a lunar mission.
Thank you very much.
“People who habitually employ an abusive and bullying tone, are, at bottom, insecure people with a weak ego.”
Or maybe they have simply observed just how effective aggression and primate signaling are in winning arguments with their fellow humans?
Disgusting? Yes. But at some point you have to come to terms with the kind of species we are, and deal with that.
Rational arguments are but a whisper against the screaming of herd instincts.
So you applaud people ripping off creditors through bankruptcy, and think it is a common everyday practice. It’s refreshing when people let you know in clear terms that they have no moral compass. No wonder you love Trump.
More zeros? I have more zeros in my bank account than when I started, which puts me a leg up on your hero. Last I checked, that was the metric, to end up with more than you started with. But, since you aren’t any kind of business person at all, it isn’t surprising you don’t know that.
But hey, don’t take my word for him being a piece of shit businessman, look at what his peers think of him. Not even the Koch brothers want to touch him, except maybe with an electric prod.
You’re in England. In my neck of the woods, the election has polarized people. I’m tempted to write completely polarized. For example, my local bar has banned discussions of Trump and Clinton because the bartender has had to break up physical fights over discussions of those two. With both men fighting each other and–get this–older women slapping each other around! You’re 86’d now if you mention either Trump or Clinton and the bartender/manager has the bruises to show for what has transpired.
That’s not exactly the kind of purge I was talking about. Richard’s point about civility in a civilization is well-taken, but I believe we as nation, rightly or wrongly, have buried or callously ignored animosities and resentments–so many are real, deep, and true–because we’ve lost a civilized way to voice them. and a decent way to make them heard. So they build up. They’re the pus oozing throughout the foundation of our Febreze Nation of claimed exceptionalism and all the other grandiloquent claims.
That said, my personal fear, which may be irrational, is WWIII. Hillary’s relationship with Putin is poor. She appears to favor NATO’s push east and its unnecessary incitement and encirclement of Russia; whatever Breedlove conjures up. She supports the Ukraine putsch. Ditto a deadly flawed policy in Syria. Her protestations about Trump and his lack of civility only seem to extend to the campaign. She has not seemed to apply that civility to the geopolitical space she would be responsible for–and in which she could and would act on her own–and that, frankly, terrifies me. A lot more than Trump throwing his dick around.
We call it bankruptcy today, but since the time of the Sumerians–recorded in 3500 BC–they’ve called it a Debt Jubilee. (I think economic historian Michael Hudson and his cohort of ancient history historians at Harvard discovered in the last 15 years that the concept of Debt Jubilees is much older than that.)
Forgiveness of debts. New rulers and kings did it for various reasons. One to secure the affection of people they conquered. Another to secure the desire of the populace to serve in their armies. Another to remove punishing taxes from previous rulers that threatened their new reigns and had built up resentment among the people. The reasons were myriad.
Since the rulers were the creators of their currency–this was long before the use of gold as a coin token (the gold standard) which only first occurred in 700 BC with the Greek temples–forgiveness of debts was basically no skin off the governing rulers teeth.
It’s no different today. This is why our federal government’s failure to alleviate the suffering of the people in 2008 was so egregious, and why student debt has become so criminal. Banks got the right to supply student loans exclusively in either the late 1990s or early Aughts, and received a 100% guarantee from the federal government under Cheney/Bush in the event of default. The banks further compounded it with a 2005 change in the bankruptcy laws (Clinton and Biden supported this repressive Republican bill) that prevent students from wiping their debts out in bankruptcy court which doubly insured the banks are made whole. These student loans are completely 100% risk-free for the banks, yet banks are allowed to charge usurious interest rates in spite of that no-risk guarantee, subjecting our youth to a travesty of lifetime debt when they can’t find jobs sufficient enough to repay them.
So you applaud people ripping off creditors through bankruptcy, and think it is a common everyday practice.
Bankruptcy isn’t done in a vacuum with no controls. By law, there is a government-appointed Bankruptcy Trustee (or two, three) who determines who is a secured creditor and who isn’t. Secured creditors get paid back, either 100% or a smaller percentage depending on the terms of the contract, before unsecured creditors. Banks are usually secured creditors. Unsecured creditors, as last to be repaid, generally lose. The Trustee also determines if the person or company declaring bankruptcy is faking it, in which case someone can going to jail including the lawyers representing the debtor(s).
And yes, this has been the case since the creation of the Constitution. It’s in Article I, section 8, although the first bankruptcy law wasn’t really created until about 216 years ago. The first bankruptcy laws specified merchants not individuals. It is a long tradition in this country, and yes, someone is going to get screwed in the process. I know secured creditors can write off their losses on their tax returns for the full 100%. I don’t know if unsecured creditors can.
You’ve swallowed Clinton’s emotional and simplistic campaign rhetoric without understanding the history and purpose of what she’s talking about, and she is preying upon the ignorance of the masses with ‘omigod’ half-truths.
“…throwing his dick around” and and far more consequential.
very interesting. Many thanks.
That is why life is a tragedy.
You can thank Joe Biden for that, and there’s blame in plenty to go around.
People thought a doctorate in Muslim Transgender Skateboarding was a good idea at a cost of 100k?
LMAO now the Koch Brothers have gone from liberal boogeymen to Captains of Industry status because Trump opposes their efforts to overwhelm America with third world peons.
Ideological stability isn’t one of the Left’s strong points. I will never be surprised by your ability to turn on a dime in order to justify whatever your good think is today.
Furthermore you continue to misunderstand how capitalism works. “Ripping people off with bankruptcy”. Sure thing Princess. I could literally buy and sell you, but on the internet everyone is a millionaire who can benchpress 300+ lbs while weighing 160.
You know very well then how difficult it is to sell the losing stock; it take a certain level of individual mental discipline.
At the government level, the costs of policies are borne by the populations and not the individual government leader or functionary – for the most part.
The abuse of the bankruptcy laws in the United State probably has a long pedigree. I venture to say that in spite of such abuses, it is still better to maintain the current laws – with occasional adjustment, perhaps – than to re-introduce Debtors’ Prison.
There are still Debtors’ Prisons all over the Middle East – with their pernicious multifaceted effects on those countries’ business environments.
In regards to student loans in US, I think both the schools and the banks ought to be held accountable. At the moment, there is no ceiling on what the schools can charge.
Enabling students to claim personal (Chapter 7) bankruptcy would mean that others have to bear the costs.
If that be the case, it is wiser and more efficient to nationalize all private schools in the United States – say at the state level and give their control to the governors.
Then states can go and close inefficient schools, fire faculty and staff, and generally downsize the bloated and protected bureaucracies therein.
I recall a course in a Women’s Studies program in some university: “Problems of Women of Color in Prison”; it was a 300-level course, if I am not mistaken.
So, yours truly was busting his brain, trying to comprehend Sylow’s Counting Theorem – getting a “C” in the course and being glad to have aced it – so to speak; while a pretty pink little thing would write 3 papers on that problems of “Women of Color” in Prison, get an “A”, and graduate Suma Cum Laude.
There is no Justice in this Life.
In my world, Trump’s personality and proclivities do not require rocket science to decode.
I’ve done my homework, and I do my homework because I aspire to obtain a sense of a matter, shorn of my biases, that is for my purposes, reliably true.
At the same time, one is advantaged by figuring out how to reduce one’s analysis for the sake of brevity. Confronted with a canned talking point, the kind I suppose some people take to be a serious apercu of candidate Trump, requires as much.
However, how does it go, “the proof is in the pudding?” I’ve asked numerous persons the following question.
“Why does Trump both want to fix the rigged system, yet, at the same time, make those same riggers the central beneficiaries of his tax cuts?”
Not one supporter has given me a rational answer, let alone the correct answer!
When I finished reading Mr. Sales, Tyler, I said to myself,
‘…some people here won’t be agreeing at all with this!’
What a precise prediction! Was it so because I know Mr. Sales so well–even though I’m not a psychologist and am with zero credentials–or, was it because of something else?
(hat tip to ol’ Mullah Nasruddin, for providing the template for this reply.)
I am only commenting on the impossibility of people to admit they are wrong in areas or subjects such as politics and economics where the consequences of being wrong ,if any, are not felt personally if they cannot bring themselves to do so on WS where the effects of being wrong are immediate and crystal clear.
Take economics for example. The state of Kansas under Sam Brownback has embarked on an aggressive political agenda of tax cuts for both business and individual which is basically what the Republican Party has threatened to implement should they gain control of both executive and legislative branches.Nothing new here just common standard economic conservative policy the Reps have been peddling to the public for years.
After 6 years it has been a disaster. The promised economic growth has failed to materialize and the state budget is in deep deficit due to failing tax revenues. OK, so if you don’t believe Kansas tax cut is a failed policy, then just compare Kansas to California. California has higher economic growth and generate more jobs than Kansas.
In the drug industry, we have a process for drug approvals. In a phase 1 trial, they try the drug on a small number of healthy volunteers to find if the drug is safe. So if phase 1 shows no sign of toxicity, a phase 2 is started ,again with a small number of patients albeit larger than phase 1, to find an appropriate dosage. Finally a large phase 3 trial which is usually a double blinded (neither patients nor doctors know) placebo controlled study will determine the efficacy.
By comparison I would say that the Kansas economic policy of deep tax cuts is a failed phase 1 experiment since it did not work on a small scale. All these years the standard republican economic agenda is based on the same principle of tax cuts and austerity. And yet do you believe any conservative politician would change their mind about it ? If the republicans ever win control of the federal government, there is no doubt in my mind they would apply to the other 49 states a policy that has been shown to be a failure in a smaller scale experiment that is Kansas.
That is why being open minded so that one can learn from one’s failures is key to success in the merciless battlefield that is WS. Mr Market doesn’t care about my political biases. He deals out his lessons without mercy. Hedgehog mentality brings only personal ruin on WS and rightly so.
Yup, cargo cultists….
And agreed, Kansas is no California and Kansans are not Californians.
On the other hand, do not the best and the brightest leave the interior of the United States in search of greener pastures to either coasts? Where US Federal Government policy has been encouraging this internal migration?
Likely Kansas is suffering from massive brain drain.
MMMMM??? One would think that in a Wall Street world of assholes someone would have taped her talks and held them hostage. And on not receiving ransom would have published them. The World Wonders.
“Heh, I’m going to frame my question in mendacious assumptions and demand you answer according to the paradigm I insist on. Can’t do it? I win again heh.”
I doubt you’ve asked anyone this question. In fact, I doubt you can look someone in the eye when you’re asking for help at Home Depot.
Trump wants to lower taxes on everyone. Believe me, as much as I love Sulla’s proscription lists, its not something that’s done anymore. Therefore everyone, including me (making 90K with three kids and a stay at home wife) gets a tax cut, with people like me getting the brunt of the tax cut.
Progs lie and water wet. News at 11.
More “no one is responsible for anything” mentality. I don’t know how I managed to avoid getting sucked into student loan debt, only recently using my GI Bill for some skills training.
Must be all my privilege.
Because you are both cucked you are typing that from the corner chair.
You’re not so unpredictable yourself. Now go clean up your bull.
Now you spend your time writing impotent rants.
I’m sure you benched 330, little one.