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Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Let us not forget politics is the art of the impossible made to pass for the possible. Since the founding of the new nation it was played by the educated and also who were not so endowed with intellectual abilities but they all had ambition to run for office. The slogan Making America Great Again sounds great but isn’t that what the Presidents from George Washington till Obama have been striving for? Only that no citizen got a chance to see this perceived greatness since wave after wave of world events rocked the shores while ethnic minorities and native Americans reacted to the domestic policies vector of forces impacting from elsewhere. Wars broke out as riots were quelled and even a Civil War from 1860 till 1865 did not achieve what greatness every President had hoped for. So politics is an euphemism for what really takes place in the backrooms while every President in office assures home and abroad what they see is indeed greatness. In this connection I think the rise of President Trump would be a good topic to illustrate how politics discover you. You rake up the cesspool of human ambition and greed and it is wealth  what you gather. Carnegie, Rockefeller and Mellon and many others used it with class so their wealth funded music arts and letters. Their foundations made treasures of the world accessible to a man on the street. For those who have made millions in unsavory manner a university or Homes for the Veterans that they float is not for the end user but the means to bilk the very people who may vote them to office. In whichever case politics discovered Trump.

Trumps’ grandfather arrived as an immigrant from Germany and after many unsuccessful attempts, not exactly in honorable manner while selling liquor and girls of easy virtue made one economically viable,’ for god’s sake there was gold rush in those days. He died young and Trumps father made money in a manner that shaped Donal’s future irrevocably.  “In 1973 Trump, 27, was living in a rent-controlled studio, wearing French cuffs, and taking his dates to the Peacock Alley, the bar in the lobby of the Waldorf Astoria. At the time, the lockbox of Establishment New York was tightly closed to the Trumps of Queens, despite their mansion in Jamaica Estates.

Riding around Brooklyn in a Rolls-Royce, Trump’s mother, Mary, collected quarters from laundry rooms in various Trump buildings. Trump’s father, Fred, had already beaten back two scandals in which he was accused of overcharging and profiteering at some of his government-financed apartment complexes, and was now facing an even more explosive charge—systemic discrimination against black and other minority tenants. The Trumps, however, were connected to Favor Bank politicians in the Brooklyn Democratic machine, which, in tandem with the Mob bosses, still influenced who got many of the judgeships and patronage jobs. It was twilight world from Dante and if you did not hold on to your scruples you were sure never to find way back again.

It was here his world connected with a lawyer much older in comparison by name Roy Cohn.  Cohn and Trump were twinned by what drove them. They were both sons of powerful fathers, young men who had started their careers clouded by family scandal. Both had been private-school students from the boroughs who’d grown up with their noses pressed against the glass of dazzling Manhattan. Both squired attractive women around town.

Cohn after graduating from Columbia Law School at 20, he became an assistant U.S. attorney and an expert in “subversive activities,” allowing him to segue into his role in the 1951 espionage trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. (Cohn persuaded the star witness, Ethel Rosenberg’s brother, David Greenglass, to change his testimony; in Cohn’s autobiography, written with Sidney Zion, Cohn claimed that he had encouraged the judge, already intent on sending Julius to the electric chair, to also order Ethel’s execution, despite the fact that she was a mother with two children.) Come 1953, this legal prodigy was named McCarthy’s boy-wonder chief counsel, and the news photos told the tale: the sharp-faced, heavy-lidded 26-year-old with cherubic cheeks, whispering intimately into the ear of the bloated McCarthy. Cohn’s special skill as the senator’s henchman was character assassination. Indeed, after testifying in front of him, an engineer with the Voice of America radio news service committed suicide. Cohn never showed a shred of remorse.

Cohn was best known as a ruthless prosecutor. During the Red Scare of the 1950s,  But in the decades since, Cohn had become the premier practitioner of hardball deal-making in New York, having mastered the arcane rules of the city’s Favor Bank (the local cabal of interconnected influence peddlers) and its magical ability to provide inside fixes for the ilk of Trump.

“You knew when you were in Cohn’s presence you were in the presence of pure evil,” said lawyer Victor A. Kovner, who had known him for years. Cohn’s power derived largely from his ability to scare potential adversaries with hollow threats and spurious lawsuits. Trump—who would remain loyal to Cohn for many years—would be one of the last and most enduring beneficiaries of Cohn’s power.

Cohn, with his bravado, reckless opportunism, legal pyrotechnics, and serial fabrication, became a fitting mentor for the young real-estate scion. And as Trump’s first major project, the Grand Hyatt, was set to open, he was already involved in multiple controversies. He was warring with the city about tax abatements and other concessions. He had hoodwinked his very own partner, Hyatt chief Jay Pritzker, by changing a term in a deal when Pritzker was unreachable—on a trip to Nepal. In 1980, while erecting what would become Trump Tower, he antagonized a range of arts patrons and city officials when his team demolished the Art Deco friezes decorating the 1929 building. Vilified in the headlines—and by the Establishment—Trump offered a response that was pure Roy Cohn: “Who cares?” he said. “Let’s say that I had given that junk to the Met. They would have just put them in their basement.”

For author Sam Roberts, the essence of Cohn’s influence on Trump was the triad: “Roy was a master of situational immorality . . . . He worked with a three-dimensional strategy, which was: 1. Never settle, never surrender. 2. Counter-attack, counter-sue immediately. 3. No matter what happens, no matter how deeply into the muck you get, claim victory and never admit defeat.” As columnist Liz Smith once observed, “Donald lost his moral compass when he made an alliance with Roy Cohn.” Then was the third in the triad. Roger Stone in 1979 though only 27, had achieved a degree of notoriety as one of Richard Nixon’s political dirty-tricksters. At the time, he was running Ronald Reagan’s presidential-campaign organization in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, and he needed office space. He came in touch with Cohn who in turn put him to Trump

“I went to see him,” Stone told me, “and Trump said, ‘How do you get Reagan to 270 electoral votes?’ He was very interested [in the mechanics]—a political junkie. Then he said, ‘O.K., we are in. Go see my father.’ ” Out Stone went to Avenue Z, in Coney Island, and met Fred Trump in his office, which was crowded with cigar-store Indians. “True to his word, I got $200,000. The checks came in $1,000 denominations, the maximum donation you could give. All of these checks were written to ‘Reagan For President.’ It was not illegal—it was bundling. Check trading.” For Reagan’s state headquarters, the Trumps found Stone and the campaign a decrepit town house next to the ‘21’ Club. Stone was now, like Donald Trump, inside the Cohn tent.

And Stone soon seized the moment to cash in. After Reagan was elected, his administration softened the strict rules for corporations seeking government largesse. Soon Stone and Paul Manafort, Trump’s future campaign manager, were lobbyists, reaping the bonanzas that could flow with Favor Bank introductions. Their first client, Stone recalled, was none other than Donald Trump, who retained him, irrespective of any role Manafort might have had in the firm, for help with federal issues such as obtaining a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the channel to the Atlantic City marina to accommodate his yacht, the Trump Princess.

All along there had been something deeper connecting Stone and Trump and Roy Cohn: the climate of suspicion and fear that had helped bring all three to power. Although Stone, like many around Cohn in the 70s and 80s, was too young to have observed how Cohn helped poison America in the McCarthy years, Stone had learned at the feet of Richard Nixon, the ultimate American paranoid. And the politics of paranoia that Cohn and Stone had cynically mastered would eventually make them kindred spirits. Just as the two of them had come to prominence by exploiting a grave national mood (Cohn in the 50s, Stone in the 70s), it was this same sense of American angst, resurgent in 2016, that would ultimately help elect Donald Trump.

“Pro-Americanism,” Stone said, “is a common thread for McCarthy, Goldwater, Nixon, [and] Reagan. The heir to that tradition is Donald Trump. When you combine that with the bare-knuckled tactics of Roy Cohn—or a Roger Stone—that is how you win elections. So Roy has an impact on Donald’s understanding of how to deal with the media—attack, attack, attack, never defend.”

Ack: Vanity Fair magazine section: How Donald Trump and Roy Cohn’s Ruthless symbiosis changed America /Marie Brenner Aug.2017

Benny

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“Only one thing will work” in dealing with North Korea after years of talks with Pyongyang brought no results, US President Donald Trump has warned. Lord Acton said, “Power corrupts and Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” When one has so much power to change the world any sane person would want to change for the better. Has war ever cleared the air since the world began? Why war rhetorics when nations can talk normal like normal people no matter what.

When President Bush invaded Iraq in 2003, he was in so much hurry that he did not even want to wait for the UN to consider the matter thoroughly. A war never goes as one signs on the dotted lines. There shall be so many imponderables weight of which shall make even a win worse than before. Just at this moment FBI and all concerned agencies of the land are stymied over the motives of Stephen Paddock. Some fake news would give out a version while another make him a ‘closet Nazi’ and given to read Breitbart while closeted in his throne.  Here we have a media given a bad name so no matter how worse war goes in future or malfeasance of lawmakers is established, there shall always be doubt in what a citizen reads. Perhaps there is a method in madness of president and his men.

May be President Trump wants to give the ‘rocket man’ an offer he cannot refuse. Or maybe Trump wants to match Putin’s Crimean rhetoric in his own manner. Which ever way the nation as well as the Administration shall remain clueless.  As for the Las Vegas massacre may be Paddock’s ghost like Banquo’s ghost shall point his finger to the real culprit till then Putin laugh your heart out!

benny

 

 

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Pence wants to see boots

On the moon, but sad to say

Trump wants wall up there.

Benny

Mike Pence wants to see astronauts return to the Moon

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N-R-A stuck in

the throat serve as shears of fate

For the Bald Eagle’s greed.

benny

(Note: This year alone 11,600 American citizens died from gun violence. One in eight of citizens are in need of some sort of psychiatric support. New Health Care shall put many more out of its medical care cover-b )

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‘Rats leave the sinking ship’ you must have heard before. In fact rats move in a sinking ship judging from the near collapse of Syria. It was long in coming and the crew are a motley mixture of sects that are attracting some rats from far off. The Arab Spring was a reef that the ship of Bashar al-Assad could not avoid. The “Friends of Syria” meeting in late February met in Tunis in order to ship arms to Syrian rebels. Friends are in name only. In fact all those Sunni factions wherever they are want to settle scores with Shi’ia faction supporting al-Assad. Saudi Arabia and members of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC),- like Qatar and Kuwait, are friends on geopolitical grounds. If the royal family of Bahrain,-Sunnis, has a stranglehold on the majority Shi’ia population the troops sent by the Saudi government are there to prop up the King.
A country which was once broadly secular is now damaged by proxy war. External powers caused sectarianism pitching the country’s Sunni majority against the president’s Shia Alawite sect. Such divisions have encouraged both sides to commit atrocities that have not only caused loss of life but also torn apart communities, hardened positions and dimmed hopes for a political settlement. The latest outrage using Sarin gas raised the hackles of the US who showed their token outrage by sending missiles. So Assad is hit but Russia is there to fix his headaches. The so-called Islamic State (IS), which controls large swathes of northern and eastern Syria, is battling government forces, rebel brigades and Kurdish militias, as well as facing air strikes by Russia and a US-led multinational coalition. Thousands of Shia militiamen from Iran, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen say they are fighting alongside the Syrian army to protect holy sites.

Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia, which is seeking to counter the influence of its rival Iran, has been a major provider of military and financial assistance to the rebels, including those with Islamist ideologies.

So we have proxy war and war on grounds of ideology and Jihad. All the three are waged by rascals whose ideas whether it deals with religion or politics are same in that these can be counted in dollars and cents.

Russia and Iran has set their own red line now and have warned the US not to cross them. This red line is the latest in the many red lines they crossed the one redline drawn by God. Do these beggarly crew think Syria lost or won will give them peace?

I had written a post “What ails Syria” sometime in July 2012. (Ack: BBC Apr.7.)

benny

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Eldorado Or Bust? ©

 

An intrepid traveller went into Eldorado and he was surprised that the roads were paved with gold and no one seemed to take any notice of it. Gold nuggets were thrown in heaps as gravel in his own land and the inhabitants went about their chores carrying firewood and breadfruit in baskets woven with banana leaves. All the more amazed was he to notice man and woman were naked and they did not seem to bother with the great wealth heaped about them as if with an indifferent hand. He approached one man and managed to make himself understood. He wanted to speak with his chief. He smiled and led him to a hut erected with utmost simplicity a spacious hall unadorned except for a raised platform. At the centre was a three legged stool and a Panama hat. The visitor would have burst out laughing had it not been for a number of locals who were standing before it with gravity.

He murmured to his escort where the chief stood among them. The cicerone without any change of expression said, “Our chief rests on his stool.”

“But why those six standing before it and in solemnity?

“They are taking counsel from Great Chief and what they decide there they accept as coming from him.”

“Don’t you want your voice heard?”

“What for?” the local said in amazement, “ We live in peace with ourselves and we have nothing to complain; nothing to improve our lot since nature takes care what we cannot.”

Later the visitor after careful study of their manner of running their daily affairs without much trouble and in the amity that existed among them he realized the Chief exerted a great influence upon their lives even without stirring from the spot.

Politics is the art of the impossible concept made to look as possible. The idea that one better and more schooled in public affairs can better your condition is sold by fellows who have nothing to be happy with themselves so they create a smokescreen of their superiority. Not having anything worth in themselves they sell you a pie in the sky. Poitics is for the gullible who shall not be content with themselves. Look at the social history of nations. Which nation can justify that they have found a leader who created Eldorado or made happiness their lot?

benny

 

 

 

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We are let down by those who are expected to represent our best interests. 

Not so long ago to be exact on September 24,2002 the British Government published what we now know as the September Dossier. The paper was part of an ongoing investigation by the government into weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq, which ultimately led to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It contained a number of allegations according to which Iraq also possessed WMD, including chemical weapons and biological weapons. The dossier even alleged that Iraq had reconstituted its nuclear weapons programme. Without exception, all of the allegations included within the September Dossier have been since proven to be false. One might wonder how can a body of men selected for their expertise and life experience to be part of Joint Intelligence Committee, could go wrong. All the more disturbing is the fact we expect our city fathers, law givers are seized of the fact that any action they take shall have serious ripple effect on large part of the globe.(ack:wikipedia) We have misplaced trust in our elected representatives. They are as muddleheaded as most of us are.

At best data are cherrypicked and the sets of data thus collated are farther from reality. 

Since we are very much reeling under the fall out of a chain of bad decisions we may ask how come people whom we look us as paradigm of wisdom and probility get it so wrong. How can data of stockpiles of WMD be not intelligent data at all? What are data but nuts and bolts with which we erect an intelligent body that helps us with decision making, If Iran has developed nuclear capability Bibi can draw model for the media and draw a redline to indicate the critical line, crossing of which would mean danger for the State of Israel. Similarly financial experts make a pie chart based on the data they have collected. We look at their position in the world and accept their words uncontested. Why would the Prime Minister of Great Britain or Israel want to mislead the mass media.? Or why would  late defunct Enron present a dodgy forecast to the boardmembers? Here we go wrong. All these fellows are relying on data, which we need to understand is only sound as far as the user want to get his share of sound bytes across. Data are not all equal or perfect. Its slight anomalous position become a disaster when one sets it context of another set of data.

‘When Hurricane Katrina devastated the New Orleans region in 2005, the US government’s Department of Homeland Security charged with monitoring the hurricane and formulating an appropriate response, made the wrong call, ignoring key topographical data.

Instead, Katrina was judged to be a hurricane, like so may others that hit Florida each summer, and therefore not worthy of extreme measures. With that mindset in place, the highly-decorated retired Marine Corps general in command of the probability and risk-assessment team proceeded to interpret the various information coming into his office in a manner fully consistent with his pre-judgment, while disregarding the rest. Reports of levees breaching were viewed as suspect and incomplete — not as factual and needing an immediate change of course for the response plan. When the general saw a report on CNN showing people in the French Quarter of New Orleans partying in the streets, he concluded, as he testified to Congress, that Katrina wasn’t going to be as bad as some had feared.

The biggest problem? Most of New Orleans is below sea level; most of Florida isn’t. And the French Quarter in New Orleans was one of the few places in the city above sea level and hence, relatively immune to the devastating effects from flooding.’(How we wrongly convince ourselves we’re right by Sydney Finkelstein-BBC News/Capital of 23 April,’15)

The concerned official setting data on New Orleans with that of Florida and presents to his peers at each chain of command perception on the data collated becomes curioser and curioser.

Politicians want to be survivors and data they create have the best chance to convince the people.In other words their real motives are to throw wool over the public.

Afterall man shall only believe what he wants to believe. His rational mind is superficial with which he shall reason out why Katrina would not be any more serious than any other hurricane that hit Florida. Real culprit is not in your conscious mind but deeper in the unconscious part of the brain. Isn’t that happened in the Enron debacle? Greed and preservation of one’s own skin had already seized the CEO and his coterie to make the Company’s financial malfunction go away before the shareholders. Everytime the same scenario till it blew apart in their faces.

Man presents data created unequally and if we wonder why a nation built on the sound principle that all men are equal suffers from gross inequality we need look no further.

Benny

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