Esquire’s Ridiculous Book List Smear

esquire-book-list

To paraphrase Michael Corleone, every time I think I’ve gotten away from having to comment on the extraordinary unethical performance of the national media toward the President, they puuuull me back in.

What is the correct and fair reaction to the latest media cheap shot on the President of the United States? This one would have been contemptible to inflict on a candidate before the election; now, almost three months after it, the feature is something to behold. Godwin’s Law is invoked far too often, but in this case, it tells the tale.

Esquire’s embarrassing article is called “20 Essential Books to Prepare You for What’s Next: A handy reading list featuring not-so-speculative dystopian fiction, political memoirs, and cautionary tales from Nazi Germany.” The point being made, of course, though already hackneyed, dishonest and thoroughly debunked, is that the President is Hitler. This contention requires ignorance of the United States culture and institutions, Germany, world history, Hitler and the President, but never mind: hate and fear is all the article is intended to generate, not perception or understanding. Taking it seriously requires blocking out the fact that it is the President’s opponents who are flirting with totalitarian methods, using violence to stifle dissent, trying to overthrow lawful elections, calling for coups, and co-opting the news media. The list is an insult without substantiation or justification; Esquire might just as well have published a full page reading: “The President of the United States is a Poopy-Face, and We Hate Him!” There is no substantive difference.

For anyone who has read the books and is not deranged regarding the President to the point of delusion, Esquire’s book list is kind of hilarious. “1984,” for example, is a vision of Soviet-style totalitarianism, with a news media that distorts facts  to support a political party similar to the way our current news media manipulates it against the current administration, but previously did to bolster the Obama. Indeed, Esquire’s book list itself is Orwellian, using mass communication to control public opinion with deception, emotion and fear.

Sinclair Lewis’s “It Can’t Happen Here” was considered hysterical when it was written in the Thirties. Including “The Handmaiden’s Tale” as a guide to “what happens next” is about as silly an example of fearmongering as one could imagine:

“Imagine a world in which an elite group of men had absolute power over women’s reproductive rights. Takes less mental acrobatics than it used to, doesn’t it? Though it’s long been a potent allegory for the ways in which women are forced to find agency in a male-dominated world, Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel is now essential reading, thanks to the presence of an alleged sexual predator and a pro-life zealot in the White House.”

Funny, nobody imagined such things when Democrats had a proven sexual predator in the White House. (Which one, you ask? Now, now: JFK wasn’t proven so until after he was President, not that the proof has stopped him from still being lionized as a liberal icon.) How does the President qualify as a “pro-life zealot”? Why, don’t you understand? Anyone who is against abortion on demand is a zealot, but a pro-abortion advocate who believes in late term abortions up to delivery (aka “infanticide”) or who regards abortion as “joyful” is a feminist.  Back to reality: if the President were a “ a pro-life zealot,” I assume he would have appointed a Supreme Court Justice with some track record of being anti-abortion, and who had expressed approval for SCOTUS overturning established law, like Roe v.Wade. Never mind: you are obviously not supposed to think very hard about any of this.

Then we have Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road,” about an environmental catastrophe even worse than the one Al Gore promised we would be in the middle of already.  Yup, that’s “next,” no question about it.  In “Jennifer Government,”

“…the U.S. has taken control of most of the Western Hemisphere, eliminating the need for international trade, and the world is run by for-profit corporations as the government is left with very little power. Everything is now privatized—with taxes abolished, the government has no funding with which to implement law, and crimes are only investigated if the victim or their family pays for it.”

Sure, that’s “not-so-speculative”!

The rest of the list, and Esquire’s hyper-partisan descriptions of them, is just as absurd and batty. “The Hunger Games?” The Hunger Games? Oh, I get it: Trump had a reality TV show,see,  so soon he will convert the whole country into a dystopian nightmare where elaborate gladiatorial fights to the death are employed to pacify the starving underclass! Sure! That’s next! Makes perfect sense. Better impeach the monster before it can happen!

Over at Althouse, whose blog brought Esquire’s insane hit piece to my attention, readers were offered a poll asking what the point of the list was.  “Just read the LIST, not the books. The list exists to say that Trump is a fascist” and “To stimulate hysteria and paranoia in the people to make us malleable for manipulation” had a combined response of 97%.  The result is encouraging: maybe people who are not crippled by hate, ignorance or bias can see through this garbage, even after months of bilious propaganda.

Today also saw the release of a couple of polls showing that, the news media happily informs us, this President has the lowest approval rate of any POTUS in his first two weeks. Gee, I wonder why that is? The entire exercise of denigrating and slandering the President of the United States without pause or justification is designed to create mass confirmation bias in as many gullible and easily confused Americans as possible, so literally anything he says or does will be seen as ominous.

Doing this to your own nation’s leader is so unfair, irresponsible and hateful, and so blatantly bad citizenship, that calling it merely unethical is a gift.

__________________________

Pointer: Althouse

44 Comments

Filed under Citizenship, Environment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Literature, Popular Culture

44 responses to “Esquire’s Ridiculous Book List Smear

  1. Carcarwhite

    Jack, this scares me that some are so blind. How on earth don’t they see it? It’s like if every news station had a Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity on it and one or 2 lone channel like CNN. i truly do t get it. Smart people too.

    Trump is rough and sloppy and big ego, but he’s been so transparent and he’s a horrible politician- but obama and Hillary were wolves in sheeps clothing. I believe Trump really is in this to help. Hell brag about it, but I see authenticity and genuine care when I hear him speak. Not the slogan stuff but the longer interviews one in one.

    Will we make it with this destructive force dressed in “love” which the left is feeding?

    Do you think there’s hope?

    • Tippy Scales

      Carcarwhite, I agree Trump is a blowhard with a huge ego, and I’m not really a big fan. But he’s not shown himself to be anywhere close to “Literally Hitler.” The media has come unhinged, abandoned all pretense of objectivity, and the public no longer trusts them, according toe very poll. Which is sad and scary, because when there comes a time for the media to expose REAL fascism, nobody will believe them.

      If the media had no redeeming qualities at all, I would be happy to just call them a bunch of morons and move on. But quality journalism can do so much good, and I hate to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Unfortunately, in recent years there’s been a lot less baby and too much bathwater!

      As I’ve stated before, I’ve been a reporter for a mainstream daily newspaper for more than 20 years (I’m not being self aggrandizing by saying that; I just want to share my experiences from the inside). I see the bias up close, Now, my paper usually provides balanced coverage, but there are biases baked into the process. For instance, with Trump’s immigration stay, while we have published stories that include voices from people who support the President’s action, they’re always stuck into the stories as an afterthought; the focus is invariably on those who decry the Executive Order. We’ll throw in a few quotes from those who don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world and call it balanced journalism. But is it?

      While it’s commendable that we’re at least trying to provide balance — something I’m not seeing with most outlets — how about doing a few stories where those who support the President are the focus/headline, and then add the dissenting voices lower in the story? Why does half the voting population get relegated to being an afterthought, if they’re included at all? I don’t cover that beat, or I’d fight for more balance.

      There are points of hope amid all this craziness. A fellow reporter who works for a local TV station is a flaming liberal, and privately despises Trump and his immigration stance. However, she just broke some news about the refugees that made the Democratic position look bad (I don’t want to give too many details, because I want to stay anonymous). This reporter could have buried the story, because nobody else had it. But it was a good story, and she put her personal politics aside because it was more important for her to practice the craft of journalism.

      When I see things like that, it gives me hope that all is not lost. Unfortunately, the reporter I’m talking about is in the distinct minority.

      One of the problems is, since Watergate, young people have been drawn to journalism for the wrong reasons. I hear it from young people all the time: “I got into this business because I want to make the world a better place.” I tell them that’s the wrong reason to become a reporter, because your version of what makes for a better world might not jibe with someone else’s. It’s not the job of a reporter to make the world a better place. Just tell everyone what happened, and do your best to leave your biases at the door.

      Sorry for the long-winded response, but this is an issue that really riles me up!

      • Well put and thank you!

        Did you catch the epic atomic wedgie, depicting your contention on steroids, Michael Cieply delivered to The Gray Lady a couple of months back?

        https://deadline.com/2016/11/shocked-by-trump-new-york-times-finds-time-for-soul-searching-1201852490/

        • Tippy Scales

          Yes, thanks, Paul, I did see that, along with other media mea culpa navel-gazing pieces, and it gave me hope that, after completely missing the boat on how half the country feels, people in my profession would finally start making attempts at diversifying their thought processes. Alas, that lasted about three days. Then it was back to all Hate Trump, all the Time.

          I was in the grocery store the other day and in the rack was a magazine cover with a picture of Trump and his family and the caption, “the First Family.” And I was a bit taken aback because nothing about the cover appeared to be an attempt to degenerate the President or his family. That’s how normal these anti-Trump hit pieces have become: I’m actually surprised when I don’t see one!!! That’s pretty said…

        • Tippy Scales

          Mr. Cieply gives an accurate glimpse into the sausage-making process. Agendas are most definitely pushed…and openly.

          When I worked for a Gannett newspaper in the 1990s/2000s, there was a policy called “mainstreaming.” That was their attempt to get more minority voices into the papers. It started as a good idea: reporters should make an effort to interview people who don’t look like them (there was, however, no effort to prompt reporters to talk to those who don’t THINK like them).

          What started as a logical suggestion soon morphed into ridiculousness. If a reporter went to the scene of a car crash, the marching orders were: Don’t come back unless it’s mainstreamed. That means if a white male actually saw the crash, and a person of color was inside the bank when it happened, but heard the noise, and you only have room in your story for one quote, you quote the minority. There was an edict from our publisher that we had to get a minority’s photo on every inside page. I’m not joking! Reporters found creative ways to adhere to the policy. For instance, we’d find a government official to quote on the most banal subjects, just to get his mug in the paper.

          Instead of pursuing good stories, that’s the kind of crap we spent our time doing. Thank God I no longer work for Gannett! I don’t think they enforce that policy as stringently as they did when I worked there, but any reporter who worked for a Gannett paper during that era can tell you mainstreaming horror stories!

          • ”There was an edict from our publisher that we had to get a minority’s photo on every inside page.”

            Yikes!

            Reminds me of one of the great many self-inflicted heaping piles-of-steaming-crap SNAFUs my Alma Mater, the UW/Madison (On Wisconsin!!) goes out of their way to leap into with both feet.

            The cover of the 2001-02 UW/Madison undergraduate application booklet apparently didn’t feature enough…um…diversity, so what do they do?

            Well, what any “window-dressing is the same as the real thing and who’ll know the difference” administrator would do: photoshop in a picture of a Black person.

            http://www.snopes.com/college/admin/uwmadison.asp

            Gustave Le Bon “The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind” (1899)

            “Little adapted to reasoning, crowds are quick to act… HOW POWERLESS THEY ARE TO HOLD ANY OPINIONS OTHER THAN THOSE WHICH ARE IMPOSED ON THEM…. [They are led] by seeking what produces an impression on them and what seduces them.” (bolds mine)

            It also reminds me of Captain Willard (Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now!):
            ”Oh man… the bullshit piled up so fast in Vietnam, you needed wings to stay above it.”

  2. fattymoon

    Carcarewhite, we are at opposite poles (except for your statement that “obama and Hillary were wolves in sheeps clothing”).

    This morning’s news… “USDA removes animal welfare reports from its website” pushed me over the edge. Seriously, my sanity is up for grabs this morning. Can you feel my anger? http://www.startribune.com/usda-removes-animal-welfare-reports-from-its-website/412715773/

    For some reason animal welfare has been extremely important to me. I single handedly protested Southwest Bio-Labs following a thermostat glitch in 2012 which led to the death of 10 cats. http://saenonline.org/res-fr-nm-sbl.html

    This time I won’t stand alone. This time I will do what I must do.

    “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Gandhi

    Pile on if you want. I don’t have even one fuck to give.

  3. fattymoon

    “The point being made, of course, though already hackneyed, dishonest and thoroughly debunked, is that the President is Hitler.”

    In one respect he’s not. “Animal welfare in Nazi Germany” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_welfare_in_Nazi_Germany

    Point being, Trump is fucking worse than Hitler when it comes to animal welfare.

  4. fattymoon

    “The entire exercise of denigrating and slandering the President of the United States without pause or justification is designed to create mass confirmation bias in as many gullible and easily confused Americans as possible, so literally anything he says or does will be seen as ominous.”

    Jack, why didn’t you add “without cause” to that sentence? Cause I have many causes which I’ll be happy to list at a later today.

    Lets start with this…
    “1. He’s completely unstable and unpredictable: The last thing anyone should want in a leader of any kind is someone who they can’t have reasonable expectations for or rely upon as any sort of beacon of sanity. When all hell is breaking loose, a true leader is someone who everyone seeks out to guide them through the chaos. Say what you want about Hillary Clinton, President Obama, George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, John McCain, Bill Clinton, John Kerry — they’re at least fairly predictable, collected and emotionally stable individuals. Even as much as I disliked Bush, I’ll fully admit that he did a great job in the days and weeks immediately after 9/11 uniting the country.
    The last thing this country needs is a president who we never know what he’s going to say or do from day to day or even hour to hour.” https://forwardprogressives.com/5-reasons-why-donald-trump-is-the-most-terrifying-presidential-candidate-in-our-lifetime/

    • J. Houghton

      Did you notice that the article linked is dated July 30, 2016, before the election. Obviously, this “five reasons” article was written for the one purpose of swaying voters in the election in the direction of HRC and against Trump. Nothing in it can be believed as anything but partisan argument or opinion.

      Second, the article makes some rather sweeping and absolute generalizations of what and who Trump is… especially the fifth point about Trump being unqualified. Evidence to back these generalizations up are not offered. This is opinion and not fact. The facts are: Trump is a natural born citizen of the United States; he is over the age of 35 years old; and he has been a resident of the United States over 14 years. Beyond that, he won the election. What more does anyone need? Looking back to President Obama… who was my President… many expected something completely different from what we eventually got. Things are not always as they appear.

      It is true that President Trump… and I do call him President… is different and full of surprises. I am not sure how this will turn out in the end and neither do you.

      It really bothers me that so many people seem to be forgetting that the media got about 90 percent of the 2016 presidential election story completely wrong! (Maybe I am being too generous.) And now the media (including this Esquire article) is again telling ME what the future will be concerning President Trump’s legacy! Please… give me a break. Much of the media has just completely gone off the rails and can’t accept the reality that is right under its nose. Donald Trump won the election. Donald Trump is the President of the United States. And it would behoove the media to start being careful about inciting irrational paranoia, fear and distrust of the President’s motives on everything he ungracefully says or does.

      Donald Trump is a different kind of President. He was not my ideal choice… but nor was HRC. So, I advise anyone who will listen: Give him a chance; be fair but hold him accountable; and hope for the best. It does America no good to declare the Trump Presidency a failure before it even begins.

    • Tippy Scales

      fattymoon, it seems to me your objections have more to do with style over substance. And so many, including the biased national media, seem to share your revulsion.

      Let’s take the backlash over how the Oval Office has treated the media in recent years. Trump SAYS some boorish things about the media being the opposition party, etc. and the press completely freaks out, with cries of “we’ve never needed a strong media like we do now!”

      However, when Obama actually took hostile ACTION against the media (by tapping the phones of the Associated Press to see who was leaking information; by having the FBI harass reporters; and by jailing more whistleblowers who talked to the media than any other president in history), Big Media shrugged. Sure, there were a few stories here and there decrying Obama’s action, but maybe 1/1000th of what we’re seeing today. And then the media went back to playing their Final Four squares with the President, who was oh, so cool — and polished. As he stabbed them in the back.

      Same thing with this immigration stay. Pretty much everyone agrees it was handled ham-handedly, but please tell me which basic tenet of Trump’s policy wasn’t either proposed or carried out by Bill and Hillary Clinton or Obama. Every single thing I’ve seen in this executive order, from the countries actually on the list, to the fundamental notion of halting immigrants from certain regions until they can be vetted, has been done or said before.

      The difference? Style over substance…and a little built-in Trump hate for good measure. There’s a widely-circulated video of Bill Clinton saying — before 9/11 — that we need to tighten up our immigration laws and stop the tide of people entering the country illegally. I don’t recall an outcry after that. But when Trump said basically the same thing, he also pointed out (correctly) that many of these illegals come here and commit crimes. Now, he did it in a completely buffoonish way, but that’s because he’s a buffoon. Instead of saying “some of them are rapists (which is true), he said, “they’re rapists.” Had anyone bothered asking him, he’d have pointed out (as he has many times since) that the “they” he was referring to were the bad immigrants who come here and commit crimes. But who has time for clarification when there’s a narrative to propagate? Trump is Hitler, haven’t you heard?

      However, the actual substance of what he said was no more inflammatory than what Clinton said; or Hillary’s “super predators” comment that somehow didn’t have the left painting her as Literally Hitler.

      (Maybe if the President carried a jar of Frank’s Hot Sauce in his jacket pocket, he’d receive the same free pass from the race pimps.)

      People are freaking out over Trump’s style, but what they don’t seem to grasp is: his boorishness is the very reason so many like him. And it’s not because all Trump supporters “share his racist, sexist, xenophobic-ist, ist-ist views!!”

      No, a lot of folks are just sick and tired of polished politicians who say all the “right” things and do just the opposite. Say what you will about Trump, but he seems to actually believe what he’s saying (or else he’s the greatest actor since John Barrymore!).

      These polished politicians you’re pining for have, to borrow Hillary’s phrase, two positions: The one they actually believe, and the BS they spew for the public. Unless I’m completely mistaken, with Trump, what you see is what you get. And a lot of people don’t know how to handle that.

      There’s certainly an argument to be made that the President’s words could potentially impact our country’s relationship with other nations. But I would argue the U.S. is weaker on the world stage than it has been in decades, in large part because of Obama’s failed foreign policy. So maybe a little boorishness and unpredictability are needed. We will see.

      • fattymoon

        Tippy, I DO NOT PINE FOR ANY POLITICIAN. (Yes, I would have preferred Bernie Danders over Clinton, but I pine for no one.)

        My initial post here, which is still under moderation, makes the point that Trump, or someone close to trump, has, in effect, made it easier for animal abusers to hide from public scrutiny. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/02/trump-administration-blacks-out-animal-welfare-information

        I posted this… “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Gandhi

        And, for good measure, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way their fellow human beings are treated.
        http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-new-c-i-a-deputy-chiefs-black-site-past

        I have the feeling I’m about to blow. Time out for a smoke.

        • Tippy Scales

          I will have to research those links you provided and get back to you. It’s hard to gin up any outrage over an issue, when I know there’s the very real likelihood it’s being falsely portrayed. In the current media environment, I don’t take any story at face value (I never did, but nowadays you read one story and then find out the opposite is true. If Trump were to put out a fire, the headlines would scream “President Wastes Water.”)

      • “Unless I’m completely mistaken, with Trump, what you see is what you get. And a lot of people don’t know how to handle that.”

        Julian Assange said in August: “I mean, it’s from a point of view of an investigative journalist organization like WikiLeaks, the problem with the Trump campaign is it’s actually hard for us to publish much more controversial material than what comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth every second day…I mean, that’s a very strange reality for most of the media to be in.”

        • Tippy Scales

          That Assange statement has some merit…but I suspect if wikileaks had discovered emails from the Trump team disparaging Catholics, or calling Mexicans “taco bowls,” or discussing whether their candidate should say “yo mama” in order to appease black voters, there would’ve been a lot more controversy, irrespective of the controversial stuff actually spewing from Trump’s mouth.

          I mean, look at how the media/left freaked out over the 10-year-old audio of Trump’s private locker-room talk, in which his bragging about how some star-struck bimbos will LET HIM grab them by the %#%^ somehow got turned into him boasting about sexual assault. It drives me crazy that this has become the accepted “truth.” Newsflash: The phrase “they let you” is the textbook definition of consent; i.e., not sexual assault. If he came up to my mom and tried that, I guarantee she wouldn’t “let” him do it; she’d most likely kick him in the clock-weights. But there are women out there who would “let” a big star do that.

          My point is: While I agree to a measure what Assange said, I’m certain any tidbit of information he uncovered would blow up in the media like an H-Bomb, despite the fact that Trump runs his mouth!

          • Margie

            Tippy Scales, I enjoyed reading your comments, and many of your assessments mirror my own, (which is likely why I enjoyed them so much).

            Thank you for pointing out that Trump said the “…bimbos will LET HIM grab…” The video was so generally offensive that I didn’t study it closely enough to catch that.

            I DID study the “They’re rapists” speech, however. If he really said, “They’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people,” then why isn’t there widespread alarm about him having said that some rapists are good people? Who would say that? It doesn’t make sense. Why doesn’t there seem to be anyone besides me who noticed this? I believe that, speaking of illegal aliens from Mexico in general, he said, “THERE’RE rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.” There are. Not they are. Contract either phrase and it sounds exactly like the other. “There are” is the only one that makes sense in context.

            I believe that, in his own clumsy way, he DID say “some of them are rapists,” which is indeed true.

            • carcarwhite

              This makes sense too as a possiblity, but I think my interpretation resonates with me more. Their… belonging to… my comment is below yours 🙂 I saw yours after I posted.

              So, “they’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, their rapists… and some I assume are good people.”

              The media hates him so they interpret in a way that supports their presupposition about him.

              • Margie

                Yes, carcarwhite. I actually saw someone posit the same thing elsewhere just a few days ago. First time I’d ever seen it, and it does also make sense. I heard it the way I described the day the news stories came out. I immediately sought out a video of the actual speech, listened, and thought to myself, “But I don’t think that’s really what he said.”

                You’re right about the media. I don’t take their word for anything. I don’t think anyone would have seen Trump’s previously often-used “spastic” hand gesture as mocking a disabled reporter who wasn’t in the room, and whom Trump hadn’t seen for more than 20 years and may not have remembered, if the media hadn’t authoritatively told everyone that’s what he was doing. I have trouble even remembering the names and faces of my daily coworkers from 25 years ago, and I’ve only associated with a small fraction of the number of people Trump has.

      • carcarwhite

        I’ve listented to the Trump quote about Mexicans over and over. What if he wasn’t saying “they’re rapists” (they ARE rapists) but… they are bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime… what if the next part he meant “their rapists”… like they are bringing their rapists?

        It makes far more sense in context because he was talking about what they are bringing, crime, drugs, rapists… and he KNOWS they are not all rapists. So do we. And we know he’s a sloppy speaker. So is that interpretation possible? I think so.

        When I listen that is what I hear AND it’s what I heard him say he was saying. They’re and their sound the same.

        I may be wrong, and I am not a fan of his at all and I in finding good, I do find a lot. Not from the media, or Fox either, but when I go and listen myself to the things reported which others have reported as “he thinks all Mexicans are rapists.”

      • Chris

        Same thing with this immigration stay. Pretty much everyone agrees it was handled ham-handedly, but please tell me which basic tenet of Trump’s policy wasn’t either proposed or carried out by Bill and Hillary Clinton or Obama.

        You’re kidding. Which other president banned green card holders from re-entering the country? Which one banned people from seven different countries from entering the country with no warning, stopping people who were already in the air?

        Obama never banned Iraqi refugees. He initiated a slowdown, but there was no month during the six-month period where we received no Iraqi refugees. Carter took Iranian refugees too during his “ban.” The comparisons to past presidents are simply uninformed.

  5. fattymoon

    “Second, the article makes some rather sweeping and absolute generalizations of what and who Trump is… especially the fifth point about Trump being unqualified. Evidence to back these generalizations up are not offered. This is opinion and not fact.”

    I only presented the first point, not the fifth point, because I believe that ANYONE CAN GROW UP TO BE PRESIDENT. (Almost anyone.)

    I realize the piece I cited was released prior to the election, J., but that does not diminish the accuracy of the forecast. Let’s twist it around… would you opine Trump to be stable and predictable? Which do you prefer in a president?

    • J. Houghton

      I would prefer to not being drawn into being a Trump “defender”. Never liked him much… but never liked HRC even more.

      However, to answer your question, here is my take:

      Few people ever ascend to the office of the President of the United States. Those few who have done so always had some measure of success in their previous life experiences… some having long and very public experience in fields that are obliviously relevant to the office of President… some not so much.

      President Obama… who was my President for eight years… was the “man for his times” and a guy with an incredibly thin resume’ of relevant experience. But it didn’t matter to most of America. He was young; he was handsome; he could read from a teleprompter better than most; and people were ready for a vague but optimistic “hope and change” approach. President Obama’s measure of success in his previous life was the meteoric ascendancy of his rise in national politics, which was enough for most voters to BELIEVE the inspirational rhetoric he offered.

      President Trump… who is now my President… was never in my mind a desirable presidential candidate. However, Donald Trump the business man obviously must have some kind of “skill set” that enabled him to amass an obscenely large business empire and to hold on to it through several pretty rough up and down business cycles. To do what he has done and to do it such a “dog-eat-dog” ruthless New York Real Estate environment suggests to me that he knows a thing or two about “executive management” of large and complex organizations.

      Much of the media seems to be distracted and confused by Trump’s buffoon like rhetoric, and seem to forget: He is from New York: he is obscenely rich;he has a big ego; and he is NOT a life-long politician who has every word coming out of his mouth “focus group” tested. In reality, many “big shots” from this background talk like this.

      Now directly to your question: Yes, he is absolutely stable otherwise he would have made a mess of his business ventures long ago and would not be president now. And No: he is not predictable and that is exactly the way he wants to remain. He knows accurately enough what he knows and does not know and doesn’t necessarily feel it is to his or the country’s best interest to wear his every thought on his sleeve. He also knows how to get answers that work.

      Having said this, I still don’t particularly like his (Trump’s) style, but also know that the media is not to be trusted in their assessment of the President. The media is biased, ideologically leftist in their motivation, and will abuse their public trust happily to “knee-cap” this President so that the leftist status quo can be restored to power.

  6. You have to keep in mind that the folks manipulating this stuff (the cool heads rather than the hysterical puppets) are looking several steps ahead. I think that part of what they’re doing is throwing everything they possibly can, no matter how wild, to induce others to defend Trump when it’s fair to do so. When Trump eventually fails, they all become enemies of the people along with him.

    • Tippy Scales

      Wow, good point. I also think if (not when) Trump fails (I’m not convinced it’s a foregone conclusion), it will give the globalists a reason to push full-steam with their agenda. The conspiracy theorist in me says that’s why the real powers that be wanted Trump in the first place: To give populism the illusion of having a chance, only to fail. “See? We tried it your way, and look what happened! Now we can forge ahead with Hillary’s dream of open borders and open trade!”

  7. One more thing: it’s just striking that Animal Farm is not on that list.

  8. Steve-O-in-NJ

    This isn’t the first time a Republican president has been likened to Hitler or to a buffoon. If I had a nickel for all the references to Bush the younger as Hitler or a chimp that I saw online I would be a very rich man indeed. Fortunately or unfortunately, GWB was out of office before social media really got going, so he was spared the brunt of the abuse that comes when anybody can post or tweet anything about anything and have it go around the world in an instant.

    For 8 years the media lay in torpor as they mainly dealt in forwarding Obama press releases, burying stories that might be damaging to Obama, and occasionally delivering a smackdown or torpedo to GOP senators, governors, or candidates who looked like they might have been getting a little too big for their britches. Even that was fairly muted, the same way that you might point out a recent mistake or omission to an employee you sense might be angling for a raise, but who hasn’t said anything yet.

    We all know what happened last November so I won’t rehash it, but because of it the entire political picture has changed. The media has turned 180 degrees from comfortably reporting the status quo to fighting the status quo tooth and nail, even breathlessly talking about impeachment of the president before the man has even been in office a month.

    This should some as no surprise, since as soon as it became inevitable that Trump would be the GOP candidate they traded in any sense of objectivity for a “Hillary for President” button. They are going to use any and all means, fair or foul, at this point, to destroy Trump, and implying that he is a Hitler on the rise is just a shortcut to that goal.

    Expect barrages of negative headlines also. Every stumble, every setback, every soldier who falls in the line of duty, every program that falls short of its goal, will be headlined and pushed relentlessly, just like during GWB’s presidency every casualty in Iraq, every malapropism, every time things didn’t go exactly according to plan, was pushed, and every celebrity who threw a zinger, every nation who withdrew from Irag, etc. was breathlessly announced and reannounced.

    Btw, Jack, while we’re on the topic of literature and opposition to political figures, what are your thoughts on Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling’s trolling of Mike Pence, implying that he sold his soul by being part of the Trump administration, then responding sharply to anyone who criticized her for doing so? I don’t know whether to laugh or sneer at her statement that Trump is twice as bad as her own supervillain Voldemort, but I have to say that I think a fantasy writer, even one who made as much as she did by producing a popular product, is out of her league against a real-life world leader and may merit an ethics dunce rating.

    • She’s a Brit. I don’t want to be dismissive, but I’m dismissive. The experience EA has had with non-US commenters, such as Zoebrain, who was otherwise smart and perceptive, and Bruce, who was, well, Bruce, has led me to believe that the European history and culture just doesn’t permit a full understanding of what rolls in the US. They freaked out, and couldn’t be brought back to earth. They don’t get the American Presidency, because there is nothing like it.

      The sad part is that thanks to a rotten education system, increasing numbers of Americans don’t get it either.

      • Steve-O-in-NJ

        She’s a Scot, technically, but otherwise amen. I really like a lot of these UK and Irish musicians, but I am really having some second thoughts about buying their material or tickets this year after some of the ignorant, obnoxious, and hateful tweets and posts a lot of them have put out, most of which boil down to “Trump is either an ignorant twat or an evil Hitler clone, and so are his supporters, and we hate both.” Hint: if you want to break the US market, insulting the president and his supporters isn’t the way to do it.

        To my shame, I actually confronted one such singer, who I won’t name because that would be web-shaming, and called her both a “socialist anti-Semite” (true enough because she is a Jeremy Corbyn fan and a Palestine fan) and a “self-righteous, preening, insufferable bitch” (pure opinion, but if you think the shoe fits…).

        I’m going to write something much longer on JKR and the role of fantasy writers vis-à-vis reality, not sure I’ll post it here.

        • The surprisingly astute Brit re: Trump has been Piers Morgan. Didn’t see that coming at all.

          • Phlinn

            I’ve come to the conclusion that Piers Morgan has a fairly good understanding of the USA for a foreigner, with a blind spot about guns.

          • Steve-O-in-NJ

            Fantasy author J.K. Rowling took it upon herself to troll Vice President Pence and criticize the President, sneering at those fans who have chosen to make contrary opinions known, even condescendingly saying you can lead someone to books about the rise and fall of an autocrat, but not make them understand.

            I have to say I am particularly unimpressed by that latter statement, and the attitude it conveys – an attitude that this author is smarter than anyone who disagrees with her, and, more to the point, that she had some profound lesson about human nature to teach the world in the lengthy prose of seven books that were, while they were fun, popular, and very profitable, ultimately only fantasy novels. Their primary purpose, like all novels, is and was to entertain.

            Oh, Ms. Rowling drops a profound-sounding thought here and there between the fantastic creatures, faux-Latin spells, potboiler plots, and hairbreadth escapes: that those who seek power often seek it to abuse it, that what you do is more important than who your father was, that being powerful is less important than how you use what power you have, and of course, that racism is bad.

            However, none of these are particularly original thoughts. JKR didn’t come up with any of these herself. She might have packaged them up nicely, but no one changes their approach to life because some principle came from the mouth of a plucky young hero or a wise, traditional- looking wizard.

            More importantly, no one reads fantasy novels to gain insight into life or to learn great universal truths. That’s what philosophy and history books are for. History will also tell you that sometimes might does equal right, that sometimes good people have to or choose to do bad things, and the fate of the world or a nation never rests on the shoulders of a single boy.

            Fantasy is read for entertainment, and as often as not to feed the feelings that go unfulfilled in the real world. I am both a reader and a writer of fantasy. I started with the Wizard of Oz, which accepts space time warps, golems of straw and tin, and powerful witches who can easily be defeated simply by a young girl throwing water over them. Supposedly the message is that there is no place like home, but it is simply a story to entertain children without being too frightening. I read The Chronicles of Narnia, where children take up swords to battle witches, black knights, and sea serpents and come out of it just fine. Christian underpinnings aside, it’s mostly just an adventure.

            I read LOTR too, and much as some of it parallels the world wars, it’s hard to get much of a lesson out among epic battles and suspense (and a fair amount of tedium). I read the Conan stuff too when I was 14-16. Those stories served no purpose other than to give an adolescent seeking to escape the tedium of daily life a hero who did what he wanted, when he wanted to do it, however he wanted to do it, and with whoever he wanted to do it, not to mention one who the ladies fell all over. It was all fun, but didn’t teach me much of value.

            I have some respect for the fantasy writers of the early 20th century, many of whom, including CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, and their predecessor John Plunkett, also known by his title Lord Dunsany, did not hesitate to pick up a weapon and defend their nation when needed. In fact the fighting writers of that time could be the subject of an honors thesis. They also steered clear of politics and didn’t fancy themselves greater than the average person, nor that they held any special insight into the human condition. They definitely knew they would have been out of their league second guessing the real world leaders of their time like FDR or Churchill (a writer of some accomplishment himself).

            I have little to no respect for entertainers, even those who have launched very successful franchises, who think that either gives them some special insight greater than the rest of us, or, God forbid, that they are better than the rest of us, including the duly elected leaders. That goes double for foreigners who, frankly, understand our system no better than we understand theirs. By all means, Ms. Rowling, and all you other entertainers out there, say what you have to say, but don’t be surprised or offended if you get no special deference, and are instead asked when your next work is due out.

  9. Wayne

    *Fahrenheit 451* by Ray Bradbury seems to be an ironic choice considering the recent activities by the Antifa thugs at UC Berkeley and their successful attempt to shut down an event featururing a controversial speaker’s who’s ideas they didn’t like. They even used arson as one of their weapons like the firemen in Bradbury’s novel.

  10. fattymoon

    Sorry, I can’t see straight this morning. Has anyone nominated Catch 22 by Joseph Heller? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catch-22_(logic)

  11. Isaac

    Looking on the bright side…maybe some of their subscribers will actually READ all of those books and it will motivate them to stop being the statists that many of them are. They’d probably be surprised at how close many of Hitler’s socialist policies mirror their objectives.

  12. Alex

    Did they even read the books or just the blurbs?

    I think Jennifer Government is awesome satire. And I say that as one with strong libertarian sympathies. Whoever thinks there is any serious lesson to be learned there about governmental policies might as well read Dan Brown to learn the subtleties of Catholic theology.

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