Charles Manson, Helter Skelter, And Donald Tr-mp

One of the first serious books I ever read was Helter Skelter, by Vincent Bugliosi, the prosecutor who eventually put Charles Manson in prison for orchestrating the gruesome Tate-LaBianca murders just north of Beverly Hills in 1969. Manson, you may remember, was not physically a part of the murders. Bugliosi convicted Manson mainly on circumstantial evidence, mostly by convincing jurors that Manson manipulated the actual killers by selling them the conspiratorial idea (which a deluded Manson actually believed) that the acts were necessary to trigger a race war between blacks and whites. The resulting apocalypse would end with all the whites dead (the “Black Muslims would come out of hiding and wipe them all out”) and, because Manson thought blacks were incapable of running the world, the blacks would turn to Manson and his white followers—hidden away in Death Valley—to take charge.

Charles Manson is, and remains, nuts, of course. Through a weird interpretation of songs by the Beatles, especially from their White Album, combined with his reading of the Book of Revelation (a weird book in itself), Manson’s deranged mind invented the Helter Skelter scenario, which was essentially a giant conspiracy, of which the murders were only a small part, to make him ultimate ruler. In an effort to make it as clear as possible to the jury just what Helter Skelter was, prosecutor Bugliosi made the testimony of a Manson follower named Paul Watkins part of his closing argument at trial. According to Watkins, here is how Manson described Helter Skelter:

WATKINS: There would be some atrocious murders; that some of the spades from Watts would come up into the Bel-Air and Beverly Hills district and just really wipe some people out, just cut bodies up and smear blood and write things on the wall in blood, and cut little boys up and make parents watch.

So, in retaliation-this would scare; in other words, all the other white people would be afraid that this would happen to them, so out of their fear they would go into the ghetto and just start shooting black people like crazy. But all they would shoot would be the garbage man and Uncle Toms, and all the ones that were with Whitey in the first place. And underneath it all, the Black Muslims would-he would know that it was coming down.

BUGLIOSI: Helter Skelter was coming down?

WATKINS: Yes. So, after Whitey goes in the ghettos and shoots all the Uncle Toms, then the Black Muslims come out and appeal to the people by saying, ‘Look what you have done to my people.’ And this would split Whitey down the middle, between all the hippies and the liberals and all the up-tight piggies. This would split them in the middle and a big civil war would start and really split them up in all these different factions, and they would just kill each other off in the meantime through their war. And after they killed each other off, then there would be a few of them left who supposedly won.

BUGLIOSI: A few of who left?

WATKINS: A few white people left who supposedly won. Then the Black Muslims would come out of hiding and wipe them all out.

BUGLIOSI: Wipe the white people out?

WATKINS: Yes. By sneaking around and slitting their throats.

Now, at this point, you may wonder what any of this has to do with politics, which is what this blog is mostly about. After all, Tr-mp, as bad as he is, is no Charles Manson. He’s not a convicted killer. But he is a conspiracist. He is mentally ill. He does believe crazy things. And so do many people around him and many people who support him. And because of that fact I believe it is important to peer into the minds of conspiracy believers, deranged and otherwise, even if the conspiracies are not as dark and disturbing as Manson’s Helter Skelter, or the minds are not as deranged as Manson’s. So, here we go.

By now, you have seen countless times Tr-mp’s latest conspiratorial tweets from this weekend, but here they are for the record:

♦ Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism! (March 4, 2017, 5:35am)

♦ Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW! (March 4, 2017, 5:49am)

♦ I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election! (March 4, 2017, 5:52am)

♦ How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy! (March 4, 2017, 6:02am)

In a true Mansonian disconnect from the whirlwind of weirdness he had created in a mere 27 minutes, Tr-mp tweeted the following at 7:19am:

Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t voluntarily leaving the Apprentice, he was fired by his bad (pathetic) ratings, not by me. Sad end to great show

Obviously, if you had no other evidence to draw from, if there weren’t hundreds upon hundreds of other reasons to pronounce the mind of “President” Tr-mp disturbed and disturbing, these tweets would be enough. They are lies. They are conspiratorial nonsense. And perhaps the most pathetic part about it all is that Tr-mp had no idea how these tweets would appear to others. He wasn’t playing mult-dimensional chess to deflect from other issues. To him, it was quite natural to accuse, falsely, President Obama of an astoundingly high crime, of being a “bad” man or, alternatively, “sick,” and then to follow that up with commentary about a reality show on television. That’s how disturbed minds work. Or, well, how they don’t work.

Tr-mp’s conspiracy about Obama came, naturally, from other conspiracists. First, the idea was advanced on Thursday by a noxious radio host named Mark Levin, who suggested Obama and his pals are executing a “silent coup” against Agent Orange. To spend two minutes listening to Levin is to wish one was deaf at birth. Rush Limbaugh joined the coup chorus and then, straight from cuckooville, came Breitbart, with a story that eventually got circulated around the White’s Nut’s House, where, reportedly, the Head Nut was “infuriated.” There is, it turns out, a “deep state” hard at work fighting the deconstruction of the administrative state.” In other words, the administrative state will not go gently into the good night of deconstruction. Good for it. I like the administrative state. It always—always—deposits my government retirement check into my bank account on time, every time.

None of this nuttery would be possible, of course, without enablers. Paul Ryan. Mitch McConnell. Others. These “establishment” folks tolerate the insanity because they are using the political equivalent of Helter Skelter (get that right, all you haters out there) as cover for their dirty policy deeds (all of which we will get to as the weeks pass). While unforgivable, that part of this twisted soap opera is at least understandable. To put it in Rahm Emmanuelian terms, politicians don’t often let a crisis go to waste, even if it is a crisis involving a mentally ill president.

What is harder to understand is why people want to blame players like Steve Bannon for Tr-mp’s mental challenges. It’s true Bannon has many bad ideas, including his recently highlighted affection for “a breathakingly racist French novel,” called The Camp of the Saints. Again, permit me to venture into (at some length) the scary world of Mansonesque fantasies. Here’s how HuffPo describes the book Bannon finds so fascinating and opinion-shaping:

The plot of The Camp of the Saints follows a poor Indian demagogue, named “the turd-eater” because he literally eats shit, and the deformed, apparently psychic child who sits on his shoulders. Together, they lead an “armada” of 800,000 impoverished Indians sailing to France. Dithering European politicians, bureaucrats and religious leaders, including a liberal pope from Latin America, debate whether to let the ships land and accept the Indians or to do the right thing — in the book’s vision — by recognizing the threat the migrants pose and killing them all.

The non-white people of Earth, meanwhile, wait silently for the Indians to reach shore. The landing will be the signal for them to rise up everywhere and overthrow white Western society.

The French government eventually gives the order to repel the armada by force, but by then the military has lost the will to fight. Troops battle among themselves as the Indians stream on shore, trampling to death the left-wing radicals who came to welcome them. Poor black and brown people literally overrun Western civilization. Chinese people pour into Russia; the queen of England is forced to marry her son to a Pakistani woman; the mayor of New York must house an African-American family at Image result for The Camp of the SaintsGracie Mansion. Raspail’s rogue heroes, the defenders of white Christian supremacy, attempt to defend their civilization with guns blazing but are killed in the process.

Calgues, the obvious Raspail stand-in, is one of those taking up arms against the migrants and their culturally “cuckolded” white supporters. Just before killing a radical hippie, Calgues compares his own actions to past heroic, sometimes mythical defenses of European Christendom. He harkens back to famous battles that fit the clash-of-civilizations narrative — the defense of Rhodes against the Ottoman Empire, the fall of Constantinople to the same — and glorifies colonial wars of conquest and the formation of the Ku Klux Klan.

Only white Europeans like Calgues are portrayed as truly human in The Camp of the Saints. The Indian armada brings “thousands of wretched creatures” whose very bodies arouse disgust: “Scraggy branches, brown and black … All bare, those fleshless Gandhi-arms.” Poor brown children are spoiled fruit “starting to rot, all wormy inside, or turned so you can’t see the mold.”

The ship’s inhabitants are also sexual deviants who turn the voyage into a grotesque orgy. “Everywhere, rivers of sperm,” Raspail writes. “Streaming over bodies, oozing between breasts, and buttocks, and thighs, and lips, and fingers.”

The white Christian world is on the brink of destruction, the novel suggests, because these black and brown people are more fertile and more numerous, while the West has lost that necessary belief in its own cultural and racial superiority. As he talks to the hippie he will soon kill, Calgues explains how the youth went so wrong: “That scorn of a people for other races, the knowledge that one’s own is best, the triumphant joy at feeling oneself to be part of humanity’s finest — none of that had ever filled these youngsters’ addled brains.”

The Camp of the Saints — which draws its title from Revelation 20:9″}}”>Revelation 20:9 — is nothing less than a call to arms for the white Christian West, to revive the spirit of the Crusades and steel itself for bloody conflict against the poor black and brown world without and the traitors within. The novel’s last line links past humiliations tightly to its own grim parable about modern migration. “The Fall of Constantinople,” Raspail’s unnamed narrator says, “is a personal misfortune that happened to all of us only last week.”

If you can differentiate, in significant and meaningful ways, from the apocalyptic nonsense in that French novel and the apocalyptic nonsense of Helter Skelter, you are a better man or woman than I. Because I can’t see much of a distinction. I find it all disturbing. And scary. The Tr-mp “presidency” isn’t, ultimately, about Steve Bannon and the fear, or hope, he has of his own version of a “race” war to end all wars. It is about Donald Tr-mp. It is about the things that pass through his untilled mind, through his conspiracy-poisoned field of mental fantasies. Let us never forget that. Let us ignore people like Joe Scarborough of MSNBC, who tweeted on Sunday the following regarding Tr-mp’s accusations against Obama:

Did Steve Bannon slip the offending article into Tr-mp’s hands to set the president swirling into a rage? That toxic mix undermines America.

It doesn’t matter, relatively speaking, whether Steve Bannon slipped that Breitbart article into Tr-mp’s tiny hands. What matters much, much more is that the mind connected to those Tr-mpian hands is a sick mind. Yes, it is noteworthy that people like Bannon have access to Tr-mp and can use his mental illness and susceptibility to conspiracy theories to at least attempt to actualize some kind of weird and dangerous fantasy, every bit as weird as Helter Skelter. But it is the sick mind that matters most of all, no matter how hard that bitter reality is to contemplate.

Thus, I want to leave you with the words of Vincent Bugliosi, Manson’s prosecutor and the determined man who uncovered the primary motivation behind some infamously grisly murders in Los Angeles in 1969. Bugliosi told the jurors in his rather unique closing argument in the Tate-LaBianca murder trial:

I, as a prosecutor, and you folks as members of the jury, cannot help it, we cannot help it if Manson had this wild, crazy idea about Helter Skelter. It is not our fault. Manson is the one that made the evidence, not we. We can only deal with the evidence that presents itself.

We, as members of a democracy, are the jurors listening to what is going on in the trial of our democratic experiment. We can only deal with the evidence that presents itself to us. CharlesManson2014.jpgAnd the evidence compels us to conclude that the man holding the highest office in our land has a deluded mind that is only different in degree from the mind of the man who, as I write, sits in Corcoran State Prison in Corcoran, California.

No, Donald J. Tr-mp is not Charles Manson. He hasn’t killed anyone or urged anyone else to kill anyone to start a Helter-Skelter Armageddon. But given the position this disturbed man in the White’s House holds, he could, potentially, be more dangerous to the world that a thousand Charles Mansons. And that’s worth thinking about. It’s worth writing about. And it’s worth talking about to your family, your friends, and those with whom you interact.

In short, we shouldn’t be afraid to render the only obvious verdict.

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[Manson image: By California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation – [1], Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36851622%5D
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20 Comments

  1. Anonymous

     /  March 7, 2017

    You nailed it! Great read for anyone whose paying attention.

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    • Thanks. I wish this weren’t happening. It is all very frightening. And I hope people, lots of people, are paying attention and will insist that this deranged man be unpresidented very soon.

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  2. I fear you are spot-on, sir. Courageous writing. I’m sick and tired of the “oh, give Trump a chance” set. Being open to everything is having convictions about nothing. This man could wreck civilization.

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    • I totally agree. I am astounded, as I have gone back to watching cable television news, at how many people, most of them Republican legislators, who are willing to come on and insist that we treat this maniac as a normal person, as a normal “president.” They are either opportunists or spineless, gutless, conviction-less assholes who don’t deserve to hold the offices they hold. My fear is, based on the latest polling, that people think Democrats are overreacting to Tr-mp and that Tr-mp, as nutty as he is, is sane enough to “lead” the country.

      I confess that as much hope as I initially had because of the robust resistance to Tr-mpism, that hope is fading some. Too many Americans just don’t understand how dangerous this man is. Because they don’t understand how our government works, because they don’t understand how our intelligence community operates, because they don’t understand the whole Russian interference/Tr-mp collusion controversy, they just don’t get how perilous are the times we are going through.

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  3. By the time Tr-mp took office, he had used up all the chances I was willing to give. I have worked for humans in power like him and I can detect them from afar, with very little interface time. The beginning of their folly and downfall is always, always that they believe their own bullshit, and can not or will not see errors they commit. They are therefore incapable of learning, except in very limited ways. They inevitably spiral down into destruction and wonder “What happened? I was doing great!”

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    • I have worked for some bad people, in terms of how they yielded their “power,” and I have worked for some strange people, in terms of how they perceived the world, but I have never worked for someone as mentally unstable and, to be honest, strategically stupid, as this man. That he sits in the Oval Office is still, after all this time, simply incomprehensible to me. I am ashamed of my fellow Americans who put him there; I am ashamed of the Republican Party who enabled and still enables him. I am ashamed of journalists who fanatically focused on stolen Wikileaks trivia about Clinton during the campaign, wrung their hands over her supposed conflicts of interest with her charitable foundation, while promoting the lunacy that was the Tr-mp campaign, mostly ignoring (or refusing to discuss openly) clear signs of his mental illness and unfitness for the job, not to mention his business ties with foreign governments.

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  4. ansonburlingame

     /  March 7, 2017

    Duane,

    I no longer believe America is capable of finding the full and honest truth about political matters. You are doing an excellect job, as usual, reflecting the views of the Left, actually you now seem to be Radical Left.

    Soon after the election, certainly before the new president took office you posted the “impeach him” and “Hitler-like” posters herein and here they remain and will do so until you get your wish and Trump is gone, long before the end of his term.

    Then what………?

    Then “later” when Dems get Congress and WH, which they will do some day, can you not imagine the alt-right mobs in the street.

    Then what……?

    Our real danger today is NOT just Trump, NOT just Obama, not any single person on single party for that matter. It is the unrelenting quest using any means available to gain single party power. THAT is the way Hitler really came to power. He overcame about 10 different parties, took power and with now a very “single party state”, he did what many single party states do. Same in 1919 in Russia, 1949 in China, and those lists go on and on.

    Bottom line, Duane, your party, the Left is as bad as the Right and both will do damn near anything today to get into and remain in power. But you and yours will NEVER admit that and will remain in your foxholes (or on the streets) always blaming “someone else”.

    Sickening.

    Anson

    PS: This by the way was not at all what I expected from you, a Helter Skelter blog. I hoped for a semi-rational analysis, from the left for sure, showing why you actually believe anything any politicians are saying today.

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    • A plague on both your houses? More false equivalency bullshit from the babies who can’t admit they made a terrible, wildly misinformed call in supporting Chancellor Trump in the first place. You people make me sick — you false patriots. You only want power to do God-knows-what. You and the fundamentalist pastors and the Randians and the bigots and the rest of the fascists. You have the gall to compare Obama and Trump in the same sentence. You sir, are a goddamn fool.

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    • Anson,

      Let’s clear up some things.

      1. I am not a member of the Radical Left. I fight those bastards every chance I get. If you don’t know that by now, then it’s because you don’t pay attention. I believe the far left shares a lot of the blame for getting Tr-mp elected.

      2. I am a liberal. I believe in capitalism. I believe in personal responsibility. I believe in keeping our country safe with an invincible military. I believe it’s okay for the government to spy on the bad guys, even if the bad guys are talking to Americans. I want our military to kill as many terrorists as they can find. I also want our police to chase bad guys on our streets and kill them, too, if they deserve to be killed. What I also believe is that the government is a force for good in other ways than just protecting us from bad guys, overseas and here at home. Our government should promote the general welfare, to borrow a phrase. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, and other social programs are good things, not bad. They promote the general welfare. And our government should police our streets without disproportionately shooting young black men for no good reason. And on and on. In short, I’m not a radical anything. I am in favor of a system of justice that is just for people of all color and creeds; in favor of an economic system that is fair to all people, even people without the talent of Bill Gates or Anson Burlingame; in favor of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, reproductive freedom, and freedom of, and from, religion.

      And, as you know, I am in favor of fiscal responsibility. That starts with disposing of the discredited idea that you can cut taxes endlessly and, like magic, the economy will grow and the debt will shrink. Most of your friends on the right, who used to think the national debt will kill us all, suddenly stopped talking about it when they got their hands on the government. Suddenly, we can spend money like drunken Tr-mps. Suddenly deficits don’t matter all that much. Suddenly we need infrastructure spending, after Obama begged for it for the last six years. And on and on.

      3. Yes. I think Tr-mp should be impeached. Should have happened on January 21st. He has violated the Emoluments Clause every day he’s been in office. He is mentally ill. He publicly begged the Russians for help. He has publicly praised a Russian killer. He has lied repeatedly. He believes ridiculous conspiracies. And just lately he accused his predecessor of a felony, of a high crime. He’s one sick bastard. So, if my stance on Tr-mp is why you call me “radical,” then my response is you ought to be right in there with me. You, as a former Naval officer, ought to be on the phone to Billy Long and Roy Blunt every day and demand they both call for impeachment of this dangerous demagogue.

      4. Now, to your equating the Left and the Right, in terms of doing “damn near anything today to get into and remain in power.” I’ve already said what I think of the far left, so to hell with them. And you now what I think of the far right. So to hell with them. But if you really mean Democrats versus Republicans, you are so far wrong I don’t know where to start. So, I will just say this: The far right has almost complete control of the Republican Party. The far left has almost no control of the Democratic Party, although they are fighting like hell to get it. Are there Democrats who do things to get elected in their districts? Of course. Are there Democrats wh do things to stay in power? Obviously. But they have never deliberately put the country at risk, our very existence as a democracy, by putting a mentally ill candidate on the ballot for the presidency and then promoting him and, now that he is in power, acting like he’s a normal “president.” No, Anson. I won’t let you get away with that nonsense. There has never been a situation like this. And the Republican Party is responsible for it. They own this. And they will own what is bound to come.

      5. As for your disappointment for Helter Skelter, for not giving you a “semi-rational analysis” of what politicians are saying, I can only repeat: I refuse to ignore the sick elephant in this large room we call our democracy. I will, as the situation warrants it, deal with policy issues and other things. But I will not ignore the man in the White’s House who is unfit in every conceivable way to serve there, who is unfit to govern, who is a danger to us and to the world. He is an embarrassment to this once-great country. He has corrupted, almost to the core, a once-great political party. And he is in bed with a murderous Russian and won’t even give us the courtesy of telling us why he finds him so goddamned attractive.

      Duane

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  5. “Insanity” has fallen out of favor among medical professionals. From Wikipedia:

    A more informal use of the term insanity is to denote something considered highly unique, passionate or extreme, including in a positive sense. The term may also be used as an attempt to discredit or criticise particular ideas, beliefs, principles, desires, personal feelings, attitudes, or their proponents, such as in politics and religion.

    But, as used colloquially, insanity is something we all know when we meet it, as in the case of Charles Manson. In DT’s case, the extremism has, apparently, not yet reached the level required to exceed confirmation bias among Republicans. I must note that copies of the National Enquirer and similar rags are apparently selling well at WalMart. It is the era of fake news, and Bannon’s bizarre reading proclivities, unfortunately, fit the times. It is truly frightening.

    Confirmation bias is a real thing. I fear it will take an event of great severity to shock the body politic into rejecting the extremist, erratic, dangerous, paranoid Trump administration. The only bright spot I can see now is that some high-level appointees, like McMaster, appear to actually be, ah, sane.

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    • Jim,

      I share your fear. The latest polls show Tr-mp is much  more popular than he should be, even though he is still underwater. And the poll shows Democrats are more unpopular than Tr-mp, which may change the way they approach him, who knows. And the poll will only encourage Republicans to continue to ignore what even most of them must see as mental illness.

      You mentioned McMaster and how he appears to be sane. Yeah, well, so did General Kelly, remember? He was supposed to be one of those who wouldn’t tolerate a lot of nonsense from Tr-mp and would keep him reigned in as Homeland Security secretary. Yeah, right. When Wolf Blitzer asked Kelly about the insane tweets about Obama and wiretapping, he said “the president must have his reasons.” Jesus.

      We are in so much trouble I find it hard to think about it, much less write about it.

      Duane

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      • Good point about Kelly, Duane. General Kelly is new to politics, of course, and perhaps unlike McMaster, is less able to place principle over obedience. When the truth comes out, as it inevitably must, we’ll see if he can complete the transition.

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  6. ansonburlingame

     /  March 8, 2017

    Duane,

    I am doing my best to have a rational discussion herein but now, again, I am called a “goddamned fool.” That just confirms my assertion that both sides, Left and Right have gone so far beyond the norm of American politics and grave danger is looming all around us as a result.

    Only compromise can mitigate all the rancor prevailing on both sides today. But, as in 2009, compromise is beyond the reach of politicians today as well as citizens trying to discuss a better way forward.

    As I wrote above, Sickening.

    Anson

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    • Anson,

      All of a sudden, there is, on your part and on the part of others on the right, a great appreciation for the concept of “compromise.” As you mentioned, there weren’t any Republicans in the mood for compromise with that guy, what was his name again? oh, yeah, Obama. When the Democrats had complete power for two years, you know what they did? They passed a stimulus bill that helped save the economy. But that’s not the point I want to make here. The point is that that bill was stuffed full of Republican ideas, like tax cuts. That was done, partly at least, in order to get votes from the other side. It got almost no GOP votes. So much for Obama’s attempt to compromise.

      Then there was Obamacare. That was, as we have discussed endlessly, a bleeping Republican idea. It was a bleeping compromise itself. That’s why Obama thought he could get some Republicans to go along with it and make  it bipartisan, so it had a chance of working. But it didn’t get one goddamned GOP vote. Not only that, you want to know what I find “sickening”? If you want to talk about something that really makes me puke holy puke, there is this: the Republican Party went to a lot of trouble of sabotaging the healthcare law, of trying to make it fail, of damaging it to the point that some insurers had to pull out because of losses. In fact, Marco Rubio tried to take credit for a scheme to encourage those companies to abandon the marketplaces by preventing HHS from supplying needed money for the law’s “risk corridors,” which were based on a George W. Bush idea found in Medicare Part D and were used to help cover the losses of insurers who overestimated the strength of the health pool in a given marketplace. So, Anson, if the current lack of compromise has brought on a sudden sickness for you and others, that’s too bad. Because some of us have been sick of this shit, of deliberate sabotage, for a long, long time.

      Finally, though, it’s not compromise with Democrats you should be worrying about. It’s compromise in the Republican Party. Those bastards repealed Obamacare a gazillion times when it didn’t mean a damned thing but politics. Now, they can’t even agree on what to replace it with and some on the right are raising holy hell about Republican “welfare” or a GOP “entitlement program.” The truth all along is that there are uncompromising dickheads in the Republican Party who came into power in 2010 and who have held the country hostage since then, mostly by holding the GOP leadership hostage. They’re still at it and you can’t point to a similar hostage situation on my side of the aisle. But, by God, now that we see that uncompromising dickheads and mentally ill demagogues can win elections and control the government, there had better be a lot of Democratic resistance in Congress to the mania we are seeing every bleeping day, or else some of us liberals will turn to more radical politicians who will be willing to fight this shit to the bitter end.

      Duane

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  7. God, Anson.
    You are almost as big a crybaby as PG Trump. You have to cry to Duane every time someone suggests you might have little or no integrity — and certainly no courage. Dude — it’s your damned problem!
    The problem with the Left is too many of us keep thinking someone on the Right must still have a modicum of decency — and, therefore, the right to be treated with respect. With only a few exceptions, those sorts of Conservatives are long gone.
    All that remain are weak apologists for bigotry and fascism, currently buoyed by the “mandate” of an election where around 23% of eligible voters were mean or stupid enough to vote for your useful idiots.
    So — some of us are sick of giving you the benefit of the doubt. You have done nothing to earn it. You’re the same simple-minded racists who allowed Hilter to nearly destroy civilization. You need to be called out for what you actually are on a more regular basis.
    You are to American Democracy what FOX News is to journalism.

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  8. ansonburlingame

     /  March 8, 2017

    One “goddamned fool” trying to hold a discussion on today’s politics with a REALLY A GODDAMNED FOOL is hopeless. Like the LEFT talking to the RIGHT today!!

    If I ever get to a rally in Indiana I will come “armed” for sure and hope to see you there!!

    Anson

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    • Come on up! I’ll buy you dinner at St. Elmo’s. Then we can head over to Military Park and yell at each other for an hour or so.

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  9. ansonburlingame

     /  March 9, 2017

    Duane,

    I liked and appreciate your responses above. They are rational except for your belief that Trump is in fact insane and therefor impeachable. Different, abrasive, uses a different means of communication to the public than ever before, etc., yes, for sure. Do I like his tweets? No of course not. As well we do have a 25th amendment, a “fundamental institution” if you will to remove a President. You have called for its use. How far has that gotten you?? Won’t happen unless guys in white suits show up at the WH, either.

    Was I as surprised as you were when he was elected. Yes, of course I was. Am I as afraid as you are “for our country, today”? Yes I am. But my reasons for that fear differ greatly from yours. As I said (and was called……) for saying it, it is not just Trump, or….., it is the way politics is working (actually not working) today that I fear. Actually it is the way politics has been conducted at least since 9/11 that causes my fear. It would take at least 10, 5,000 word blogs to explain all of that however.

    I know most of your general views, views repeated, generally speaking above on “big” issues. We are not all that far apart, if anyone can believe that, particularly in terms of allowing the military to do its job, letting cops do what is needed (within the law) to keep our streets safe, etc., etc. But you absolutely insist only a Dem can do those things and anytime the GOP tries to do it you explode. The current debacle over HC is just an example. I see you have yet to answer my points on that matter but did get an email note that you (I think) “liked” that comment. We’ll see later if you expand on that point.

    As for my call for compromise, you are dead wrong to think I have not called for such many times in the past, particularly during the Obama Presidency, right here in this blog. I have written countless times (it seems) that America will never relieve the current state of stalemate until bills are passed that YOU and I (figuratively speaking, but really meaning Left and Right) can agree upon. Not “like” or “love” but accept as the best we can do for now. That has been the path forward throughout our history, except for the Civil War.

    Now about my view of “protests”. Just yesterday the women took a day off and went to the streets, a LOT of them. Fine with me, but I sure would not have paid wages for such an event. I assume they all took “vacation time”, etc.:!!! But so what in terms of “leaving work”. What was their real message. If it was “impeach Trump” I would be a counter rally attender, so far. But what were they really trying to achieve. “Equality for women” I suppose. I watched a few clips on cable yesterday listening to some women “pundits” complain about general things but nothing specific. But several were asked general questions about women’s rights in America today as compared to most other countries including Western Europe. “No better country in the world” was their general response, but we can do better!!

    Of course we can. We can do better to not shoot blacks by cops. We can do better with HC. We can do better with just about everything in society. But if groups are going to massively protest, some of which turn to violence, simply to call for “doing better” then I ignore them. Give me a specific, something I can “get my arms around” and I might listen, think and look for a way to achieve such goals through compromise. Black Lives Matters takes the cake for such generality, like “reform our system of justice”, for Christ’s sake. Show me a “bill” and I might listen, but none of this screaming, vulgar signs, you name it all for the sake of “doing something to make me feel better, safer, etc”

    You and some of yours herein now admit your goal is to impeach Trump. Show me a clear “impeachable offense” that can be proved in courts and I might support you. But being a narcicist, which he clearly is, does not ‘rise to the level of impeachment” in my book, the previous Clinton line of argument. But if Trump lied under oath during a deposition, I would join your call for impeachment!!!

    Look at the whole Russian fiasco right now. What has been done wrong? “Contact” with Russians, particularly if the contact was “official” like attending a diplomatic event or even a meeting in a Senator’s office with aids present is not “wrong”. But if during such contact classified material was revealed, well put their ass in jail, in my view.

    Watching the Flynn events is an example. I have asked myself (assuming I was former military with vast knowledge of classified material but now no “official position in government”) and in fact a private citizen, can I talk to a “Russian”? You bet I can. It is what I said that might be illegal, not politically incorrect, that is the real issue. If Flynn wrote a column while on the campaign staff that viciously objected to “sanctions” is that illegal. No. He was expressing an opinion, legally, though some would scream political incorrectness to attempt to undercut the government’s official position.

    Sure, it seems Flynn then lied to his boss, a firing offense for sure but not illegal unless he was under oath!! Flynn was dumb (as hell) to lie to Pence. If he in fact lied to the FBI then bring charges and put him in jail as well. But no charges filed so far. Why?

    Was Flynn (others as well) actually IN Trump Tower in a campaign office while speaking to “Russians”. Maybe it seems, even probably but who knows for sure, yet. If he then got “taped” simply because the “Russia” was under surveillance (with FISA warrant) and Flynn was “caught” on that tape, then you tell me if “Trump tower” was “under surveillance? Sure it is a fine point, but an important one as American citizens are not supposed to be surveilled, unless……. If Flynn was taped under a FISA warrant because he talked to a “Russian” then it can be argued that an American citizen was surveilled under a FISA warrant. If what he said was illegal then take it to court and prove it. But if it was only politically incorrect, never expose such a conversation.

    Summing it up, I see nothing illegal that Flynn did. Dumb, stupid (lie to any “boss”), politically incorrect, a “dirty politics trick”, all maybe. But illegal, COLLUSION WITH THE ENEMY, not that anyone has shown me or you so far. In fact the only real illegal act I have noted so far in the Russian contact, collusion mess is the LEAK OF A NSA INTERCEPT to the press, in part or in whole.

    Such NASA intercepts and the exact transcripts are some of the most highly classified material in government hands. VERY FEW have such access to that material and it should be that way. But now ……. Hell even Snowden could not get his hands on such material.

    Try this on for size. Sally Yeats, a strong Obama supporter is the acting AG. She KNEW Flynn had “talked to a Russian” and probably exactly what he said. Why else would she inform the president that Flynn might be blackmailed. Nothing wrong so far in her “taking it to the President”.

    But he ignored her. Illegal on his part? No way. But you can bet your bippy it really pissed her off. Soon thereafter she is fired for……..? Now who the first person I would
    INVESTIGATE for illegally releasing classified? Sure is a good starting point it seems to me, politics be damned.

    Sessions is a whole different matter and it is NOT because he had “contact with Russians”. Session could have testified for confirmation wearing a KKK hood. That is the way many see him today, right or wrong. Trump was throwing red meat to Dems in that case. And yes, if he doesn’t pass muster to be a federal judge he probably should not become the AG, however long ago that event happened. I see no way to defend him and I am mildly surprised the he was elected as a Senator given that failure on his part. But then all the people that vote in Alabama wear KKK hoods, right!!!

    I know this is too long. But damn it these points need discussion, rationally. Again, your several responses above and in other blogs of late are OK with me. But when your flamethrowers join in, even intrude in what I hope to be a rational discussion, well, that seems to be the only kind of discussion possible in today’s political climate.

    It has become impossible for me to have a political discussion with my wife today. She is just like the General, screaming in my face if I make any effort to show another side to the argument, so to speak. That is one reason I continue to read and comment herein. I really want to offer different perspectives. Have I tried to defend Trump, herein. Hardly at all. I don’t like many things he has done or is doing. But I don’t like Dem (and your) tactics now, either, so here I am again, offering a different perspective in hopes of finding some way to agree with “the Left” at least in terms of compromise.

    You might see a column in the Globe later this week that is shorter than this but sends the same overall message. No side can talk to the other side in public any longer without “screaming”. America has lost faith in fundamental institutions and both sides are hell bent for leather for one party power. Whichever side wins that fight may well become “Hitler or Lenin” if they get their way if such single party power comes into being and stays that way for a while. No, Bernie is NOt “Lenin”. Never will be. But he is closer to that extremism, in my view, than any other viable presidential candidate I have seen in my lifetime. Same with Obama, from my perspective, far to far towards “socialism” which I don’t like at all.

    For now, while I certainly don’t LIKE Trump, I will wait for the 2018 elections to express my opinion to rid ourselves of total GOP control in Congress. Do you think WE can overthrow Billy fat face??? I will then wait for 2020 to vote Dem for President, maybe and only if Dems produce a candidate that can win my vote as well, conservative though I might be.

    Sorry for the length, but at least for me this “needs saying” and I speak not to your flamethrowers either. They are as big a fool(s) as I might but calling each other such things only adds more flame to an already out of control political firestorm in America today..

    Anson

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    • Anson,

      I will address only a few of the things you say because of limited time.

      About Tr-mp’s insanity. I hesitate to use that word because it really is a legal term, as opposed to a psychological one. I don’t think it is even in the DSM, in terms of a diagnosis of someone’s mental health.

      But to use it in its legal sense, Tr-mp obviously would not fit mostly because he is not, as of yet, connected to a crime (I’m not talking about his daily violation of Emoluments). The issue in a criminal case involving insanity is whether a person had the ability to determine whether his criminal actions were right or wrong. There isn’t a criminal case we can talk about here, so we have to talk in more general terms.

      You called Tr-mp a narcissist. That he is, no doubt. And he cannot often differentiate reality from fantasy. Hell, his tweets prove that. And he is impulsive, as this campaign demonstrated and has he has demonstrated since November 8, not to mention January 20. The entire accusation that Obama committed a serious felony against him demonstrates all three: Tr-mp has some variation of a narcissistic personality disorder; even intelligence officials can’t bring him from fantasy to reality; and he cannot control his behavior upon reading something in the right-wing press. It is in this sense that he is unfit for the office, whether you call it insanity or whatever. He is disturbed, seriously. He is mentally ill, seriously. And he is, therefore, dangerous.

      Along these lines, I want to make it clear that I don’t think he should be impeached for his mental illness, even though that would be fine with me. He should be impeached because he is, each and every day, in violation of the Constitution, and we may find out other things he has done that merit removal from office. The other alternative, which does involve his mental instability, is the 25th Amendment. His psychological unfitness does come into play there, but there is exactly no Republican with the stomach to go that route.

      Now, quickly on to Billy Long. No. We cannot defeat him in a general election (he could be challenged by an even more right-wing nut in the primary, though). We will never defeat him, if by defeat him you mean a Democrat beating him. The people in this area, outside of a growing pocket in Springfield, are just too rural and too conservative and, to put it honestly, too white to ever elect a Democrat (even if the Democrat is a lily-white farmer; to so many folks around here, and you and I both know this, Democrats over-favor blacks and other minorities). Ozark Billy said he would only serve three terms. He’s now on his fourth, with no end in sight. He does not have town halls, rarely takes questions from anyone in the public (I’d like to think that’s because of me!), and spends significant amounts of his time eating and drinking and gambling on his donors’ dime. But none of that matters to the conservatives here where we live. What matters more than anything is that he will oppose anything liberals try to do to make the country better, and he will do the bidding of his fat-cat donors. Period.

      Finally, I want to address the whole “one party power” idea you advanced. I don’t fear one party being in power, Anson. I fear one party full of crazy ideologues being in power. This applies to both the right and the left. I wouldn’t want a party on my side controlled by someone like Glenn Greenwald, for instance. Or Jill Stein, for another. Fortunately, neither of those two have any real influence on Democratic politics, except to poison the minds of young people. The truth is, and I will keep saying it over and over, is that the GOP is controlled by extremists, crazy ideologues. The House is full of them and the Senate has more than its share. That is what is wrong with the country, Anson. I could live with Republican control of the government if we were talking about Republicans like, say, those who voted for civil rights legislation in the 1960s. The trouble is, those are all gone. None left. Those Republicans who get called “moderate” these days would make Nelson Rockefeller look like Bernie Sanders.

      I went on longer than I had time for, but I was on a roll. I’m sure we’ll continue this again and again.

      Duane

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  10. ansonburlingame

     /  March 10, 2017

    Hell Duane, in essence we have been having “this discussion” for at least 9 years, since 2008 when I began to write publicly. And, taking all things into consideration, I believe it has been a good, but certainly heated discussion. You are Left and I am Right. We will never fully agree, but move the needle somewhat, in either direction, you bet we can.

    Your consternation, disdain, for Billy Long is mine as well. Pile on all the political objections you like and mostly I will agree. But neither of us will get him out of Congress no matter what we do or say, unless we shoot him, which I don’t recommend.

    Briefly, in regards to insanity, AA has the best definition of it that I have found. It is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Obviously it is related to the alcoholic who keeps thinking he can control his drinking and still live a normal life.

    Politicians that keep following the party line fit that category, sometimes. Keep trying to push socialism OR authoritarianism down the throat of the American people and you will never achieve your goals…Even today Americans will ultimately settle for only something that approximates the American center, probably slightly to the right of center, but we can argue that point. In the end “Americans” don’t like extremism, at least over time, politically.

    Finally, remember I said I might join with you IF an “impeachable offense” is offered that can be proven in court. Go ahead and advocate impeachment for Trump because of violation of the emolument clause in the constitution. I will watch that play out but you must know it would not prevail in almost any Senate, unless only you and yours were such Senators. If lying under oath is not a reason to remove a man from the presidency then I seriously doubt having business interests in a foreign country would ever “rise to the level of impeachment”, much less removal from office “legally”. Should it is far different from Will it.

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. I appreciate it.

    Anson

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