KNOCK DOWN DRAG OUT

Tonight, the TV show The Good Fight airs. The description of tonight’s program reads, Lawyers Maia Ricdell and Diane Lockhart join one of Chicago’s preeminent law firms after a financial scam destroys Maia’s reputation.

Only on Wall Street, in California, in Hollywood and on TV can anyone be promoted after the reputation is blown to smithereens. If an attorney’s reputation is destroyed by fraud or scandalous acts, they become private investigators or security people, unless they’re hired by Don Trump.

As the program airs look for gut-wrenching moments when the producers try to concoct Catch Me If You Can moments, plus Maia attempts to regain reputation by giving lollipops to babies or by helping previously scammed old ladies, cross the street.

AMERICAN INSURGENTS, AMERICAN PATRIOTS

While reading particulars of the American Revolution, I never thought much about the consciousness of ordinary Americans. The story of named Americans has been well told, but the men, families and small communities have been silent or neglected. Yet, today Americans can learn that revolutionary ardor and fervor was as strong, steadfast and certain in small places than that shown by Franklin, Adams and Jefferson.

These revelations come in T.H. Breen, American Insurgents, American Patriots, Hill and Wang, NY, 2010. Accompanying that history is an earlier one by Breen, The Marketplace of Revolution, Oxford, NY, 2001. The second book describes the economic forces Americans used against British merchants, and the organizations from 1765 to the start of the War. Insurgents drops to a personal level telling how people used social, political and economic pressure to support the accepted policy. Tories resisted but not for long; families and communities could be tainted by favoring British products, ways or ideas. By 1776 after the shooting began and before independence Americans had rid themselves of unwanted British ways. Indeed, in New Hampshire the British were forced to leave by January, 1775.

The idea of revolution supported by an outside oppressive force used a promise of future liberty, and an incorruptible government causing Americans to act or to rebel. It was not spontaneous or impulsive. It took ten years of work before 1775. The outside force never departed and insisted upon more coercive measures.

Seldom in American history have people gone to war with a single, simple goal: Britain should change the way it governs us. A year later the British had not acted, and the Americans change the way they were to be governed. Americans would have their own country.

Great movements in American history have not been as efficient or used war as the primary means to achieve all its tasks: Abolition (1830 – 1865); Prohibition (@1870-1934); Women’s Vote (1869-1919); Civil Rights (1946-1969). These prolonged issues over decades did not remain constant in goals or methods. Many of these movements had elements of impulse and spontaneity where individuals tried to capture the public’s attention. Many of them made small piles of money but contributed little to the final effort.

On the other hand, Breen has shown American revolutionaries proceeded methodically, taking each step as it came and rarely jumping ahead. The logical approach is required by proponents and supporters while they are taking abuse. Occasionally, named leaders found themselves a step behind the crowds and organizations at home. They quickly made the step. The steps are a logical progression without which Independence would have failed.

POLITICAL GAINS

Shared experience is a common idea flowing through American history. People came together originally first as a military force, next as a political force, followed by economic forces and understanding and tolerating social forces, all reflected during events of the eighteenth century. Before the French Indian War, 1754-1763; social/economic and political protests until 1775; the Revolutionary War, 1775-1783; and the Constitutional period, 1783-1789.

[Rather than] assume the existence of political collectives, {this book] asks
how such a diverse population generated a sense of trust sufficient to sustain
colonial rebellion. It explores how a very large number of ordinary
Americans came to the striking conclusion that it was preferable to risk
their lives and property against a powerful British armed force than to
endure further political opposition.
Mobilization on this level did not come easy. Neither luck nor providence
had much to do with the story. Over a decade of continuous experimentation,
American colonists discovered a means to communicate aspirations and
grievances to each other through a language of shared experience.
(p. Xlll, T.H. Breen, The Marketplace of Revolution, New York, Oxford, 2004)

It came to pass that during the Sixties provided a language of shared experience. Many youth and some older Americans understood the vocabulary. Shared experience and the language were the primary strengths of the time; the political opposition was weak or inept.

But unlike 200 years earlier there was no discipline; there was no overbearing common enemy or foe; there was no trust especially among the educated students and hangers-on. Issues such as diet – brown rice or purely vegan – separated individuals. Music became very segregated – not just Motown but Heavy Metal, rock and roll and women’s music. Economic Boycotts: Coca-Cola and God knows what else. No one could trust anyone who did not believe exactly in the perfect filtered life. People could do their own thing; they just could not do anything that wasn’t sanctioned or approved. 
And each so-called leader was a “miraculous character…the sort of brilliant leader not seen for a very long time.” (Ibid, p. 9)

The primary difference between general revolutionary circumstances 200 years earlier, and the 1960s were individual Americans were economically secure in the Twentieth Century. Name recognition mean commercial opportunities – speaking fees, books, lectures, panels, TV appearances, advisory positions e.g. Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin. Most of those people began their commercial roll while trying to motivate Americans to revolution: Tom Hayden wrote two or three books during the 1960s; David Horowitz kept apace with his writing plus magazine work. No one in the 1760s or 1770s were participating to make a name or money.

Neither man was capable of writing anything authoritative or definitive. Each would have to be honest. They were street leaders, plotters, protest-arrangers and in some cases drug suppliers. In essence they filled the sorts of role that Samuel Adams had 200 years earlier. But after Independence and a successful war, Sam Adams was neglected. Other people wrote books, pamphlets and newspaper articles.

At the demise of the Sixties not many people could write about the decade: There were too many insights and sights, too many odd people, too many influences intense or disturbing, and as the decade lengthened many events crashed into the younger generation. The so-called leaders lost control. No one could capture it all for one city, for a region, or a decade.

Americans are left with TH Breen’s The Marketplace of the Revolution, an excellent book about the political staging of the colonists before the American Revolutionary War. It seems natural that the war did not solve political problems between and among the thirteen states. After the War Americans acted appropriately and properly.

But the language of the shared experience from the Sixties, left Americans with people purportedly writing memoirs, and most of those are not pretty. No one tells much truth in an memoir or in an autobiography. But don’t mind the liar. Don’t mind the whiner. Don’t mind the writer aggrandizing himself: I was a hero at this event. I spoke last. I turned the tide against the pigs during that riot. It’s all entertainment. Hope you enjoyed it, because I was able to propagate the myths and make the buck.

NO FREE SPEECH

The big issue coming to people’s attention is there is no free speech at Berkeley, the home of the Free Speech Movement. Everyone who is familiar with Berkeley, knows there has been no Free Speech on campus for 50 years. Berkeley was not the first American campus to contest Free Speech rights of students in October 1964. In his book Campus Wars, Kenneth Heinemann, recounts events leading to free speech on a mid-west campus a year before Berkeley started up.

Speech [is[ essential to maintaining a healthy “civil society.” Without open access to information…how could a citizen begin to comprehend “the advancement of truth, science, mortality and arts in general. Even more important …the ready communication of thoughts between subjects, and its consequential promotion of union among them was the means by which oppressive offices are shamed or intimidated into more honorable and just models of conducting affairs… T.H. Breen, American Insurgents and American Patriots, Hill and Wang, NY, 2010, p. 235.

Admittedly, the passage above refers to “freedom of the press,” but speech is just as appurtenant. It is doubly so because the protesters at Berkeley, February 2017, had a course open to them. Write and criticize. Does the speaker use oratory tricks and relay no substance? Not in writing. It is said Hitler was an excellent orator, but the substance of his speeches was trash. His writing was pitiful.

No one will ever know what the Berkeley speaker would have said, and there is no criticism of it. No one would ever know what the speaker would have communicated. He apparently is unable to write. And generally, political writing by the Left and by the Right is ordinary or extremely mediocre. Most of the writers believe they only have to hook themselves up to a dictaphone and talk an essay onto a page. It’s about as unique and insightful as a Bill O’Reilly history – thousands of those volumes make their way to paper recyclers primarily because political writers, Left and Right, are eager to get to emotional issues: crying babies, crying mothers, crying cops. They never understand and tell substance.

Late news reports state that an outside group, wearing black – perhaps pajamas like the Viet Cong – came on campus and did all the damage. They did wear masks like ninjas. (There have been too many Ninja Turtle movies.) Given the totality of the circumstances it may be Berkeley has it right. There is no Free Speech on campus because no one, Left or Right, has anything noteworthy to say. SO SHUT UP!

CONFIRMING A SUPREME COURT JUSTICE

Five conditions must occur if Neil Gorsuch is going to receive votes from Senate Democrats for a position on the Supreme Court:

1. Roll and smoke a joint. Remember to inhale.
2. Be photographed before congressional hearings hugging trees.
3. Adjust your world outlook to the dream of Earth when only one billion humans lived on                 it.
4. Tell Charles Schumer that you will order that the New York Giants must win the Super Bowl. That should likewise get you in with Democratic senators from nearby states.
5, Lie as easily as you can tell the truth.

INVESTIGATE!

VOTER FRAUD: NEW YORK

It is obvious that voter fraud caused Don Trump to lose the state of New York. In his own backyard Don Trump lost his state by 1,500,000 votes. There are 1,500,000 illegal aliens in New York State. It is time for deport all of them. Begin with the Germans and Scotsmen and their descendants because those people are always likely to whine too much.

How poorly did Don Trump do in New York City? In his words how many illegal aliens voted against him in that city?

QUEENS:                                         Hillary 473, 389           Trump: 138,550
KINGS:(Brooklyn)                        Hillary 595, 086           Trump: 133,653
BRONX:                                           Hillary 318,403            Trump: 34,424
NEW YORK CTY (Manhattan)   Hillary 515,481             Trump: 58,935

Trump better begin deporting illegal aliens from New York City including his home borough – Manhattan which voted 9 to 1 against him and including his birth-turf – Queens which voted nearly 4 to 1 against him. Trump may also learn that he is deporting hundreds of tenants from his own buildings.

Deporting must be done elsewhere. San Francisco County in California voted only 9 to 1 for Hillary. About 35,000 persons living in Frisco [all Trump voters live in the part of San Francisco known as Frisco] have to drive to the Sierra Nevada to see a happy, anti-immigrant friendly face behind a Trump lawn sign.

JOURNALISM

This week we saw Don Trump in his first press conference. Journalists have to be better prepared, and quicker.

Journalists have been lazy too long. Press conferences have become a game. Journalists ask a vague question about rumor, allegations or nuances that are out there, and they expect politicians to answer. The answer always blows off the journalist, whose bosses believe he has done his job. He is hired for another year.

Note there are no names,, dates, places, topics identified as supporting the rumors, allegations or nuances. Part of the journalistic story says the Russians have tactical information which compromises Don Trump. Are those secrets any more than other information that is already public? Are there more Billy Bush tapes? Does the secret, confidential information involve speeding tickets? Americans know or can suspect that Trump or his businesses owe the Russians money, and now the Ruskies will raise interest rates.

If the American people come to believe journalists proving and presenting facts from nuance, rumor and allegation, they will need to see investigative journalism, not stuff that has shifted around Washington for a half year. Some of the rumor might be good; most of it might come from Buzz Feed.

A good example of proper journalism is well know, All The President’s Men, recounts journalist efforts during the Watergate Affair.

OBAMA & TERROR

Last night’s speech repeated the President’s tendency to misstate, to misconstrue and to misrepresent. He asserted “no foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland these past eight years.” Thereby Obama implies the United States has been terror-free since he has been president.

There is no grand terrorist organization. Weapons are crude or primitive. The extent of a central group might be ten guys in a garage or a cafe somewhere, far from computers and the Internet and hallucinating about the next explosion. They, themselves, are hidden, and as far from the incident as possible.

Putting aside the Obama administration’s lack of resolve to learn everything about terror, suspects, activities and contacts, it is not surprising that the President would not know if his assertion is true or false.

Americans, though, have learned the hard way (48 Americans in Tampa), that there is no umbrella organization in overseas locations sending fanatics to attack America. Since the beginning of President Obama’s administration and the Ford Hood shooting (many terror links), the lone wolf attack has been the best means to kill and get attention.

Everyone should be on the lookout, like neighbors of the San Bernardino shooters. That shooting-husband had been in south Asia on several visits. One phone call and police vigilance would have ended the activities before the tragedy.

Apparently President Obama never learned about the lack of a terror organization that his administration (and other countries) have had to alert their citizens to. He never learned terrorists don’t have diplomats or standard forms of financing. He never learned that zealots will commit the most heinous, cowardly acts, how far afield these actions are from the tenants and doctrines of Islam. Indeed, President Obama has perpetuated religious confusion by failing to confront issues and rigorously the enforce laws which most Muslims agree with.

President Obama’s speech manifests a contemptible misunderstanding of experience, intelligence, analysis and judgment, thus voiding wisdom. The President is relying on biases, prejudices, frivolous distinctions, petty particulars and his parochial swing rutted in his golf game to make his ignorance known.

From this time on most Americans will always know President Obama is wrong.

Meryl Streep

I agree with Meryl Streep’s assessment of an incident that occurred during the 2016 Republican Nominating process nine months ago.

I only ask is why did not the entertainment community object to Don Trump’s characterizations in April 2016? Why did not some other entertainer speak up earlier? Was Ms. Streep the only entertainer offended? Why not speak out before Don Trump secured the nomination? Why not speak out before the election season? Why not speak out during the election season?

Were entertainers dissuaded from speaking out against Don Trump? Democratic Party operatives spread the word that the Democratic candidate, likely Hillary Clinton, would have a better chance of victory against Don Trump, so don’t react or say anything negative about Trump. In 2016 this was the conventional wisdom. Trump will lose as the Republican candidate.

Hillary lost. Don Trump won. Entertainers, save Alex Baldwin, have been silent for too long.