We were unable to load Disqus. If you are a moderator please see our troubleshooting guide.
You're spot on in my opinion in your analysis of his personality.
“Some things maybe the public shouldn’t see because they are so bad,” Trump said, making clear it wasn’t damaging to him, but to others. “Maybe it’s better that the public not see what’s been going on with this country.”
This is a devastating statement for anyone who believes in a constitutional republic. He's essentially saying, I know of criminal activity but I'm going to sweep it under the rug because of my political imperatives. Unless of course my activities are targeted. Blackmail?
This is indeed telling and speaks volumes of Trump as a politician and a human being. The cynical might say that this is Machiavellian, so why the fuss. Maybe somebody who is capable and has a more sophisticated grasp of reality can do a more or less effective job. Trump, on the other hand, well..
Falling under the sway of those who know the price of everything, but the value of nothing is an unenviable estate. The concentrated wisdom discoverable through a clear-eyed study of the humanities can serve as a corrective, and if one is lucky, as a prophylaxis against thinking of this type. I am commending study of the humanities as historically understood, not the "humanities" of contemporary academia, which is little better than atheistic materialism of the Marxist variety, out of which any place for the genuinely spiritual has been systematically extirpated in favor of the imposition of some sort of sentimentalism as an ersatz substitute.
I have an aged wire haired Jack Russel Terrier. He is well past his time. He is almost blind, and is surely deaf. In his earlier days he was a force of nature. He still is now, but only in the context of food. He is still obsessed with it at every turn. Food is now his reality and he will not be sidetracked or otherwise distracted by any other stimuli beyond relieving himself when and where he sees fit. He lives by his gut feeling and damn everything else. There is no reason, no other calculus for him. Trump's trusting his "gut" is just about as simplistic and equally myopic. My dog is not a tragedy, he shoulders no burden for others and when he gets to the point of soiling himself or is in pain, he will be held in my arms and wept over for the gift he has been when the needle pierces his hide. Trump, well, he is a tragedy. He does shoulder a responsibility to millions and millions and for those to follow after he is long dead and gone. His willful ignorance in the face of reason and science reminds me of the lieutenant colonel of 2/7 Cav. you spoke of at LZ Buttons. The number of folks who will pay the price for this are legion in comparison. His accomplices and "advisers" as you intone, will be deemed worthy of a Nuremburg of sorts when viewed in posterity. "Character must under grid talent or talent will cave in." His gut stove pipes him as a leader. I love and respect my dog. He follows his gut, because that is his end-state. It's honest. I will mourn the passing of one and and already rue the day the other was born.
Were you at LZ Buttons?
No I was not.
I am always looking for old comrades.
Col , a bit of topic , whats your opinion on the Ia Drang assault by Col Hal Moore as depicted in the book “we were soldiers...” ?
I saw the film and was impressed by the depiction of army social bonds. The film showed what a horrendous experience it was. The rushing about was a civilian's idea of what happens. A friend commanded a SIGINT voice intercept detachment that landed with the assault echelon, He took a few steps and then shot several NVA infantry charging at him. It was like that for a couple of days. LZ X-Ray was an affair of 1/7 Cav. 2/7 Cav were flown in and then some fool had them walk to LZ Albany. Along the way they were chopped to pieces by an elaborate ambush. Some of you will gloat over that.
Col. Lang, I appreciate your insight on his personality which you have written about often and dead on for awhile.
Just after I looked at this post I went to Twitter and this came up. I don't know how long it's been since Jeremy Young was in grad school but a 35% decline drop in History dissertations is shocking even if it's over a span of 3-4 decades.
Yes. It's either STEM or Social Sciences these days and that is almost as bad as Journalism or Communications Arts. Most media people are Journalism dummies.
For social sciences they are split between people who do more quantitative work and new fields of what I think has been rightly characterized as "grievance studies" aka "nonsense on stilts" to paraphrase Bentham. Now the quantitative side has the negative aspect of sometimes applying techniques wrongly or which do not fit the data available (Aristotle mentioned this years ago and people still aren't listening because they need to publish). But at least when assumptions are rendered explicit via these techniques there are people like Andrew Gelman to expose errors. The other advantage is practical: if a student in social sciences is smart enough to take enough coursework for a good background in math and statistics classes they can get jobs in all kinds of fields while also being exposed to the more philosophical aspects of the discipline. When I see students here in the Middle East as well as when I was in the US I tell them to make sure they take stats because if there ten people who have read a hundred books on Africa and one of them can analyze the data that's the guy who gets a job and can apply those skills in many areas. Soapbox over.
Donald Trump is a Salesman.
He stands out in the Supreme Court photo:https://www.washingtonpost....
He survived as a New York City Boss. He has the same problem as Ronald Reagan. He believes the con. In reality, since the restoration of classical economics, sovereign states are secondary to corporate plutocrats. Yes, he is saluted. He has his finger on the red button. But, he is told what they want them to hear. There are no realists within a 1000 yards of him. The one sure thing is there will be a future disaster be it climate change, economic collapse or a world war. He is not prepared for it.
You are a one trick pony. There are other forces that are effective in addition to plutocrats and they are mostly bad.
Well, sorry for that Colonel, but the potus seems to me to be kind of :
'The Best Democracy Money Can Buy'
Hoe do you evaluate Hillary on the same basis?
Well ; Idem...
and I'm really sorry to say that about your great Nation
Recently in October, Mary Kissel was hired by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to be a "senior advisor" to him and provide "advice on policy and messaging to the Secretary and other State Department leadership; she also conducts special assignments as directed by the Secretary".--
The State Department blurb says she was a member of the Wall Street Journal's editorial board, but fails to mention that the Politico website claims that previous to that she worked at the Goldman Sachs financial company, which gained notoriety for valid reasons--
She has previously attacked Trump's foreign political and economic policies, and even drew an attack from him during the presidential primary campaign--
It is reasonable to think that she will try to steer Pompeo in certain directions (if he is not doing so already), and thereby Trump as well.
Although President Trump tends to shoot from the hip and act instinctively, it should be noted that particular "gut" comment is in reference to how he went against his gut and instead followed his advisers' recommendations when appointing Powell as Fed chairman.
TRUMP: I’m not blaming — look, I took recommendations. I’m not blaming anybody. But I will tell you, at this moment in time I am not at all happy with the Fed. I am not at all happy with my choice [....] I’m not happy with the Fed. They’re making a mistake because I have a gut, and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else’s brain can ever tell me.
I think he's correct in that regard insofar as the Federal Reserve is concerned.
I do agree he was wrong to appoint Bolton to NSC and Pompeo to State. But I think he made a bigger mistake allowing Jared Kushner so much influence over Middle East dealings, especially now that MBS is tainted.
Being on the affected side as a historian please let me add, that the students' majority studies microhistory, family, company, or even family members' personal events that is, which adds very little to our understanding of the world. It is overly and openly supported currently in most universities for a number of reasons.
This is why obviously ideologically biased works about major correspondences such as Piketty's or Niall Ferguson's, not to mention that young israeli guy (Yair??) has so much effect. Because basically they are the only ones, or at least the ones with the chance to publish, who take the great effort of choosing the harder way and making the necessary research. There are too few willing to take the harder path.
Scientification, or should I say natural scientification of social sciences also does not help, because it promotes the 'publish or perish' principle. But social sciences aren't like natural sciences, where X hours in a laboratory or experimenting yields surely X or X/2 publications.
And on the top of that marxist thinkers and intelligentsia, cast away from all meaningful positions to universities in the 50's and 60's fearing a communist influence have completely overtaken the higher education in the Western Hemisphere. In the Eastern European countries they managed to keep their positions.
To sum it up while most of your criticism is valid, international relations e.g. has its merit, but are tought mostly by neoliberals and marxists, with the known results.
. . that young israeli guy (Yair??) . .
Perhaps you mean Yuval Harari? He's written Sapiens, followed by Homo Deus and most recently 21 Lessons for the 21st Century.
... and that's why I have a copy of your non-fiction book. Good stuff.
My response to flattery, even if subtle, is, "Yeah? Gee thanks. Now please just tell me what you're really after". I'd think any experienced man should have arrived at the same reaction at least by the time he's 35. Ditto trusting anyone in an atmosphere where power and money are there for the taking by the ambitious and clever. As for a balance sheet approach, IMO, there is a real need for that kind of thinking in govt. Perhaps a happy mix of it + a humanities based perspective. A lot of people come out of humanities programs and into govt with all kinds of dopey notions; like R2P, globalism, open borders, etc.
That is what the smart guys all say before really skilled people work on them. Eventually they ask you to tell them what is real. The Humanities thing stung? I remember the engineer students mocking me at VMI over this.
Few people come out of the Humanities into government. They are from the social sciences like Political Science or International Relations which are empty of real content.
They are from the social sciences like Political Science or International Relations which are empty of real content.
Fully concur. They throw in sometimes some "game theory" to give that an aura of "science", but most of it is BS. If, just in case, I am misconstrued as fighting humanities field--I am not fighting it. Literature, language, history are essential for a truly cultured human. When I speak about "humanities" I personally mean namely Political "Science".
"Political Science" as we understand it here is not among the Humanities. It is pseudo science invented in the 19th Century.
The Humanities as they have been known. https://en.wikipedia.org/wi...
As I wrote earlier the Issue in those Courses is they are actually pure and concentrated Fields...... Political Science, International Relations are ambigious enough that a candidate can appeal to many Sectors and it is accepted, expected they will be competent.... Whether that be Governance/Diplomacy, Business, Travel etc...
Thus if you have no Idea what you want - those Fields are good to study, learning relatively little.....
If you know what you want - you have a Path.... You can study more concentrated Fields, but you damn well have to hope there is a Job at the end of the Rainbow (Known at least a couple People who studied only to be told almost immediately - you will not find Jobs domestically)
No. PS and the other SS are artificial constructs in our universities that posit views of mankind that are false.
No Argument, my View was more - Part of their Appeal to both Students and to those taking said Qualifiers is the mistaken idea they have some meaning......
They are very generalized Fields at best, ones that students who truly know what they are doing can find better course ways in to (Indeed Competency in another Profession before moving in to said Fields)
At the end of the Day though, People study in most Cases - seeking Employment, some are vacuous, some are relevant.....
I am certain what I studied had a role in my getting a Job I have Today - but I have little Belief it actually made me any better suited for it or qualified...
I was a good student but I was only really interested in getting a commission in the army. I just happened to stumble by accident into an excellent major field at my school.
It would be curious to see how such courses may differ, or indeed - how scarily similar they may be Internationally..
Having studied Theory and History of International Relations here in Russia, (Run in parallel with a more practical Reservist Officer Training)I would not say much any of it has come in real practical professional use once - then again professionally I went a different Route.
Of Class Mates, many went in to Government a few in Diplomatic Circles and some Regional Governance - My Suspicion is it had more to do with simply filtering Process from Applicants than anything else... Others have gone in to Travel Industry and related (In the end, myself included), and many others entirely different Paths...
Aside from that covered as a Kursantka and that relevant, about the most interest was that spent covering previous and existing Treaties and discussion around them, in most Cases this could easily be covered though by simply diligent self education, this background coupled with Debating and Language was probably the best I could argue 'for' it... Heaven forbid many paying good Money for this..
A curiosity though, for a Time the same course has also cooperated with the local US Consulate in 'Young Diplomats Day' as Hosted by the US State Department Corps.... This despite (or because) of us some having that very distinct Military Technical Education....
Sir, I stand corrected on the humanities into govt assertion. I do tend to get humanities and social sciences jumbled in my numbers/cost/benefit based thinking. I am open to people telling me how to do tasks that they have more experience performing and that I might need to know about. And I have curiosities about people's experiences and perspectives on how the world of men works, but I'm not so concerned about the world of men that I lose my integrity or soul or generally get sucked into their reality over my own. Of course that's just me. Someone like Trump seeks approval and high rank amongst men. So, yes, I guess he is susceptible; though I still think somewhat less than others. This is evident in how he refuses to follow the conventions and expectations of what a president should look and act like. He is a defiant sort. I like that about him. Of course needing to be defiant is still a need and therefore a chink in his armor.
He is in thrall to the Israelis, their allies, the neocons, political donors and the popular media. An easy mark for skilled operators.
I agree with you and I believe their influence has deepen over the two years. The only pro neocon policy he ran on was regime change in Iran. Terrible idea no doubt. The vote was either potential regime change in Iran or a dangerous escalation with Russia in Syria. I voted for more time. He seemed to have some sense on Syria and Russia at the time. Of course Clinton was promising Apocalypse Now. You've stated the Neocon's have insinuated themselves into both parties. R2P and such. They basically control the foreign policy of both parties due to control by donors, organizational control of DNC, RNC, the moronic narrative, think tanks, media, probably security services, etc. Tucker Carlson is the only media individual left that is brave enough to state the truth. So by implication the United States has zero democracy when it comes to our foreign policy. As far as I can tell the United States policy toward Russia continues toward escalation. Two current examples being the absurd Mueller "investigation" into collusion and the Ukraine provocation in the Sea of Azov. Are we heading into the last war?
Engineer here, "worked" on myself and not even by very skilled people. Manipulative people are hard to counteract, if you're not manipulative yourself the thought process is not intuitive. If you spend most of your life solving problems, you think its everyone's goal. As I've gotten older I've only solidified my impression that as far as working and living outside of school, the best "education" to have would be history. Preferably far enough back or away to limit any cultural biases. I'm not sure that college classes would fill the gap though.Any advice to help the "marks" out there?
Read widely. start with something encyclopedic like Will and Ariel Durant's "The Story of Civilization."
How about William H. McNeill's Rise of the West.
Yup. More suggestions please you all.
To this day, my favorite college course was "The Century of Darwin" taught by Dr. Brown in the history department of RPI in 1973. Dr. Brown was a bespectacled, white haired little man who looked like everyone's idea of a history professor. The course examined the history of scientific discovery, evolving and competing religious and scientific ideas leading up to the general acceptance of Darwin's works. It was a history of everything course, an intellectually exhilarating experience. I still have the textbooks. I heartedly recommend those books. "Darwin's Century" by Loren Eiseley came out in 1958 and was reprinted in 2009 with a new forward by Stephan Bertman. "The Death of Adam" by John Green first came out in 1960 and was reprinted in 1981. "Genesis and Geology" by Charles C. Gillespie came out in 1951. My paperback edition was published in 1973 and cost $2.45 new.https://www.amazon.com/Darw...https://www.amazon.com/Deat...https://www.amazon.com/Gene...
I prefer reading religious/spiritual works from other cultures, the more exotic to the Western mind the better. IMO, it shows the reader alternative modes of perceiving the world and, generally, the flexibility of human perception and how human experience can be translated into something quite different than what we do in the West. To me, that is fascinating. Taoist works are a favorite (Tao Te Ching, The Art of War are quick, deceptively simple, places to start). More importantly, more meaty works like the Central Upanishads /Vedas and the Mahabharata (which is voluminous and contains many stories of human endeavors in ancient India). I confess that Western classics bore me at this point. Same stories and questions over and over again at bottom.
I'm re-reading Jacques Barzun. From Dawn To Decadence. The Culture We Deserve is another good one.
I recommend Barren Metal: A History Of Capitalism As The Conflict Between Labor and Usury by E. Michael Jones.
Colonel - Boswell's life of Johnson. A giant of a man seen through the eyes of a clever and observant pygmy. And they both know it.
That makes it an odd book, that interplay between the two. It's also the ultimate in tourism. One is dumped in the middle of eighteenth century London and very soon it becomes a second home.
For a long time that's all I got out of the book. Johnson himself emerges only slowly. A true intellectual giant with a flawless acuity of perception, an elephantine memory, and the gift of turning out the perfect exposition, whether a long argument or one of his famous pithy comments, is the starting point only.
As a person he can easily be read as a slovenly bully, at one time even as an unapologetic hired gun turning out the propaganda of the day. He was subject to long fits of depression alternating with periods of great industry. As he got older the industry fell away and he spent much of his time in the coffee house. It was there, often, that Boswell gathered up the materials - a fragment here, a disquisition there - that allow us to see through to Johnson's outlook.
It was an outlook, or one could call it a philosophy of life, that could not be more needed at this time of frantic and one sided ideological war.
It was no tidily worked-up outlook. Intensely patriotic yet ever conscious of the failings of his country. Honourable yet accepting that he lived at a time of great corruption. Loyal yet always yearning after an older dispensation. Robust common sense but fully recognising the Transcendent. Narrowly prejudiced yet open to other cultures, recognising their equal validity and worth while remaining rooted in his own.
It's an outlook that today would be despised by many because, as far as I can tell, he had no ideology, no millenarian solution into which all problems can be jammed. Merely a broad and humane normality and a recognition that though, ultimately, each pilgrim must find his own way, we travel in company..
Colonel, you may know better....
I think I have found another - secondary Path of sorts...
Read the People you do not like to read.... Read and look for fault, look for where wrong, see what you can prove wrong what you can demonstrate wrong....
The trick is to become Critical Minded to Stories, Situations.....
Find the angle of the Topic and approach it critically....
I am reminded of a Quote about how you can learn a lot by studying Fools, but you need to know what to look for
Before you do that you need to read a lot of informative material.
This is very true....