Monday, November 14, 2016

desperate measures

Henry Adams anticipated today's world in his "speculations about the shape of things to come."

~~ Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., historian


NBC News - Analysis:  Breitbart's Steve Bannon Leads the 'Alt Right' to the White House

Nov. 14, 2016

written by Benjy Sarlin

[excerpts] ------------------ Steve Bannon, former president of the incendiary Breitbart News and more recently chief executive of Trump's campaign, is taking on a role as "chief strategist and senior counselor." ...

"The racist, fascist extreme right is represented footsteps from the Oval Office," John Weaver, who advised Ohio Gov. John Kasich's 2016 presidential campaign, tweeted in response to the news.  "Be very vigilant America."

[another "Tweet"]
Just to be clear news media, the next president named a racist, anti-Semite as the co-equal of the chief of staff.  #NotNormal
3:35 PM - 13 Nov 2016 - Austin, Texas

The move was announced by Trump's transition team in tandem with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus' appointment as White House chief of staff, a role Bannon had been linked to, as well.

Priebus is well-liked by the GOP establishment, and a major question moving forward will be how the Breitbart wing gets along with more traditional Republican leaders uncomfortable with its emphasis on race-baiting headlines and conspiracy theories. 

A number of statements by Republican politicians praising Trump's decision to draft Priebus into the White House conspicuously failed to mention Bannon.

Charges of anti-Semitism crept into both Breitbart and the campaign under Bannon's watch at certain points.  The Anti-Defamation League expressed alarm in the closing weeks of Trump's campaign at speeches and ads warning of a global conspiracy among bankers, media and government officials that resembled tropes used historically to target Jews.

Ben Shapiro, a writer who left the site...said it had come to embody an "alt right" movement that was "shot through with racism and anti-Semitism."  He added in a follow-up column on Monday that, while Bannon was "happy to pander to these people," his personal views were less clear. ---------------------------------- [end, NBC excerpts]


-------------------------------- The October 31, 1971, New York Times quoted Lyndon Johnson on FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover:  "It's probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in."

One wonders whether similar (though perhaps not-so-saltily worded) logic might have prompted President-Elect Trump to bring such people into his White House circle...

JFK; Hoover; Robert Kennedy (btw 1960 and 1963)

U.S. Senator from South Dakota, George McGovern; Former President Lyndon B. Johnson (1972)

Books we recommend for the President-Elect to read over the next two months, (which I am sure he will get right on), are a List Of Four, led by the Henry Adams novel, Democracy, published anonymously in 1880 by Henry Holt & Co.

--------------------------------------- [excerpt, Democracy] ------------------- Chapter 1.  For reasons which many persons thought ridiculous, Mrs. Lightfoot Lee decided to pass the winter in Washington.

She was in excellent health, but she said that the climate would do her good.  In New York she had troops of friends, but she suddenly became eager to see again the very small number of those who lived on the Potomac. 

It was only to her closest intimates that she honestly acknowledged herself to be tortured by ennui.  Since her husband's death, five years before, she had lost her taste for New York society; she had felt no interest in the price of stocks, and very little in the men who dealt in them; she had become serious. 

What was it all worth, this wilderness of  men and women as monotonous as the brown stone houses they lived in? 

In her despair she had resorted to desperate measures.  She had read philosophy in the original German, and the more she read, the more she was disheartened that so much culture should lead to nothing -- nothing.

...Mrs. Lee did her best to turn her study to practical use. 

She plunged into philanthropy, visited prisons, inspected hospitals, read the literature of pauperism and crime, saturated herself with the statistics of vice, until her mind had nearly lost sight of virtue. 

At last it rose in rebellion against her, and she came to the limit of her strength.  This path, too, seemed to lead nowhere. 

She declared that she had lost the sense of duty, and that, so far as concerned her, all the paupers and criminals in New York might henceforward rise in their majesty and manage every railway on the continent. 

Why should she care?  What was the city to her?  She could find nothing in it that seemed to demand salvation.

...Perhaps after exhausting the political world she might try again elsewhere; she did not pretend to say where she might then go, or what she should do; but at present she meant to see what amusement there might be in politics.

Her friends asked what kind of amusement she expected to find among the illiterate swarm of ordinary people who in Washington represented constituencies so dreary that in comparison New York was a New Jerusalem, and
Broad Street a grove of Academe.

She replied that if Washington society were so bad as this, she should have gained all she wanted, for it would be a pleasure to return -- precisely the feeling she longed for. -------------------------------- [end, Excerpt] -----------------------

she had resorted to desperate measures -- reading philosophy!  In the original German...!

...saturated herself with the statistics of vice until her mind had nearly lost sight of virtue!

that "illiterate swarm" of Washingtonians...!

Jacqueline Kennedy read Democracy during the 1960 campaign.

Claude Monet, 1880.  "The Artist's Garden at V├ętheuil" at National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.


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