Posts Tagged ‘The Atlantic’


“On Memorial Day 2017, Trump visited Arlington National Cemetery, a short drive from the White House. He was accompanied on this visit by John Kelly, who was then the secretary of homeland security, and who would, a short time later, be named the White House chief of staff. The two men were set to visit Section 60, the 14-acre area of the cemetery that is the burial ground for those killed in America’s most recent wars. Kelly’s son Robert is buried in Section 60. A first lieutenant in the Marine Corps, Robert Kelly was killed in 2010 in Afghanistan. He was 29. Trump was meant, on this visit, to join John Kelly in paying respects at his son’s grave, and to comfort the families of other fallen service members. But according to sources with knowledge of this visit, Trump, while standing by Robert Kelly’s grave, turned directly to his father and said, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?

— Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic, 3 September 2020


There is a new article in The Atlantic from Jeffrey Goldberg that carries the heading Trump: Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’ that I urge you to read. It details a host of incidents over the last several years under our current president*** where this creature displayed a total lack of respect for the service and sacrifice of those who have seen duty in our military forces. The reports in this article have been subsequently corroborated and verified by multiple news agencies and their sources.

Without going into all of the details of the article here– again, please read it for yourself– he calls those American troops who were killed overseas and are buried in the military cemeteries in those places ‘losers‘ and ‘suckers.’

It aligns pretty much with his words for the late John McCain who he claimed wasn’t a war hero because he was captured.

There was another incident during talks concerning a potential military parade, one of his fixations, where he asked that the parade not include wounded veterans, particularly amputees, saying, “ Nobody wants to see that.”

This man sees everything as being transactional. You only do something for something in return. The idea of doing anything out of a sense of duty or honor is a foreign concept to this creature. After meeting one high ranking general, he is said to have remarked to aides that this general was a very smart guy and wondered why a guy with that kind of smarts went into the military. To him, if you have the ability to enrich yourself, sacrificing that ability in order to act in service to others is a sucker move.

I was watching The Godfather 2 not too long ago, having not seen it for a number of years. There a scene near the end, a  flashback to most of the members of the Corleone family along with the family attorney (Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen here but think of Michael Cohen, okay?) sitting around the dinner table before a birthday party for patriarch Don Corleone. Future boss Michael ( Al Pacino) reveals that he has enlisted in the Marines in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor.

The responses from his brother, Sonny, and Hagen were illuminating. People who do something for strangers were ‘saps.’

You only do for yourself and family.

Sound familiar? It has been said that this president*** operates in much this same way as a mob family, right down to the attitude that you only help those who can help you in some way. The others are all saps and suckers and losers.

You might ask why this matters. It is important because it shows that he sees everything around him in terms of how it serves him. The military and its veterans are seen as props and pawns to be used. I believe that if he had to sacrifice dozens or hundreds or even thousands of troops in an action that would help him stay in power.

And this extends to law enforcement, as well. He sees cops as a tool to be employed on his behalf. And even then, he only sees cops who are willing to compromise their oath or break the very laws they are charged to enforce as being capable of helping him. A good cop, someone who entered a dangerous field with relatively little financial return, would fall under the category of sap or sucker. Or even loser if they were to call out the bad cops among them.

You may not care.

You may not give a shit ( excuse me for my plain language here) about his constant lies and deceptions. Or maybe you don’t give a crow’s fart for his total refusal to accept any responsibility whatsoever for the citizens that he is supposed to represent during a worldwide pandemic. You may not give a tinker’s damn for the 190,000 dead from covid19 and find these numbers, no matter how high they climb, somehow ‘acceptable.’ You may not care about the damage being done to our future economies by his fiscal policies. You may not care about weakened position in the world, one that makes the world much more dangerous for all.

You just might not care. You got your stupid red hats and your confederate flags and Fox News. And your own beliefs, however misguided and misinformed they might be.

But make no mistake about it, this creature is the ultimate looter and he’ll burn down this whole shitshow to stay in power and to keep from ever being held accountable. If you or me or a million other saps, suckers, and losers have to die, it won’t bother him one damn bit.

And unless enough of us stand up now and vote him out in numbers too large to be disputed, I believe that is exactly what he will do.

So check your voter registration. Vote early.

And vote like your life depends on it because this might be the one time in our lives when that is actually true.

In the meantime, read the article in The Atlantic. And, here’s that scene from The Godfather 2. See if it sounds familiar to you, as well.


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Those he commands move only in command,

Nothing in love. Now does he feel his title

Hang loose about him, like a giant’s robe

Upon a dwarfish thief.

-William Shakespeare,  Macbeth


I read an interesting article in The Atlantic  by Eliot Cohen this week that has stuck with me for the past few days. It parallels the possible fall of the current administration to that of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. How fitting that the Scottish play, as it is often called, might mirror the fall of a man with a Scottish ancestry.

The end may be brought about by those he has freely abused and those around him who serve him not from admiration or love but from fear and the self-serving nature of the position, things that will no doubt soon fall away as the downward spiral hastens and his true nature of this utterly selfish person becomes apparent to even those who still follow him with fervor.

As Cohen writes:

…his spirit remains tyrannical—that is, utterly self-absorbed and self-concerned, indifferent to the suffering of others, knowing no moral restraint. He expects fealty and gives none. Such people can exert power for a long time, by playing on the fear and cupidity, the gullibility and the hatreds of those around them. Ideological fervor can substitute for personal affection and attachment for a time, and so too can blind terror and sheer stupidity, but in the end, these fall away as well.

Who will be Macduff, the one who ends the reign of the tyrant, in this version of the play is yet to be determined. But the last words of Macduff before he is urged by Macbeth to Lay on, Macduff should be remembered:

Then yield thee, coward,
And live to be the show and gaze o’ the time:
We’ll have thee, as our rarer monsters are,
Painted on a pole, and underwrit,
‘Here may you see the tyrant.’

In case you don’t know the play, it doesn’t end well for Macbeth.

The Cohen article is an interesting read. You can see it here.

For this week’s Sunday morning music I have chosen a nice collaboration of a song from the great American songbook from Elvis Costello and the late great Chet Baker. The title fits well with an article about a man who demands love and loyalty but offers none in return: You Don’t Know What Love Is.

Take a look and a listen. Have a good Sunday.


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