Trump wanted to be president-for-life. In so many words, our military said “no”.
Imagine what it must be like, to be in command of the mightiest military force in human history, and to have a real opportunity to take control of the most powerful nation on the planet if one so desired.
More importantly, given such a temptation, imagine what it must be like to choose not to do so.
America’s military has roughly 600 total generals and admirals on active duty, but the hierarchical nature of the military means only a relative handful controls the rest. The Posse Comitatus Act notwithstanding, the Joint Chiefs of Staff could, if they so desired, combine forces to seize control of the nation at the behest of a sitting president or, for that matter, at their own command. This is probably what lay behind President* Trump’s repeated efforts to ingratiate himself to the military by doing what he thought the military wanted. …
Look first at the headline:
On Monday, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia signed a settlement to end the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, surrendering the disputed territory and acceding to other demands to stop the devastation of Armenia’s army by Azerbaijan’s drone-heavy armed forces.
Okay, so Armenia lost, had to give up a disputed province, and is standing down, taking time to lick its wounds, while Azerbaijan consolidates its hold on newly-won territory. Simple, right?
No. It’s anything but simple. The geopolitics of the region would give scholars of pre-WWI Europe a headache. Armenia gives up control of Nagorno-Karabakh, but is allowed a safe corridor for access to Armenian communities therein, and Azerbaijan is allowed a safe corridor for access to Nakhchivan, an Azerbaijani exclave otherwise completely isolated from Azerbaijan itself. …
Here’s the first lesson of salesmanship, whether in the corporate world or in politics:
It’s not what you sell, but how you sell it.
In other words, you can have the greatest idea since sliced bread, but if you can’t figure out how to market it, well, it won’t sell. Marketing is everything. That’s why most laptops and desktops run Windows instead of Apple today. The crappiest product on the planet will sell like hotcakes if properly marketed.
If there is one character in literature that should remind us of Donald Trump, it is Denethor from Tolkien’s “Return of the King”, if Denethor were much less literate and disturbingly ignorant of the world around him.
For those who may not be familiar with the reference, Denethor, Steward of Gondor, was being manipulated by Sauron, the Dark Lord of Mordor. To make a long story short, Denethor is old and bitter, and no longer trusts anyone around him, even those whose counsel he had valued in the past. He feels betrayed by all, even by his youngest son Faramir. …
Inspired by the British attack on the Italian fleet at Taranto a year before, on Dec. 7, 1941, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto directed six Japanese aircraft carriers to launch an air raid against the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor where they would sink six and damage three battleships, and damage several light cruisers and destroyers, all at a cost of only twenty-nine aircraft. Naval vessels are prohibitively expensive, none more so than capital ships like battleships. In economic terms, this was probably the most lopsided battle in human history.
Even as the smoke was clearing, the world was coming to realize that the reign of the battleship was over. Never again would the pinnacle of naval warfare be one side’s fleet maneuvering to “cross the T” of the enemy’s fleet (as the British Grand Fleet did twice against the German High Seas Fleet at the Battle of Jutland in the Great War). From that day forward, battleships were effectively relegated to be floating artillery in support of amphibious assaults on beaches. …
The Republican Party has done a lot of damage to America’s democracy over the past fifty years. Here’s what I believe are the worst four:
Before saying another word, the beheading of the teacher in a quiet suburban French town northwest of Paris — like the massacre of the reporters and staff of Charlie Hebdo in 2015 — is an inexcusable crime for which the murderer must face the full weight of French justice. That being said, we in the free-speech-loving Western world need to step back for a moment and realize the part our multinational society has played in these atrocities. …
My sons are both married, one with a one year-old child, and the other with a pregnant wife. Both work full time with benefits and are in the process of buying homes of their own. It looks like they’re well on their way to achieving the American Dream, right?
Actually, that’s not their goal.
Both of them intend for their children to attend K-12 school in the Philippines. My oldest son attended K-12 schools here in America and attended college in the Philippines, while my youngest attended his last two years of high school there. …
In the past few years, “OK Boomer” became the insult du jour by Millennials and Gen-Xers towards us Baby Boomers, we who were born between 1946 and 1964. The sometimes-sincere jibe has been used to blame us for all society’s ills, from global warming to nuclear proliferation to white privilege. It’s like we’re the world’s husband — no matter what it is, it’s our fault (and it usually is).
But you know what? There’s one thing we Baby Boomers did better than any other generation in humanity’s history or future: music. Here’s why:
Factor 1: The Blues
To be sure, the revolution started a generation before with the great Blues musicians that sprang from the Mississippi Delta juke joints like B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, and Muddy Waters. Led Zeppelin’s “Travelling Riverside Blues”, Cream’s “Crossroads” (led by Eric Clapton), and the Doobie Brothers’ “Black Water” clearly show the indelible influence of the Bluesmen who lifted the hearts of sharecroppers after long days in the cottonfields under the hot Delta sun. They did so by giving melody and verse to the hardship, adversity, and heartbreak of Black men and women whose families had spent generations under the yoke of slavery followed by the Jim Crow era. In his book Revolt of the Rednecks, Albert Kirwan recorded the observation of overseers watching Black workers out in the cotton fields in the 1870's: “And they sing, as only they can sing.” …
“You’re not a good mother! You didn’t make good choices!” shouts Elena Richardson at Mia Warren, who shouts back just as furiously, “You didn’t make good choices. You had good choices!”
The roles are played by A-list actors Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington to devastating effect in a drama about a homeless Black professional photographer trying desperately to provide a stable home and a good future for her overachieving daughter in white suburbia.
This one exchange between the two main characters of Little Fires Everywhere encapsulates the themes of the entire series, that (1) white people and People of Color often live in wholly different realities, (2) white people have a wider range of much easier and safer options from which to choose, and (3) the near-total ignorance of most white people concerning the basic facts of white privilege. …