Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Throwing Stones at Glass Houses? Musings on Jimmy Savile

The scandal surrounding the alleged pedophilia of TV and radio celebrity Jimmy Savile, OBE, KCSG, in the UK is clearly broader than just the BBC. Up to now the Corporation has born the brunt of most of the often self righteous criticism of those who seem to blame the BBC, many for political reasons--they want to cut the supposedly liberal Beeb down to size--exclusively for turning every cheek from the scandal and covering it up. As this article and others indicate, however, the apparently intentional amnesia about Savile's behaviour and its cover up was not only something that apparently happened at the Beeb, it also happened in broader British society and culture as well. It was thus not only the hierarchy at the Beeb who were turning the other way way while Savile engaged in his alleged behaviour, it was much of British society and culture including much British society and culture on high.

What this seeming "royal" treatment of Savile by so many institutions and individuals in British society and culture really tells us about is the role celebrity culture and people's perceptions of celebrities in the UK and beyond play in the modern world today. The cult of celebrity personality appears to have affected how people perceived Savile's behaviour and it appears to have limited the actions institutions and people, including Scotland Yard, could and did take against Saville. And this little fact should give us all pause. It should make us reflect upon the cult of celebrity personality and its role in creating secular saints, secular whitewashed saints, to be "worshiped" as symbols for what we believe our society and our culture should be (thank you Durkheim). It should make all of us reflect on the roles almost all of us play in creating and maintaining these cults of personality. It should make us reflect on the role institutions like Hollywood and the British media play in manufacturing cults of celebrity personality and the reasons why they manufacture these cults of personality. It should make us all look in the mirror. I hope you will forgive me for my cynicism if I say, however, that I doubt such reflexivity will last longer than a few weeks after the scandal ends. After all, no one seems to be paying much attention to one of the great scandals of the millennium, Rupert Murdoch's buying of British politicians and the British police and breaking into private messages of celebrities of all flavours.

One other interesting issue--there are many--raised by scandale Savile, as this article seems to indicate, is the issue of 1960s and 1970s rock and roll groupie culture. Apparently, if Rick Parfitt of the long lived rock and roll group Status Quo is to be believed, this groupie culture was apparently quite common at Top of the Pops at the time of Savile's reign and Savile was deeply a part of it. One has to wonder whether what happened in this groupie culture is now being re-read or re-interpreted from the vantage point of the more sensitive to child abuse era of the post 1990s. And one has to reflect on the patriarchal nature of this groupie culture of an earlier era, a patriarchal culture that gave impetus, in part, to the second wave feminist movement of the 1970s and beyond.

Nothing that I write here is meant to excuse Savile for his behaviour. If reports that he forced himself on a brain dead patient at a hospital in Leeds, to take just one instance, are accurate than his behaviour was truly disgusting and very disturbing. The point that I want to make here is that there is a lot of people and institutions one can point ones fingers at, people and institutions at the BBC and beyond who and which allowed Savile to get away with his disgusting and disturbing behaviour. Using this scandal, a scandal that says volumes about celebrity, to go after and punish the BBC alone would be as disgusting and disturbing as the behaviour of Sir Jimmy Savile himself, at least in my book. Look in the mirror Great Britain.

Addendum, 12 November
So it is not enough for Rupert Murdoch and his heirs apparent and their fellow travelers to try to kill the BBC. The BBC, it appears, wants to help Murdoch and others who want to eliminate the world's great public broadcasting competition from the television and online scene. In 2008 Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand--both of whom I find enormously unfunny--made telephone calls to actor Andrew Sachs crudely discussing Brand's relationship with Sach's granddaughter. In 2010 after it was revealed how much the Beeb paid celebrities like Ross and Brand questions were raised about whether a public broadcaster should be shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in salaries for individuals, like Ross and Brand, in the name of competitiveness. In October of 2012 the Savile scandal discussed above broke and it became clear that Newsnight, the BBC's flagship current affairs programme, had backed off airing a report on the scandal last year. Critics pointed out that the Beeb ran a celebratory show on the deceased Savile around the same time and suggested we connect the dots. In November Newsnight aired an investigative report in which Steven Messham, a former care-home resident, claimed he was sexually abused by Tory politician Lord Alistair McAlpine. The tale, as it turned out, was false--as the Guardian discovered--and the BBC has had to issue an apology for the inaccurate report. Was Newsnight and the BBC trying to redeem itself for not airing the report on the Savile scandal and as a result aired the investigative report too hastily or was it, as recent reports seem to indicate, a result of the depletion of the Newsnight editorial board and the confusion that brought?

Amidst all of this the enemies of the BBC, including Rupert Murdoch--he who throws stones at glass houses except when it is his own--are playing the role of King Herod calling for the head of the BBC. What political, economic, and cultural--the issue of trustworthiness, for example--impacts these latest controversies surrounding the BBC will have on one of the great public institutions in the world only time will tell. Only time will tell how long it will take the Beeb to stop aiming loaded pistols at its own feet as well. I for one cannot help but wonder whether the Beeb is turning tragedy into farce whenever it can. And this saddens me.

For an interesting essay on the Savile scandal see Kim Akass and Janet McCabe, "The Dark Side of a British TV Icon" TV Worth Watching, 27 October 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Irrationalism of Emotion...

I watched the fascinating documentary The Cuban Missile Crisis: Three Men Go to War on PBS last week. I was struck in particular by what one of the academic and intellectual taking heads said in that documentary. Americans, to paraphrase him, are like werewolves affected by the full moon when it comes to Cuba. They can't and have never been able to deal rationally with a nation many think of as an extension of and a playground of the United States and which others think of, in an obfuscating and dissembling nostalgic purple haze, as a utopia before the Revolution.

This statement, a statement I agree with, by the way, got me thinking about those people who hate American's current president of the United States, Barack Obama. I have long thought that the hatred many Americans have for Obama is similar to the hatred many Americans, particularly those first and second generation Cuban exiles living in Miami, have for Cuba and Castro. They are both grounded in emotion, elite and privileged class emotions in the first instance and racist tinged emotions in the second.

The problem with emotional hallucinations, and the emotional hatred of Cuba and the emotional hatred of Obama are both hallucinations, is that they bear no relationship to reality. When you actually look objectively at Barack Obama, for instance, he is clearly cut out of the same foreign policy cloth as Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and George W. Bush. Just as Kennedy followed in Eisenhower's footsteps on Cuba and Vietnam Obama has followed in the footsteps of foreign policy initiatives laid down in the Bush administration that preceded him and even expanded them. Obama's continuation of and expansion of drone strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere and Obama's continuation of the plans to kill Osama bin Laden immediately come to mind here.

Given these similarities one has to look for other reasons for the irrational hatred many Americans have for President Obama. And I think, as I have already mentioned, that the thing one has to look at is good old fashioned American racism, an American racism that has long been linked to rhetorics of state rights, anti-communism, anti-socialism, anti-liberalism, and Supreme Court activism among others. You have to look to, in other words, irrational culturally constructed emotions.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Incompetence of the New York State Tax and Finance Department...

This [state] is full of money grabbers...Go ahead bite the big apple...Don't mind the maggots.

The New York State Tax and Finance Department incompetent? Let me count the ways.

1. They wrote a tax form asking taxpayers for their “federal deductions” when they meant itemized federal deductions. And they haven’t changed it to the less ambiguous itemized federal deductions as of 2012 when I write.

2. They can’t write a computer programme that immediately catches that taxpayers put their standardized deductions on the “federal deductions” line (as they should given the wording of that line; that is literally what it asks for). This means that they don’t immediately send the form back to taxpayers for correction. But that would mean the Department would lose penalties and interest wouldn’t it? Perhaps this isn’t incompetence just skanky greed.

3. When they discovered that I put me and my wife’s federal deductions, federal standard deductions, for obvious reasons—that is what the line asked for—for five years, they didn’t add up all the charges and put them on one invoice sheet. Instead they sent me five in five different envelopes with five different metred stamps on them. Why save money for the taxpayers when you can milk them for more monies?

4. They do something that no reputable organization, agency, or business would do: they do not add charges, note the etiology of said charges, and reduce charges relative to payments made. Instead they send separate bills with no indication of payments.

5. They apparently have the same penalties and interest charges for those who intentionally lie and cheat on their tax forms as for those who make unintentional mistakes, unintentional mistakes sometimes based on poorly worded tax forms as with me. The state as a harsh Yahweh god? Anyway, you gotta love one size fits all government and morality. Not.

6. They sent a decree indicating that I owe over $800 bucks for payments I have already made, a decree that threatens me with a trip to the wood shed unless said charges are paid.

7. I paid $3600 plus in June and July for “mistakes” I made in 2008, 2009, 2010. I made the same “mistake” in 2011 and despite the fact that my mistakes were known by NYSTF before my refund cheque for 2011 was sent to me, they sent me a refund cheque based on what should have been clearly seen at that time as a flawed tax refund request (at least from their point of view with its flawed reading of the “federal deductions" line) since I put my standard federal deductions—again as I should have given the wording of that line—on the “federal deductions” line. I did not cash this cheque knowing that it was sent to me as a result of NY State Tax and Finance Department incompetence and returned it to them in July meaning that I owe nothing for 2011 and they cannot charge me interest since the monies never left their account. Of course, one wonders if such common sense rationality has any cache with them at all.

8. My sense is that when they calculated what I owed them for claiming me and my wife's standard federal deductions on the "federal deductions" line that they did not subtract the taxes they actually did owe me for the years 2008, 2009, 2010. I, quite reasonably, deducted these amounts from my bills when I sent payment to the Tax Department. Speaking of tax refunds, NYSTF has still not sent the refund they owe me for 2011 nor did they inform me, as I requested, that they did apply this refund to my over refund bill. I suspect that they are not going to apply penalties and interest for their failure to send my refund to me. Double standards are a common aspect of how government deals with citizens. Can you say tyranny?

9. They can't, unlike the federal government, give citizens the option of an EZ form. I have been doing taxes since the early 1970s and this is the first time I have had a problem. Income tax forms, particularly those of New York State, have, I think, been getting ever more complex since the early 2000s. So complex that a common I find doing taxes even less exciting than watching paint dry bloke like me has problems doing them on my own anymore. Is the state in league with private tax robber barons? Speaking of tax form problems, since the federal government is too cheap to send us forms to us through the post anymore I have been forced to do them by going online to the IRS website. Unfortunately, for oldies like myself reading the instructions online is extremely difficult. The feds need to put up old age friendly online forms and instructions for people like me to use. Don't worry, dear unreaders, I am not holding my breath waiting for NY state to provide us with an EZ tax form or for the US government to do user friendly tax form and tax instructions web sites. I am sure I would die if I did.

10. Because I sent a cheque to NY State Tax and Finance in one lump sum they didn't apply it to my total bill. Apparently NYSTF likes to get multiple cheques back for the multiple primitive "bills" they send out to offenders. And though I had an over $200 credit in my account they did not (and said they could not) apply it to additional monies owed for other years. It just sat there earning no interest (puns intended) waiting for me to get in touch with the idiocrats at NYSTF asking for its return. Surreal.

11. To get a final solution to my problem we, me and my tax accountant, had to go through three people, all of whom asked for the same information. While we were told by one NYSTF official that he didn't think I owed any additional money, another bureaucrat told me I did, despite the fact that there was monies in my account that would have covered two thirds of what I supposedly owed. And it all only took one hour and a half to do. That's snark. Surreal.

Kafka, of course, would not be surprised by any and all of the above. The idiocracy rules New York State. I think it is time for me to get out of a state that treats its "takers" like serf swine and its Wall Street "makers", the real flim flam and confidence men of today, like demigods.

And the incompetence continues. Today, 29 October, I got a call from NYSTF, Diane to be specific, saying they can apply my refund to the charges against my account. Of course, this was two days after I sent a cheque to them for the full amount. I asked them to do this back in July but never even got a response from that good old arrogant royal bureaucracy on high. NYSTF and NY state takes incompetence and Kafkaesque surrealism to new heights. I suppose that this is something New York State can take pride in, in a twisted and perverse sort of way.

Addendum II
So I sent the incompetent, den of idiots, and den of Ebenezer Scrooge NYSTF a third cheque for a bill they claim I owe. I think I overpaid but I want to get these wankers off my back and it is easier to write a cheque than deal with a bunch of incompetent wanks who think they are god almighty. I sent this cheque by registered mail on 26 October 2012. To show you how incompetent or mammon greedy these wankers are I received a royal decree dated 11/06/2012 demanding that I pay them what I already paid them on the 26th. And of course, the decree states that they will continue to take their pound of flesh in interest. How they can charge interest on an accident based on their poor tax form writing is beyond me. They surely can't demand interest on what is already paid I would assume but then again this is New York State.

To top it all off NYSTF still owes me $200 bucks plus. I still haven't received my 2011 refund. I, of course, will demand that they owe me interest for not sending it to me but as you know dear unreaders I am unlikely to get interest because I am a powerless citizen trapped in a labyrinth populated by bloodsucking tax and finance bureaucrats who, it appears, wouldn't know their arses from a hole in the ground and who take gobshiteing to levels of unforeseen heights.

Addendum III
Apparently the monies the New York State Tax and Finance Department owed me and have owed me since April will have interest applied to them. I am gobsmacked. I will believe when I see it. As of yet, 3 December, I haven't seen it.

Addendum IV
I finally got my tax refund today a full eight months after I filed my tax paperwork with the New York State Tax and Finance Department. And despite claims from the Tax Department bureaucrats that I would be receiving interest on the monies NYSTF had in their accounts for this eight months that turned out to be more inept shite from the gobshites at New York State Tax and Finance. I couldn't help but think of double standards here. When we do something wrong, intentional or not, they get more than a pound of flesh from us. When they do something inept with our accounts its ooops, sorry, but no interest or penalties for you. I guess we should expect no more from a wanker bureaucracy in a wanker state. If there was justice...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The More Things Change...

You think you're something special, you think you're something else...Shania Twain

So I recently took a look at Oxford University Press's much touted, at least by itself, new textbook American Horizons (concise edition, Volume II, Since 1865, 2013). American Horizons claims to, to quote the subtitle of the textbook, put "US History In A Global Context". After looking at American Horizons co-authored by Michael Schaller, Robert Schulzinger, John Bezis-Selfa,Janette Thomas Greenwood, Andrew Kirk, Sarah Purcell, and Aaron Sheehan-Dean--wow now that was a mouthful--however, I can't say I am particularly impressed with this as its boosters proclaim on its back cover "only US History Survey text to offer fully integrated treatment of US History within a global context".

Horizons has the usual stuff of global import one can find in almost any introductory text to US History--the broader aspects of American colonialism in the Caribbean and Pacific, America as a Great Power, a very brief discussion of global social liberalism, WWI, WWII, for example. There is a reference to Black emancipations in Jamaica and South Africa but none to how slavery by another name intersects with the treatment of Aborigines in Australia or South Africa. There is a tiny box on the treatment of Aboriginals in settler societies by the British colonial rulers but no extensive discussion of the treatment of indigenous peoples after Britain granted Canada, Australia, and New Zealand confederation, federation, or dominion status. There is a discussion of how the US dealt with the Great Depression of the 1920s and 30s but no comparison of how Canada, Australia, and NZ dealt with it. There is a brief discussion of the global suffragette movement but no comparison between US, Canadian, Australian, and Kiwi suffragetism. New Zealand, of course, a leading social liberal light, was the first nation to grant women the vote. So much for American Horizons boosterist claims.

What Horizons didn't do, as I have already intimated, and this is why I was, in particular, so unimpressed with the book, was to take the opportunity it had as a comparative textbook to do what any comparative history of the US worth its salt should do, namely take on the issue of American exceptionalism as at least one of its central organising principles. It should have, in other words, looked at US history and its society and culture, through the lenses of Canada, Australia, NZ, South Africa, and the UK, the settler societies and old world hearth, that, to a large extent, gave "birth" to all of them. There are only a paltry three references to Canada in Horizons, Volume II, eight references to Australia, six references to New Zealand, and one to South Africa (hey, how about a comparison of apartheid and Jim Crow?). An additional problem, one which increasingly characterises a lot of college textbooks these days, is that Horizons reads like a Twitter version of US history and remains infected with that dreaded kitchen sink or throw everything against the wall approach to US history.

After perusing American Horizons I remain as fully convinced as ever that the textbook I have been using in my US History Survey classes, Unto a Good Land (Eerdmans, 2005), is the best textbook available to those teaching American History survey courses. In fact, I would argue, it is one of the best introductory textbooks I have ever seen and I have seen a lot of them--sociology introductory textbooks, sociology of religion introductory textbooks, stratification introductory textbooks,cultural anthropology introductory textbooks, communication introductory textbooks, television history introductory textbooks, European history introductory textbooks, world history introductory textbooks, and comparative history introductory textbooks. I think Unto a Good Land is an excellent textbook, though admittedly this is kind of a backhanded comment given the generally dreadful character of most of the introductory history texts out there that one can compare it to, because of its superb organisation, its depth (there are over one hundred fact filled pages on the Gilded Age alone), its attention to US religious history, one of the most important factors in American history and one that continues to be largely ignored by historians and sociologists, its, if perhaps in far too limited a way, placing of US history in comparative perspective, and the fact that it doesn't try to order to appeal every cultural interest group--the plague of vanity identity culture--out there in Americaland in its structure. So no thanks Oxford, I am going to stick with the textbook I already use for my American history classes.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Welcome to the Land of Solipsism...Or, Wink, Wink, Nudge, Nudge....

I realise that many Republicans have a problem facing up to reality as many of the comments above and below clearly show. Buuuut. The fact is is that Obama did use the word "terror" in his Rose Garden speech just after the tragedy in Benghazi, Libya as youtube and the transcript to his speech in the Rose Garden show. I don't expect a party which has several candidates who think that "legitimate rapes" don't lead to pregnancies or that the earth was made in seven days or that government doesn't create jobs (despite the evidence to the contrary of the Interstate Highway System, Boulder Dam, the TVA, public school teachers, giving real estate to Big Railroads to name just a few) to be slapped back to reality by reality, however.

Oh, by the way, I am not a registered Democrat. I am someone who believes that factual accuracy matters. One can debate the hermeneutics of Obama's use of the word "terror" and its meaning or meanings. What one cannot do, however, is say that he did not use the term.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Romney Believes in the Virgin Birth of the Public Sector?

So Romney thinks that government does not create jobs. Hmm. One then wonders who created those jobs that built highways and overpasses when the federal government under a Republican president decided to pony up 90% of the monies which went into building the interstate highway system across the nation, a decision and a financing that gave further impetus to suburbanisation, suburban shopping malls, and economic activity and, hence, more jobs. Colgate toothpaste? One then wonders who created jobs at public schools and public universities. Kellogg's Corn Flakes? One then wonders who created Romney's job when he was the governor of Massachusetts. Alpo dog food? Bain Capital? Well perhaps more the latter than the former. Romney. Demagogue? cynic? historical and economic illiterate? all of the above?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

All the Business Elite Say....

Gotta love a group of people, in this case the infamous Koch Brothers and others of their ilk, whose nation is Mammon, whose god is Baal Mammon, and whose policy is my way or the highway blackmail (layoffs). And to top it all off they are making millions if not billions and helping to make the chasm between rich and poor in America ever larger. These pathetic and disgusting practises by America's self described "makers"--and don't forget they also purchase politicians and stacking the courts with those who rubber stamp their we are the champions Baal Mammon ideologies--is what business in the US has come to in the wake of Ronald Reagan. We are indeed doomed.

In Honour of the Koch's I Give You The Theme Song of the American One Percent...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Beyond the Veil: The Movie

As I read this article I couldn't help but think back on something that happened to me some forty years ago. In the 1970s I spent several days in an unconscious state in Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas, thanks to a lack of and loss of water. As a result of my hospital experiences I can tell you with absolute certainty that hallucinations are real. I know hallucinations are real because I experienced them while I was lying unconscious in my hospital bed in Parkland Hospital. I discovered they were hallucinations when I woke up to discover that I wasn't a foul mouthed version of Hank Entwhistle (Hugh Marlowe), the character who Cary Grant and his band of child "Indians" tied up in Howard Hawks's wonderful 1952 film Monkey Business and that the "kids" I was yelling expletives at were actually nurses who were nursing me back to health. Needless to say I had been a Howard Hawks fan long before I lay unconscious in a hospital bed in Dallas and I had seen Monkey Business several times. And needless to say I was very embarrassed afterwards for raining expletives I could not delete down on those who were simply trying to take care of me.

And the winner once again is, white Western ethnocentrism.

LOL. This "top ten" list is even fruitier, not to mention more ignorant and arrogant, than any of the fruity and idiotic lists of best colleges or best college towns that unfortunately show up in print and in cyberspace periodically.

First of all, I can't imagine that those doing the survey, and I call them "surveyors advisedly since there clearly is clearly no science behind this list as far as far as I can tell and I doubt that the results of the survey are repeatable, have rated every woman in the world on the basis of a scientifically designed list of "sexy characteristics" or even done a random sampling of women in the world on the basis of a scientifically designed and universally valid list of "sexy" female characteristics.

What this "survey" really tells us is several things, several rather pathetic and disturbing things I would add. It tells us something about the ideologies and prejudices of those doing the "survey. It tells us something about the political contexts surrounding and underlying the survey. It tells us something about the economic contexts of the "surveyors". It tells us something about celebrity whoredom and its apparatuses, pr and publicity and all that, and their impact on people who compile insipid and banal lists like this one. It tells us that sex continues to sell in the world of faux news in the early part of the twenty-first century West. And, of course, it tells us something about the ethnocentrisms of those doing such surveys.

As a result of this good old ethnocentrism this survey is a throwback to the social darwinist and white man's burden days of the "good" old modern West. It is a throwback to those days when White Westerners thought they had a god given right to categorise the world in their own image, put themselves at the top of every category by which they categorised the world, and remake the world they had categorised in their own image and for their own economic and political benefit. But I forget, this ethnocentric social darwinism never left us in the first place as this "survey" once again clearly shows, did it? Colour me once again disturbed by the sick idiocies that humans continue to engage in again and again.

Monday, October 8, 2012

In Ancient Rome there was a poem about a dog who found two bones...

There really isn't, when you look at this dispassionately, much in the way of differences between the two leading candidates for the president of the United States this year, the Republican Mitt Romney and the Democrat Barack Obama. Both of them are technocrats. Both of them realise that getting control of health care is essential if domestic spending is to be gotten control of. Romney is, after all, the father and mother of Obamacare. Both of them exhibit few differences when it comes to foreign policy. Both of them are cheerleaders for capitalism. Welcome to political cartel land.

There are, of course, also differences between the two candidates for president. Romney is more a politician than Obama. I don't find that particularly praiseworthy. Obama paid more in taxes percentage wise than Romney. I do find that praiseworthy. Obama is less loose with the truth than Romney. I find Obama's greater honesty praiseworthy. Obama seems to be more minority friendly than Romney. I find that praiseworthy. Obama is more likely to see corporations and investment banks as a threat to freedom than Romney. I find that praiseworthy. Romney is more religious than Obama worshiping, as he does, at the altar of the great god Baal Mammon. I don't find this arrested development syndrome particularly praiseworthy. Romney is more willing to hyperraise the offence budget than Obama and seems to be stuck in a mental time warp that dates to circa 1950 or 1980. I don't find this ideological blast from the Cold War past particularly praiseworthy. I really don't want to do the time warp again. Romney has a tendency to whitewash and romanticise the Israelis more than Obama. I don't find this ideologically driven blindness particularly praiseworthy. And then there is the big difference between the two, the big difference that I think is the real reason for the abject hatred so may have for Obama in the US today. Obama is Black. Such racism I do not find praiseworthy whatsoever. But I do understand it. Today's Republicans are, after all, the latter day heirs of Jim Crow Democrats, Dixiecrats.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

No Bankruptcy For You...

Frankly my dear I am less interested in Donald Trump's cosmetology or his rather lame, juvenile, cliched, and arrogant cosmology than in his "wit and wisdom" on how to go bankrupt and still survive and thrive. The Man with the Golden "Hair" has done the holy trinity of bankruptcies plus one and seems to have had fun and profited from them all at least in the short terms. Of course there is a difference between Trump and me. I am just a poor lower middle class schmuck and since Trump's green dollar blooded buds at the credit card companies and the banks who loan money to college students have made it difficult to wipe the red slate clean for proles like me it may be tougher for me to do what the Donald--is this moniker an attempt to distinguish the Donald from Donald Duck? (love the alliteration)--did four times. Such, I guess, is life for plebs like me. No breaks for you you must learn responsibility say paternalist patrician prats like Trump. And no networking with powerful politicians who do the bidding of ponces like Trump and call it in the national interest. Can I get a Scottish golf course amen?

Mea culpa: I do realise that posts like this with their ad hominems really aren't intellectually kosher despite how prevalent the ad hominem rag is in face-to-face interactions and even more in online interactions (as Trump's many attacks on his critics show), but I just couldn't resist. Anyway, sorry. In my defence I don't know another approach which best metes out the golden rule to the man who seems to fancy himself a sort of Greenback hero-god, an anti-Prometheus of his own mind, and who some seem to regard as a sort of messiah of the power of pop greedy thinking.