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The Dunning-Kruger school

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Donald Trump is spending this morning of his vacation lamenting the removal of various monuments to treason in defense of slavery:

Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. You…..

…can’t change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson – who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish! Also…

.the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!

One thing I’ve been surprised by during this slow motion car crash into a raging dumpster fire of a presidency is the sheer depth of Trump’s stupidity and ignorance. You could tell during Tuesday’s press conference that he thought he had come up with a new and especially powerful argument when he lectured the reporters about the previously unappreciated fact — no doubt just relayed to him by an advisor in the previous day or two — that Washington and Jefferson owned slaves (wait until he finds out that Jefferson liked to rape some of his).

On top of everything else, he’s just really really dumb — and of course he remains blissfully unaware of this.

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  • Bri2k

    If stupidity and ignorance were intelligence, our Orange C-in-C would be Stephen Hawking.

    • Thirtyish

      His IQ is one of the highest! And we all know it!

  • Helmut Monotreme

    Did that Robocop statue ever get put up in Detroit?

    • Helmut Monotreme

      By which I mean, it’s not like there aren’t literally billions of people who deserve statues more than old traitors.

      • N__B

        When post-modern architecture was its peak, I was recommending statues of Athena Nike outside of sports arenas and a statue of Anubis outside the NYSE.

    • IM

      You mean Delta City.

  • N__B

    I’m having a vision of a marble stuccoed pediment on a temple-like building, carved spray-painted to read:
    Trump University
    Dunning-Kruger School of Law

    • Helmut Monotreme

      I’m hoping it’s a sod cabin on the grounds of Orel Roberts U.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Hey, maybe Trump can go up in a tower and claim that if we don’t send in a billion dollars, the Lord or ISIS will call him home?

      • N__B

        Can you gild sod? AFAF.

        • Helmut Monotreme

          Get me a giant grant, and I will give it a solid effort.

      • FlipYrWhig

        Then we could all say SOD OFF.

        • anapestic

          We had sod laid at our house last week, and it provided the opportunity for all manner of jokes of this sort.

          It turns out, though, that you really can’t call the workers laying the sod “sodomites” because apparently that’s not the primary meaning for the word, and some people just don’t appreciate flexible vocabulary usage.

          • Lurking Canadian

            Damned prescriptivists ruin everything.

    • Unemployed_Northeastern

      Given the longstanding aversion by the legal academy of the hiring of experienced attorneys as law professors, their propensity to hire people who are at most two years removed from law school graduation, and their accelerating trend of hiring joint JD-PhDs who have never practiced law, every law school can be called the Dunning-Kruger School of Law.

      • N__B

        That’s reassuring.

        • Unemployed_Northeastern

          I believe Paul has written on the subject at some length.

          • N__B

            Given my lack of direct contact with the topic, I tend to skim those posts.

            • Unemployed_Northeastern

              He had his own blog exclusively focused on law schools and their shortcomings for years.

  • BiloSagdiyev

    He’s not much for details. Or deep thought. Or learning.

    Then again, the last president was, and the 28% that hold American hostage haaaated that. And love this one.

    T-N Coates the other day on how “good Negro government” is threatening to these people:

    https://www.democracynow.org/2017/8/15/we_were_8_years_in_power

    • Hypersphericalcow

      Preferring a stupid white President to a smart black president seems insane to me, but I guess that’s because I’m not a moran.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        I’ve been thinking about trying to read “Paradise Lost” because that line about “better to reign in hell than serve in heaven” has been echoing in my head for at least a year now

        • N__B

          It’s great except for the parts that are accurate Christianity.

    • Well just adjusted the 538 polls for registered / likely voters. It gives him 40% approval. I mean how?

  • Karen

    As I noted below, Washington in particular is easy to defend: he retired at the end of his second term instead of becoming a military dictator like every other leader of a successful military revolt in all of history through the 1980’s. That no one in the Trump administration can remember this fact is quite disturbing.

    Jefferson is much different because of his relationship with and treatment of Sally Hemings. I think it’s possible to consider Jefferson as a literary figure and polemicist, and admire his prose — the Declaration of Indepence’s first paragraphs are beautiful and inspiring — and still condemn him for being a hypocrite in his inability to give up slaveholding. To compare, I love Wagner’s music and still think he was a rat, so it can be done.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      My fuzzy memory of the situation is that Jefferson couldn’t free his slaves later in life because they were rentals and he no longer owned them because he was in debt. (I don’t know that he really wanted to give them up, of course.)

      Something that’s never mentioned when the American right gets all Sam-the-American-Eagle about debt and deficit, but some of their icons, like Churchill, were walking financial disasters.

      • Howard_Bannister

        That’s mildly true about the slaves he was specifically given and asked to free; the rest of them, no.

        (long complicated thing about a friend giving Jefferson slaves on his death and asking Jefferson to free them, but the whole estate getting tied up in court)

        Jefferson is complex. And terrible. And if you haven’t read TNC’s essays on him, I recommend them, especially this one:

        https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/12/thomas-jefferson-was-more-than-a-man-of-his-times/265850/

        https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/12/the-myth-of-jefferson-as-a-man-of-his-times/265816/

        This one gets into the legal complexities about the friend who asked Jefferson to free his slaves:

        https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/12/some-clarification-on-thomas-jefferson/266143/

        https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1996/10/thomas-jefferson-radical-and-racist/376685/

        • Howard_Bannister

          This piece here is the great quote of all those:

          At some point we are going to have to develop something beyond an infantile desire to know whether Daddy was a “good guy” or a “bad guy.” In fact, Daddy was an avowed white supremacist, whose words help inspire the black freedom movement. Daddy was an American slave-holder to the end, who brilliantly elucidated the moral and practical problem of American slavery. Daddy railed against miscegenation, while practicing it.

          • mattmcirvin

            That Jefferson, of all people, tried to put a powerful condemnation of slavery into the Declaration of Independence is something that still blows my mind. What was he on about? Who can tell what he was thinking? “Complex and terrible” is an understatement.

            • Hogan

              He both condemned slavery and condemned freeing slaves.

              • N__B

                He was a man of many moods. All of them slave-holding, unfortunately.

            • NicknotNick

              I think this is pretty par for the course for people. How many of us are theoretically in favour of limiting global warming, but don’t take very many actual steps to do so? In the future, if anyone remembers our deeds, the fact that we were willing to fly across the country, or the ocean, for the most trivial reasons (from the future’s perspective), might look tremendously hypocritical, or nonsensical. Jefferson probably had personal reasons, that made excellent sense, which explained why slavery was overall absolutely terrible, but he couldn’t stop owning slaves.

              • david spikes

                He was opposed to physical labor for aristocratic white politicians.
                To kinda paraphrase St. Augustine”I’d love to free the slaves but first I gotta finish Monticello.”

            • Howard_Bannister

              Right above that passage I quoted TNC has a passage from Jefferson where Jefferson talks about how corrosive it is to a person’s moral character to own slaves.

              I think Jefferson was completely right in that, and that in his life’s story you can see it play out. The longer he owned people the less he cared how wrong it was. The more his own economics were reliant on it, the less he would try to stop it. To the point where he told a person trying to free his slaves ‘don’t do it, why should you harm yourself for morality.’

              That’s literally going from saying ‘we should free them all’ to ‘these people over here shouldn’t be freed’–even though it wouldn’t benefit him in any way to keep them enslaved. But it would have made him uncomfortable, would have underlined his own hypocrisy.

              It would have been EASY to send a letter saying ‘sure, free them, here’s some legal tips, good luck.’ It wouldn’t have required freeing all his slaves.

              But he said ‘don’t do it.’

              Tried to keep people on the cusp of freedom in slavery to protect his own feelings.

              That’s evil to the core.

          • MikeJake
      • markefield

        It is true that Jefferson couldn’t free slaves who served as security for his debts. It’s also true that he ran up much of the debt and never did anything really to retire it.

        • Helmut Monotreme

          never did anything really to retire it

          Oh, come on. He worked a bunch of slaves nearly to death.

          • N__B

            A lot of that work was endlessly rebuilding some of the not-quite-working parts of his house.

            • BiloSagdiyev

              And, like today’s elites, don’t think one house is enough! With one of his sons* he designed and built a second house in a different location. We can only assume the labor source there.

              * Not a white one.

        • Abigail Nussbaum

          Yeah, “I can’t free you from slavery because of financial difficulties that I am 100% responsible for” isn’t exactly a winning argument. The “can’t” is doing a lot of work, mainly concealing the fact that what it really means is “I don’t want to, because doing the right thing will inconvenience me”.

        • Unemployed_Northeastern

          Washington, Jefferson, Madison, AND Monroe were all plantation owners who lived high off British and French credit and more or less died penniless.

    • Steve LaBonne

      It’s really pretty easy to draw the line. If the main or only reason we remember a guy is that he committed treason in defense of slavery, then there is no good argument at all in favor of keeping a statue of him on display.

      • farin

        I don’t even care why they committed treason, if they led a devastating war against the United States — on behalf of a foreign power — then they don’t get public monuments here.

        • so-in-so

          “Foreign power” grants the CSA too much credit, but otherwise yes.

        • rea

          I’d cheerfully give Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse statues

          • Steve LaBonne

            They were, legally, genuine foreign powers, not traitors. So I would do the same. ;)

          • farin

            Good point — although, to be pedantic, were they US citizens? Traitors have to be citizens, right?

            Regardless, all political considerations aside, Crazy Horse’s monument is totally awesome.
            http://www.oddcities.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/url.jpg

            • billcinsd

              For the Volksmarch every spring you get to walk out on the arm. It is incredibly big

    • FOARP

      “Washington in particular is easy to defend: he retired at the end of his second term instead of becoming a military dictator like every other leader of a successful military revolt in all of history through the 1980’s.”

      Counterpoints: Gniesenau and Blucher.

      • N__B

        Frau Blucher?

        • BiloSagdiyev

          Ovaltine?

        • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

          Neigh.

    • bender

      During the intense political fights between the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans, Jefferson behaved like a weasel. He attacked Federalists behind their backs and arranged for attacks via proxies, then denied to their faces that he was doing it. This was probably one of the reasons why Jefferson and Adams were not on speaking terms for decades, though Adams was a jerk sometimes too.

      One reason for Washington’s great popularity was that in his public life he behaved with great probity and dignity, and he could maneuver among men without losing his temper.

      • PohranicniStraze

        Probably didn’t hurt that GW was physically very large and reportedly strong as an ox, so most of the other (mostly kinda weedy) Founding Fathers didn’t feel a strong urge to piss him off.

    • slavdude

      And it’s possible to like Ezra Pound’s poetry while decrying his fascism.

  • BiloSagdiyev

    In the year 2050, we can take our grandchildren to Hong Kong and tell them, “See this statue? This was what some athletes looked like before we all started drinking corn sugar water.”

    • Unemployed_Northeastern

      Nah, Bruce was one of a kind. And generally thought to have been around 3 or 4% body fat. Which is insane.

      • Cheap Wino

        Supposedly cracked a rib flexing once. Dude was a freak of nature.

        • Unemployed_Northeastern

          I can believe it. He was extraordinary. Even today, all the major martial arts actors around the world – Donnie Yen, Tony Jaa, Scott Adkins, Marko Zaror, Vidyut Jamwal – absolutely venerate the guy.

          • The Dark Avenger

            And his best known white prodigy training-wise, is the racist and anti-immigrant fool known as Chuck Norris.

            • Unemployed_Northeastern

              They were sparring partners from time to time, but I believe Chuck was already a national karate champion before he met Bruce Lee.

    • slavdude

      Will the statue still be above water?

  • Dr. Waffle

    “Democrats are the real racists because they founded the Klan . . . but we shouldn’t tear down Confederate statues . . . also Democrats are the real racists because of Robert Byrd . . . but voter suppression is fine.”

    • Terok Nor

      If the Klan are Democrats, I wonder why David Duke ran for office as a Republican. Also curious why those left-wing National Socialists were so welcome at a rally called Unite the Right.

      • so-in-so

        Consistency is a hobgoblin, we need a sword with +1 vs hobgoblins.
        Really, they don’t care a bit about that. Sen. McCarthy complained after his fall from power that his opponents didn’t understand how to play the game. That’s still what it is to these folks. “Facts” don’t matter if they can win the debate.

      • CP

        Or why it’s called the “alt right” at all in the first place, for that matter.

      • MikeG

        Social conservatives smugly condemn the Democratic Party because it used to include social conservatives.

  • solidcitizen

    The idea that, should we destroy monuments to traitorous people, we might forget history and risk repeating it is a big one these days amongst the wingnut commentariat these days. They have latched on the the idea that we need to keep the monuments so we learn important lessons, but they never get all the way around to saying what lessons we’re supposed to learn, oddly. Some shade right up to the idea that the statues were actually put up to remind people about the horrors of slavery and the war, but that argument is never made directly because it is too ridiculous even for the crazies. Of course, I now expect to see Trump say this directly in the next few hours.

    • sibusisodan

      Were there any Roman arguments against damnatio memori along these lines?

      My understanding is that the whole purpose was to recall, societally, that bad things happened, while denying fame to the perpetrators.

      • solidcitizen

        That’s the real trick, isn’t it. Because for these people, Lee, et al did nothing “wrong.” Or not that wrong. They know, however, that saying this is not going to win them friends, so they go with the the “protecting history” argument. Who can be against protecting history?

        We saw a lot of this on our campus with the controversy around renaming Deady Hall. Matthew Deady was a founding father of Oregon who was strongly pro-slavery. He fought to have Oregon be a slave state and, when that cause was lost, fought to enshrine in the new Oregon Constitution that Oregon was a whites-only state. He was a strong supporter of the South in the Civil War. He also helped found the University of Oregon.

        So, when the students called for renaming Deady Hall, many did not want to argue about Deady the man, they wanted to argue about “history.” The idea advanced, straightforwardly even though it seems insane to me, was that students would say to themselves, “Hmmm…I wonder who this ‘Deady’ was that he has such a fine building named after him?” They would do research and discover that Deady helped found the UO. But, also, they would dig deeper and discover that he was not all good. This would lead students to the understanding that man is a complex animal who can both do good things (lobby for the money to found a university in Eugene) and do bad things (argue to keep his fellow man in bondage). Assumedly, they would share this knowledge with their fellow students and many a late night would be spent pondering the duality of man. All of this would, of course, be lost by renaming the building after someone who was not a racist cracker.

        I imagine the argument holds for Lee. Seeing that statue everyday is no longer a declaration he was a great man, it is now a reminder that even great men can have flaws.

    • I think there are people who are disturbed by 20th practices like Soviet rewriting of history, manipulating of photos, etc., who seem to be the ideal target for some of the arguments being made right now. I don’t think they’re wrong, just inappropriate for this situation, and that the arguments seem tailor made to upset that kind of liberal or moderate.

      • N__B

        How about rewriting of Soviet sculptures?

        http://lh4.ggpht.com/-qrkJfCIRDGo/VNI9W45OUPI/AAAAAAAA_MQ/izrsDVTOc3E/monument-soviet-army-sofia-7%25255B6%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800

        ETA: Sorry about the mess. Disqus and Wikipedia don’t play well together.

      • solidcitizen

        heck, they are disturbed by the practice of US historians “rewriting history.” Everyone in this country used to know that the Civil War was about states rights, until the revisionists came along and rewrote history.

        • so-in-so

          The war against public schooling will take care of that. Nobody will read history when they are all illiterate. Then the statues will really BE the only history for the masses.

    • MacCheerful

      If you burn the Alexandria library you’re probably destroying history because there are books there that would never be replaced.

      If you blow up immense carved statutes of Buddha on an Afghanistan cliff, you;re also erasing some beautiful things of ancient vintage that provide insight to vanished cultures.

      When you get rid of a Robert E. Lee statute you’re recycling metal. Notably no one has defended, that I know, (well I suppose besides Trump, noted art historian) these statutes on their aesthetic qualities.

      • so-in-so

        If they want a statue of him at Arlington Va, okay. If they want one at Antietam and Gettysburg and Appomattox it makes sense (as long as McClelland and Meade and Grant get to be there too). Anywhere else, WTF?

      • bender

        That really depends on the statue. However, equestrian statues run to a type and we have a lot of them.

  • CP

    You could tell during Tuesday’s press conference that he thought he had come up with a new and especially powerful argument when he lectured the reporters about the previously unappreciated fact — no doubt just relayed to him by an advisor in the previous day or two — that Washington and Jefferson owned slaves (wait until he finds out that Jefferson liked to rape some of his).

    Did you know Abraham Lincoln was a Republican?

    • N__B

      Many people don’t know that Pepe was based on William Seward.

    • Stella Barbone

      And Jefferson Davis was a DemocRat. Q.E.D.

    • Unemployed_Northeastern

      Yes, Frederick - I call him The Fredster - Douglass is a good friend of mine who is getting more and more noticed lately.

  • mattmcirvin

    I think we should be considering the possibility that Trump is winning this. Some of his poll numbers are up. These arguments seem stupid to us, but they work.

    • Scott Mc

      I am a bit surprised his poll numbers are up, but it’s possible that Bannon is right and every time BLM/counter protestors (rightly) speak out against this horrible crap they (ETA they = Dump) gain. That says terrible things about this country.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        I think we should expect his numbers to stabilize and rally somewhat but to not get him back where he was

        • Steve LaBonne

          He’s simply solidifying a base that is much too small to get him re-elected.

          • He’s simply solidifying a base

            We seem to be calling it a “plinth” lately.

            that is much too small

            All the better for knocking him off it!!!

      • Karen

        I can imagine that there are some people for whom any insult to liberals is a good thing, and his base of thoroughly rotten people will love it. For a larger group of people who find the Klan and Nazis low class, his defense of low class people will hurt him.

        • Scott Mc

          Does it though? Seems like it never translates into permanent disapproval. Even nevertrumpers fade…

        • You’re positing a group of people who think the president should condemn people who are low class–who don’t think the he should protect them out of a patronizing sense of noblesse oblige. And who at the same time think of the Klan as low class. What’s the overlap between those groups (especially among core R and core Trump supporters)?

        • so-in-so

          I don’t think “low class” is the actual problem. It’s not like the problem is they don’t know which fork to use, or are afraid of Italian cold cuts.

      • Seriously look at 538s likely voters numbers. There’s been an uptick recently, but likely voters is 40% approve

    • Steve LaBonne

      The proportion who want him impeached is up to 40%. So, no.

      • mattmcirvin

        Approximately zero of whom would ever have voted for a Republican in the first place.

        • Steve LaBonne

          But many of whom would have been far too wishy-washy to give that answer before now. That matters.

        • witlesschum

          But I bet there aren’t zero people who didn’t turn out to vote for Clinton against him in that 40 percent.

          And more to the point, keeping the president who you think should be impeached from being able to do more damage is a real good reason to turn out and vote for a Democrat next fall.

    • Slothrop2

      Yes! He’s certainly not stupid. His reproduction of his celebrity is pretty astounding because he’s been doing it since the 1980s. I suppose calling him stupid makes liberals feel better.

      • mattmcirvin

        Sub-40% approval and a White House in total disarray is not the sign of a genius. Most of what Trump has done is horrendously unpopular. I’m just saying that, historically, Bannon is right: turning up the heat on racial strife in any way helps Republicans. It may not be a large effect but it can be important on the margins.

        I totally reject the “throw the blacks under the bus” tactic that’s often proposed as a solution to this, because they are not a them, they are us. Abandon our core values and we might as well go home. I’m just saying, we’ll probably take a hit for it.

      • witlesschum

        No, he’s real damn stupid.

        He’s really good at being a celebrity in the media, but nothing I’ve ever seen has given me the impression that takes smarts, but rather a particular sort of shamelessness and focus.

        • BigHank53

          Y’know, there’s a word for that: cunning.

          Trump strikes me as being very, very clever in a couple of areas: he could probably give you 95% accurate cold read on a roomful of people in seconds. He’s good at whipping up a crowd. His shamelessness makes him second to none at self-promotion.

          None of those tend to support either the creation or pursuit of long-term goals.

          • Hypersphericalcow

            “Cunning” is exactly the word that I’ve been using for Trump. He’s like Ricky Roma at the beginning of “Glenngary Glen Ross”, immediately seeing Linck as a potential mark, and baffling him with bullshit until Linck signs on the line which is dotted.

          • david spikes

            He is totally shameless, totally amoral and he never stops grifting with the help of some of the shadiest lawyers on the planet.

    • mnuba

      Looking at 538’s pollster, his numbers don’t really seem to be up. In Rasmussen and Yougov for example he has tanked significantly since Charlottesville:

      Rasmussen (8/9 – 8/13) – 43/55
      Rasmussen (8/14 – 8/16) – 40/59

      Yougov (8/6 – 8/8) – 37/53
      Yougov (8/14 – 8/15) – 34/58

      Gallup is holding steady, and in Marist (the only other poll in their database to have responses with Charlottesville baked in) his disapproval has dropped slightly but he hasn’t gained any approval. What I would guess (without taking a deep dive into the breakdown) is that he is getting some of “the base” back that he lost during the healthcare fiasco, but not gaining any real support in the middle.

      Let’s see where he is in another week before we decide he’s winning this.

      • Seven point swing in Rassmussen is nothing to sneeze at. They cook those books hard to get approval up.

        Also, a third of the country is completely deranged, and he’s getting close to just having that and a few holdout partisans. All this with 4% unemployment.

      • Captain Oblivious

        If Rasmussen has him losing ground, he’s losing ground. Rasumussen is as GOP-friendly as they come.

        • mattmcirvin

          I’ve stopped trying to figure out the fluctuations in Rasmussen. I think the big jumps up and down are because of their periodic corrections for party ID, something almost nobody else does for good reason. Whether they’re intentionally tweaked to cook the numbers or not, they’re stupid–and I’m not sure a downward fluctuation means any more than an upward one. It’s best to just exclude it from averages.

          • The bumps have a pattern. After the congressional baseball shooting they shot up to 50%, after Obama care repeal failure it went down to its nadir. Their likely voter model is tuned to reflect conservative opinion.

            That all being said, we do need to face reality that a third of the country will not abandon him short of a 2008 style economic meltdown, which isn’t likely. But on the positive side, the Super Blue people’s Republic of California still had just under 1/3 vote for him, so if we have an America that reflects that, we’re moving in the right direction.

      • We also should wait to see what the post Tuesday meltdown response is. A lot of weak conservatives breathed relief after Monday and were shell-shocked by Tuesday.

        • mattmcirvin

          Yeah, most of these polls’ sampling periods aren’t post-meltdown.

        • Drew

          Also according to Twitter a recent Obama tweet is the most liked tweet of all time. If Trump finds out he WILL comment on it. Probably something like “I use my own words! Quoting someone doesn’t count!!! Wah!”

      • I agree that he’s probably regaining some hardcores who didn’t not like what happened in healthcare, but those aren’t numbers I understand yet. Overall there hasn’t been a huge drop just a steady drip drip loss. Meanwhile likely voters is too high for me liking

  • malraux

    The fact that no one seems to know the history behind any of the damn statues undercuts the claim that they are important for preserving history.

  • BigHank53

    the beauty that is being taken out of our cities

    Show me a building that Trump built that isn’t instantly forgettable. Aside from the tacky decor, of course.

    • N__B

      The Taj isn’t forgettable.

    • Captain Oblivious

      The Trump tower in Las Vegas isn’t bad looking, especially compared to some of the other crap, like Treasure Island and Excalibur. But he didn’t build it. It was a licensing deal.

    • Thirtyish

      One of my favorite views in Chicago is marred by that vile name (the building itself on which it’s plastered is nondescript). Not exactly forgettable for me.

      • wjts

        I used to work in the IBM Building (more or less) next door. The Sun-Times Building it replaced was ugly (many observers unfavorably likened it to a river barge), but this really isn’t an improvement.

        • Darkrose

          I used to work in the Sun-Times building. A river barge was an excellent description. It was still better than the T**** building.

          • wjts

            The Sun-Times is a better paper, but I really like the Trib Tower. It looks like a Neal Adams Batman splash page come to life.

      • Aubergine

        We were in Chicago this spring and I enjoyed seeing that all the riverfront space in Trump’s building was vacant.

  • AlexSaltzberg

    Does this count as a “national conversation about race”?

    • N__B

      Simultaneous vomiting is a kind of conversation.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Ah, memories. I never would have known that a person could scream and vomit at the same time, until I got to the front door of City Gardens to see a Ramones concert, and saw a young woman who obviously just likes to party and can quit whenever she wants, on her hands and knees in the sand and grass outside as her body vetoed her recent actions.

        So yes, this is our week of scream-vomit race conservation in Trumps America. The first of more than a few, I’m afraid.

        • West

          Hey, I think I saw that same young woman out front of the Mabuhay Gardens in SF, after an X show I believe it was. She really travelled, eh?

          She hadn’t quit partying yet, though I’m sure you’re right, she could have any time she wanted. She was with a boyfriend who was demonstrating just how much of a kindred spirit he was. While simultaneously screaming and vomiting, they were actually managing to converse, which I found impressively …. something. I will say, they were making more coherent good sense than Trump does.

        • Helmut Monotreme

          I keep feeling like I missed out. I was in elementary school during the prime of punk, and I can’t help but feel there was more to the scene than can be experienced by listening to the Ramones’ greatest hits on itunes.

          • mds

            I can’t help but feel there was more to the scene than can be experienced by listening to the Ramones’ greatest hits on itunes.

            Yeah, lots of screaming while vomiting, apparently. (Unless your iTunes experience is radically different from mine.)

        • Drew

          In college I once laughed so hard I threw up. It was seamless. Hahahahahaheeeeeuuuuuuh

  • You can’t change history, says man who made up a Civil War battle.

    https://twitter.com/mattdpearce/status/898187386558922752

    • FMguru

      My favorite Trump-is-an-idiot tic is his awesomely limited vocabulary, especially his adjectives. Everything is great, beautiful, sad, the best, bad, good, and not much else, and you can see it clearly in the plaque for his phony Civil War battle – the soliders were “great”. Not brave, heroic, stalwart, or dedicated – just “great”. And then he goes on to use “great” two more times (to describe the casualties and his honor).

      • Unree

        Trump divides the world into (1) things that displease him, the majority of things, and (2) the shaky minority, things that please him, like double portions of dessert. Life at the intersection of stupidity, lack of curiosity, and narcissism.

        • BigHank53

          If you ask yourself “What would someone who stopped maturing at the age of four act like?” you’ll be a lot less surprised by our President.

    • N__B

      The funniest part of that whole article is “family crest.” He comes from a peasant background, like most of us. What’s the crest, two parrots humping while averting their eyes from the humans seated nearby?

      • DJ

        Maybe the family crest includes that giant stuffed lion that he forced his kid to sit on for their Christmas photo.

        • Helmut Monotreme

          or some of the endangered species that his sons shot for fun.

      • Bri2k

        He stole the crest from a British family that’s actually entitled to it.

      • jdrem

        It’s a perfectly fine, if modern, coat of arms. Trump appropriated it from the previous owner of Mar-a-Lago (details here: https://nyti.ms/2rclW04). Now in the US, there’s no law against stealing someone else’s coat of arms. But in Scotland and England, where they take heraldry more seriously, Trump did get in trouble over it.

        • N__B

          Fair enough. My point is that there’s something fucked up about a person with no right to a coat of arms and living in a republic that does not legally recognize nobility who feels the need to have one.

          • Unemployed_Northeastern

            Eh, Donnie was just afraid that if he didn't have a TRUMP FAMILY CREST, someone might confuse him with Speyer or Solow or another actual NYC real estate developer. The heraldry exists to tell people "I'm a joke."

          • jdrem

            Oh sure, no disagreement there. Back when this first came to notice, Josh Marshall had some fun redesigning it. He replaced the lions with weasels and the ermine spots with dollar signs.

            • BigHank53

              Weasels, despite their reputation, are fierce predators and serve a useful role in the ecosystem. (They got their reputation from farmers; they’re hell on domesticated fowl and rabbits.) Trump’s heraldry deserves to be something both useless and painful. I’m not sure how you’d depict an abscess or bulging spinal disc, though.

  • Mike in DC

    Some high level resignations could dramatically accelerate Trump’s downfall. I’m somewhat skeptical that’s coming any time in the near future.

    • Captain Oblivious

      Well, there are the ones who will have to prepare for their criminal trials after Mueller gets his indictments.

    • West

      I am very skeptical.

      However, I’m seeing a lot of reports about Gary Cohn’s fury – all leaked by Cohn himself, I assume. I mean, it’s got to be bad enough to be Jewish and hear a president say such things, but Trump did it at an alleged infrastructure announcement with Cohn standing right there. How could Cohn not feel he was being used as a prop, or as cover? Trump was probably actually just ad-libbing, and being such a pure sociopath, was probably blissfully unaware how it might impact Cohn personally (and wouldn’t care if you pointed it out to him later). But still, Trump’s childish and narcissistic impulsivity aside, how could Cohn not feel he was being used as a prop for an anti-Semitic rant?

      I have no idea how observant Cohn is in his Judaism, and don’t really care too much (it’s his business, not mine). But if he is observant, what sort of day is it going to be for him on Saturday at whatever synagogue it is he attends? I’m not Jewish, but if I were and if I were in his congregation, he’d be getting some serious shit from me; directly, face to face. Even if I were a fellow Wall Street type of guy who totally agreed with him on economic policy (I’m not that, either). I mean, I am not a fan of these Wall Streeters at all, Cohn included, but it’s hard to imagine that Cohn is so completely without a soul that Trump’s rant – with Cohn standing right there – didn’t cut to the quick. At that press conference, he sure as hell looked like someone had force fed him a mouthful of fresh wet dog shit.

      So, I am skeptical about high level resignations, but maybe Cohn at least will prove me wrong.

      Whether that accelerates Trump’s downfall is entirely dependent on Ryan, McConnell, et al. I have so far perceived zero limit to the cynicism of those assholes, so I really doubt resignations would accelerate Trump’s downfall. I hope I’m wrong.

      • NicknotNick

        hmmmmmmm . . .

        the Rage of Achilles (Greek hero)

        the Fury of Gary Cohn (Trump enabler)

        No, I don’t think I can get too excited about the latter

        • West

          Nope, nor can I. I do agree with the sentiments a few posts up that all these folks ought to have known what they were getting into, at least to some degree. I’m just wondering if maybe in some cases, like Cohn’s, they hadn’t quite fully gotten it until the other day. That wouldn’t make me sympathetic to Cohn, but I’d maybe understand him somewhat. If he does not resign but rather goes on sucking it up, then….. holy shit.

          Same is true for plenty of other advisors. I do not at all mean to suggest that only the Jewish advisors have grounds to be disgusted. They all should be. It just seems like for Cohn, that shit show on Tuesday might have been especially acute.

      • AMK

        The only resignations that would matter are on the security side–Mattis, and to a lesser extent McMaster–and even then only if they made some kind of unambiguous public statement to the effect that Trump is a lunatic and Congress should do its duty. That would be more substantial pressure than he’s faced to date. Tillerson quitting and talking shit about Trump would help as well, if only because as a super-rich flyover country business magnate of the kind that Ryan/McConnell actually work for.

      • El Guapo

        If you believe Jeffrey Sonnenfeld of Yale, Cohn is the only thing keeping the markets from utterly collapsing (he was on CNBC saying this a bit ago). That the “market” believes Cohn will be a steadying hand re tax cuts, deregulation, etc. If *Cohn* believes that, then you can see why he grits his teeth and bears this. Especially if the Wall Street backers are pleading with him to stay so they don’t see their investments take a hit.

        • NicknotNick

          No one knows why markets do what they do, and the presence of Gary Cohn by Trump’s side is not determinative one way or another.

          If that statement has any grain of truth in it, then it simply shows what idiots businesspeople/investors are, that they can look at the destructive chaos of Trump’s presidency and be comforted by the fact that one of their own is there as a facade of normalcy.

        • mds

          The only thing keeping the markets from utterly collapsing is some “bare-knuckled” commodity-trader asshole who sharts the same old deliberately dishonest sewage about how high US corporate taxes are, and whose government role is purely advisory? It figures. Some pundit recently declared that his trader background meant it would be like putting a gambling addict in charge of the casino if he were to replace Yellen. Sure, compared to some of the other “experts” the Orange Shitgibbon has tapped, he’s John Maynard Fucking Keynes. And there could be some confirmation hearing hilarity over his party registration. But I don’t think he’s so much as taken an economics class, which contra Loomis I’m not entirely comfortable with.

        • West

          I would hope that neither the “market” (which I read as: Cohn’s Wall street buddies) nor Cohn are so arrogant as to believe this could be literally true in any general macro-economic sense.

          Having said that, I AM open to the argument that perhaps only Cohn and Mnuchin and a handful of others could talk Trump and the crazier Congress-critters off the ledge of defaulting on the national debt by failing to raise the debt ceiling. So that’d be a specific moment that, if it went sideways, could cause a nasty hit to WS investments, and mine, and everyone’s. And maybe Cohn can have a salutary effect there.

          But maybe not; Trump is so fucking nuts and so are some of the Rs in Congress.

          I think by about the end of September, we’ll know one way or the other. If we can all last until then. I’m struggling to just get through each week. If I see Cohn throw in the towel in disgust on like September 29th, after having eaten this much shit in August, that will cause me to freak out on the economic front.

          • bender

            The steep rise in the stock markets after the election struck me as being based on optimism, not fundamentals. I think the markets are somewhat overvalued and that a correction wouldn’t be a bad thing.

            Failing to raise the debt ceiling would be bad.

            • West

              agreed on both points. A failure to raise the debt ceiling could fuel an overcorrection, is my worry. I do not claim to have nearly enough handle on the risk to know how much I should worry about it.

          • Leigh Grossman

            Interesting that Yom Kippur falls on September 29 this year.

            • West

              Ha! I had no idea when I typed that date that I was putting in Yom Kippur. For the record, I was not trying to make some sort of clever joke or snarky religious reference or any such thing by using that date as Cohn’s imagined departure date. I was just picking a date near the end of September, when I perceive the debt ceiling crisis to be reaching its end game.

              • Leigh Grossman

                Pretty serendipitous, though. That week of contemplation and soul searching and what did I mess up in the past year that I need to clean up before the day of atonement on the 29th is often a trigger for life changes. Of course, there are also plenty of folks for whom it’s the one time a year they go to synagogue and it’s just about cultural signaling. I have no idea where on that religious Kinsey scale Cohn falls.

    • DJ

      The supposed outrage from his inner circle (most of which is anonymously sourced, because they are too chicken to take a real stand) doesn’t make logical sense. They all knew what they were getting into when they joined his administration. It’s not like this latest scandal is any sort of a surprise. It’s exactly how he behaved during the campaign.

      “I’m shocked—shocked!—to learn that Trump can’t keep his racist mouth shut!”

      • Duvall

        They aren’t outraged. They’re just panicking a little because they realize they could be standing behind Trump at the press conference in which he finally uses the n-word.

        • NicknotNick

          This has got to be correct . . . I never considered it before, but can you imagine the surge of fear when, as part of Team Trump, you are compelled to stand behind him as the video cameras run and hear him utter the words “You know, a lot of . . .”

    • msdc

      I can understand why Mattis, McMaster, and the other national security people don’t want to vacate those positions, because god knows who Trump would appoint in their place. I would hope that any cabinet secretaries outraged by Trump’s conduct are simply waiting for the day when they have a majority willing to trigger Section 4 of the 25th amendment. Cohn doesn’t have either excuse.

      • bender

        Hadn’t thought of that; hope it’s true.

  • If only Mooch were still here we’d get the Lee-Jackson-Paterno triumvirate defense.

  • DN Nation

    Name one fucking Corn-fed-rut statue that you find beautiful, wingnuts, and explain why. I’ll wait.

  • NicknotNick

    This is a picture of a Civil War monument from a small New England town (fictional, obviously), but I’ve always remembered it from my childhood. I’m just putting it up here as a change from Trump and Confederate generals on horseback. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/246a9bc4a730667b34d935a863fa3619184ebc3e7b4af63a60019330fa935e8a.png

    • Hogan

      John, John, the grey goose is gone
      And the fox is on the town-o, town-o, town-o,
      John, John, the grey goose is gone
      And the fox is on the town-o!

    • Bloix

      “And the little ones chewed on the bones-o.”
      A gruesome story you got there.
      But I always thought of the song as Appalachian. I suppose it could be New England/New York/Pennsylvania just as easily as Virginia/Kentucky/Tennessee. Google tells me that the illustrator, Peter Spier, was born in Amsterdam, came to the US at the age of 23, and lived on Long Island, so perhaps he was thinking of a Northern town, but the song itself doesn’t tell us where it might be.

      • NicknotNick

        The other pictures make it pretty clear, I think, that it’s a New England town — there’s a covered bridge, etc. But, now that you mention it, I’m not sure, I just always assumed it was New England, it looks like how I think Vermont and Connecticut looked.

      • bender

        I always assumed the song was English.

        • NicknotNick

          Middle English:

          It fell ageyns the next nyght
          the fox yede to with all his myghte,
          with-outen cole or candelight,
          whan that he cam vnto the toowne.

          Whan he cam all in the yarde,
          soore te geys wer ill a-ferde.
          “I shall macke some of yow lerde,
          or that I goo from the toowne!”

          Whan he cam all in the croofte,
          there he stalkyd wundirfull soofte;
          “For here haue I be frayed full ofte
          whan that I haue come to toowne.”

          He hente a goose all be the heye;
          fast the goose began to creye;
          oowte yede men as they myght heye
          and seyde, “Fals fox, ley it doowne!”

          “Nay,” he saide, “soo mot I the—
          sche shall go unto the wode with me,
          sche and I vnther a tre,
          e-mange the beryis browne.

          I haue a wyf, and sche lyethe seke;
          many smale whelppis sche haue to eke;
          many bonys they must pike
          will they ley adowne!”

        • BigHank53

          It is, and it dates to the 1500s, apparently.

    • Solar System Wolf
  • RGC

    Our beautiful statues and monuments? As the proud descendant of a Maine volunteer, I appreciate the sentiments that statues of Union soldiers represent, but I have to admit their aesthetic value is secondary. Not every artist who sculpted Civil War monuments was an Augustus Saint-Gaudens.

    • bender

      As I mentioned in another thread, two of the statues taken down in Baltimore last night reminded me of Saint-Gaudens (Confederate Women and Confederate Soldiers and Sailors).

  • LibreV

    Trump should be awarded an honorary doctorate from the Dunning-kruger School of Aesthetics. His next move will involve gilding Confederate statues at public expense.

    • NicknotNick

      I think ‘at public expense’ can be taken for granted, it describes most if not all of Trump’s lifetime of activities.

  • Crusty

    Philadelphia has that rocky statue. Just sayin’

    • N__B

      Bullwinkle neglected, yet again.

    • The Rizzo statue (and mural) are way more objectionable.

  • NicknotNick

    You know, I’ve been considering this issue very deeply, and I think that I would support retaining Confederate monuments on the stipulation that they be combined with themes from H.P. Lovecraft (who was also a huge racist, so there won’t be any cognitive dissonance in whose heritage is being celebrated). Robert E. Lee could be shown in the embrace of Yog Soggoth (perhaps being impregnated by him), Stonewall Jackson leading his barely-anthropoid troops from the mouth of a warped and inhuman dimension, etc.

  • msdc

    Best. Post title. Ever.

  • Brownian

    Put a statue of Obama in front of those Oval Office windows. Give 45 some of that commemorative history he loves so much.

  • N__B

    Now that people are publicly making the connection between DJT’s newfound love of confederate sculptures and his demolition of real art at Bonwit Teller for the construction of DJT Tower, I assume his angry tweeting about how ugly the Teller friezes were is coming soon.

  • Crusty

    The Dunning-Kruger school is Wharton, which should be so proud of its most famous graduate.

  • N__B
    • Sessions will be around in a few minutes to round them all up and take them away.

      • N__B

        Thanks.

  • I’ve said before that Donald Trump is the King of Dimwits and Trolls. It is now obvious that is a title that he gleefully embraces.

  • Unemployed_Northeastern

    Anyone else disappointed at the relative lack of Bruce Lee comments given the picture?

    • N__B

      What’s there to say? Every Marvel movie, there’s his cameo.

    • Crusty

      Could the Bruce lee statue beat up the rocky statue?

      • mattmcirvin

        The Rocky statue would disintegrate before it knew what was happening.

      • Unemployed_Northeastern

        Easily.

        Fun fact: there is a Bruce Lee statue in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina that was put up as a sign of solidarity and unity in the face of ethnic division.

        • Bootsie

          Bosnia also has a gold Bill Clinton statue.

    • rea

      There were a number of Generals named Lee–Robert E., of course, but also Fitzhugh, Rooney, George W. C., Stephen D. and Bruce.

      • Leigh Grossman

        Two of those were sons of Robert E. Lee.

        • rea

          Fitzhugh was later a US general in the War against Spain, reversing his father’s career

  • “You can’t change history, but you can learn from it”

    Bullshit. While you can’t change what actually happened, you sure can change the stories you choose to tell about what happened, which is what history is in practice. The role statues play in this is that they honour historical figures. Deciding that these figures aren’t worthy of the honour after all is “changing history” in this sense, and I say it’s all for the better. Sometimes you need to be willing to change history to learn from it.

    • so-in-so

      True, but not how most people (well, Trump’s people) see history. Why should there be NEW history books about events long past? History can't change, so the FIRST guy to write it up will always be the best...

  • JDM

    American History test question no. 1: George Washington and Robert E. Lee were both generals. What country did each fight for and what country against?

    • markregan

      Actually,
      George Washington fought for the British Empire and the colonies, and fought against France and then the British Empire.
      Robert E. Lee fought for the US and then for the Confederacy, and fought against the Mexicans and then the US.

      • JDM

        So I assume we can agree that the one who didn’t fight against the USA is rather different than the one who did?

  • MikeG

    the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks

    Says the builder of some of the ugliest, gaudiest and most garish buildings in the country.

  • No advisors. He reads comments from conservative sites then repeats them

  • Whirrlaway

    On comparing Lee vs. Washington, not an expert but I note that England had began emancipation by the 1770’s, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somerset_v_Stewart … limited but non-trivial), so presumably the average plantation owner would have seen the writing on the walls. Was this his motivation in rebelling against duly constituted legitimate legal authority? To preserve his estates and those of his wife, Martha? Asking for a friend.

    Of course Washington’s treason turned out better than average, but don’t know why you wouldn’t assume Lee capable of acting similarly in victory. They were both Southern Gentlemen, in the good and bad implications of the term.

    • NicknotNick

      “Because someone else unrelated and unconnected did something, why don’t you assume Robert E. Lee was a good man?”

      • Whirrlaway

        Lee can be as evil as you like, does that make Washington somehow a better type of Treasonous Defender of Slavery?

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