Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Some in the GOP Have Character and Integrity, Unlike Trump...

It needed to be said, by a member of the GOP. So, Flake said it. Not that tRump will listen to Flake, he makes too much sense. More likely the presnit will lash out Flake, again.

UPDATED - Relevant and related, from The New Yorker.

I sometimes joke that growing up in the Soviet Union prepared me for working as a journalist in the United States. That joke has become less funny now that the President is positioning applause as a central issue of American politics. On Monday, before a crowd at a manufacturing plant, in Ohio, Donald Trump criticized Democrats who did not applaud during his first State of the Union address. “They were like death and un-American,” he said. “Un-American. Somebody said treasonous. I mean, yeah, I guess, why not? Can we call that treason? Why not?”

In Soviet politics, too, applause was a central issue—sometimes, it seemed, the central issue. Whenever the Politburo or the Central Committee of the Supreme Soviet or the Party Congress had a session, the newspaper would fill with endless metres of incomprehensible gray copy, in which the only lines that made any sense were the parenthetical clauses describing applause. The Soviet papers had more ways to describe applause than they had for any other event in society or nature.


Naturally, this emphasis on clapping led to a kind of applause inflation. Here, for example, is a two-and-a-half-minute clip of Joseph Stalin giving a speech in 1937, at the height of the Great Terror. Stalin is speaking at a campaign event. (Russia had fake elections then, too.) You can observe the progression from “applause,” which lasts five seconds, to “enthusiastic applause,” which lasts fifteen seconds, to “enthusiastic applause transitioning to an ovation,” which lasts twenty-two seconds, to a finale that consists of three short bursts of “applause” before turning into “enthusiastic applause transitioning to an ovation. Everybody stands.”

Over the next fifteen years, it appears, applause became largely panic-driven; contemporary accounts show that people feared that the first person to stop clapping would be the first to be hauled off to jail. Failure to applaud could certainly be considered treason.

In Stalin’s Soviet Union, failure to applaud
the leader could be considered treason.

Photograph by Bettmann / Getty



  1. Well, Trump is just echoing his heroes, Putin, Stalin, and the other authoritarian strongmen. A little over one year into the Trump regime and we learn that not clapping for a speech is treasonous and unAmerican, and that the president now wants military parades to make him feel potent. The POTUS also had to pay off a porn star from talking about their sexual encounters while the president's 3rd wife was giving birth to his 5th child. And we have the unequaled distinction of a president who calls countries with brown and black people "shitholes." All of this while Trump is being investigated for obstruction of justice and possible conspiracy to steal an election with the help of a foreign government.

    And the 30 percenters are just fine with that.

  2. Don't forget his over-the-top admiration of Andrew Jackson, Shaw.

    In my view one of the worst Presidents ever. A man who delighted in cruelty and genocide... Against Americans, no less!, and along the way he invested the presidency with Imperial trappings and too much power.

  3. Some leaders have a way of bringing out the best in the people and nation they lead. Others, thankfully a small number, bring out the worst.

    Today we are tasked with going through a period such as the latter. Hopefully when we complere passage we will come out a stronger nation having learned from the experience. Let's the ordeal ends in three years.


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