I’m reading a biography of Kim Jong Un who Donald Trump seems to admire. One thing that fascinates me about North Korea is how an army of government apparatchiks use language (and song and art and media) to create as comprehensive a cult of personality as the world has ever seen.
What intrigues me seemingly inspires The Republican Congress and Donald Trump.
In an article titled “How the Kim cult of personality came to dominate North Korean life,” Fyodor Tertitskiy shares the most extensive title he has ever seen published in the Rodong Sinmun in December 1972, when Kim Jong Un’s grandfather was elected president for the first time. In one sentence, he was referred to as:
“Peerless patriot, National Hero, Ever-Victorious Iron-Willed Brilliant Commander, One of the Outstanding leaders of the International Communist and Workers’ Movement, the Great Leader of our Party and of our people respected comrade Kim Il Sung, who founded the Marxist-Leninist Party – the Workers’ Party of Korea and the true state of workers and farmers – the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and steadily leads our Revolution on the way of victories.”
How long until Trump’s Republican backers “borrow” from the North Koreans minus the references to communism and begin addressing him along these lines:
“Dear Leader Trump Peerless patriot, National Hero, Ever-Victorious Iron-Willed Brilliant Commander, One of the Outstanding leaders of the World, the Great Leader of the United States and our people who resuscitated the Republican Party, made America Great Again, and leads our Revolution on the way of victories.”
Would that earn a retweet or is it insufficiently flattering?
1. What swimming in my underwear taught me about Donald Trump and getting away with it. Funny, but rest assured Briggs YMCA patrons, I do not condone swimming in one’s underwear. That’s the reason the swimming backpack has a second just in case suit and pair of underwear. More spontaneous peeps should adhere to a strict “forget your suit, forget the workout” life philosophy. (Thanks DB.)
2. Why shade is a mark of privilege in Los Angeles. My conservative friends will say this is ridiculous. As someone far too experienced with skin cancer, I respectfully beg to differ.
“As the world warms, the issue of shade has drawn more attention from urban planners. The writer Sam Bloch, in an article in Places Journal this year that focused on Los Angeles, called shade ‘an index of inequality, a requirement for public health, and a mandate for urban planners and designers.'”
3. I learned to play the piano without a piano. Passion personified.
“I was 11 years old when I asked my mum for piano lessons, in 2010. We were in the fallout of the recession and she’d recently been made redundant. She said a polite ‘no’.
That didn’t deter me. I Googled the dimensions of a keyboard, drew the keys on to a piece of paper and stuck it on my desk. I would click notes on an online keyboard and “play” them back on my paper one – keeping the sound they made on the computer in my head. After a while I could hear the notes in my head while pressing the keys on the paper. I spent six months playing scales and chord sequences without touching a real piano. Once my mum saw it wasn’t a fad, she borrowed some money from family and friends, and bought me 10 lessons.”
“There’s my husband in the corner, who’s married to someone always wondering just how solid the ground beneath her feet is, and who always reassures her that it’s good. There’s my ring on my finger. There are all my friends, rising up from the ashes of their old marriages and seeking out new bodies to bond to. What is more romantic—more optimistic and life-affirming—than the fact that we know how all of this might end and still we continue to try?”
5. It’s that time of the year when you start wondering what to get your favorite blogger for Christmas.
Navy SEAL accused of the following:
“SEALs from the platoon that Chief Gallagher led during a deployment to Mosul, Iraq, in 2017 told military officials that they saw the chief fatally stab a wounded ISIS captive. Navy investigators said while several SEALs were providing medical aid to the fighter, Chief Gallagher took out a handmade hunting knife and stabbed the captive, a teenager, several times in the neck and torso.
The chief was also accused of firing a sniper rifle at civilians, striking a girl wearing a flower-print hijab as she walked along a riverbank and an old man carrying a water jug. Several SEALs broke the group’s code of silence and testified against Chief Gallagher in a military trial.”
Furthermore, Gallagher threatened to kill any Navy SEALs that reported him.
Imagine the Oval Office conversation.
Navy secretary: “Mr. President, he struck a girl wearing a flower-print hijab as she walked along a riverbank.”
Trump: “That’s okay.”
Navy secretary: “Mr. President, he struck an old man carrying a water jug.”
Trump: “So what.”
Navy secretary: “Mr. President, he fired his sniper rifle at civilians.”
Trump: “That’s okay.”
Navy secretary: “Mr. President, he took out a handmade hunting knife and stabbed the captive, a teenager, several times in the neck and torso killing him.”
Trump: “So what.”
Navy secretary: “Mr. President, he threatened to kill any SEALs that reported him.”
Trump: “That’s okay.”
The fallout from the New York Times:
“The Navy demoted him, but Mr. Trump earlier this month reversed that demotion, angering Navy officials, including the commander of the SEALs, Rear Admiral Collin Green, and Mr. Spencer, the Navy secretary.
In a letter acknowledging his termination on Sunday, Mr. Spencer said that he regarded good order and discipline throughout the Navy’s ranks to be ‘deadly serious business.’
‘The lives of our sailors, Marines and civilian teammates quite literally depend on the professional execution of our many missions, and they also depend on the ongoing faith and support of the people we serve and the allies we serve alongside,’ the letter said.
He added: ‘Unfortunately, it has become apparent that in this respect, I no longer share the same understanding with the commander in chief who appointed me, in regards to the key principle of good order and discipline. I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took.'”
Trump isn’t “pro-military”, he’s anti-human dignity. He’s shown he doesn’t care about the sanctity of human life, let alone “good order and discipline”. The same is true for those blindly following him.
Moderate Republicans (not sure I should have used the plural) are using an “inappropriate, but not impeachable” line of defense to sleep at night. But what about the True Believers? Here’s how they think:
The ends always justify the means.
Is the (dis)United States a meritocracy? Reasonable people can disagree, but put Fiona Hill down as a definitive “yes”.
“Years later, I can say with confidence that this country has offered for me opportunities I never would have had in England. I grew up poor with a very distinctive working-class accent. In England in the 1980s and 1990s, this would have impeded my professional advancement. This background has never set me back in America.”