My grandfather was an American citizen. We often drove down to Massachusetts to visit with him and his wife. We loved our visits.
There were many conversations. My father told me several times that, as a country, the United States was the best and the worst.
Well, Americans had the best president, whom they nearly crucified, and now they may well have the worst president, who may crucify Americans.
Mr Trump is embroiled in some 75 lawsuits which means that he may not be able to do much for Americans after his inauguration. He was threatening to sue the eleven women who told he had assaulted them. It is at that point that Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey reopened the investigation into Mrs Clinton’s emails, which is how Mr Trump was absolved.
We no longer heard that President-elect Donald Trump had assaulted at least eleven women: amnesia!
Mr Trump has since threatened to sue Mr Comey, but I doubt that it had anything to do with Mrs Clinton’s emails. He threatens everyone with a lawsuit. In fact, Mr Trump had also planned to sue Hillary Clinton. He changed his mind, but may change it again.
According to USA Today, during the last 30 years Mr Trump was involved in 3,500 lawsuits. It is difficult to understand how and why he was elected to the presidency of the United States. He’ll be picking fights.
President Obama will be missed. His competence, engaging personality, impeccable manners earned him the admiration and respect of the world. There were very few issues Barack Obama could not handle. The citizens of other countries felt safe and Americans were in good hands. He is attempting to ensure a safe transition.
Fidel Castro is Dead
How will the new tenant perform? Whom will he sue? Fidel Castro is dead. He made himself, metaphorically speaking, an absolute monarch and, reportedly, jailed and perhaps executed many Cubans. Yet he was a hero to other Cubans. At any rate, the time has come for the embargo to be lifted, but President-elect Donald J. Trump builds walls, not bridges.
A tragedy has befallen the United States and the world.
I have not written for a few days. Life took over…
In literature, miserliness is not necessarily associated with considerable wealth. Misers are persons who feel comforted by their money and may enter into a fit of rage or collapse when they lose money. For Molière‘s Harpagon, a literary miser featured inL’Avare, money is as dear to him as his very life. In other words, for Harpagon, Molière’s miser, money is no less than Shylock’s “pound of flesh.” In comedies, miserliness may be an obstacle to a young couple’s mariage.
Molière’s Harpagon is a fine example of literary miserliness, but as a blocking character he is not boastful, which is the case with L’École des femmes‘ Arnolphe, who is certain he will never be un cocu, cuckolded, and Tartuffe’s Orgon, who can be tyrannical with impunity. Tartuffe takes sin out of sinning. Pantalone is the miser of the commedia dell’arteand he is also boastful, which leads to ridicule, the worst of fate.
L’Avare: in a Nutshell
Harpagon: the miser
Anselme: an older gentleman
Élise and Cléante: Harpagon’s children
Mariane and Valère: Anselme’s children
But let us return to Molière’s Miser. Harpagon is a blocking character and greed is the flaw that jeopardizes the marriage of the young lovers: two couples. Molière’s miser does not want to give a dowry to his daughter Élise. He wishes to marry her to a person who will take her without the usual dowry. Anselme, a fine gentleman, will marry her “sans dot” (without a dowry). Very few men married women who did not bring a dowry. As for his son, Cléante, Harpagon would like him to marry a widow. In 17th-century France, widows had a freedom and privileges daughters or married women did not enjoy. Widows had money, their dowry, but also wealth inherited from their deceased spouse. They could choose their second spouse or choose not to marry. A widow would be a perfect spouse for Cléante. She would look after him.
Élise’s friend Valère hopes to find his father, in which case he would be rich. A kind destiny may save him. Anselme is Valère’s father. In theory, his father drowned. As for Cléante, he hopes to be able to live elsewhere with Mariane, whom his father wants to marry. It will turn out that Mariane is Anselme‘s daughter who will ensure she marries Cléante. In other words, there an anagnorisis (a discovery)which will save both Valère (Élise) and Mariane (Cléante). Anselme is the father Valère is looking for and Mariane’s father. As for Harpagon, he will think he has lost a buried treasure, but it is concealed, not stolen. Cléante’s valet La Flèche has found it and confiscated it. When Harpagon is reunited with his treasure, a cassette reminiscent of Orgon’s cassette (Tartuffe), he is delighted and abandons plans to marry.
In short, when it is proven that Anselme is Valère’s father as well as Mariane’s father and Mariane’s mother’s husband, the young couples may marry. There is sufficient money. Anselme will pay for all expenses. Besides, he has found his wife, whom he thought had drowned.
We will continue and perhaps finish looking at L’Avare in my next post.
Shylock (The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare) & predecessors
Séraphin (Un Homme et son péché by Claude-Henri Grignon)
Gesta Romanorum, Il Peconore, The Orator
My last post was about Molière’s Miser‘s ancestry. Molière’s L’Avare (The Miser) (1658) is rooted in Roman playwright Plautus’ Aululuria, The Pot of Gold. In the commedia dell’arte, Pantalone is the miser. However in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice(1596-1599), we meet Shylock, the Jewish money-lender and miser. Among works preceding Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice and Molière’s L’Avare, we should also mention Il Peconore,a collection of short stories by Giovanni Fiorentino (1378), published in Milan in 1558, and the Gesta Romanorum, a collection of Latin tales dating back to the end of the 13th century and the beginning of the 14th century, one of which, the three caskets, inspired Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice and The Orator, a tale or novella by Alexandre Sylvane, published in 1558 by Lodovico Domenichi and published in an English translation by William Painter, in 1596. (See Sources, The Merchant of Venice, Wikipedia.)
Literature has other misers closer to us. Scrooge, the protagonist of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol(1843) is a miser.The miser also inhabits fables. “A Beirut Maronite(a Roman Catholic following the Syrio-Antiochene rite, widespread in the area),Mārūn al Naqqāsh(died 1855), who knew French and Italian as well as Arabic and Turkish, adaptedMolière’sL’Avare(“The Miser”) and presented it on a makeshift stage in Beirut in 1848.”
In 1933, Claude Henri Grignon (8 July 1894 – 3 April 1976), a French-Canadian writer, journalist and politician, wrote a novel entitled Un Homme et son péché. The novel grew into one of the most popular Quebec radio serials, Un Homme et son péché. Later, it became a very successful television serial, entitled Les Belles Histoires des pays d’en haut (en haut is north). The musical theme of the television serial was a movement from Glazunov‘s Seasons: Autumn, Petit Adagio. Claude-Henri Grignon’s UnHomme et son péché also inspired a film: Séraphin: Heart of Stone,2002.
Jessica, TheMerchant of Venice by Luke Fildes
Literature has types, prototypes and archetypes (see Jungian archetypes, Wikipedia). These figures are universal and describe, in an intensive way, very real persons. One of Honoré de Balzac‘s Comédie humaine characters is Eugénie Grandet, a miser. The literary depiction of characters, or types, is rooted in Theophrastus (c. 371 – c. 287 BCE) who inspired La Bruyère (16 August 1645 – 11 May 1696), the author of Les Caractères (1688). Playwrights and writers, fabulists, in particular, have often depicted misers, occurrences of intertextuality. Misers usually meet with a sorry end, but Molière’s L’Avare doesn’t.
Below is an excerpt from an article I posted in 2014, when our topic was the commedia dell’arte. Pantalone is a mask, a stock character. His name may differ from play to play, but his function, or role, does not change. He is the blocking character, or the obstacle to the marriage of comedy’s young lovers, the innamorati of the commedia dell’arte and, in the case of Pantalone, money prevents the marriages that comedy favours. He is an ancestor to Molière’s Harpagon, L’Avare‘s protagonist.
The portrait I am featuring above is by Maurice Sand, whose full name is Jean-François-Maurice-Arnauld, Baron Dudevant (1823–1889). He was the son of writer George Sand (1 July 1804 – 8 June 1876), who separated from her husband, but brought up her son Maurice and daughter Solange (1828–1899). She may be the most colourful woman in 19th-century France and a prolific author. We will discuss George Sand in a future post.
Molière (15 January 1622 – 17 February 1673) was influenced by the comédie italienne and, in particular, by the commedia dell’arte. He once shared a theatre with the Italians. Moreover, Molière’s first troupe, L’Illustre Théâtre, went bankrupt in 1645, the year it was founded. Molière spent 24 hours in jail and then left Paris and toured the provinces until 1658. We do not have the text of the many comedies he performed during the 13 years he lived outside Paris, but he may have posted a canevas, the plot, and members of his troupe improvised their role as did the actors of the commedia dell’arte.
Pantalone is a heavy father or an alazôn, the blocking character of comedy, or the person who opposes the young lovers’ marriage. As for Pantalone, he is a ‘needy’ blocking character or Pantalon de’ Bisognosi, Italian for ‘Pantalone of the Needy.’ His name derives from San Pantaleone, or Saint Pantaleon. (See Pantalone and Saint Pantaleon, Wikipedia.) As an alazôn, Pantalone is the opponent of the victorious eirôn (as in the word ironic), who helps bring about the marriage of the young lovers. The role, or function, of the alazôn may be played by several characters such as a braggart soldier, a miles gloriosus, or a pedant, il dottore. Roman playwright Plautus (c. 254–184 BCE) wrote the Aulularia, featuring the miser Euclio.
Pantalone is an ancestor to Molière’s L’Avare(The Miser).L’Avare‘s other ancestor is Euclio, the miser featured in Aulularia, the pot of gold, a play by Roman dramatist Plautus. Molière’s Miser wasfirst performed on 9 September 1668, in the theatre of the Palais-Royal, lethéâtre du Palais-Royal. Harpagon is a descendant of Plautus’ Euclio (see L’Avare, Wikipedia).
My article on Molière’s L’Avare(The Miser) is ready for posting, but it is too long. This post will help me make it shorter. L’Avare originates in Greek Old Comedy and Greek New Comedy (Menander c. 342/41 – c. 290 BCE). He may be a type in the Latin Fabula palliata and Atellan Farce, but Molière’s best known-sources are Plautus‘ Aulularia and the commedia dell’arte. Money, or lack thereof, is a common obstacle to the marriage of comedy’s young lovers. As we will see in a future post, Molière’s L’Avare features two young couples and two father figures.
You may notice that a large number of individuals can be associated with Plautus’ Miles gloriosusand the commedia dell’arte‘s Pantalone, il Dottore and il Capitano. Comedies, farces in particular, often feature a boastful character. But Molière’s L’Avare is the depiction of a miser, a less prominent figure than boastful characters.
Pantalone is dressed as Pantalone and his costume is part of his mask. It is always the same and he looks like a hunchback. However, he is not Victor Hugo‘s Hunchback of Notre-Dame(1831). He is a hunchback because of the bag of money he conceals. Pantalone is lustful, jealous, deceitful, selfish, lazy, full of himself (“Il Magnifico”), but, above all, greedy.
Pantalone is the metaphorical representation of money in the commedia world. (See Pantalone, Wikipedia.)
Pantalone is “di bisognosi” (dans le besoin, the needy).
Other than his hunch, Pantalone wears a red cap, red tights, yellow Turkishslippers, a short vest and a long coat. (continue reading)
President-elect Donald Trump has stated that American elections were rigged. Although there could be truth to this statement, it is a generalization.
Yet Mrs Hillary Clinton suspects that the investigation into her emails jeopardized her bid for the Presidency of the United States. I believe it did. I have read that she had been somewhat careless in handling classified material, but the FBI had not found criminal wrongdoing at the close of its first investigation. However, reopening the investigation suggested wrongdoing. Nothing more was needed to eliminate Mrs Clinton and open the way for a tragedy.
Therefore, one could say that there was obstructionism, but obstructionism of a kind that cannot be pinned down entirely on people at the top, such as FBI Director James Comey. The court of public opinion is ruthless. It undid Mrs Clinton. Unless there were errors in calculating the votes, which does not seem to be the case, Americans voted Donald Trump into office. And he was elected by a populist United States, not its élite, which is somewhat ironical. As a billionaire, Donald Trump is probably one of the wealthy Americans who hide their tax dollar, which tends to put him on the very same level as the establishment, or part of the establishment.
It could also be that Americans wanted a change. Mrs Clinton had been in Washington for many years, which was both an advantage and a disadvantage. She was the experienced nominee, but she had already spent two terms in office as the wife of former President Bill Clinton. In the eyes of ordinary and not-so ordinary people, a husband and wife are one and the same person.
Consequently, contrary to Pascal’s Wager, a large number of Americans chose “infinite” losses rather than “limited” losses. One may argue that four years is a finite period of time. Mathematically, four years are four years. However, there are other yardsticks. The events of these four years may be defining and irreversible. As President Obama pointed out, if a person loses self-control twittering, will it be safe to trust him with the nuclear code? The results would be limitless.
In short, taking a risk, i.e. voting for Mr Trump, was a perilous choice and, therefore, not a choice. He is the laughing-stock of the world.
There will be consequences. On 8 November 2016, the credibility the United States had gained during Barack Obama’s presidency was shaken by an amnesia-stricken and reckless American electorate. During his term as President of the United States, Mr Trump is likely to be what he was before his election: sexist, racist, lewd, brash, narcissistic, xenophobic, an unbearable misogynist, etc.
As well, Donald Trump is a nativist and his natives are white Americans. We know that he is married to Melania who is not an American by birth but is somewhat trans-cultural given her former occupation as supermodel. She was one of the tall and very slender ladies flying from runway to runway. They “appear,” as does Donald Trump.
The fact remains that when and if Donald Trump attends summits, the American discourse will no longer have the logic and fluency it did under President Obama. But, as President, Mr Trump may not attend summits.
Had Mr Trump not been elected, he might have appointed himself President of the United States and would have been a usurper. Mrs Clinton was not a perfect candidate. It appears she had some baggage, but she was more experienced which made her a safer choice. She was not likely to deprive Americans of social programmes. These programmes are not charity. Americans pay for them through their tax dollar.
Consider that, theoretically, it is now “open season” on Mexicans, Muslims, people of colour, persons of a different sexual orientation or women, and various dissenters. Mr Trump’s presidency promises to be authoritarian.
He is in favour of the death-penalty and he will penalize women whose life was threatened by a pregnancy that had to be terminated. I hope he will seek the advice of doctors in this respect. Doctors cannot let a woman die because she is pregnant. Doctors performing abortions will also be penalized. It is as though Mr Trump did not know that abortions and birth-control are different issues. When abortions were decriminalized in Canada, doctors could, at long last, intervene if the health and life of their patient was at risk. Their only option had been a hysterectomy. Is a woman’s life so unimportant that she should be left to suffer and die if a pregnancy threatens her health and her life ?
The United States should be as Abraham Lincoln defined it in the Gettysburg Address: a democracy. Mr Trump, whose bid for the presidency was endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan, militant racists, is a clear and present danger. He may also allow the bearing of guns in mid-town Manhattan.
Let us look at the bigger picture. The European Union has been weakened because of Brexit and with Donald Trump steering the USA, the leader of France’s Front National, nativist Marine Le Pen, feels emboldened. Under President-elect Donald J. Trump, I believe Russia stands to become a greater power, perhaps the main power. By electing Mr Trump to the presidency of the United States, Americans may have elevated Russian President Vladimir Putin to a more commanding position. Americans may, in fact, have changed the balance of power.
Mr Trump is the President-elect and this is his honeymoon period. Moreover, hope springs eternal… We have to think that all will be well. It is a matter of survival, but the campaign tends to indicate that all is not and will not be well. I fear the aftermath of Mr Trump’s election to the presidency. It may lead to purges in the United States and a degree of erosion in Canada’s social programmes, if he slashes into Obamacare.
I opposed Mr Trump’s election for reasons which I believe were very good reasons. I will continue to oppose him if I see danger and abuse. But he may surprise us. He’s no longer a nominee and he is not a usurper. He is the President-elect of the United States. We’ll have to wait and see.
Love to everyone♥
“Beautiful Dreamer” Stephen Foster
Jonathan Guyot Smith & Stephen Sasloe
Les Grenouilles qui demandent un roi is the fourth fable in book three of La Fontaine’s first volume of Fables (1668) (IX.2). His second volume, containing five books, was published in 1678. The twelfth book was published in 1694, shortly before his death. The same fable is also one of Æsop’s Fables, classified as number 44 in the Perry Index(the classification of Æsop’s Fables).
Les Grenouilles qui demandent un roi tells the story of “silly and frightened” frogs who live in a democracy, but, tired of democracy, ask Jupiter for a monarch. Jupiter acquiesces. From the skies descends a peace-loving king who makes a huge noise as he lands. This king is often represented as a beam or log.
Frightened by the din, the frogs go into hiding, only to return slowly to look at the king. The peace-loving king is a beam, which is not very kingly. The frogs start jumping on the beam-king, which the king tolerates as Jupiter grumbles. The beam-king is a kindly monarch, but he does not move.
Dissatisfied, the people go back to Jupiter to ask for a king who moves. So Jupiter sends them a crane that starts eating them up. In Æsop’s telling of this fable, the crane is a stork.
In Phædrus‘ Latin translation of this fable by Æsop, a second king is sent to the frogs. It is a water snake. There is no second king in La Fontaine.
Our silly frogs complain, and Jupiter tells them, first, that they should have kept their government (a democracy), second, that they should have been pleased to be sent a gentleman-king, the beam-king, and, third, to settle for the king they have for fear of encountering a worse one, La Fontaine’s celui-ci (this one) pointing to the voracious crane.
In Æsop, as noted above, the crane is a stork.
KING LOG & KING STORK
The Frogs prayed to Jove for a king:
“Not a log, but a livelier thing.”
Jove sent them a Stork,
Who did royal work,
For he gobbled them up, did their king.
One of the morals of this fable is the eternal “Leave well enough alone,” but we are also reading a “beware-of-your-wishes-as-they-may-come-true” narrative. The moral of this fable is also a defense of the status quo, the state of affairs.
If all is well, a change is not necessary. If forewarned of possible dangers, a change may be dangerous. Knowing there are very real dangers, one does not jump into uncertainty. In a serious election, one cannot say “I’ll give him or her a chance.” Acting in such a manner reflects a somewhat flawed understanding of democracy. As I wrote above, La Fontaine calls the frogs who are not pleased with the good king log, a beam: “gent fort sotte et fort peureuse,” very silly and very frightened people.
We do not know the exact origin of this fable. Æsop retold fables told in the Near East, Middle East and India, including Buddhist tales. The most likely source is the Sanskrit Panchatantraby Vishnu Sharma, written in the 3rd century BCE. The storyteller is Pilpay or Bidpai. Bidpai’s stories were translated by Persian scholar Ibn al-Muqaffa as Kalīlah wa Dimnah. Moreover, Æsopic fables translated into Latin, by Phædrus, or Greek, by Babrius, were retold several times after Phædrus and Babrius. There are modern references to the Frogs Who Desired a King or King Log & King Stork. Under The Frogs Who desired a King, Wikipedia quotes New Zealand author James K. Baxter who wrote:
A democratic people have elected
King Log, King Stork, King Log, King Stork again.
Because I like a wide and silent pond
I voted Log. That party was defeated.
Mrs Clinton will not forget, at least not easily, but she was very composed while delivering her concession speech. No one expected Mr Trump to be elected to the presidency.
The Letter from 370 Economists
Many of us did our best to prevent a Trump victory, but democracy is flawed. It allows everyone to vote, including those who are incapable of making an informed decision. They are easily led by slogans. Democracy also allows anyone to run for office and, in the United States, the educated, including Nobel Prize winners, are mere ‘academics.’ With Donald Trump at the wheel, an economic collapse can be expected, which is frightening. One listens.
No one listened. Mr Trump is a liar, a racist, a bigot, a bully, a misogynist, and a possible rapist. He is incapable of self-control, profoundly disturbed by Narcissistic Personality Disorder, but he has been voted into the office of President of the United States, despite serious warnings on the part of 370 economists who called him a “dangerous, destructive choice.” A know-it-all America dismissed warnings from the ablest and wisest. Mr Trump did not seek the presidency so he could serve his country. No, not even remotely. He sought the presidency to feed his ego, to serve himself.
Donald Trump campaigns in Warren, Mich., on Monday. Adviser Peter Navarro reacted to the letter Tuesday, saying in part, “You shouldn’t believe economists or Nobel Prize winners on trade.”PHOTO: JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
How this happened is somewhat difficult to explain. It could be an example of the American psyche. (See Glenn Beck, below.)
However, the following is a possible scenario. When FBI Director James Comey reopened the investigation into Mrs Clinton’s emails, he placed her under a cloud of suspicion. Her emails had been investigated, but once wasn’t enough, he reopened the investigation knowing he would find no criminal wrongdoing on the part of Mrs Clinton. Investigating again was a witch hunt and I believe it jeopardized Mrs Clinton’s bid for the presidency of the United States.
The timing points to a set up, un coup monté. However, the ‘bad guy’ was Mr Trump, a sexual predator who was threatening to sue the women who confirmed that they had been assaulted by him. The ‘bad guy’ was not Mrs Clinton who used the wrong server, whatever that is, to send emails. She was cleared for the second time on Sunday 6 November, which was much too late for her to recover. Therefore, on Tuesday 8 November 2016, Americans, who customarily suspect the establishment, shot themselves in the foot and transformed the election into a small, but perhaps not so small, coup d’état.
In fact, where is that greater America? I remember years of relative prosperity. For instance, when the interstate was built, President Dwight D. Eisenhower‘s initiative, Americans who could afford a car moved to a bungalow in suburbia. Many of these bungalows were cantilevered. There was a rumpus room, a recreation room, under the bedrooms. That is where couch potatoes slouched watching television. Cars could also take them to drive-in movie theatres where they slouched. In fact, food could be brought to a car and a large percentage of the slouching population got fatter. Smaller potatoes grew into larger potatoes as cars polluted the air. Was this a greater America? It would not be possible for 370 economists, a large number, to instill doubt into the mind of couch potatoes. Couch potatoes vegetate.
About two weeks ago, Mr Trump stated that he was then quite certain President Obama was born in the United States, but that he had yet to be persuaded that President Obama was a Christian, not with a name like Barack Hussein Obama. This is an obsession, une idée fixe.
Hillary Clinton greeted supporters after delivering her concession speech on Wednesday in Manhattan. “This is painful, and it will be for a long time,” Mrs. Clinton said.Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times
What next? If 370 economists called Mr Trump a “dangerous, destructive choice,” I have reason to fear. It’s a tragedy.
Canada and the United States are neighbours. We share the Great Lakes and many of us also share ancestry. At any rate, we welcomed draft dodgers and will welcome Americans who may think moving to Canada is an option. But how does one escape Donald Trump?
This, I believe, was my last post on the American presidency.
Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia on Sunday. The F.B.I. informed Congress on Sunday that it has not changed its conclusions about Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state. (The New York Times)
“WASHINGTON — The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, told Congress on Sunday that he had seen no evidence in a recently discovered trove of emails to change his conclusion that Hillary Clinton should face no charges over her handling of classified information.” (The New York Times)
What is particularly shocking in this story is not only the timing of Mr Comey’s decision to re-open the investigation into Mrs Clinton’s emails, but the fact that Mr Comey knew that re-opening the investigation would not show criminal wrongdoing on the part of Mrs Clinton, but would give Mr Trump an advantage.
It was obstructionism, i.e. putting obstacles in the way of a nominee, and it was political. Mr Comey gave Mr Trump an advantage. Mr Comey all but removed Mrs Clinton’s bid to the presidency of the United States by suggesting partisanship.
It is for the American electorate to choose the President of the United States, not the FBI. By announcing it was re-opening its investigation regarding emails sent from her personal computer, the FBI put Mrs Clinton under a cloud of suspicion. She is a strong woman, but the stress the announcement generated was harmful.
Donald Trump is a “national disgrace,”
Donald Trump is an “international pariah,”
Mrs Clinton is an “experienced” politician.
Retired General and former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who is not an admirer of Mrs Clinton, has stated that he would vote for her because she is an experienced politician. He has called Donald Trump a “national disgrace” and “international pariah.” If Donald Trump is a “national disgrace” and an “international pariah,” voting for him makes no sense. One may as well jump off a plane without a parachute.
I share Mr Powell’s view. Mrs Clinton is a veteran politician and a former Secretary of State. She is “by leaps and bounds” the more qualified nominee. As for Donald Trump, evidence points to his suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. If Mr Trump believes he can be President of the United States without being elected, he is indeed a very sick man. Narcissistic Personality Disorder is relatively easy to detect. Narcissists care for one person only, their person.
Colin Powell‘s attitude reminds me of Pascal’s Wager. Blaise Pascal (19 June 1623 – 19 August 1662) was a mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and a very devout man. His best-known work is entitled Les Pensées, Thoughts, which includes Pascal’s wager.
As a mathematician, Blaise Pascal, in collaboration with Pierre de Fermat, developed the probability theory, or le calcul des probabilités, which has to do with calculating the odds. In the case of Pascal’s Wager, le pari fatal, the discussion is about the existence of God. Pascal states that if one does not believe in God and does not live a virtuous life, one may spend an eternity in hell. Not believing in God could therefore lead to “infinite losses.” On the other hand, one who chooses to believe in God and lives a virtuous life may suffer limited or “finite losses,” i.e the virtuous have to make certain sacrifices. Consequently, Blaise Pascal proposes that the rational choice is to wager that God exists, as one may avoid “infinite losses.” (See Pascal’s Wager, Wikipedia)
In other words, by electing Donald Trump, one has everything to lose. Not so if Mrs Clinton is elected. One may not be an “admirer” of Mrs Clinton—as noted Colin Powell isn’t, but he will vote for her because she knows what she is doing. She is competent. The security of the United States and the world is very much at stake in this election because one nominee is unfit to perform the role he is seeking. If Americans elect Mr Trump, they will empower a Narcissistic ignoramus. Voting for Donald Trump doesn’t even begin to make sense.
Platform & Programme
I have written several times that Donald Trump has failed to present a coherent platform or program. He doesn’t, except for despicable goals.
Normally, I avoid redundancy, but I am quoting New Yorker journalist Adam Gopnik for the second time. Mr Gopnik writes that:
His [Mr Trump’s] platform is resentment and his program is revenge, and that is an ideology with many faces and one name. This is fascism with an American face.
PRESS ON “The Editorialists Have Spoken… ” TO READ THE ARTICLE
The United States is a Democracy
Americans live in a democracy and cannot allow anyone to take over the presidency, without being elected to the position. Such a person would be a dictator, as was Adolf Hitler.
He would, in other words, exercise absolute power over the American people, depriving them of what has made America great: the freedom to choose their leaders and to live a private life.
Who would have thought, a year ago, that Donald Trump would be the Republicans’ nominee for the presidency of the United States? Americans have been taken by surprise. Could this be an American Brexit?
I’m with Colin Powell. If I were an American citizen, which I am not, I would vote for Hillary Clinton because she is the competent candidate, not Donald Trump.
Remember that Donald Trump
wants to build a wall to keep Mexicans from entering the United States;
that he will not allow Muslims into the United States;
this is how he will deal with the Migrant Crisis brought about by Isis and Autocratic regimes;
Just as we were expecting Mrs Clinton to lose her bid for the presidency of the United States, rumours are circulating that Mr Trump may have raped a 13-year-old and then threatened to kill her if she told.
Such matters have to be investigated. One is innocent until proven guilty and to this rule there can be no exception, but rape, however, is a criminal offence. I suspect, moreover, that the Federal Bureau of Investigation will have to investigate allegations of connivance between Mr Trump and the Kremlin. There is considerable fear outside the United States that Mr Trump will be elected into the office of President of the United States. The Ku Klux Klan, no less, has endorsed his candidacy.
President Obama criticized Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey for re-opening the investigation into Mrs Clinton’s emails. Mrs Clinton used her personal computer to send emails in her professional capacity as United States’ Secretary of State. It is not a secure way of sending emails. Mrs Clinton has stated that she was not directed not to use her personal computer, but that she is accepting full responsibility for her actions. Moreover, Hillary Clinton’s emails were investigated and she was cleared.
Consequently, when FBI Director James Comey announced he was re-opening the investigation into Mrs Clinton’s email, the earth shook. He had put Mrs Clinton at a disadvantage in an election where voters do not have a choice. The alternative is Mr Trump, which is the unthinkable. By re-opening the investigation, Mr Comey broke a protocol. It was too late. I saw a figure, but could not trace my way back to the source. However, if my memory serves me well, the figure was 60 days and I had read the New York Times and The New Yorker.
The protocol applies to governmental agencies, such as the FBI, and it is used to protectthe candidates, the electorate and, ultimately, democracy. Consider, for instance, that a voter may be persuaded not to vote for the candidate of his or her choice, only to learn that the candidate of his or her choice was the better candidate. It is easy to poison the mind of voters. Mr Comey failed to protect Americans.
Newspapers can disclose news, which is how I learned about the possible rape of a 13-year old. In this matter, timing is again an issue. Mr Trump’s victim, if indeed he raped a 13-year old, should have spoken earlier, but she reported that Mr Trump told her he would kill her if she talked. The word “killing” may have been used metaphorically, but to the victim, it was a genuine threat and the ultimate form of intimidation. Besides, it is a known fact that Mr Trump is a sexual predator.
It is also a known fact that Mr Trump is a liar, but would he lie to a young woman who could ruin his reputation and career? I doubt it. If he is elected to the presidency the United States, Americans will have a liar as president and commander-in-chief and Mr Trump may have lied his way out of a conviction: rape. He can afford the very best lawyers.
Hillary and Bill Clinton, PHOTOGRAPH BY JUSTIN SULLIVAN / GETTY
The plot thickens. I was under the impression that the FBI investigation was about Mrs Clinton’s emails, which it may be at the moment. However, the FBI is also investigating the Clinton’s, or “so-called ties” between Hillary and Bill Clinton. Specifically, they are investigating the Clinton Foundation. Yet we are told that emails are being investigated.
“Dropping a bombshell less than a week before the Presidential election, the F. B. I. Director James Comey revealed on Wednesday that the Bureau was investigating Hillary Clinton’s ties to Bill Clinton.”
I should tell why the FBI could not investigate the new cache of emails earlier than it did. There was a formality the FBI could not skip. What is it, precisely, that the FBI could not investigate before 8 November 2016, the day of the election? It seems a witch hunt the purpose of which would be to eliminate Mrs Clinton and elevate Donald Trump to the presidency as he wishes, without an election.
“To say that they are investigating so-called ties between Hillary and Bill Clinton while offering no specifics about what those ties might be is unconscionable this close to an election,” Podesta told CNN. John Podesta is Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.
In my last post, I asked Who (and how) had put the FBI up to such shenanigans as re-opening an investigation days before an election and possibly sabotaging the better candidate’s campaign thus empowering an ignoramus and a man who cannot contain himself. If a man feels free to assault women, he will feel free to assault the world. Whoever put the FBI up to re-opening an investigation into Mrs Clinton’s emails is an unconscionable individual.
From my perspective, Americans are currently being denied the right to elect their president and Mr Trump, who will take them to a “new age of endarkenment” is being foisted on them. We know the “how,” a breech of protocol, but the saboteur has not been identified.
Mrs Clinton used the wrong computer, but as I wrote in my last post, she has devoted a life time to the well-being and the security of all Americans. Once he is in office, Mr Trump will do away with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Obamacare. This is very wrong. Citizens pay taxes and, in return, their government ensures their security. No one is omitted. Leaders negotiate a Social Contract with the citizens of a country, which is not happening in this particular election. This election isn’t an election.
Donald Trump behaves exactly how you would expect an American fascist to act. PHOTOGRAPH BY MANDEL NGAN / AFP / GETTY
I wrote that he did not have a platform, a program, but he does. He has a platform and a program, but it is of a bitter savour.
His platform is resentment and his program is revenge, and that is an ideology with many faces and one name. This is fascism with an American face.
“The truth is that Trump’s “positions” on specific issues are more or less a matter of chance and whim and impulse (Of course women should be punished for having abortions! Ten minutes later: no, they shouldn’t) while his actual ideology, the song he sings every day, the one those listeners and followers gleefully vibrate to, is one anthem, and it is the sound of the authoritarian and anti-democratic impulses Americans have rejected since the founding of this country. Call them what you will—populist authoritarianism or extreme-right-wing ethno-nationalism—the active agents within a Trump speech and energizing a Trump rally are always the same: the worship of power in its most brutal and authoritarian forms (thus his admiration for Vladimir Putin and for the Chinese Communists who assaulted the protesters at Tiananmen Square); the reduction of all relations to dominance contests; the contempt for rational argument; the perpetual unashamed storm of lies; the appeal to hysterically exaggerated fears of outsiders; and, above all, the relentless sense of ethnic grievance that can be remedied only by acts of annihilating revenge. His is the ideology not of democratic patriotism but of a narrow nationalism alone—the glorification of the nation, and the exaggeration of its humiliations, with violence promised to its enemies, at home and abroad; and a promise of vengeance for those who feel themselves disempowered by history. He will “level the playing field” with the terrorist spectre of isis by forcing soldiers to commit war crimes; he will not merely kill our enemies but annihilate their families. His platform is resentment and his program is revenge, and that is an ideology with many faces and one name. This is fascism with an American face.”
The protocol should not have been violated. Sowing the seeds of doubt about a nominee as a campaign is drawing to a close is paramount to endorsing the nominee’s opponent. Mr Comey’s last-minute revelation is an assault on democracy, words I have already used. In this election one should vote for the nominee whose devotion and dedication to the United States is an established fact. That privilege is being trampled on.
Retired General and former Secretary of State Colin Powell is not an admirer of Hillary Clinton and he has called Donald Trump a “national disgrace” and “international pariah.”
Yet, he has stated that he would vote for Mrs Clinton because she is an experienced politician. She is, by leaps and bounds, the better and safer choice. In such a case, a rational individual has to take Blaise Pascal‘s wager.
“In Pensées, Pascal surveys several philosophical paradoxes: infinity and nothing, faith and reason, soul and matter, death and life, meaning and vanity – seemingly arriving at no definitive conclusions besides humility, ignorance, and grace. Rolling these into one he develops Pascal’s Wager.” (See Pascal, Wikipedia.)
According to Pascal’s Wager, if one elects Mr Trump one has every thing to lose and nothing to gain.
I tried to finish this article earlier, but a migraine stood in my way and the pain will not abate.
“Do you want a person who is questionably devoid of conscience and empathy with a self-serving orientation and thirst to dominate others, to control war and peace matters? ” and
“Do you want someone with a penchant for outrageous, disrespectful and pathologically untruthful statements to represent the United States?”
My answer to both questions is: NO!
“If the Jack Mitnick episode revealed anything about Donald Trump, it was the direction of his narcissism, that he could take credit for an employee’s expertise as if it were a condition of his own character.” PHOTOGRAPH BY MSNBC (The New Yorker)
What also perturbs me is that the FBI (the Federal Bureau of Investigation) did not comply with Mrs Clinton requests for full disclosure.
Why would the FBI not supply the information Mrs Clinton wants everyone to know? The answer that leaps to one’s mind is that the FBI does not have the information Mrs Clinton wants it to release in time for Americans to vote knowledgeably. By not complying with her request, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is not lifting the cloud of suspicion weighing down on Mrs Clinton which is how it is sabotaging the American election.
Casting suspicion will not do if proof is not provided. The people need evidence. One is innocent until proven guilty.
A New Cache: the Timing
Examine the timing. The new cache was found days before the elections, which is much too convenient, so convenient that it is difficult to tell whether or not a new cache has been found. Americans need evidence. The FBI must prove that the cache of emails exists and, if it exists, disclose the content of all emails.
The FBI under a Cloud of Suspicion
If it does not disclose the content of all emails, the FBI is placing itself under a cloud of suspicion. It has to disclose the content of these emails as the American electorate does not otherwise have the slightest reason to believe they exist. The American electorate may in fact conclude that they have been manipulated, like puppets.
An Investigation of the FBI
If the FBI does not have the emails it claims to have, there will have to be an investigation into the FBI as one or more of its employee(s) will have acted irresponsibly and unconscionably. It is highly unconscionable to manipulate the electorate just before an election.
Who and How
Just who put the FBI up to such shenanigans? And how?
There is not such thing as a perfect form of government. A Democracy is the best we poor humans have found. We can vote. This is what made America great. So please vote.
Every adult can vote: black, white, Asian, male, female, rich, poor, middle-class, working-class…
This man, featured below, cannot lead a nation. He has yet to present a platform. He prefers accusations…
Mr Trump is now behaving as though he had won the election. Grandiosity! The election is scheduled for 8 November 2016. Only then will we know who has been elected President of the United States. We will not know a second before.
However, I have just learned that the new investigation will not be over before 8 November 2016.
I’m hoping for a miracle. Mrs Clinton has devoted most of her life to the well-being of her nation. She is like a veteran. She has served her country dutifully. Does anyone need more evidence?