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Hegemonic Masculinity

Apparently, this is a thing.

Robin Wright, the journalist at The New Yorker, not the fictional First Lady, wrote about the different diplomatic approaches that we can explore with North Korea. She interviewed James Winnefield, former vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who said:

James Winnefeld, a retired Navy admiral and a former vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, offered a more sanguine prognosis. “Grin and bear it,” he told me. “Let them stew in their own juices.” Negotiations are worth a try, but “we could end up negotiating with ourselves as they cross their arms and stick to their position. The North Koreans will never give up their program. This is an impoverished, authoritarian country, and this is their insurance policy. At same time, they will never use it. They know it will be the end. And they’re not suicidal.”

The United States, he said, can fortify its deterrent capabilities—for instance, by strengthening its missile defenses. It can exert greater economic and diplomatic pressure on the regime, or mobilize allies in joint actions. “But it’s a fool’s errand to expect China to solve this for us,” he noted. If North Korea shows signs of proliferating—that is, trying to export—its nuclear technology, the U.S. should be prepared to impose a blockade, complete with search and seizure of ships, to inspect everything that goes in or out of the country. “We Americans tend to want closure, an endgame,” Winnefeld said. “But it’s not going to happen with North Korea. So you should put yourself in the best possible position—and go on living.”

Sounds rational.

No sooner had I finished reading that piece in the New Yorker when a CNN notification popped up to tell me that Trump want to revise his statement from a couple days ago about raining "fire and fury" on North Korea.

Oh, good, I thought. He's going to say he got a little overwrought. It was undiplomatic and dangerous. He didn't really mean it.

Wrong!

From CNN:

Bridgewater, New Jersey (CNN)President Donald Trump reiterated his bellicose warning to North Korea from earlier in the week, telling reporters at his golf club in New Jersey on Thursday that his threat to bring "fire and fury" if North Korea continued to threaten the United States may not have gone far enough.

"Maybe it wasn't tough enough," Trump said during a lengthy exchange with reporters.

Trump said that past administrations had not done enough to take on North Korea and that it is time a President "stuck up for the country."

{{faceplant}}

Ok, here's what I think is going on. Trump is trying to shore up his base. He's been taking on a lot of issues that his base really wanted, like affirmative action, transgendered people in the military, voting fraud, climate change and healthcare. That last one was a misfire but he promised his base something better than Obamacare.

I'm sure Steve Bannon is behind some of this. He knows what hard core Trump voters want.

Then there are the voters who may have been drifting away from Trump for rational reasons but who are easy to provoke with thoughts of their own mortality to rushing back to Fearless Leader.

Yep, there's nothing like making everyone believe that a small Asian country halfway around the world with a nascent nuclear arms program is a genuine threat to the US. TRUMP is a threat to the US, North Korea is not.

It happened with the run up to the Iraq war too. Remember how George W. Bush was always confusing Saddam Hussein with Osama bin Laden? Yeah, I'm guessing that wasn't a senior moment. He did that on purpose. Because we associate bin Laden with 9/11 and that scares the crap out of people.

So now people are scared silly about North Korea. They're wondering if they'll make it to the next Christmas. They worry about their grandchildren. They're looking for a tough guy to protect them, not that wimp Obama. Hey, I was no Obama fan for completely different reasons but I'm not sure he's the one who made this situation what it is right now. I'm pretty sure that's on Trump's watch.

But the desired effect is to bolster Trump's poll numbers when the fearful come running back to him for his protection. That Russia investigation must be hitting pay dirt.

Anyway, I'm not getting all bent out of shape about North Korea. We and they have always known we can pulverize them in a retaliatory strike. It doesn't need to be said out loud.

This is just a big fat ugly guy swinging his dick around and promising to keep us all safe. Like someone who practices hegemonic masculinity.

Next week, we'll discuss Affinity Fraud.

I'm blowing this pop stand.

Saunter: I love the country

The Ivanka Branded

Last year, the media was all over how Ivanka Trump was her father's secret weapon. He was going to have problems with the women's vote. But he needed to get as many as possible to vote for him anyway. He got around this by pimping his daughter (it's a 2008 David Shuster meme. Go look it up.)

Ivanka was supposed to be the feminist in the family who would stand up for women. It's probably more than that. When we vote for candidates, we vote for what we aspire to be. Many women can't see themselves as a bloated, ugly, stupid, selfish, ignorant, attention deficit disordered guy who's sexiest thing in his pants is his wallet.

But if you're a well off white woman who fancies herself progressive, Ivanka is your girl.
The Daily Show deconstructs the Ivanka Brand:

Stroll: Dreams of barroom girls…