Doctor Cleveland's picture

    What to Watch For

    So, they're finally here. After months of anxious preparation here in our city, the Republican National Convention has come to Cleveland. The city is as carefully groomed and as nervous as a teenager before the prom. The pedestrian walk on East 4th Street is filled with broadcast booths. High-end restaurants have turned into the temporary headquarters of Bloomberg or Twitter. The park in Public Square has been completely, and beautifully, renovated; we had to close it down for more than a year. The construction scaffolds are finally gone from Euclid Avenue, but new traffic barriers and fences are up. It's impossible to know which roads will be blocked off, where you can drive and where you can't. I won't be going back downtown until this is over. I'll be up in the Heights, holding my breath.

    What goes on in the convention hall doesn't concern me. If the Republican Party and its loathsome nominee want to screw up on national television, that's their business. What happens in the streets matters enormously. We're trying to build this city up. We really don't need any additional trouble.

    So I'm worried about protests turning into confrontations, because peaceful demonstrations can attract hangers-on who have no peaceful intentions. I'm worried about violent opportunists, including various lone-wolf lunatics, who might choose Cleveland as a target to attack. I'm nervous about a police department with some ugly recent history being put on edge by recent attacks against police. I'm downright terrified by the open-carry activists who have apparently already taken to standing in Public Square with goddamn AR-15s, basically insuring that nearly anything that goes bad will go worse. And I'm nervous that pro-Trump demonstrators will look for an excuse to go after Black Lives Matter or other anti-Trump demonstrators. One of the things that's scary about this situation, and different from previous conventions, is the possibility of ideologically-opposed demonstrators looking for a brawl.

    The good news is that many of the armed and/or truculent fringe groups who previously planned to descend on Cleveland to declare their allegiance to "protect" Trump and his followers, have now decided to skip the show. I'm more than happy that the Oath Keepers, the white supremacists, and the Bikers for Trump won't be arriving. (h/t to the great JJ Macnab's Twitter feed for providing updates on these groups). I watched the head of Bikers for Trump on the local news this week, raving about "protecting" Trump and "protecting" the police and keeping anti-Trump protestors in line. That, obviously, is the most brilliant event-safety idea since the Rolling Stones hired the Hell's Angels to provide concert security at Altamount. (To give Donald Trump his very limited due here, he did not explicitly invite any of these yahoos to Cleveland, while Mick Jagger actually went out and hired the Angels.) But the Bikers for Trump guy could not get a parade permit, so he's not coming. That gust of wind you hear in the trees is my sigh of relief, all the way from Ohio.

    We're at a tense moment when people are wondering if we can maintain our civil peace and our democracy, when we can no longer entirely avoid the debate over whether or not Trump represents a genuine American fascism. That argument is endless, because "fascism" has never been especially well defined, but I do want to point to one thing we should look out for.

    Authoritarian regimes generally, and fascist regimes specifically, tend to have a body of irregular, semi-official thugs, separate from the official security forces. Those groups conduct most of the violence and intimidation. Hitler had his brown shirts, the original Storm Troopers; Mussolini had his black shirts. But tyrants with different ideologies often have the same groups: the Duvalier regime in Haiti had its tontons macoutes, the Iranian mullahs have their "people's militia," the basij. The Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi was conducted by local militia. The Klan, a nominally secret society, carried out terrorism against southern blacks from the 1860s through the 1960s. Dictators don't necessarily send the army or the police. They often have these irregular groups to break windows and bust heads outside the official apparatus of power, and to help keep that apparatus in the tyrant's hands.

    Donald Trump is, at best, a racist demagogue with no respect for the Constitution. He is a real danger to American democracy. But so far, he has not mobilized the support of any irregular or paramilitary forces. Should that ever happen, it will be a sign that things have taken a hard turn for the worse.

    Trump has had some impromptu violence at his rallies, which he has both incited and pretended not to incite. But violent rally-goers have not yet formed any organization. So far they're just one-time, single-use mobs, and the Trump campaign doesn't necessarily have the skills or discipline to organize them as campaign volunteers, let alone as a paramilitary auxiliary. There are plenty of unsavory folks around Trump, but -- thank heavens -- he doesn't have an Ernst Rohm.

    There are also pre-existing paramilitary groups who are clearly excited by Trump and willing to follow him: the Oath Keepers, the Three Percent Militia, and various white supremacist types including some chapters of the Klan. The actual capacities of these groups, as opposed to their fantasies, are not really clear. But these are people who talk about various kinds of action to promote their ideologies, and extra-legal violence is part of their ideology.

    The Trump campaign has not taken these groups on board. Trump's own approach to them is the familiar one of winking disavowal: he clearly is happy for their votes, but will officially disavow them (he actually prefers the phrase "I disavow," with nothing else in the sentence) in ways the white supremacists apparently take as just window dressing. But Trump has not shown any interest in these groups busting any heads for him.

    But if we reach a point where any of these groups, or a new group like them, starts to act in concerted ways to aid the Trump campaign: intimidating voters, vandalizing Clinton headquarters or wholesale trashing yard signs, then we'll have turned an ugly page. They might have some excuse or pretext, such as "fighting back" against the New Black Panthers or another group they call "thugs," but that will just be an excuse. And if Trump ever seems to give such behavior his ambiguous blessing, then it will be a genuine national emergency.



    I'm figuring that by Wednesday the Keymaster and the Gatekeeper will have summoned Gozer and that will be that.

    Actually, Dr. Venkman will not be addressing the convention.

    Trying to distance himself from quacks and weirdos?

    Yup. Pretty much.

    NPR today is touting the convention as 'different' and 'unconventional' 'not boring as usual'.

    NPR says that there will be a hoouuge audience, bigger than any other convention in history,

    NPR also says people are really looking forward to hearing Melameias speech. Trumps latest bimbo.

    And yes, there will be also be speeches on the terrible terrible things Hillary did about Benghhaaaaazzzi.

    NPR is the 'serious' news outlet..........(?)

    2016 - GOP Triumph: government is now 100% entertainment.

    Nothing that NPR "reported" there is particularly untrue ... though your characterization of Melania is uncalled for.

    The 'uncalled for' sometimes needs to be said, especially when it concerns the Republican Party, an organization dependent on dishing out the uncalled for, the untrue, the unseemly and the unsupported for far too long, and getting away with it thanks to our MSM.

    As a free love democrat and a lover of models, I don't love it when people call women bimbos just for being good looking.

    I'm with you, but I did see several very provocative nude pics of her both in her youth, and clothed only in a blanket or fur after she married Trump.  I won't repost them because I believe that it is inappropriate, but I do think she opened the door for such comments.

    Yeah, but... Why discourage her?

    You have an excellent point!  She might do more nudie stuff, but my question is this: considering these photo-ops, would she really be bothered by the "bimbo" sobriquet?

    What is the big deal about a women getting a nude photo taken? Would you call this photo shoot, "100 bimbos protest Trump at republican convention". I don't want to have to defend anything even remotely connected with Trump in any way. Please stop making me defend Trump.

    She just did her job, happens to be cute which is required for that job. Obviously smart enough to survive in her field, including speaking English which many foreigners never handle. Landed a rich fish? Good for her - someone has to be wealthy, even Susan Serandon. Says little about who they are, and who they love or wed is far from indicatve. Hopefully I've written enough to bore and we can gi back to real stuff uf there really is in a convention.

    The first time I went to a nude beach was when I vacationed in Slovenija, along the Adrianic.  I was floating along on a blow-up boat, and a guy came along on a wind-surfer, totally naked.  On the beach, families were also nude.  I took my clothes off too.  The water was wonderful until I stepped on a sea urchin.  I had heard that they were full of poison and so I was in panic mode when I limped out of the water.  While I waited for help I pulled the quills out of my foot and was surprised to realize that I didn't feel any more pain.

    I will respond to your post with two completely unrelated issues:

    1.  Nakedness is natural, and almost everyone except Americans recognize this. Posing in a "come f*ck me pose while naked on a fur is different, and even my relatives in Slovenija recognize.

    2. My fear of the sea urchin is kind of like the general theme of the RNC.  Fear, fear, fear.  I discovered that my fear was misplaced.  Some people seem to prefer fear to reality.


    BTW, this is before Melania's speech:  I don't think she is dumb.  I don't think she is dumb at all.  I just think she prefers to be ultra rich.  How could any woman want to be with this buffoon otherwise?

    Who knows why anyone is with anyone. Many of the men I know are with women I wouldn't marry or build a life with. Nice enough women but not for me. I have women friends I respect and admire, some I could see myself in a relationship with, and I see them with men that imo are unworthy of them. I can't count the number of times I asked myself, "why is she with that loser?"Could be my friends don't understand why I was with the women I spent time with. or why they were with me. I could never understand why my sister married the man she did. Now that he has alzheimer's and she must watch over him and care for him in the most intimate ways I can only conclude that she loves him, for some reason I can't comprehend. Since I can't figure out why my friends are in relationships I don't even try to figure out why people I don't know are together.

    She is a model - models typically model provocative poses, clothing, lifestyle, including  nudity. It is hard to be a serious successful actress without at least once exposing your breasts plus doing sex scenes. It's part of the industry. Proctologists deal with assholes all day long - for politics, does that preclude them or prepare them? Why are we even discussing this? Check watch, 2016. Besides, when I first visited Slovenia 30 years ago their stores had shelves full of 1 item over and over. It was depressing - all the students wanted to escape to Italy. Instead the splitup came and Slovenia slipped out peacefully. Melania got her peace dividend and made a success of herself, like countless other models in Milan and elsewhere. I like Kate Moss, Elle McPherson, some of the more punkish models who helped turned the catwalk avant garde under Gaultier and Galliano.

    I also find this strange as I associate the Yugoslavian art scene with movies like Dusan Makavajev's dark "Sweet Movie" or Kustarice's Time of the Gypsies and Underground or the breakup movies like Pretty Village, Pretty Flame and Vokovar Post. Visiting Mostar and Sarajevo, digging slugs out of the walls,  staying in a flat in Dubrovnik with a mortar hole through the roof, I think concern about  a Yugoslavian posing nude or more accurately "provocatively" is obscene in itself. Best I guess would be if she'd had her legs blown off being serious about nationalism like everyone else in the Balkans.

    Women are supposed to be sexy and seductive but not too - it's that narrow band of acceptable behavior that can have decades of consequence on their career. Too much tit showing? A hussy. Not enough? A dour prude. In thw middle of a speech to the UN, a woman must pay attention to her hair, her makeup, her tone of voice. Men just have to make sure their rumpled suit jacket doesnt have a large hole in it, a pretty low bar.

    Though it seems maybe Melania's gift for self-embellishment is a quality she shares with The Donald. "Success" in America comes so easily - if you just say it does.

    I have my Apple Music jazz selection and my Texture reading material ready for tonight. Life is too short to waste on watching the GOP.

    You are missing a pretty good show!  It is 4:20 EST and the Chairman just walked off the dais in response to the screaming, anti-Trump crowd yelling "Roll Call Vote!"  

    Now he's back.  This is a real shit-storm!  

    I'll watch snippets on YouTube


    I got called downstairs to the TV for that part. Fun times.

    My basic rule is that almost anything that happens inside the basketball arena is entertainment.

    I have about 25 more pages to fill out for the class action lawsuit against Trump University. Tonite might be good to start on it.

    Fortunately the wife talked me out of taking a second mortgage to buy a condo in Trump Tower Tampa. Folks lost it all. Never got built but Trump made off with a couple million thru some secret agreement.

    Your IQ will thank you for this decision.  Of course, then you'll be all, "If I'm so smart, why am I talking to my own IQ?"

    Sometimes my IQ is the only thing that understands my comments.

    Same here

    Thanks Doc, I've been watching and I just think this convention was so much better in its original German. I think George Zimmerman is up next! He's going to talk about Making America Great Agin' with Gunz! Woot.

    Wait, I never could have predicted that Melania's speech about herself and her husband would be plagiarized from Michelle Obama's 2008 speech. I do believe that Melania did that one on her own, no speech writer would life passages from another speech. 

    So day one of the Trumpian Comedy Show is ever better than I could have expected. 

    C'mon, TMac, you know how politics gets dished out better than that. Of course Chelsea and Ivanka set her up after Don embarrassed Ivanka's husband with all that anti-semitic crap and squashing Jared's attempt to explain it away. Surely some leftover bitterness how Ivana got pushed aside for trophy wives #2 & #3. And here's Melania going into her first serious speech - and someone conveniently drops a pre-written one right in her lap, Cliff Notes the night before term paper due.... Bet Chels and Ivanka were sniggering behind the curtain or at least via WhatsApp as she selivered it.. Vengeance is a dish best served... with heaping amounts of brutal irony. Welcome to Mega-Melania, a country somewhere east of here...

    LOL Damn it Obama.. umm I mean Hillary, how could you make her do this? 

    This is the greatest day so far at the Clusterfuck Convention. If I could just stop laughing out loud at this.. But no I cannot.

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