lundi 23 avril 2012

The buck stops here

About the only things that I know about Harry Truman are the circumstances of his election and the fact that he was kept out of the picture regarding the A bomb. Other than that, the English Wiki tells me "he was one of the most unpopular men to leave the White House", something that I didn't know.

I haven't done any research to learn what his ranking is among the former U.S prez  60 years after he left office but apparently it looks like an unassuming and inexperienced shirt seller from Missouri could seat in the White House and deal with uncle Joe.

So the first round of the French presidential elections was held yesterday and the socialist candidate (so to say, he's not exactly a trotskyist) may well succeed N.S at the Élysée palace in Paris (nothing's done yet). If Truman could get elected and re-elected in the U.S, why couldn't F. Hollande in France then?

Self satisfaction about how great is the parliamentary system in the West is the key word in our media which have been propagating the notion the world over for about 150 years now. Yes and yet I'm growing more and more sceptical about this.

There's nothing new here but any honest observer with a modicum dose of good faith cannot but notice what an outrageous show of intellectual dishonesty and indecent display of immorality any popular election is - and has to be because addressing the masses is a process which essentially (in its essence) calls for lies, crass vulgarity and vileness.

Things being what they are, let's accept the premises that this lecture of "democracy" is the ultimate achievement of political thought and practise (cough, cough...).

Now, what I find interesting about Truman (for the very little I know about this man) is what seems to have been his motto: The bucks stops here. How much did he stick to this concept of political accountability, I haven't the faintest clue but what I can affirm with both hands on the Koran and the Bible is that N. Sarkozy is the living antithesis of Truman's personal pledge.

The agitated (let's put it that way) pathological liar who's been ruling France for the past five years has to be the world champion of the "It's not me" trump card. This man has brought the practise of lying through his teeth when addressing the electorate to an unprecedented level of professionalism in France. Only with a knife under his throat could he 'possibly' admit that 'perhaps' he may have a tiny portion of responsibility if something somehow went wrong somewhere.

When Operation Eagle Claw turned into a disaster, Jimmy Carter took all responsibility on him for the fiasco which of course was the honourable thing to do for the leader he was. I suppose that was another version of The bucks stops here made real.

Nothing of that sort with Sarko who will make it his personal triumph of any peccadilloes he will have deemed worth taking credit for (with the assistance of the media he has hold on, basically over 80% of the French TV's audience) but will systematically put the blame on others for anything negative that he could be held responsible for.

This walking neurosis is the embodiment of greed and lust for power being allowed to get to the top of the State because "democracy" permits it, all the more so with the help of the constitution De Gaulle devised for France 55 years ago. Thanks for the gift Charlie!

François Hollande certainly seems not fit for the job, probably like Truman in his time but at least absolutely nobody questions his morality or his personal record. If he were to succeed Sarkozy, nothing much will change in the country save, save that there will be much less immorality with the person sitting in the Élysée palace.

Should he eventually not make it, it would be another popular blessing for immorality and depravity. But rest assured that would still be "democratic"!

What a relief!

37 commentaires:

Anonyme a dit…

I take it you didn't vote for Nicholas???

Oh, and here's something to go with the killer rabbit.

Best,

Cellequilit

Anijo a dit…

Flocon,
I'm assuming that you're familiar with this iconic picture re Truman.

Anijo a dit…

And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you're going to fall
Tell 'em a hookah smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call
Call Alice
When she was just small

When men on the chessboard
Get up and tell you where to go
And you've just had some kind of mushroom
And your mind is moving slow
Go ask Alice
I think she'll know

Anonyme a dit…

Flocon: President Truman has a special place in the hearts of all U.S. Marines. He proposed to disband the Marine Corps in 1948 in favor of the Army.

The how and why of his failure as Commander in Chief to get his way is an illustration of why the USA ranks low on the scale of authoritarian states.

SemperFidelis

Anonyme a dit…

Anijo: Feed your head, girl!

***

Semper Fi: Hi! Yes the elite are not always right. But Flocon will say that Truman was not a member of the U.S. elite, so you're just proving his point. (I think he would say that President Sarkozy is not a member of France's real elite either...) I didn't know about Truman and the marines, by the way.

***

Best to all

Cellequilit

Flocon a dit…

Anijo,

Is it true that Truman was one of the most unpopular men to leave the White House as it says on Wiki?

How does he fare in terms of popularity 60 years later?

Flocon a dit…

SemperFidelis,

"the USA ranks low on the scale of authoritarian states."

Apologies to you, you already provided an answer to the question I asked on the other thread regarding the stages on the scale.

Now, where is the threshold between, good and evil? What is the turning point?

Anonyme a dit…

For what it's worth, Truman ranks 7th or 8th best among many scholars today, according to one recent survey. (Evidently Marine scholars were not a significant presence...)

Cellequilit

Flocon a dit…

Comme quoi il est vrai que WP n'est pas 100% reliable; mais pas non plus 100% unreliable.

''Ref necessary'' as it says...

Anijo a dit…

Is it true that Truman was one of the most unpopular men to leave the White House as it says on Wiki?

Yes, that was what I read long ago in this excellent biography of H.S.Truman by David McCullogh.

He fares better 60 years later by Democrats, although his decision to use the atomic bomb was unfortunate. There are others who will claim that it was necessary to put a quicker end to the war, but so many civilian lives were lost..

Anijo a dit…

Cellequilit:
I've been feeding my head too much lately! I need to lay off.. I mean, I linked to photo that Flocon had in the original post, fer crying out loud! (embarrassed face)

Anijo a dit…

Cellequilit,
I sent you an email on Tuesday. Did you receive it?

Anonyme a dit…

Anijo:

I just emailed you now. I hope you get it.

Cellequilit

Anonyme a dit…

Flocon: I know I'm coming late to the table on the democracy thing, but I'd like to say that most people don't want to be bothered with deciding what to do for society at large and they want their officials to deal with such things. Elections are useful, but blunt instruments, a way to bludgeon an incumbent who has done something to make your life a *lot* worse or who has been *egregiously* venal.

But, to my mind, that moderate system of "let 'em get on with it unless they really mess up" only works when most voters are not ideologues. Don't knock voter apathy--without it you will definitely find yourself living in "interesting times."

Anonyme a dit…

Oops, that last anonymous comment was from me, Cellequilit.

I wish I knew how to be somebody, like the rest of you. I suppose I need a blog or something?

Cellequilit

Anonyme a dit…

Truman quote showing why the Marines have a special place in their hearts for Harry S. Truman (Hi, Semper Fi!):

"The Marine Corps is the Navy's police force and as long as I am President, that is what it will remain. They have a propaganda machine that is almost equal to Stalin's."

Two more that I like:

"Those who want the government to regulate matters of the mind and spirit are like men who are so afraid of being murdered they commit suicide to avoid assassination."

"You want a friend in Washington? Get a dog."

If you're interested in more, they can be found here.

Cellequilit

Flocon a dit…

Cellequilit,

Désolé pour le retard mis à vous répondre...

Si vous désirez ne plus être la mystérieuse anonyme quand vous laissez un commentaire il suffit d'indiquer votre pseudo dans l'option Nom/URL et votre nom apparaîtra en tête du commentaire.

Si vous désirez, ô félicité, que votre nom apparaisse en bleu, il faut je crois ouvrir un compte chez Blogger. Il doit bien y avoir quelque part an "Open an account" sign.

Pour ce qui est du thème de la démocratie, what bugs me isn't that the masses have no say in the matter, they're lied to and they believe it, but that the rulers are totally unaccountable for their deeds.

See what Berlusconi or the Greeks (notwithstanding Sarko) have done to their respective country. A handful of inept and greedy politicians bring their fellow countrymen on their knees and... well nothing happens.

Bush and Blair and their pals are personally responsible for something like 200.000 dead and they can get away with it in the name of "democracy".

I'm not convinced by the purported virtues of this supposedly worst form of gvt apart from the others, dixit Winnie.

As pertains your link, apparently Truman was brillant when it came to devise some bons mots.

Le problème avec ce site de Brainy quotes (et à peu près tous les autres du même genre) est qu'il n'indique absolument pas l'origine des citations.

C'est totally unscientific et a perfect recipe for apocryphes...

Cellequilit a dit…

Yes, the quotation sites are a pitfall, for sure.

I was able to look at a book online about Truman' rhetoric. He wasn't a fantastic orator and he didn't have stellar speech writers. But he was plainspoken and not afraid to call his opponents out. A lot of the quotes about Republicans come from his convention speeches or his whistle-stop campaign speeches. These are the quotes that earned him the soubriquet "Give 'em hell Harry." When the Republican Congress kept voting down his proposed minimum wage raise, all the while claiming to be *for* a rise in the minimum wage, he said, "the Republicans are for the minimum wage alright...the more minimum the better." And he was good at stealing from other writers: "Suppose you're an idiot. And suppose you're a Republican. But I'm repeating myself." (This taken from Mark Twain, who had "Congressman" for "Republican.")

One good thing about Harry, he was the last President who left office NOT a millionaire.

In re democracy and accountability, I think you're right, we don't pursue ex-leaders; we find it distasteful to punish people merely for having served. We have laws making it difficult to prosecute Presidents for actions they took while in office, I believe, because the alternative is held to be worse, partisan politics being what they are. You want to encourage a politician who loses an election to leave office peacefully and in good order; the prospect of jail inspires coups and/or fixed elections. But you know all that.

Anonyme a dit…

In an effort to address all our current themes of:

Atheism, Christianity, quotations, founders of American democracy, and Marines, I offer the following -

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
Benjamin Franklin

(the Marines are connected via beer, of course)

SemperFidelis

Flocon a dit…

If Ben is to be believed, then Anijo has seen the light since beer is a beverage not totally unheard of in New-Mexico ☺ ☺ ☺

Ned Ludd a dit…

Absent because of computer problems.

As to Truman, he can be credited with establishing the "national security state". He signed the National Security Act and created NATO, which is everywhere now. You can look it up on Wiki.

He advanced the military-industrial complex which Eisenhower so rightly denounced, but it was probably already too late.

It can be speculated that Roosevelt would not have dropped the A-bomb if he had still been president. It took a small town hick to do it.

Ned Ludd a dit…

As to serial liar Sarkozy, he spent a lot of time calling his opponent Hollande a liar in their debate. To be expected.

Before the first round of the elections, I received a 36 page pamphlet from Sarko's campaign. It starts with a handwritten statement I don't really understand:

"Mes chers compatriotes,

Il n'est rien de plus beau en démocratie que l'amour de son pays ...".

What in hell does that mean?

Ned Ludd a dit…

I meant to add a couple of links to my last post. The first is called Gladio

As one commentator said, "It is easy to see that governments DO turn on their people."

The other one is The Power of Nightmares

Ways that the powers that be use to manipulate so-called democracy.

Flocon a dit…

Salut Ned,

Il n'est rien de plus beau en démocratie que l'amour de son pays ...".

Voilà bien une énième illustration de ce que ce mot "démocratie" est un fourre tout sans limite dont se servent les élites pour mener les masses.

Le régime parlementaire (aka démocratie) n'a rien à voir avec l'amour du pays qui n'est même plus un concept mais qq chose qui relève de l'archaïque besoin d'appartenance à un groupe ayant la même origine, e.g. mummy's womb.

Entendre ou lire à l'occasion les sorties de Sarko, Fillon, Coppé et al. c'est vraiment une insulte quotidienne à la décence et à l'intelligence. And millions of simpletons want more of it ô-Ô

-------

Dans la série Did you know?

Do you know this pic?

Le type à gauche est Jacques Martin dont tu as dû entendre parler, avec Cécilia sa femme d'alors et le type de droite est... Well you kow, avec sa première femme (et le gamin est Pierre, le fils ainé de Sarko born in 1985 date de la photo).

After Cécilia left Martin for Sarko, Martin wasn't pleased about it and punched Sarko's nose hence this cover of Charlie hebdo.

--------

I had bever heard of this Gladio organisation, merci pour le lien. Indeed, where is the tipping point (point d'équilibre ?) entre a so-called "democracy", as purported garantee of human rights and a totalitarian State ?

Orwell said it all 60 years ago, nous vivons dans un mesonge permanent.

Ned Ludd a dit…

The usually intelligent Slate posted a ridiculous article on France and the elections:

http://tinyurl.com/cjvt83w

"France's turn for the worse" was apparently written by someone who has no knowledge of the situation.

I posted a reply under the name of Nedd.

Anijo a dit…

Current frame of mind:

Hey Jude, don't make it bad. Take a sad song, and make it better.

Anijo a dit…

Semperfi said:

In an effort to address all our current themes of:

Atheism, Christianity, quotations, founders of American democracy, and Marines, I offer the following -

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
Benjamin Franklin

(the Marines are connected via beer, of course)

SemperFidelis


Flocon said:

If Ben is to be believed, then Anijo has seen the light since beer is a beverage not totally unheard of in New-Mexico

☺ ☺ ☺

In heaven there is no beer

Flocon a dit…

Ned,

I'll return to your link later, I've found your comment and there's a lot to read with it - the post and part of the comments... I'm overwhelmed with things to do (bon pour le cerveau à mon âge anyway -;) and also I have to go and vote....

Flocon a dit…

Anijo,

I very precisely and vividly remember the first time I heard Hey Jude in my father's car end of August 1968 in the port town of Brest. I also remember how stunned I was with this extatic never ending "lalala hey Jude".

What a great, great song!

Don't carry the world upon your shoulder. A certified and proven remedy against self imposed guilt. Paul was 26 at that time and OK he's a musical genius and these guys are one, two or ten generations ahead of the rest of us.

We don't deserve them and they're the real saviours of humanity (I must be in a Nietzschean mood this morning).

As pertains beer and America, I constantly have this title on my mind (translated into French by your obediant servant).

Some beer here

I've never seen the flick, it never was realeased out side North America

Anijo a dit…

Re the quote on the sidebar. I'm not sure about the origin of the quote from Churchill, but it's not certain that it was Benjamin Franklin who said, "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" . See here an interesting discussion. And here is the original source of the quote from a Reply to the Governor from the Pennsylvania Assembly. (Note that you have to click on the 'Click here if you agree to this licence" in order to read the letter.)

Furthermore, the meaning of the quote in context is not at all certain.

It is also interesting to note that the colonists capitalized nouns. I was curious about this and read that Germans capitalize nouns. But I also noticed that the adjectives were capitalized in the quote from the print of the book, but the Franklin papers site only capitalizes the nouns.

*****

Anijo a dit…

And yes, must keep repeating to self, don't carry the world upon your shoulders

Anijo a dit…

Oh, and here is a nice summary:

This quote first appears in 1755, in a letter from the Pennsylvania Assembly to the then governor of Pennsylvania. In 1757, the letter was published in London by Benjamin Franklin in the book An Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania. This first edition of the book does not specify who the author of the quote is.

The second edition of this book was published in Philadelphia in 1812, after Franklin’s death. This edition attributes the quote to Benjamin Franklin.

In 1760, Franklin wrote to David Hume that he had not written the book, “except for one small section and some of the text attributed to the Assembly when he was serving there” (Minsky).

It seems reasonable that the above quote may be Franklin’s, as it appears quite similar to a proverb he wrote in the 1738 edition of Poor Richard’s Almanack: “Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power.”


***

Note that here the adjectives are also capitalized...

Flocon a dit…

You still have the knack when it comes to do research on the Internet Anijo...

re the capitalization, maybe did the Colonists want to emphasize their texts and ideas by giving them some pompous airs with Capital Letters.

It may also reflect the way books or at least newspapers were printed in the UK with typographic rules not yet firmly set.

Les journaux français de la même époque (Révolution) présentent également de nombreux exemples d'impressions plus ou moins irrégulières.

Perhaps was it a sign of the influence of colonists of German origin?

Yes, all nouns in German are capitalized and the nouns can be very, very long as you know. They actually merge two if not three elements of verbs or nouns or adjectives together and it all comes out as a 15/20 letter word.

A stark contrast with English where most nouns count less than 10 letters.

Some kind of culture shock indeed.

Anijo a dit…

re the capitalization, maybe did the Colonists want to emphasize their texts and ideas by giving them some pompous airs with Capital Letters.

It may also reflect the way books or at least newspapers were printed in the UK with typographic rules not yet firmly set.
Ouais, et encore oui. C'est ca. I was thinking that it had something in the way of the two facets of dealing with the complexity of the human manner of interpretation mixed the human interpretation of the market place.

Anijo a dit…

I might also add that i am all too often too lazy to respond in French. And yet, you, Flocon, are so impressively fluent in both languages... respect... respect..

Anijo a dit…

p.s. I had to get a new hard drive recently, and consequentially I have not as yet learned how to add accents aigue and grave.

Ned Ludd a dit…

Well, we can be joyful that the dwarf is gone, but that is mitigated by the fact that there were about 17 million French who were dumb or ignorant enough to vote for him.

Pétillon had a good cartoon on Sarko last week.

1st picture: "Premier Temps: Dire n'importe quoi."

2nd: "Deuxième temps: nier l'avoir dit."

3rd: "Toisième temps: regretter de l'avoir dit."

4th: "Quatrième temps: le repéter."