Greenlanders and Trump

After Trump was elected, a friend said “If Trump proposes any cuts to the military, Democrats will demand a 600-ship navy.” In that same vein, while I was traveling around Greenland in preparation for a Northwest Passage cruise, my Facebook friends were defending continued white European colonialism in Greenland following Trump’s offer to purchase the island from Denmark.

What does Greenland look like? Here’s Sisimiut, one of the largest cities, population 5,500 (10 percent of the island’s total population):

Danish colonial rule was legitimized (at least by the Klaboona) in the 1930s. History from the museum in Ilulissat (posited source of the glacier that sunk Titanic):

What did Greenland residents think of the Trump offer? I asked everyone whom I met during August 2019 visits to Kangerlussuaq, Ilulissat, Sisimiut, and Itilleq. There was a huge amount of enthusiasm for continued Danish rule… among those who were actually Danish, e.g., an art museum director who was born in Copenhagen to Danish parents and emigrated to Greenland roughly 25 years ago. There was zero enthusiasm for continued Danish rule among those whose heritage was “Greenlandic” (Eskimo/Inuit). People of mixed genetic heritage had a mixed opinion.

One Greenlandic gal noted “the Danes never thought about doing anything for us until Trump made his offer.” The Danes living in Denmark with whom I spoke considered the offer in “What can Greenland do for us?” terms, e.g., what were the value of the minerals that could potentially be mined. They did not mention any consideration of whether Greenlandic folks would be better or worse off under the cruel boot of the Trumpenfuhrer.

Thus, based on my sample of roughly 40 individuals, native Greenlandic folks have the same affection for European colonialism that Native Americans do for European-American immigrants.

My notes from watching short documentaries on Air Greenland (nice airline) during the inbound flight:

People want to fight the Danish and be independent. Yet young people move to Denmark. Young people leave smaller Greenland towns for Nuuk. It is a huge waste of time for Greenland kids to learn Danish; they could be a lot more integrated with the world economy if they learned English instead.

Acknowledgement that they are financially dependent on Denmark, but expressed hope that they can be self-reliant as in the past. Why aren’t the fishing rights lucrative enough for independence ? Plenty of cod back in Viking times.

Why do they have alcohol? Much coverage in the tourist promotional videos of the damage done by alcoholism. Young woman beat up a number of other girls at a bar. Had no memory and no reason to have attacked any of them. Sentenced to 70 hours community service. Industrial cheap alcohol in a place where the sun doesn’t rise for 6 months?

Some photos from the in-flight magazine and seatback video:

Note that helicopters are included within the category of “aeroplanes.” In case you were considering signing up for a dogsled ride, “Travelling with dogs is a sensual experience that penetrates travellers – and remains there”. Mira Kleist, a young diplomat, gives advice to teenagers that might not make sense in the digital age: “Just do what you want to, people soon forget.” (But Google, Facebook, and Archive.org remember, as anyone whose Harvard acceptance has been rescinded can attest.)

Related:

  • “Greenland’s exit warning to Britain” (Politico), regarding the three-year process (1982-1985) required for an island of 56,000 population to leave the European Union. (one fun thing to do on the cruise, whenever the English passengers started to talk about Brexit, was to ask Norwegians at the table if Norway would like to join the EU, a proposal that was greeted with howls of derisive laughter)
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Why do Democrats want to impeach Kavanaugh?

“Calls for Kavanaugh’s Impeachment Come Amid New Misconduct Allegations” (nytimes):

Several Democratic presidential candidates called for the impeachment of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh on Sunday after The New York Times published new information about allegations of sexual misconduct against him, while Republican leaders condemned the reporting as irresponsible and defended him.

“These newest revelations are disturbing,” Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts wrote on Twitter about The Times essay. “Like the man who appointed him, Kavanaugh should be impeached.”

Kamala Harris, a Democratic senator from California and a member of the Senate committee that presided over his confirmation hearings, on Twitter echoed the call for impeachment.

I don’t understand what Democrats would gain if the two proposed impeachments were successful. Trump gets replaced by Pence, right? Wouldn’t that just set Pence up for a 9-year presidency? Similarly, if Kavanaugh were to be impeached, wouldn’t Trump (or Pence, in the Democrats’ ideal world!) simply appoint an equally conservative replacement? If the replacement happens to identify as a woman, e.g., Amy Coney Barrett, then the current standard playbook couldn’t be used.

(I personally would be happy if Kavanaugh were gone, since he has admitted to being “proud” of having practiced sex discrimination in hiring (nytimes: “I am proud that a majority of my law clerks have been women.”). I don’t understand how the U.S. can have a gender-neutral legal environment when judges brag about not treating all 52 (54?) genders equally.)

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Making America Great with a German Helicopter

Democrats will debate tonight, presumably seeing whose empty unfunded promises can come closest to what Hugo Chavez promised voters.

What do Trump supporters have? At Oshkosh, we saw the Trump Chopper: Turning Washington Upside Down. What does it take to make (keep?) America Great? A Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo 105!

Everything is right-side up on one side and upside down on the other. This includes the tail number(!):

Watch the videos on trumpchopper.com. The machine does aerobatics, just like the Red Bull BO-105.

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Religious dogma of the Church of Trump Hatred

A Facebook friend’s post:

The upcoming US election is unlike any other. … This is not a normal election. This is a national emergency. It cancels the usual rules. … [some ideas for what Democrats should do] … Then, once the gross course correction is attained, away from the Trump course of authoritarian, corrupt, nationalistic, lie/propaganda/fear/polarization based government, we can go back to deciding how liberal or conservative our policies on 100 matters should be.

Right away from this coastal elite Democrat, scornful of religious Americans who accept dogma uncritically, we can see Millenarianism:

the belief by a religious, social, or political group or movement in a coming fundamental transformation of society, after which “all things will be changed”

Of course, I couldn’t resist a simple question:

How has the stock market done during this 2.5-year “national emergency”?

I.e., why wouldn’t investors take 60 seconds to sell U.S. stocks and buy non-U.S. stocks, rather than stick around for the “national emergency” and see whether Dictator Trump would confiscate their assets, just as other dictators have done in the past? Why would foreigners continue to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in the U.S. (some stats)?

The answer turned out to be, ultimately, that any question regarding whether Trump being in the White House constituted a “national emergency” was “off topic”.

If we regard Trump hatred as a religion, ideas that cannot be questioned or examined rationally would be part of the dogma.

Separately, the other day I photographed stickers on an aircraft mechanic’s toolbox:

I posted them on Facebook, noting that they had come from a mechanic’s toolbox, and a guy who lives in Manhattan and draws his paycheck from the refugee industry responded with “Who gives a fuck” (a good summary of Democrats with regard to native-born guys who work hard at skilled blue collar jobs?). I think this is evidence for my Dutch friend’s observation regarding American elites, blue collar whites, and Trump’s election: “They forgot to take away their right to vote.”

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Believing in both a benevolent God and Trump in the White House

A virtuous Facebook friend posted “Have We No Decency? A Response to President Trump” from three reverends (Right, Very, and Plain) at the National Cathedral.

The content is conventional:

The escalation of racialized rhetoric from the President of the United States has evoked responses from all sides of the political spectrum. On one side, African American leaders have led the way in rightfully expressing outrage. On the other, those aligned with the President seek to downplay the racial overtones of his attacks, or remain silent.

But the authors are presumably believers in a benevolent and omnipotent God. Here was my response:

If God hates Trump (and why wouldn’t she?), why did God allow Trump to be elected?

I’m wondering how it is possible for this trio of reverends to simultaneously believe in their powerful and benevolent God and also in the existence of President Trump.

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How many people would spend 19 hours listening to the Mueller Report?

One of the great things about the Internet is that we can answer the question How many people would spend 19 hours listening to the Mueller Report?

The Audible version of the Mueller Report has 480 ratings!

(I recently talked to a couple of intelligent well-educated sisters. They believed that the Mueller Report proved that Donald Trump was an arch-criminal, that he would be prosecuted and imprisoned if he were not a sitting president, and that if they could only get hold of his tax returns it would prove that he was involved in “money-laundering”. Despite their passion, I don’t think that they had read every page of the report, much less invested half a work week in listening.)

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Do CNN viewers think that Donald Trump is a god?

I recently spent two weeks on site at a big law firm as part of my software expert witness slavery. There are TVs in the reception and common areas of the firm, all of them locked to CNN so as to prevent unorthodox thoughts or deeds (e.g., changing the channel to Fox News!). Every time I helped myself to coffee, on-tap fizzy water, or waited for someone, therefore, I was watching CNN.

What did I see on this Channel of the Righteous? Except during commercial breaks, one name was on the screen at nearly all times. Whose name is more important than that of any human on Planet Earth? To Christians, “Jesus,” perhaps, or simply “God.” Thus a program on a Christian TV network might mention “Jesus” or “Christ” in every few sentences. Here are some sample screens:

Yes, the word “Trump” appeared on screen roughly 99 percent of the non-break time during my informal survey.

Could it be that Trump is, from the point of view of CNN viewers, actually God or at least “a god”?

More evidence… a virtuous friend recently shared the following meme on Facebook:

“Every time T says something racist or otherwise offensive, simply respond ‘Epstein‘. That’s what he’s covering up. Don’t take his bait.”

His Facebook friends don’t know Trump personally. If they’re “responding” to Trump without ever talking to him in person, isn’t the implication that they regard Trump as supernaturally omnipresent?

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A tale of two T-shirts

What price virtue? An Obama t-shirt available at the Smithsonian American Art Museum for $45:

Across the street in a gift shop run by a Chinese woman with an accent… a $7 Trump T-shirt. Made in Honduras:

Separately, an attorney with whom I work (as a software expert witness, fortunately, not on legal questions!) silently protests the political groupthink at his big firm with a Donald J. Trump Signature Collection tie:

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How many of the folks who say Trump is a racist would be willing to move into a free house in Baltimore?

Donald J. Trump, racist, is back in the news for some unkind comments about Baltimore (a city roughly as dangerous as the countries from which caravan members are coming and receiving asylum due to the high murder rate, e.g., in Guatemala).

Here’s a suggestion for readers: When a righteous person on Facebook denounces Trump the Racist over this, offer to pay for a house or apartment in a median Baltimore neighborhood and see if he or she is willing to move in. (Baltimore itself may not have great jobs for the coastal elites who display maximum virtue on Facebook, but it is within practical commuting distance of high-paying work in the D.C. suburbs and therefore an inability to work is a not an excuse).

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Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C. (review)

To see how many folks would defriend me on Facebook, I decided to stay at the Trump Hotel (#1 ranked on TripAdvisor) during a recent business trip to D.C.

The hotel is located in one of the most impressive buildings in Washington, D.C., the 1899 Old Post Office. This became derelict by the 1970s and a 1983 revival attempt failed to turn it into a viable shopping mall. Trump leased it in 2013, fixed it up, and opened it as a hotel just in time for the 2016 coup d’etat (in which the rightful heiress to the U.S. throne failed to obtain it).

The ornate Trump style for which even he has mocked himself (see this 2004 episode of Saturday Night Live: “This place looks like the Liberace Museum”; “Who did your decorating? Saddam Hussein?”) works pretty well in an ornate Victorian-era building. Bring on the gold leaf!

Basic rooms are about $400/night (roughly 20 percent cheaper than comparably luxurious hotels). A pet is $50 extra. The bathroom featured enough marble to entomb a Communist leader (Bernie Sanders will eventually have his mausoleum here?).

A shaving kit was provided quickly and graciously by the front desk. The included razor was a three-blade Gillette, thus linking the Trump brand to a fight against toxic masculinity and to a celebration of transgenderism. Performance was truly terrible compared to anything made by Dorco.

The gym was huge (by hotel standards), with a full selection of weights, cardio, and other equipment. It was usually empty. Sadly, the gym restroom was not marked “all gender”:

Food in the hotel is served in the main glassed-over courtyard room. Breakfast is great, at typically high luxury hotel prices. The evening steakhouse is superb, with waitstaff who are obviously quite serious about cuisine. The Trump Organization does seem to have a knack for hiring great people. Everyone in the hotel is welcoming.

One nit: The courtyard, and therefore restaurants, is suffused with a soft techno-style thumping music. This might make sense at a W Hotel (which I can’t stand!) or in Miami, but Mozart string quartets would make a lot more sense given the decor.

My Facebook friends were outraged as predicted. A national bank “community relations” executive told me that the Trump hotels were her favorite and she would always try to get a room in a Trump property for any business trip to a city where the empires. She is even more passionate about her love for Obama and Hillary, however, and stopped patronizing Trump hotels in 2016.

A DC-based lawyer with whom I work said that he was a regular drinks/dining customer at the Trump D.C. hotel, but has shied away since Trump won the election.

Given that the intensity of Trump hatred among Democrats is much stronger than the intensity of Trump love among Republicans, I wonder if the narrative that Trump hotels are getting a boost in business from his presidency is false. Maybe there are some folks who think it is fun to be a Trump customer and perhaps there are some foreigners who think that Trump will do their bidding if they are regular guests. But these have to be outweighed by those who want to demonstrate their virtue by never setting foot in a Trump-named enterprise again.

(A friend at a local Harvard Club event was listening to a talk about negotiating difficult deals. The speaker said that one had to find something to “appreciate” about the person on the other side. Once that bond had been made it might be possible to make progress. As an example, then, he asked a woman in the audience “What can you appreciate about Donald Trump?” She answered immediately, and in a huff: “Nothing.” It doesn’t seem as though she will be a customer of Trump D.C. any time soon!)

Democrats have not explained how the influence would work. I would have loved it if the room had included a doorknob hang tag with the guest’s desired change to federal regulations (my pick: FAR 135.160!).

Some more views….

Related:

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