The Cult of Personality: And That’s All Xi Wrote

The previous post caused me to think that China must have produced some songs about President Xi. Research disclosed this singable ditty.

A translation appears below. (No I didn’t do it myself, I got it off the internet.)

The first line—“China [has] produced an Uncle Xi”—will immediately remind all Chinese of the opening lines of that classic solumn Chinese Communist hymn, “The East is Red.” The lines of that song go, “The east is red. The sun is shining. China has produced a Mao Zedong.” (See video at end of post.)

I strongly suspect “He dares to fight the tigers” has some metaphorical resonance, but I don’t know what it is.

The next line—“Not afraid of heaven, not afraid of earth” or “He doesn’t fear heaven, he doesn’t fear earth”—reminds me of a classic Chinese saying: “Don’t fear heaven, don’t fear earth, just be afraid of foreign devils speaking Chinese.”

I expect you will have figured out that “Xi Dada” is Daddy Xi, and “Peng Mama” is Mama Peng. (All babies speak the same language at birth.)

And finally, I’ll just say this: the man does know how to do a cheerful, fun-filled cult of personality.

Too bad for Trump that Trump doesn’t know how to do that. And how fortunate for us that Trump lacks the skill to unite a large majority in singing his praises.

Translation follows.

China produced an Uncle Xi, He dares to fight the tigers.

Not afraid of heaven, not afraid of earth,
Dreamers all look to him!

China also has a Peng Mama,
Give her the most beautiful flowers.

Protect and bless her,
Flourishing family, flourishing country, flourishing under heaven!

Xi Dada loves Peng Mama,
This sort of love is legendary,

Peng Mama loves Xi Dada,
The realm with love is the strongest!

Men should study Xi Dada,
Women should study Peng Mama,

Love like they do,
Love can warm everyone!

Men should study Xi Dada,
Women should study Peng Mama,

Love like they do,
People with love can win everything!

Brave love is called Xi Dada loves Peng Mama,
Together, he’s always smiling happily at her.

Brave love is called Peng Mama loves Xi Dada,
Hand in hand, her smile is the most beautiful flower.

And now, for a blast from the past, “The East is Red.”

Speaking in Parseltongue

the snake

Maureen Dowd:

On her way to work one morning,
down the path along the lake,
a tenderhearted woman
saw a rich, coldhearted, frozen snake.

His tangerine skin was all caked with makeup
and his bald spot was frosted with the dew.
“Poor thing,” she cried,
“I’ll take you in, and I’ll take care of you.” …

She wrapped him up all cozy,
tucking in his absurdly long tie of silk, a
nd laid him by her fireside with two Big Macs, two Filet-O-Fish,
and a chocolate shake of milk.

She hurried home that night from holding up a torch on Liberty Island,
and soon as she arrived,
she found that the freaky snake, transfixed by his own image on TV,
had been revived. …

She stroked his puffy Velveeta scales again,
and kissed and held him tight.
But instead of saying thank you, that grabby snake wrapped around her you-know-what
and gave her a vicious bite. …

“I saved you,” cried the woman.
“And you’ve bitten me. Heavens, why?
You know your bite is poisonous,
and now I’m going to die.”

“Oh, shut up, silly woman,”
said the serpent with a grin.
“You knew damn well I was a snake
before you took me in.”

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Who is this Woman and Why is she Smiling?


Her name is Linda Belcher and she is smiling because she is number 37 in a string of Democratic state legislative seat pickups since Orange Man assumed office.

She’s a returning member of the Kentucky House of Representatives. On Tuesday of this week she won her election by 68 to 32 percent, having narrowly lost her seat in 2016—a year in which her district’s voters chose Trump over Clinton by 72 to 23 percent.

Is it possible be that the Republican brand has suffered some damage? Could it be that lunatics with machine guns, racism, kleptocracy, misogyny, and treason are turning out to be unpopular? Who could have guessed?

Before I Built a Wall I’d Like to Know What I was Walling in or Walling out


Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
“Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbours.”
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
“Why do they make good neighbours? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.” I could say “Elves” to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbours.”

Robert Frost

Fawkes and Friends

fawkes and friends

David Frum went there this morning:

Nothing has been done in the past 15 months to prevent [Russian] help [to Republicans] from flowing. You have to wonder whether the president does not privately welcome that help, as he publicly welcomed help from WikiLeaks in the summer of 2016.

Trump’s own tweets reveal that among the things he most fears is the prospect of Representative Adam Schiff gaining the gavel of the House Intelligence Committee from the clownish present chairman, Devin Nunes. How far would Trump go to stop a dreaded political opponent, inside the law and outside? How far has Donald Trump gone in the past?

Trump continues to insist that he and his campaign team did not collude with Russia in the 2016 election. We know that they were ready and eager to collude—that’s on the public record. (“If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”) The public does not yet know whether the collusion actually occurred, and if so, in what form and to what extent. But in front of our very eyes we can observe that they are leaving the door open to Russian intervention on their behalf in the next election. You might call it collusion in advance—a dereliction of duty as grave as any since President Buchanan looked the other way as Southern state governments pillaged federal arsenals on the eve of the Civil War.

It’s not just narcissism. It’s not just a blind spot. He’s glad the Russians helped him. He wants them to keep on doing it.

Please Say “You’re Fired!”

My intuition is that both Kelly and McMaster badly want to be fired. And why would they want anything else?

Will Trump have the guts to fire them? Or will he be content to look weak and reek of impotence?

I don’t know. But it’s pretty clear that when they go, they will be damned hard to replace.

And why is that? Because at this point even someone with the soul of a lickspittle toady and the morals of a sea slug will have grasped that it is not a good career move to work for Donald Trump.

Who’s the Hostage Now?


Trump took the Dreamers hostage to get the money for his Great Wall. Ultimately, the Democrats bit. Then, whoever was pulling Trump’s strings decided that was not enough: they needed to couple Dreamers plus Wall with Make America White Again immigration law changes.

Yesterday, after veto threats and heavy lobbying, Trump killed the Wall for Dreamers deal he had wanted. It got 54 votes in the Senate, thus falling to a filibuster supported by 45 Republicans. Forty-five Republicans who either want to deport Dreamers, or are scared shitless of Trump and their own rabid base.

Meanwhile, the Make America White Again proposal fell on its face, winning support from 36 Republicans and three Democrats. Fourteen Republican Senators—chanting “No Amnesty! No “Amnesty! No Amnesty!”—voted against it.

Against this background, two federal courts have enjoined Trump from deporting Dreamers. I have not studied the technical legal issues raised by these decisions, but, whatever the legal analysis may be, I strongly suspect that most courts will be inclined to cut the Dreamers some slack, while viewing any Trumpian legal arguments through a highly skeptical lens.

So, who’s the hostage now? Trump took the Dreamers hostage in exchange for his Wall. But isn’t the Wall now hostage to the Dreamers?

Because, with matters at this pass, good luck getting the Democrats to do any deal at all with President Bad Faith Negotiator.

Because, when the kidnapper takes the hostage, and his family pays the ransom, but the kidnapper still tries to kill the hostage, good luck to the kidnapper in doing any more deals.

So, here’s a final question: how long do y’all think it will be before President Shit for Brains will be viciously tweeting to condemn the folks who painted him into this corner?