RPCV Leo Cecchini (Ethiopia) writes “Why Support Trump”

— First Published on our site in June 2016

The Peace Corps is always accused of being overrun with ‘bleeding heart liberals” since the first days of the agency when Eisenhower declared  the agency was a “juvenile experiment,” and Richard Nixon said it was another form of “draft evasion.”  This was when the Daughters of the American Revolution warned of a “yearly drain” of “brains and brawn”…for the benefit of backward, underdeveloped countries.”

However, the following year, Time magazine declared in a cover story that the Peace Corps was “the greatest single success the Kennedy administration had produced.”  Still we had many good Americans who hated the agency.

Here in this short piece, Leo Cecchini (Ethiopia 1962-64) wrote for our site back in June 2016.

Leo is a good friend and a very good writer. He wrote a wonderful piece about how his father deserted the Italian army during the North African campaign and escaped to America and Washington, D.C. where Leo was raised.  Leo is living example that all PCVs and RPCVs are not ‘bleeding heart liberals.”



by Leo Cecchini (Ethiopia 1962-64)

The Donald

If one goes beyond the popular concern with where one takes a dump or how to treat ladies or using politically correct speech or other such minutia there are solid reasons to vote for Trump:

  1. He is the Republican Party candidate
  2. His economic plan embodied in “Make America Great Again” is an innovative and creative approach to restoring a vibrant, pro-growth economy to replace the sad “New Normal” given us by Obama with its lower expectations, less opportunity for new comers to the economy, and general malaise. After eight years we see that government policy will not restore the traditional high growth, robust economy of the past. Obama’s “stimulus” has been no more effective than the Europeans “austerity” at reviving the economy.
  3. Trump recognizes that we either enforce our immigration policy or change it. I prefer the latter option.
  4. Trump recognizes that there are lands with raging conflict, some the result of our previous intervention, e.g. Iraq, others with no link to the USA, e.g. Yemen. He sees that the root problem is an internal struggle within Islam for dominance that has nothing to do with the USA but can cause us problems, e.g. the Orlando massacre. He wants to stay out of this quagmire but defend ourselves from its egregious acts of violence.
  5. Trump wants to re-evaluate our “force projection” around the world leaving other developed countries to do more of their self-defense while we withdraw forces where they are not needed.
  6. Trump has promised to be “neutral” in any attempt to solve the Palestinian-Israeli problem.
  7. Trump wants us to shake our self-flagellation over past errors and promote the values that have made America great. He is not afraid to say America is the best the world has produced to date.
  8. Trump likes women, why else would he have created the Miss Universe competition that is the goal of millions of young women around the world? He is proud of his daughters and one is a major part of his business empire.
  9. Trump is the son of an immigrant and is married to one, he understands immigrants.
  10. Trump shares with the conservatives of his party total respect for the Constitution.
  11. Above all Trump believes in the “American Dream” that he himself have achieved and is convinced is the best stimulus for the hopes and aspirations of his fellow Americans.

Do you really need more reasons to vote Trump?



Dick Lipez says:

Is this satire?

Edward Mycue says:

Why harness “dead” to “serious”? And why “good” with “Republican”?

Gerald Karey says:

Dead serious and dead wrong. But it’s Leo being Leo – a knee-jerk Conservative. I still fondly recall in one of my earlier exchanges with Leo on this site (version 1.0) in which he was in full global warming denial mode, and wrote that Floridians would deal with rising sea levels (if, in fact, it is occurring) by putting their houses on stilts. I don’t think it was satire.
In any event, hello again, Leo. I will just add that whatever virtues you see in Trump, I’m a Jew and his anti-Muslim rhetoric is disturbingly familiar.

Mary Hollis says:

From one RPCV to another, I give this article two thumbs up.

Edward Mycue says:

“…thumbs up.” what?!

Edward Mycue says:

and where!

Mary-Ann Tirone Smith says:

Rather than proving that all Peace Corps volunteers are not bleeding-heart liberals, whatever that is, he only proved that many Peace Corps volunteers, including himself, are assholes.
Mary-Ann Tirone Smith

Edward Mycue says:

Mary-Ann, I agree with your irate response in feeling, but we have to try not describing persons as body parts. How about describing him instead as a ham sandwich?

Joanne Roll says:

Hi Leo,

I had a very comprehensive reply to your article, but I forgot to submit it. I hope very much that you continue prosper now that the UK has left the EU. If you have a chance, could you explain time zones to your Mr. Trump. Explain how Benghazi and DC are NOT in the same time zone. That when it is night in Washington DC, it is morning in Benghazi. Mrs. Clinton did not “sleep” through an attack on the outpost in Benghazi, she spent most of her afternoon and evening in DC, which was night and early morning in Tripoli, making sure that the 80 state department personnel at the Embassy were safely evacuated.

You might also help Mr. Trump understand the difference between a small outpost in Benghazi and the real Embassy in Tripoli, given your career in Foreign Service. Finally, if you get a chance, maybe you could remind your hero that the parents of Ambassador Stevens asked that his death not be politicized. Ciao!

Mishelle Shepard says:

How nice to see some universally relevant political exchanges again on this site! Of course it is Leo to spice it up a notch! My Dad and I were recently discussing Trump and Hillary. He’s in Mena, Arkansas. If you don’t know the relevance of that small town of 1,500, I urge you to google it. He’ll vote for Trump because he’s the “lesser of two evils” a saying I’ve heard all my life. So, I say, we should vote for Dracula or Medusa, and then not laugh when they call this a Democracy. Nice to see y’all, in any case!

Edward Mycue says:

I like your take on this shallow dish of cold oats.

Tony Zurlo says:

Wow! “WHY SUPPORT TRUMP?” by Leo Cecchini (Ethiopia 1962-64) must be satire.

I was not a very effective PCV, but I do recognize Trump’s con. And I suspect this commentary is a safe way to cope with Trump phobia.

But really, how far back in history must we go to find candidates who are relatively clean in affairs of finance, of the heart, of wheeling and dealing for power, playing loose with the truth? Ike and his Dulles Bros’ hit men? Truman? Surely not the Kennedy family; and not Landslide Lyndon; Tricky Dick; Ford, maybe; Carter, maybe; Reagan had his charm, but his Iran deal and his administration’s support for Iraq, and funny dealings with Latin America? The Bush family certainly played yo-yo with a lot of suspicious oil money, here and abroad; the Clintons are worthy of the long line of presidents who learned to play the well-heeled establishment; Obama “seems” one of the more honest of the bunch.

I suppose Trump could scam them for a while. But do you really think he’s intelligent enough to have outlasted Johnson or Reagan or the Clintons? And how long would Ike have put up with him? And just think of what Truman would have done to him.

No. Leo must be putting us on. Trump’s game is so obvious, it’s incredibly embarrassing.

Mishelle says:

Tony, that’s just it, the entire game is just so obvious. Between the so-called Left and Right there is no fundamental ideological difference and the little that there once was grows more narrow every year. Both Right and Left support wars of aggression based on pirating the resources of less technologically advanced nations, and the only debate is how to spend the spoils–according to Hillary/Bernie–spend it on the poor, according to Trump, spend it on pleasure and getting ahead in the game. In both cases, keep feeding the matrix. Keep the war-machine in place, keep the central banking system empowered, stay mesmerized in the slow boil of global tyranny. Which candidate dares ask — why are we stealing these folks’ resources at all? Why are we playing global policemen and righteous ministers of global morality? Who says we know enough to align the world to our way of living, when our society is declining with astonishing rapidity? The only solution is to stop playing, stop believing in this game, it’s a pro-wrestling match for the educated, and it’s about time folks see it’s controlled.

Edward Mycue says:

This is a pretty good framing of the discussion where everybody PC jumps in to comment. Have you been hearing the terms “spitballing” and “swamping”? I can’t remember the terms in political science classes that more directly described this sort of mind-manipulation techniques, maybe because that was 60 yrs ago. Do you remember what they might have been then?

Joanne Roll says:

Okay, truth time, I joined the Peace Corps because I really believed our generation, the ones who were raised and educated by the combat veterans of WWII had a responsibility to build a world without war. Of course I never admitted that to the “Officers of the Sudden Death Selection Board.” I mumbled something about wanted some experience before I got a real job.

Now, I see the very fragile global economic and political cooperation snapping back to nationalism like a rubber band stretched too far, too fast. I wonder, of course, what could we have could have done to promote the Third Goad to the general public. I have argued for a national Peace Corps Library/Archive/Museum for years with no success. If there were a public space where ordinary citizens and school kids could visit and learn, not about the Peace Corps Adventure, but rather the people around the world that we have come to know and sometimes love, That doesn’t happen overnight, it is a long process, and in fifty five years, I think we have failed. There are marvelous books and so many RPCV projects, but the knowledge of all that work circulates, mainly, within the RPCV community and isolated schools, churches and other groups, not the country at large. Most importantly, if a person is curious, not about joining the Peace Corps, but what has been accomplished, there is no place to go to find out. One has to know where to look and whom to ask and there is no way for a curious citizen, outside the loop, to find out.

Mishelle says:

Joanne, you are a passionate and well-spoken woman with great life experiences, I think you would be amazing at beginning just such an endeavor for curious citizens outside the loop!

Joanne Roll says:

Correction: The sentence fragment should read:
If there were a public space where ordinary citizens and school kids could visit and learn, not about the Peace Corps Adventure, but rather the people around the world that we have come to know and sometimes love, maybe so many people would be more comfortable with people living in the rest of the world.

william m. evensen says:

GOP is almost over. Draft-dodging George Bush-loving Republic-rats, like Leo, are irrelevant. They are the moral dinosaurs of the Capitalistic Age. In CA, 28% of registered voters are GOP, lowest in CA history. Oddly enough the registered voters in CA who decline to be partisan now total 24.5%. It won’t be long before the GOP in CA, where Carly lost by a million votes (after spending $95 M), is the 3rd largest body of voters. In fact non-partisan voters have decided every statewide election in CA since Gray Davis was elected and re-called…

Now to the good news, Yes, a PC Museum/adjacent to the Memorial of Lost PCVs, is just what the Nation needs as it recoils from its failed and morally decadent militarism. If we had full employment people wouldn’t be forced to kill for a living….Peace appeals to more people than war does. One is about love, the other is about fear…Thanks Ms. Roll. Keep on pushing that important idea…

Peru ’64 – ’66
(+8 year military obligation)

Edward Mycue says:

There is a lot of nuttiness to the phrase from John above: “Leo is dead serious”. So am I who believed in progress, in the basic goodness of persons. I pass out of history: this continues. While I live I am steward, mechanic, actor, helper. Peace is a place in every breath. The Peace Corps matters. You continue to learn ways it matters you never considered. There is a lot of nuttiness in how I look back and how I see my past. My Hair Was Severely Brushed and My Damp Face Looked Pink
Painted Over and Blotched in a faded sepia photograph of 55 years ago. I had a young, firm face then wide-eyed waiting to catchit, whatever ‘it’ was, take it apart to understand what the virus life was presenting to me, me who couldn’t then have seen myself or my kind as a virus swarming out of our planet attempting to conquer and perhaps colonize stars. I sat at my window looking at the large, heavy cones eing attacked by huge awkward crows disturbing other life in that tree, greedy things. I recall great grand-mother Jane Kennedy-Carson-Fraser Delehant, “Grammy”, warning against following the crows before you die, the way rodents do who pick up the greedy crows’ leavings. I now see, I am a crow. Though part of a system, I, as well, begin to be conscious with a bad conscience envisioning what Grammy also foresaw: geese walking over my grave. There is a lot of nuttiness I hear in Quaker-inflected thees and thous still long 70 years after she died when I was 10 of her ‘cautions’ and ‘jokey’ warnings. “Everybody’s odd but thee and, me dearie, AND sometimes I wonder about thee” She knew. I see it now. She was born in the early 1860’s. I go back there with her here now that I am her age.

© Edward Mycue 27/June/2016 Monday afternoon, San Francisco

Tony Zurlo says:

Edward (OZENTAO),
You respond with poetry, and inevitably I associate poetry with music, and music with beauty, and beauty with truth. Truth stings but ultimately elevates. Grammy’s riddles were seams in the riddle; threads of wisdom. Are we all crows in life? In the fog of free-will, I caw that I can evade those damn geese waddling across my grave.

Edward Mycue says:

Thanks Tony for your kind clever reply. The badinage is pleasing indeed. In deed as well as well intended. Ed

Edward Mycue says:

Note :“Riding the tiger” is seen as a wonderous inability to change (ie get off),once you are on it, and yet many have changed horses midstream and the new life is quite rich. The difference between the two being that the horse is unlikely to kill you. I like the tiger myself for myself because I like the the ride of writing my own poetry because you see it rides me.

Riding-The-Tiger of Writing

For ANTHONY RUDOLF who, on reading the poem, quoted Blake & I added it as the final line

Within the context of ‘writing’ as another form of ‘riding
the tiger’ (“who rides the tiger cannot dismount”), asking “who am I” questions identity in a life-lock seat-belt realm.

From gloaming, tigers get mounted, ridden, through twilight: between the two there’s mostly dark, either way, dusk. Heros don’t attend dark being so much too occupied.

David and Jonathan switching their clothes.
Anthony and Cleopatra exchanging their clothes.
Enkidu and Gilgamesh grappling swept through love.
Doing my own steps I’m driving extremely riding the tiger.

“The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.”*

*From the Proverbs section of Willian Blake’s MARRIAGE OF HEAVEN AND HELL
©Edward Mycue 28 December 2015

Texas 23 says:

It’s interesting how the response to Leo’s assertion to support Trump has been largely reduced to the following:

Ad hominem attacks – “it’s Leo being Leo – a knee-jerk Conservative…..”, “Draft-dodging George Bush-loving Republic-rats, like Leo, are irrelevant…”, “he only proved that many Peace Corps volunteers, including himself, are assholes”

Straw man arguments – “If you have a chance, could you explain time zones to your Mr. Trump…..”,

Hijacking the thread to talk about themselves – “Okay, truth time, I joined the Peace Corps because I …….”

Sharing irrelevant poetry – “There is a lot of nuttiness to the phrase…..”

Good job at attempting to shutdown the conversation. Are you really that scared to have a “real” discussion and address Leo’s assertion?

Joanne Roll says:

Am I correct Texas23, that you are not now nor have never been associated with the Peace Corps and do not or may not share the value of “improving global understanding”. If I am mistaken, please clarify…

I did not “hack” the thread to talk about myself, I wanted to stress, as so many of us do, what was motivating my comments that followed and why I was so disappointed that so many of my fellow countrymen (persons) were so ignorant or hostile to people in other countries. I felt that those of us who had served in the Peace Corps could have done a better job of bringing home the common humanity that we all share and that those of us who lived and loved in foreign countries had learned. I think that if the people of the United States were more knowledgeable about the rest of the world, they would not be susceptible to the blatant racial attacks and ethnic slurs of Mr. Trump.

Specifically, to answer Mr. Leo
1) I am not a Republican
2) Trump’s economic plan, which changes all the time, could start a trade war, increase prices of all consumer goods, cost jobs, create more pollution, and contribute to global warming. Also, there is no “conflict of interest” in the constitution, Trump could use executive order to enhance his business interests.
3) I agree that we should change our immigration policy. However, I disagree with the
specifics of Mr. Trump, et.al.
4) “He wants to stay out of this quagmire but defend ourselves from its egregious acts of violence.” Hey, don’t we all. It is not clear exactly how Mr. Trump would accomplish this….other than nuclear war…which was one option he has already toyed with. He also, IMHO, vastly underestimates the rage that is felt by those who think the US has invaded and is bombing their homelands.
5) Re-evaluating our “force projection” is long overdue. However, it should have been done during a time of relative peace, not when Europe, Africa, and our allies in the Far East are all facing increased threats from a variety of different sources. Russia benefits immediately from a weakened Europe, but that may well be okay with you.
6) Trump has also promised to support Israel, our true ally in the Mid-East…He does tell people exactly what they want to hear.
7) “Admitting past mistakes” is honest and reassures our allies and those who would be our allies that we can re-examne what it is we have done…for horrible example, the Iraq invasion.
8) Trump likes women with artificial breast and lips and a “sale by date” of 30. Real women need good laws – the Medical Family Leave Act-Equal Opportunity Act-Civil Rights Legislation-
Clean Air for their children-etc. All of these are those so-called “government” interference with business that Trump is going to eliminate, if elected.
9), 10) Trump is the son of one immigrant woman who married well and came long after the Scotch-Irish were subject to discrimination. She married well and her husband provided their son with a million or so “start up” money; that is not the usual immigrant experience, although it certainly called be called the “American Dream.”
11) As for the Constitution? Trump doesn’t respect it, he doesn’t even know its most important provisions – Freedom of the Press, no religious test for office, equal protection of the laws, Freedom of religion…..

As for teaching Mr. Trump about time zones, one of his stupid statements was that Hillary Clinton “slept through the battle of Benghazi” because he thought that Libya and Washington DC were in the same time zone. At the very least, mr. texas23, RPCVs know about time zones!!

Edward Mycue says:

This reply #17 from (under) the hashtag “Texas 23” falls under another, “Dissembling”. Who is this person? Keeping such things secret leads to dissembling through lies, denials, withholding information, presenting only a selection of truth, half-truths in place of a whole, false dichotomies distorting, breaking down truths bit here, bit there. Can the writer authenticate even who the “hashtager” “Texas 23” is hiding from for. Come into the open and just do more than snipe.

Tony Zurlo says:

You think “Texas 23” might be the same “Brain Trust” that does Trump’s Ads? I guess their next entry will be more gobbledygook like: “Don’t Mess With Texas,” to which another “Brain Trust” shall quip: “Can’t Make Texas More Than A Mess Than It Already Is.”
Ah Shucks, what does politics have to do with it? We live in an insult culture anyway, so just “counterpunch.” Isn’t that the winning strategy for everything? Just another reality show or sporting event.

Edward Mycue says:

Well Texas is a home place for me and has lots of nice friends and relatives. I grew up there from age eleven. I love everyplace I’ve been to in there having often gone with my dad’s weekly work travels (if I had my homework done; & my siblings also shared in the trips alternating). Dad was an aftermarket auto part salesman, in the “missionary salesman” category (non-religious) going all over Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, New Mexico, Louisiana. (Even got to Arizona then, too,once.) What a glorious childhood education my folks gave us. I know that no matter what some blowmouths may spout in ignorance shouldn’t give a bad name to most of the people thereabouts. There are a lots of goodwill mavericks all over that part of the south west.

Joanne Roll says:

Dear Edward,

What a great childhood you had! My little grandchildren are Texas born and Texas bred, and are dear, sweet, and very polite, except sometimes to each other!

Edward Mycue says:

I HOPE Tony Zerlo didn’t think I could be referring to him. He’s been nice. It’s the others who get naughtymouthed. I just prattle on sometimes (more than others). Thanks for your kind educated heart, Joanne. Ed
ps I wrote an itsybitsy memory yesterday:
“Tings happen” and intentions dented, bent, re-looped as in a mobius strip. I had a sister and cousin in the Haight, San Francisco and stopped in on my way to Vancouver (to get ‘landed’) on June 1, 1970 on my way back from Europe. Then they went away and Margo Mycue said “save the place, we’ll” (She and Lee Chu) “be back” but had a baby 8 July 1971 (Zen Mycue Chu, wonderful Zen, was due 4 July but waited for the full moon) in Virginia Beach where Margo was then working at the Edgar Casey Institute waiting for her first child to come. Then she had another, Lili (wonderful Lili) in Tyro, Virginia up in the mountains where Margo went to teach. In the meantime I met Richard Steger, the painter. He was finishing up his masters in painting delayed from all that uproar at SF State. Then more strings of everyday chaos and happiness and me partnering at Panjandrum Press and then my own press Norton-Coker and my zine TOOK. On and on. So here I remain 46 years later. Waiting today for the man John Durham the BOLERIUM founder to check out more of my papers & such to add to what Yale’s Beinecke Rare Bks and MSS Library accessioned in 2010. Although this maker’s hand is aging, it has been very busy scribbling and still publishing in print journals and zines and online a lot. (SOMEBODY STOP ME is not something I Ask.)

Tony Zurlo says:

Joan and Edward,

I know trying to insert a morsel of humor into the conversation likely feeds the Texas Secessionists and Texas Militia and the Constitutional Open Carry lobbies, so I guess I’ll simply claim my bona fides by stating I’m a life-long, zealous Texas Ranger and Dallas Maverick fan; with UT Arlington and ETSU degrees, taught for decades in the DFW area, retired in the state, and expect to “start[ed] a worm farm” here [apologies to William Carlos Williams].

Edward Mycue says:

are terms I am learning BUT they are not new. The gullible (remember ‘gull’?) let themselves be guided and gulled by fakers and shouters. Then they are moved off-track away from what is really the focus, the problem, and the promise. FOCUS & PROBLEM & PROMISE. We now the elders to whom I speak (even those in their 20’s in some cases) must not be stampeded.
© Edward Mycue 16 July 2016

Monday, July 11, 2016 Swamping by Scott F. Aikin and Robert B. Talisse
In last month’s column, we introduced a name for what we suppose is a familiar phenomenon. Spitballing is a tactic of deflection, where a speaker repeatedly interjects vague, but self-contained, and overtly provocative statements into a discussion. The aim of the spitballer is to overwhelm his interlocutors and critics by providing them with so many outrageous claims that they are unable to adequately reply to any of them. Spitballing is rampant in public political discussion because, in the forums were such discussion commonly occurs, significant benefits accrue to those who appear to the onlooking audience as having gotten the last word.

Spitballing is closely allied with a companion tactic that is also rampant in contemporary public political discussion. Swamping is a tactic for controlling public discourse. Like the spitballer, the swamper introduces into a discussion multiple pointed, self-contained, and overtly provocative statements. Yet the swamper’s aim is not to overload his interlocutors, but to dominate the political conversations conducted by others. The swamper’s intention is to say something so overtly bizarre or inflammatory as to force others to discuss what he said. In doing so, the swamper seeks not to deflect criticism, but rather to direct political discussion away from the ideas, proposals, policies, and platform of his political competition. As a consequence, the swamper stays at the center of the conversation, forcing every other topic to the periphery. One important motive for swamping is that, in making oneself the topic of conversation by being overtly either vague or controversial, one crowds out time for critical exchange with others. One swamps the competition.
We claimed in last month’s column that Donald Trump is an incorrigible spitballer. It should be obvious that he is also an inveterate swamper. The swamping tactic, after all, is largely responsible for his success in securing the Republican nomination. During the GOP debates, the pattern was recurrent and blatant: Trump would say something disgraceful about one of his competitors (or his critics, or a journalist), and then the political discussion in the days following was nearly entirely devoted to discussion of Trump’s ridiculous pronouncement. For example, there have been periods when significant time and band with has been devoted to discussion of Trump’s disparaging remarks about Carly Fiorina’s appearance and Trump’s assurances that his hands and other appendages are not small. To be sure, the discussion stimulated by even his silliest remarks contained a good deal of cogent criticism of Trump. But it’s important to note that any time devoted to criticizing Trump’s idiotic statements is time not spent on discussing the ideas of Trump’s competition. As a result, Trump has won the GOP nomination by winning a war of attrition; many of the others who had been seeking the Republican nomination simply could not get their message out to the relevant public. Trump’s swamping effectively drowned them out.

Notice a further feature of swamping. In order to be effective, the swamper must have a willing accomplice in the media and onlooking audiences. Trump-coverage gets ratings, and so even if a news outlet or commentator aims to critique or express outrage over his comments, Mr. Trump still drives the news cycles and directs the voices of the commentators. One of the other Republican candidates may have had views on foreign policy or on the economy, but Trump’s inane tweets regularly attracted all the media attention. As a consequence, the others who shared the debate stages regularly found themselves with the unfortunate choice of either talking about Trump (thereby contributing to the swamping) or talking about something else (thereby placing themselves out of the conversation).

It is unclear whether the swamping tactic will be effective in a broader political environment, especially given that Trump’s national competitor is already well-known to the public at large. Accordingly, we expect (and have already begun to see) the deployment of a tactic that combines spitballing and swamping. This hybrid strategy involves the introduction into political discussion of many self-contained provocations that are intentionally vague, followed by multiple attempts to provide clarification, where each purported clarification is inconsistent with its predecessor. The strategy, then, is to swamp political discourse not with analysis of what Trump has said, but with discussion of what Trump’s pronouncements mean. Consider once again Trump’s so-called proposal for a ban on Muslims. The past few weeks have seen Trump and his spokespersons offering various clarifications. The trouble is that the clarifications are not consistent with each other. For example, Chris Christie has claimed it’s not a Muslim ban (and “never has been”), and Trump recently has said it’s a ban on “certain people” coming from “horrible” places, adding later that it’s a ban on Muslims coming from “terrorist countries.” The result, again, is that a major political candidate has announced as a central policy initiative something prima facie absurd and offensive, and his statements about the precise contours of the policy fail to clarify things; so news outlets are bound to devote considerable ink and breath to attempts to decipher the intended meaning. Meanwhile, other topics are crowded out.

What is to be done in the face of a campaign of swamping and spitballing? At least as an audience, we should try to avoid contributing to the phenomenon. Responding to controversial claims is always appropriate, but our attention must be directed also to detailed and serious policy proposals, ideas about how to stimulate lagging economies, explanations for why domestic and international conflicts persist. Again, we, the onlooking public, contribute to swamping by devoting our attention and time to the swamper and his spitballs. Rewarding those who argue seriously and who try to communicate clearly with our attention is a significant step forward, but it also requires those who direct news stories and political discussions to focus on substantive issues, too.
There is, of course, an irony to our recommendation. We, in pointing out how swamping strategies draw disproportionate attention away from other issues, have been paying close attention to the swamping. This, of course, is testament to the power swamping has over us, but it is an unavoidable inconsistency that is endemic to any attempt to identify what one should spend less time thinking about. After all, the sensible advice, “don’t dwell on the past” invites its own violation. In the same way that one can have well-wrought reasons for not liking impressionist painting or sushi only if one has had a good bit of experience with them and has attended to their details, so it is with swamping. We must think about the swamping phenomenon in order to identify that and why it unduly attracts
– See more at: http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2016/07/swamping.html#sthash.oItmQWsD.CZTt6WSF.dpuf

Edward Mycue says:

Tony and Joan, John, Marian, The reality is confronting once more my LittleMarySunshine-ollyianaish blathering, it seems in most recent events, and I was told in the last hour that the Dallas Police officers association were blaming Obama!???!

Joanne Roll says:

Edward, Please continue with your comments and your poetry. It is not blathering. It is your world that you share and I appreciate that your unique perspective. Police unions all over the country have been mad at Obama since the so-called beer summit. I think when people are scared, and I think police are scared and so am I, they look for someone safe to blame. Obama is the one person who will not retaliate or lash out. He can take their anger and their fear.

The Mayor of Dallas and the Chief of Police of Dallas both gave heartfelt, honest statements. They both have worked hard to achieve much better relations between Dallas police and all communities. The killer evidently was from a upper middle class community on the outskirts of Dallas and had no contact with Dallas police. The Dallas police were accompanying the peaceful protest march and were not wearing their riot gear. It was a hot night, but more importantly, the Police did not want to present an aggressive posture. If they had worn their protective gear, it might have saved lives. The march was a success, thanks to the police, the protestors, and all the good work done by the people of Dallas. That is what makes the killer, not just an opportunist, but a coward. It wasn’t violence that he was targeting, but peace.

Tony, Thank you for your defense of a state I am coming to love, despite the fact that my son says if Hillary wins, we will need visas to visit our Texas grandchildren! I am so sorry that this happened and I hope so very much that no one you loved was involved in this horrific massacre.

Dear Leo, It is with dismay that I admit that Trump’s statement on this nightmare was excellent and almost presidential.

Tony Zurlo says:

Joanne, Leo, et al,
I actually believe Obama could have been among our greatest presidents in history, without Republicans stonewalling him for eight years. His great intelligence, matched with his cautious and reflective approach to solving problems, is exquisite. Unfortunately, racism has been, is, and always will be our original sin, ahead of sexism, and gun abuse.
I had Obama signs in my yard stolen more than once, so now that Texas is open-carry–and that doesn’t mean booze–I’m concerned about openly carrying my politics in Texas.
I am concerned about Trump, Joanne. I disagree about that he has ever looked sincere and presidential. He sounds and looks like a first grader learning to read without a clue of phrasing, rhythm, emphasis, or even single word expressions [with apologies to first graders everywhere].

Would you buy a used car from this man?

These shootings, including Dallas, are almost predictable, as long as we remain a gun-obsessed culture. I do think Dallas folks have shown some dignity in a sensitive way, so far. But they still wish they had been carrying. Imagine if a hundred people in the demonstration had been armed; what kind of slaughter would have ensued with everyone taking shots at every possible spot in town where they thought the real shooter was located. That is what frightens me about American society today.

Edward Mycue says:

This isn’t really a question:
wouldn’t it be nice should this time be merely an interlude
instead of an ongoing feces-foxtrot.
This isn’t really a question.
A long history of reaction and hate
is now being identified now with conservative politics.
But this hasn’t always been the case.
Being a conservative could mean saving, conservation.
Our history has had periods and spots
where rotten apples spoil the others.
It doesn’t work the other way.
The dead don’t swim back with good news.
We try mitigation and avoidance.
Peace we still seek.
What is hate and fear good for anyway.
That isn’t really a question.

Rowland Scherman says:

We may well see a devastating replay of that gloomy scenario fantasy–quite soon, in Cleveland.

Tony Zurlo says:

Leo and Joanne,

Dialogue with friends

So, my friends, this isn’t really a question
nor an answer, nor an explanation to comfort
our children. But do we not teach them
that our time here is but an interlude?
This interlude is danced by deer and kangaroo?
And sung by frogs and doves? By those of us
who have lilt and those who don’t. Splash
in ponds and shout life until it echoes.
And how about definition? A what? A why?
Why not define armament as an arm-a-minute
wrapped around someone’s shoulders.
How long and how much and where and when
have no answers–just impressions and words,
and touches. Questions are hypotheticals.

Edward Mycue says:

Tony Zurlo writes so well, I feel that eliciting this poem&reply of his may be something permanent coming from this dialogue about the corrosive and the innocent.

Joanne Roll says:

Edward, Tony, Thank you.

Edward Mycue says:

The words ‘good’ and ‘Republican’ will never go together again. Good citizens by definitions cannot Republicans. Being “Republican” meant something quite different in Lincoln’s time, and it hasn’t been that in many a moonface of stone.

Edward Mycue says:

I hope that in asserting civil liberties for myself and others I have not exceeded bounds of civil discussion.

Tony Zurlo says:

Well, shazam!

Edward, Joanne, et al,
1. A Civil discussion: Ask John Coyne to change the label of this string of conversation. Leo is “trumping” us. Is this what Scott F. Aikin and Robert B. Talisse call “Swamping”? We’re redirecting everyone to Leo Cecchini and his pro Trump rhetoric. Let’s title it “Musing the 2016 Election,” or something more open ended.

  1. Civil liberties: Leaves me speechless, which is a civil liberty in itself that must be practiced to become civil.

Edward, you’ve done it again. You see, at my age I need something to work off of. To awaken the synapses. Thanks.

Bipolar Living

I am of the tribe of the innocent, so how to be worldly?
From where, what, and when must I begin?
Will that be self-afflicted or afflicted onto others?
Politicians keep telling us we have a binary choice.
The primal “genetics/environment” dilemma of life.

Why can’t we have it both ways? Naiveté notwithstanding,
is there a range for innocence in a binary world?
Is binary the first step outward into an expanding universe?
Will we ever be able to restore the ruins we leave behind?
Or is it the last step inward into a collapsing universe?

Oh how I do despise this bipolar life.
Do “0s” and “1s” fit neatly on the head of a pin?
Does “1” stand for Democrat and “0” stand for a Republican?
If so, is it time to find a pin with a larger head?
I wonder, therefore I’ve won.

Edward Mycue says:

O yes these politicians and mussolini -gonnabes have hijacked our public commons.

JIm jouppi says:

I think Donald Trump, the unpolitician, is more political than HIllary could ever hope to be. He doesn’t lie all the time, of course, just when he feels its advantageous to do so. Of course, one could say the same about HIllary, but I think Mr. Trump is more of a true confabulator as far as believing his own lies. He’s also a bully.

Leo Cecchini says:

I am surprised that RPDVs were rather mild in dissing my presentation on Trump. I would have expected more from “knee-jerk” liberals. John mad e few mistakes in my introduction. I did not join the Peace Corps to avoid the draft, I had several other options and in the end did serve in Vietnam. It was my granfather that deserted the Italian army, in Benghazi no less, to flee to the USA. My father and I were both natives of Washington DC. I retired from a full career at State to enter business. I fully supported the Peace Corps and joined it becasue as I stated in several written pieces, “it was like signing up to fight Fascism in WWII.”

I do not view the world from one experience in another land. To be precise I have lived and worked in 17 countries as a diplomat or as a businessman. My view is influenced by all of these other people who I have met and tried to understand. I would match my understanding with anyone who claims to be an “expert” in international affairs. In fact a main reason I suppoort Trump is that he promises to take a fresh look at our force projection and foreign relations. He also is leery of our intervention in foreign conflicts which I would expect RPCVs to embrace.

At the cusp of the election we are faced with a clears choice. If you believe the sorry record of the last eight years is the best we can do then by all means vote for Hillary. However, if you expect more from America vote Trump.

Joanne Roll says:


Are you a candidate for Peace Corps Director, now that Trump has won?


Leo served as an American diplomat for 25 years and has been in private business around the world for 30 years. His wife Sandra is also a retired American diplomat. They have two daughters. Leo is on the board of DACOR in Washington DC an Association of Foreign Affairs Professionals and the Treasurer of Southwest Florida MENSA. He has been Vice President of Ethiopia and Eritrea RPCVs since its founding in 1991. He also served on the board of the National Peace Corps Association. Leo spends his winters in Ft Myers Florida and his summers at his home on the island of Mallorca, Spain.


Leave a comment
  • Trump has committed so many outrageous acts that it is difficult to list just one reason to cite from his phony claim of bone spurs excuse to avoid the draft to the most recent finding of being found guilty of 34 counts of fraud to steal the 2016 election.
    Trump has failed at everything he has tried. He’s not even a successful criminal.

  • The problem with Trump MAGAS, his conservative apologists and the delusional supporters is that they sieve through so much to find so little, while leaving out the rest. There’s a kernel of truth in every pile of crap. That doesn’t make it succotash.
    -Matt Losak

  • What we do know is that Trump is a liar, a bully, a coward, and a loser. Big time, Mafioso-style, loser.

    Basically, the Loser and his supporters prove how much we need to fix in our Constitution in order to have a diverse democracy where money doesn’t trump our one person, one vote democracy.

    Where I grew up, San Berdoo, men who had to buy aex in order to get laid were considered Losers; and they usually were stupid, selfish rich kids. Too lazy to be smart.

  • Amazing the recall of my detractors. They all voice the same criticism, a kind term, of Trump they spewed in 2016. Unfortunately not even jail will keep Trump from winning a second term. The election will come down to asking each voter, “Were you better off under Trump or Biden?” Not a hard decision to make.

    Trump promised to move our economy faster than Obama’s “New Normal” which meant recognition that the country was on a slower growth path. Trump produced the best economy we had since the Kennedy-Johnson administration in the 1960s, the fastest growing period in the entire 240 years of our national economy.

    Trump led the US to energy independence for the first time in over five decades. Cheap energy has always been the base on which we have built our economy since the late 19th Century.

    Trump carried through on his inauguration promise to deal with other countries placing America’s interests first and assume the others would do the same, the heart of any deal. He also did what he also said in that same speech and did not try to impose our values on other nations.

    Trump ended one war, the one against Al Baghdadi the new Mahdi. He did not create another.

    Trump led an economy that did more for minorities than before with Black and Hispanic unemployment at all-time lows.

    Trump placed real control on our southern border and allowed orderly immigration.

    Trump got a vaccine for COVID in record time for a totally new vaccine. I got my shot while he was still in office.

    Biden imposed a poorly planned and economic disastrous “Green New Deal” that has only produced lots full of unsold electric cars and the worse inflation we have had since Jimmy Carter.

    Biden opened our southern border to anyone who wants to enter with no restrictions.

    Biden did the right thing in getting out of Afghanistan but in a wrong and deadly way.

    Biden has systematically debased our justice system, the very foundation of our democracy.

    I will congratulate Biden on his handling of the Ukraine War, he has provided enough material to allow the Ukrainians to hold the line against Russia without getting us involved directly in it, i.e. no US troops on the ground. He has also provided the support and material needed by Israel in its battle to oust Hamas. However, his support here is sharply condemned by his own party.

    So tell me again who you are voting for?

    • Am I voting for Trump? Trump promoted the birther conspiracy, said that the rich or famous can grab a woman’s private parts, makes disparaging and ridiculous comments about people he has appointed or disagrees with, cozies up to dictators and would like to be a dictator for a day, thought Finland was part of Russia and that the Finnish control wild fires by doing a lot of raking. He has had an affair with a porn star and Playboy Bunny while married. My question is, who would vote for this embarrassing and unqualified person for for president of the United States.

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