Threats and lies: The Trump Regime, Part 1. Soft threats

The thing about lies and threats is that they are meant to intimidate and they often achieve their goals.  Part of the shock involves the recognition that the regime in power actually wants to intimidate you.
Actually, it does. It does it blatantly, as in Trump's lies about the number of illegal votes cast in the last election, who is going to pay for the alleged wall on the southern border,  the size of the crowd at his inauguration.
ETCETERA. There will be more and more of them, repeated and repeated, meant to club down conscience, critical thought and political resistance. We will exhaust ourselves attempting to rationally object and persuade that this regime is nothing but a pack of threats and lies, but we will not be able to persuade anyone whose irrational belief structure has been caught and added to Trump's herd. Although they are not a majority, as they mill around in the cramped space of their Leader's Mind, they will have the illusion of multitudes. Size matters. 
Then there are the more subtle offenses against the body politic, like UN Ambassador Nikki Haley's horrible reference to "taking names," as in the old spiritual, "There's a Man Goin' Round Takin' Names," which, in chilling effect, rivals only "Death, Spare Me Over A Year Or More."
The threat is subtle but it is not something that should be said in the United Nations by the only nation ever to have dropped atomic bombs on civilian populations. This song is about death and death dealing.
The brutality is inverted. Below, we have gathered several versions of the song: a contemporary music video by baritone Kenneth Overton, opera star and co-founder of Opera Noire of New York; Paul Robeson's biography is too vast to summarise, but listen to his massive bass voice on this song; then listen to Lead Belly, who brought the song back for the folk-music crowd in the Fifties; as Josh White did, in our final selection, in the next decade.
The song, "There's a Man Goin' Round Takin' Names," is about death and death dealing. The former governor of South Carolina, graduate of a private segregation academy and Clemson University in South Carolina, Haley proved herself to be an ambitious, aggressive rightwing Southern politician.She talks to CNN about taking the Confederate flag down after Dylann Roof murdered nine people in the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, "because it causes some people pain." (CNN, "Nikki Haley," July 10, 2015).
Again, the brutality and pain are inverted and the perps pretend to be victims, and finally, if all goes right in the rightwing fantasy, we the perps are all and the real victims just disappear. And we should love our leaders for their tremendous effort to take us to a clean, warm, well-lit space, uncluttered by anyone who is not like them. We should thank them, that is, if we are like them. And, as Haley means and is meant to signify, anyone can join, at least so far, because it's an attitude thing. It still pretends to be anchored to realities like economics and actual government. But, that too may pass in the perpetual bullshit machine of this regime. These regimes never attain their goals but they cause immense pain and suffering in their grandiose failures. If he failed, Hitler wanted to bring down Germany around his ears. (Hannah Arendt, Origins of Totalitarianism)
If you want to understand something that we have apparently forgotten about American pain, these versions of this song about "taking names" might interest you. -- blj



Al Jazeera
US envoy Nikki Haley at UN: 'We're taking names'
US ambassador to UN vows to overhaul world body and warns she will be 'taking names' of countries opposing Washington.
·         Nikki Haley, the new US ambassador to the United Nations, has said Donald Trump's new administration will push for an overhaul of the world body and bluntly warned those who oppose Washington's policies that she is "taking names".
Haley made brief remarks to reporters as she arrived on Friday at the UN headquarters in New York to present her credentials to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
"Our goal with the administration is to show value at the UN and the way that we'll show value is to show our strength, show our voice, have the backs of our allies and make sure that our allies have our back as well," Haley said.
"For those that don't have our back, we're taking names, we will make points to respond to that accordingly," added Haley, a former South Carolina governor with little foreign policy and no US federal government experience.
"Everything that is working, we are going to make it better. Everything that is not working we are going to try and fix. Everything that seems to be obsolete and not necessary, we're going to do away with," she said.
Haley held a 20-minute meeting with Guterres, who was "delighted to meet her," according to UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

"It was an introductory meeting and the start of engagement with the new US administration," he said.



During her confirmation hearing, Haley questioned whether the US was getting what it paid for with regards to the country’s monetary contributions to the UN.
The US is by far the UN's biggest financial contributor, providing 22 percent of its operating budget and funding 28 percent of peacekeeping missions, which currently cost $7.8bn annually.
These are assessed contributions - agreed by the UN General Assembly - and not voluntary payments.
UN agencies, such as the UN Development Programme, the children's agency UNICEF, the World Food Programme and the UN Population Fund, are funded voluntarily.
The White House is reportedly preparing an executive order that could deprive the United Nations of billions of dollars in US financial support.
Last year, Trump took to Twitter to disparage the 193-member world body after the US abstained in a December 23 Security Council vote, allowing the adoption of a resolution demanding an end to settlement building by US ally Israel.
Trump, who had called on President Barack Obama's administration to veto the resolution, warned that "things will be different" at the UN after he took office on January 20.   
Some version of the old spiritual, "There's a Man Goin' Roung Takin' Names."
You will need to cut and paste these links.
Kenneth Overton's magnificent music video:
Paul Robeson sings:

On June 20, 1949, Robeson spoke at the Paris Peace Congress saying that "We in America do not forget that it was on the backs of the white workers from Europe and on the backs of millions of Blacks that the wealth of America was built. And we are resolved to share it equally. We reject any hysterical raving that urges us to make war on anyone. Our will to fight for peace is strong. We shall not make war on anyone. We shall not make war on the Soviet Union. We oppose those who wish to build up imperialist Germany and to establish fascism in Greece. We wish peace with Franco's Spain despite her fascism. We shall support peace and friendship among all nations, with Soviet Russia and the people's Republics." He was blacklisted for saying this in the US mainstream press including many periodicals of the Negro press such as The Crisis. -- Wikipedia, Paul Robeson.

Lead Belly sings the song:
There's a man going 'round taking names
There's a man going 'round taking names
He's been taking my father's name
An' he left my heart in vain
There's a man going 'round taking names

There's a man going 'round taking names
There's a man going 'round taking names
He's been taking my mother's name
An' he left my heart in vain
There's a man going 'round taking names

There's a man going 'round taking names
There's a man going 'round taking names
He's been taking my sister's name
An' he left my heart in vain
There's a man going 'round taking names

There's a man going 'round taking names
There's a man going 'round taking names
He's been taking my brother's name
An' he left my heart in vain
There's a man going 'round taking names


Josh White

born in Greenville, South Carolina
Ozark Folksongs, Vol. IV, Vance Randolph, #606 "The Angel of Death," collected by Sandburg in American Songbag, 1927, similar lyrics, different tune, collected in South Carolina; Randolph's version comes from Enos Calkins in 1921, who got it from a man named Wilks in Missouri in the 1890's. Lomax, American Ballads and Folk Songs, 1934.