A Contemptible School Breeds A Contemptible Attack Dog For The 1%- John BoltonIn what may have been the opening salvo in attempts to discredit Hillary Clinton in anticipation of a 2016 Presidential bid, John Bolton recently and loudly criticized her when she was unable to appear before the Senate, and testify relating to Benghazi. Never mind that these attacks had no basis in fact, and were both fabricated and scurrilous. And never mind that both he and his comments were thoroughly and in short order discredited. Fact has never mattered much to Bolton, and facts are certainly not going to get in the way when he is called upon by his masters to attack.
More recently, and within the past week, Bolton has publicly gone on record in support of President Obama's policy regarding drone attacks. And generally stating that it is a logical and praiseworthy extension of the Bush policies.
We are going to be hearing more from John Bolton going forward, on that you can rest assured. If ever there was a loyal soldier willing to do the bidding of the neo cons and far right, that loyal soldier would be John Bolton. We will be hearing much more from him going forward. He is the perfect point man and attack dog, because he will do anything and say anything to further the interests of the 1%. He is disciplined and knows his place.
If the world of our political differences and discourse were a chessboard and you can imagine for a moment that it is such, then think of John Bolton as a pawn. He is one of many, and they are brought forth from time to time to communicate a specific message. He and they are brought forth with clear intent for a specific message and as part of a much larger ob
If you believe John Bolton sallied forth from his usually place of obscurity recently to praise President Obama, you are delusional. Bolton came to us publicly to spread discontent and reinforce division among those who would generally support the President. To divide us. To weaken him. To weaken him in a place where it matters most- among his supporters.
You will see this pawn, this bit pla
You probably don't know much about John Bolton's past. And you might be surprised to learn that Bolton was not born into the 1%, but in fact comes from a working class Baltimore background. He grew up in the modest, working class neighborhood of Yale Heights in Baltimore, Maryland. His father was a firefighter and his mother a nurse.
By all accounts, Bolton enjoyed a balanced and normal childhood. At least he enjoyed this until he reached the seventh grade. It was at this point that he received a scholarship to McDonogh School in Baltimore, Maryland. And at this impressionable age and time in his life, he was thrust front and center into one of the most regimented, contemptible, and dysfunctional places imaginable.
McDonogh School in Baltimore is one of two prestigious schools that caters to the Baltimore elite and well-to-do. It was founded in the 1800's as a direct result of a bequest of the late John McDonogh. When John Bolton attended, the school had a student body of roughly eight hundred, and ironically enough, the campus itself sat upon over eight hundred of the most beautiful acres imaginable. In fact just about one acre of land for every enrolled student.
To understand fully what kind of place this was for John Bolton, and all the other young men who attended this place, it's important to briefly discuss the founder John McDonogh. He was, and is to this day, a revered figure at this school. And this reverence is ba
John McDonogh was a Louisiana plantation owner and slave holder. He died before the commencement of the Civil War. And he is admired and revered for what those who administer and attend McDonogh School regard as his enlightened and progressive views regarding slavery.
John McDonogh came up with the novel idea that it would be best for everyone if eventually all slaves were eventually shipped back to Africa. I suppose in the context of mid-eighteenth century Louisiana, that might have been regarded as progressive thinking. But it wasn't simply some enlightened idea to free the slaves and send them packing off to Liberia. What John McDonogh proposed was that the slaves buy back their freedom. And that they buy back their freedom through additional work and toil.
You're probably thinking that idea is crazy. Because how does a slave buy anything- much less their freedom? And the revered founder of McDonogh School, none other than John McDonogh himself, actually had a solution to this dilemma. He proposed that the slaves work additional hours during their "leisure" time. In his view, they needed to earn their freedom, and that if they didn't work for it, it would hold no meaning for them.
Never mind these pitiful people were worked around the clock sometimes six and seven days a week. And never mind they were brought to this nation unwillingly in chains. That alone wasn't enough to "buy" your freedom. In whatever hours they were not under the lash working themselves to death for master McDonogh, and presumably when they might be sleeping, they were required to work for master during those hours as well for a one way trip to Liberia that would be earned years and years later.
This was a brilliant master stroke when you think about it. Only an ensconced member of the 1% could come up with a diabolical idea like this. John McDonogh actually succeeded where others had failed. Because he came up with a proven method to extract even more work from those in bondage. An extra modicum of work that brutal treatment and the lash could never get you. He would dangle the carrot of freedom in front of them, and get them to voluntarily work even more for this. And then years later, when they were old, exhausted, broken down, and no longer fit for work, they'd get a one way ticket on a slave ship back to the jungle.
You might wonder what relevance that story has now, or what relevance that story has for the McDonogh School of the late 50's and early 60's when John Bolton was in attendance. And the relevance here is that in the late 50's and early 60's, John McDonogh was larger than life to this particular institution. He was as revered then as he was in the 1800's. He was a figure approaching sainthood on that campus.
There are John McDonogh songs. John McDonogh mottos and poems. Paintings in commemoration. As a wheel has spokes converging on a central location, this sprawling institution converges in reverence and gratitude upon John McDonogh.
Once a year, in supplication to the great founder, the entire community would gather for an hours long ceremony of remembrance. Generally on the hottest day of the year, and in thick, woolen military uniforms, the student body would stand at attention while the praises of John McDonogh were sung. They would stand at attention and many would simply pass out from the stifling Baltimore heat in supplication and honor of Master McDonogh. Year in and year out. Children as young as six years old. Standing in the shadow of this larger than life statue of a repugnant slave holder and passing out from heat exhaustion.
In fact, all of this was done with the full knowledge that students would pass out. It was considered a sacrifice. An honorable sacrifice. To line your students up in the sweltering heat and standing at attention for hours until they started dropping like flies. Dropping sometimes by the dozens. A noble hardship in direct proportion to the esteem Master McDonogh was held in.
That, as bizarre as it sounds, is simply the tip of this repugnant iceberg...
John Bolton was introduced to this cloistered world sitting upon over eight-hundred acres in the seventh grade and just entering his teen years. He was one of a very few scholarship students that entered this world largely inhabited by those from backgrounds of privilege and class.
To say that John Bolton would have been a duck out of water in this class ba
Just for a moment, I'd like to explain the class structure at McDonogh School. In this isolated place and world unto itself, it was all about class distinction and where you fit in the scheme of things.
For starters, you were exposed to distinctions ba
So four years before John Bolton graduated, and in what was a congratulatory, back-slapping progressive move by the McDonogh School community, they decided to admit people of color in 1962. That admission consisted of one black student. One. One black face in a sea of over eight hundred white faces. This poor soul was named Chip Burgess, and everyone called him "Chippy". And arguably he is probably the only student that faced a hell in this warped place greater than that of John Bolton.
Of course, there were black people within this community. Not as faculty, and certainly not as administrators. And in 1962, of course you had this one black student. But above and beyond this, there were literally dozens of black residents. And they were janitors and dishwashers.
There was a huge support staff to take care of this sprawling institution. Some white, and some black. And generally, the white support staff were given tasks like driving tractors, and tending to the actual physical plant. Many were also given houses for them and their families.
The blacks on the other hand were given toilet cleaners and mops. And they were housed on campus as well. Housed in a dimly lit, one story building out of sight and out in the woods, and sleeping on military cots.
It was all an arrangement that would have made the revered founder John McDonogh proud.
It was this place that John Bolton was sent at the start of his seventh grade year, and it was this place where he would remain, and transition into adulthood when he graduated in 1966. On his first day, he would have been issued a heavy woolen uniform, and instructed how to wear it. He would have learned to march and drill on a black pavement parking lot in sweltering September heat. He would have heard taps at night and reveille in the morning.
But there is much more that he heard. And what he heard was constant derision, criticism, and belittling. He would have heard this constantly and unrelentingly from the sons of the 1%. Because in this regimented, cloistered world where class distinction was the be all and end all of everything, it was clear that John was not of the 1%. He was less than that, a lesser child and from a lesser family. He came from a row house with a working mother and a fire fighter father.
He was cognizant of this and reminded of this always. In this made up pseudo-military institution, he was reminded of this even in the manner that they handed out cadet ranks. More often than not, the sons of the truly powerful and wealthy were handed the highest cadet ranks. And then ranks were handed out largely ba
Take a moment to imagine all of this. Imagine if you will that one day you are in a working class neighborhood surrounded by your friends and your peers. And then the next day you are shipped off to this alien world inhabited by beings that you not only have nothing in common with, but avail themselves of every opportunity to deride you for your insignificance.
And not only are your fellow students disdainful of you, much of the faculty is as well. For this is a place of corporal punishment and humiliation. And teachers can strike you, punish you, and cuff you upside the head at anytime and with impunity. Never mind an infraction of the rules. A wrong answer in class can and sometimes does result in a painful strike to the ears. And you begin to notice after not very long that the sons of the elite and 1% aren't receiving this treatment much if at all.
Just when you arrive at the darkest moments that have descended upon you in this wretched place, and just when you think things can't possibly get any worse, a truth comes to you that reveals this place is much worse than you could have imagined or comprehended. A dark, sinister, and perverted truth that is seemingly unimaginable.
Like many other institutions of a similar nature, there is usually one person in authority that is a go to person. A friendly, affable, comforting sort of person. A person that you can go to and talk things out and vent, and will offer comforting words of encouragement to gird you through a few of the hellish, coming days. Hell holes like this recognize the need for such people. In the Army, they are called chaplains. And this hell hole has such a person, and his title is Dean of Students.
In the wretched hell hole of McDonogh School, the Dean of Students is Major Alvin Levy, and he is an institution unto himself. He is affectionately called "Maj", and is known for always having a kind word for his students and time to spend with them. He is your designated outlet to vent your frustration. Your designated counselor in tough times.
But before you ever get to see the kindly "Maj", troubling whispers reach you. And you are told in whispers and even by your worst enemies to avoid this man at all costs. Even your worst enemies and those that belittle you have the kindness to warn you away from this man.
Because he is a child molester. He preys upon those that appear to be weak, and generally those with blond hair and small of stature. He regularly takes students to his on campus home for "friendly" overnights. Sometimes the same students repeatedly. And you talk to some of them, and they tell you in whispered tones of the "massages". Sometimes at night you hear the crying.
And this went on and on for decades. It went on and on for decades with young students and more private "overnights" than anyone can count. It went on and on until a tape recording was provided to police by a victim, and this flesh and blood institution within an institution had his crimes brought out into the light.
So this insanity, this utterly alien world, becomes your reality as you transition from childhood into manhood. Which begs the question what do you do to retain your sanity? What do you do when condemned to this place for six years? How do you survive and make all the taunts and all the jeers go away?
The answer is simple. You become one of them. You champion their causes and you adopt their beliefs. Except you don't do this casually, you do this loudly and with conviction. If they are racist which they obviously are, then you become a racist. Except you shout it out louder. You openly mock and deride a seemingly befuddled janitor named Luther. Except Luther isn't befuddled, he is afraid, because he needs his job and livelihood. He needs that military cot back in the woods because that's the only place he has to lay his head down at night. So Luther goes along with this out of fear, and your friends of the 1% simply love this. You even mock "Chippy" Burgess, the son of the janitor that was admitted in 1962, and what in the hell is he doing here anyway? Because your new found friends and compatriots expect this from you.
If they pick on the weak and those that don't fit, then you do it too. If they are conservative in their beliefs, you adopt that and shout it louder than anyone. You become one of them. You aren't of them and never will be, but you become one of them. And in so doing, you mitigate the pain of all this and make some of this go away. You are finally and at least marginally accepted.
John Bolton is a neo-con, loud mouthed, ultra-conservative. Not originally of the 1%, he can nevertheless be entirely relied upon to take up their battle cry and do their bidding. He is a finally tuned attack dog that knows no shame. He is without question our enemy, and sometimes a dangerous one at that.
But there was also a time when he was one of us. Son of a fireman and a nurse. He played on the streets of a Baltimore row house neighborhood with hundreds of kids just like himself. He was a human being in every sense of the word until he went to McDonogh School. When he emerged from that place and went on to the next chapter of his life at Yale, there was no turning back to humanity for him ever again.
That is who he is, and you now have a glimpse as to what made him. You might even have a moment of pity when you reflect on this, and such pity is not misplaced. But know one thing above all else. John Bolton is your enemy as are others with like roles. When you hear him speak he has come to attack, or he has come to spread dissension with his subterfuge. He and those like him will come again and often between now and 2014.
This time we will be ready for them...