I caught my local news on a channel owned by Sinclair Broadcasting the other night and the very thing I feared would happen is happening. Giving Trump/Trump supporters a voice on local news, allowing them to air national news that sounds fair and balanced but that skews towards Trump, and skews right, is particularly dangerous when we are in an election cycle. Local people who insist that Fox is the best source for political news are the targets of Sinclair. They are already primed to believe this stuff. They are unaware of who Sinclair Broadcasting is and of the ways they are interfering in local news broadcasts. They find the skewed news to be perfectly acceptable because they have already been brainwashed to agree with it.
7,000 refugees walking from Honduras to the border between Mexico and the US two weeks before the midterms offers plenty of video footage to instill fear and anger in middle-class Trump supporters. These Trumpers are a percentage of Americans who already suspect, and riled by Trump, are now convinced, that immigrants steal our jobs, use benefits paid for and intended for use by citizens only, and are violent criminals who endanger American lives.
What I saw on my local news, pushed out in a must-run story from Sinclair Broadcasting was a graphic video about the MS-13 gang, resplendent in gang tattoos, ready to commit mayhem in a neighborhood near us. Such obvious fear-mongering two weeks before an election that could change the majority in the House of Representatives from Republican to Democratic could very well motivate more Republicans to go to the polls to prevent that from happening. That would be very bad for America. We have no checks on this President. We need some. A House of Representatives that skews left could give us at least minimal checks on an out-of-control President.
Local TV news used to try to give fairly balanced coverage of both candidates for a political office but Sinclair has put an end to that. This coverage does not look like it is even about the election but it is. It is wrong that Sinclair is allowed to own local stations when it is nothing but a one-sided political operative. It turns our news into propaganda. The wrongness of Sinclair is especially apparent during an election cycle. If we want news that is actual news we definitely need a blue wave. Trump is no fan of free speech unless the speech favors him.
Photo Credits: From Google Image Searches, Living Room Trends 2018, NPR
Limited Government: The “nanny state” and Political Correctness
Republicans love to talk about limited government. It is always at the top of their wish list. But limited government is code for many different things. To some who feel that the government has become too invasive in our private lives, the old “nanny state” meme blames bleeding heart liberals for trying to wrap people in a protective bunting of rules and regulation. Perhaps it began with seat belts or car seats or work safety oversight (OSHA) but, according to some, it turned into one of those rubber band balls that stay small for a while and then grow more rapidly in size and complexity. Doesn’t really matter how it began, there were Americans who felt that these rules made them feel like they were living in a “petty” dictatorship, Authoritarianism Lite. This all seems a bit hyperbolic now given the real authoritarianism which is a constant risk in the administration of 45.
Lumped in with these safety laws were the increasing admonitions to use language that is “politically correct” or inoffensive to all of the diverse groups that make up America. Independent-minded Americans have lost it. They do not want to “knuckle under” to the free speech police. They don’t care if it serves the interests of civility and kindness and the humane treatment of others. They already agreed to call Indians “Native Americans”, but now they were supposed to say “indigenous people”. It was a bridge too far for some. These linguistic battles have not served to unite us, that’s for certain.
Now we are in a battle, fomented by GOP propaganda, of “real Americans” versus other ethnic groups, which could easily end with various “tribes” retreating to separate corners, leaving Americans with a prolonged culture war. Our electoral college gave us a President who flaunts his right to be politically incorrect, but it is taking the word civil out of civilization.
Federalism, Constitutional Purity and States Rights
However these things are not what other, often more powerful, Republicans are saying when they talk about limited government. And there are two sides to how limited government would look if Republicans actually got their wish. Idealistically Republicans say that this is about restoring Constitutional “purity”. They believe we have wandered too far from the intentions of our forefathers. The Constitution gives the federal government the right to write laws, pass laws, and pass judgment on the constitutionality of those laws. But purists (fundamentalists) say that the Constitution gives the federal government the right to rule the nation only in a few areas, mainly military concerns and foreign relations, and that all rights not designated to the federal government belong to the states.
They know the Federalists (state’s rights) faction lost their original argument to make America a loose affiliation of strong states under a weak national government back in the 18th century. Although our forefathers did decide to go with a stronger federal government today’s Republicans are reviving the old Federalist arguments, and they would like to ditch the conclusion our forefathers reached and become strict Federalists. Of course this means throwing out about two centuries of law and tradition and basically starting from scratch. It also means that states would begin to look more like independent nations. You might need a visa one day to travel to another state. It seems like a pretty extreme way to avoid public health care (and a few other things Republicans don’t like).
The first order of business of modern Federalists was to get Republicans in control of the United States government so they could dismantle it. They were aided in this by having some very rich industrialists on their side who stood to benefit from all the deregulation which would accompany this reorganization. These industrialists either formed a web of think tanks and Conservative groups or found ways to connect groups that already existed and were like-minded. Right wing groups met at yearly gatherings and eventually formulated an ideology and a plan of action to implement that ideology. Their machinations have been amazingly successful. The Republicans now own all three branches of our government.
Trump has been surprisingly helpful in this endeavor to tame the sprawl of the federal government. He has done this inadvertently because he wants to save America all by himself. He needs to be a hero. Even if he is perceived by many as incompetent or as a villain, if he just concentrates on his own followers he is the hero he aspires to be. He must have to delegate tasks within his businesses, but he does not want to delegate tasks in government. He doesn’t trust civil servants. Out of tradition and law they pursue objectives set by previous presidents. He likes to lead through placing his henchmen, who have pledged their loyalty to him and him alone, in offices that have the names of real American agencies but which no longer function as the original entities did. These agencies and offices are now are part of the Trump spiderweb and do Trump’s business. As a result he does not need to fill positions in these agencies or offices. Staff numbers are going down. It is becoming impossible to rely on civil servants completing routine tasks to keep government as we have known it functioning. Fewer government employees equals limited government. Et voila. Winning.
More About State’s Rights
State’s Rights was a battle cry of Democrats when the Democrats consisted of the people who are now Republicans, and is still the oft-repeated refrain of the Republicans since the Civil War and Reconstruction. Americans who cry the loudest about restoring the rights of states seem concentrated in the Southern and the Western states. People claim to love the rights of the poor usurped states whenever they want something that is opposed to what the majority of the nation wants.
Southerners were beaten in the Civil War but, in a sense they felt a terrible anger about it and their spirits refused to accept it. They loved their general, General Lee, they loved their Southern plantation culture; they loved their wealth and their lifestyle. They knew that the end of slavery would be the end of the plantation system. There were plenty of examples in the nearby islands in the Caribbean. That pride was so strong that it has been kept alive to this day and even romanticized by many Americans.
Justice was done but it has always been an uneasy and contentious justice and we have still made no real peace with it for many, many reasons most of which fall under the heading of racism. But when Southerners lost the Civil War and lost “their property” they went crazy and lost all humanity in a lust for vengeance and punishment. Whenever freed slaves tried to use the freedoms they had recently won, especially to vote or hold public office or own land, they were terrorized, viciously attacked and often slaughtered. Freedom has been won piece by tiny piece with spilled blood and dashed hopes.
The Southerners balked under Federal attempts to control Reconstruction in the South. They argued that state and local government should have control over what was happening in the South. The federal government, experiencing some scandal and turmoil of its own, capitulated and gave local sheriffs power to rule their own domains. The rest of the nation then turned their backs on the mayhem that ensued.
Once that battle for power was won it has used precedent to justify some fairly rebellious behaviors. Most recently it reared its ugly head in the Cliven Bundy matter. Westerners resent that so much land has been designated as federal land, although there has not been any big rush to develop most of the land the government protects, or hoards (depending on your point of view). When the government decided to clamp down on Mr. Bundy, a rancher who grazed his cattle for free on government land that others paid a fee to graze their cattle on, Mr. Bundy refused to accept the power of the federal government and appealed to the superior power of the local sheriff that hails back to those very post-Reconstruction days that we have been talking about.
During Cliven Bundy’s confounding stand Rachel Maddow went over the historical basis for this claim written in the Posse Comitatus Law. The militia movement, which has similar roots, and which has been growing in America along with the stubborn power of the NRA, revealed itself when people showed up with long guns, lying prone on US highways pointing those rifles through concrete road barriers at federal officers. It was a shocking stand-off and the federal government backed down to avoid escalating the matter with killings. That’s some of the ideological background on limited government. Behind the bizarre ideological rationale is an ersatz economic argument for limited government
The Ayn Rand Justification/Rationalization for Limited Government
With the advent of the Tea Party we began to hear new arguments for limited government. These arguments were based in money, economics, finance. America was changing. The factories which gave people good salaries without a college education had flown the coop, gone on a World Tour. People were not feeling quite so flush. Then they lost their houses in what was a scandal of bad risks by banks and the stock market, a bid for short-term profit over long-term fiscal health. The victims got spanked but the big dogs, for the most part, got off with a hand slap. They are already at their scams again.
People decided that they were unhappy with the way their taxes were being used. They had a little help from Republicans who supposedly backed the Tea Party folks, Republicans like Paul Ryan who read a seminal book by Ayn Rand in college or high school and decided that spreading Rand’s gospel suited the dilemma of those in the Tea Party and, incidentally, the goals of the Republican Party re limited government. A marriage made in one man’s mind.
I don’t like or respect Paul Ryan but even I must admit that his message caught on like a wildfire and is, even now, changing America beyond recognition. What he said that appealed to so many, was this – social government programs do not help people who are down and out, they actually hurt them. These programs keep people down and turn them into permanent dependents. We need to stop funding social programs (which would, in theory, cut taxes) – no welfare, no food stamps, no Medicaid, no Medicare, no Social Security, no federal control over or funding of education.
I always say that you can’t have socialism in a democracy because we the people pay our taxes and we say how the money will be used and that makes social programs democratic, not socialist. But the new truth is that we the people don’t contribute enough taxes to pay for the enormous military that “patriots” clamor for and for the social programs that serve as safety nets for we the people in times of trouble or need.
Without the 1% Americans are basically poor. If these miserly folks no longer want to pay taxes that will be used for people who don’t work (or can’t work) then we the people are screwed. Why we have given all these wealthy people all our money is now a moot point. The deed is done and they will use any reasoning necessary to claim that they are entitled to it. They do not mind turning America into a third world country because they plan to live above it all. All of America has now become colonized by these rich few. The right has managed to push the left to the far left and when they express fears of socialism now it is because socialism may be our only way out of all this planned inequality.
We are clearly on a path to limited government in all its manifestations. I am guessing that we will not like it one little bit if it comes to pass. That dangerous mob, the vociferous left, created as backlash to an extreme right wing, may someday save us from the chaos of running each state as an independent entity and each local government as a fiefdom. Pick the Dems (the Dims) to save us from having to take a sad detour into “limited government”. (I’m confused, how can you be dim and a dangerous mob at one and the same time.) “Limited government” is an outdated concept and it belongs in the oubliette of history.
Photo Credits: From a Google Image Search – Medium, twenty48.net
What a week! We can now see the connections between Trump, the GOP, the NRA, and religious fundamentalists and Putin in Russia that have been building for decades. And yet we still find a Trump/GOP base in America that cannot be swayed.
“As the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller closes in tighter and tighter on Trump’s inner circle and Trump himself, tending to his base is the key to Trump staying in office. A recent Washington Post poll showed that close to 50 percent of Republicans believe that Trump won the popular vote in 2016. He didn’t; Hillary Clinton received nearly 3 million more votes than Trump. Nearly 70 percent of Republicans believe Trump’s lie that millions of illegal immigrants voted in 2016, and nearly 75 percent believe that voter fraud occurs “somewhat or very often.” It doesn’t; numerous studies have found voter fraud to be close to nonexistent.
But it’s this statistic that’s most shocking in the Post poll of Republicans. “52 percent said that they would support postponing the 2020 election, and 56 percent said they would do so if both Trump and Republicans in Congress proposed this,” according to the Post.”
In case you didn’t read that quote, it said, in a Washington Post survey 52% of Republicans polled would support postponing the 2020 election.
If America and Russia become besties, and if Trump is able to postpone the 2020 election, what can we expect America to be like. Hard to tell. This morning in the New York Times there was an article by a man who knew Sakharov, a Russian physicist and dissident who spent long periods imprisoned and in a Russian gulag. He warns us that life without freedom is a double life. You steal private moments of freedom at your risk and in public you comply to whatever the government asks. Within the article is a reprint of Sakharov’s essay, distributed in Russia as a secret document passed from hand to hand.
“Sakharov’s decency made him a moral compass orienting not just the East, but also the West. He insisted that international relations should be contingent on a country’s domestic behavior — and that such a seemingly idealistic stance was ultimately pragmatic. “A country that does not respect the rights of its own people will not respect the rights of its neighbors,” he often explained…
Mr. Trump has taken America’s human-rights-free foreign policy to absurd new heights. His assertion that North Koreans support Kim Jong-un with “great fervor” undermined America’s moral standing, sabotaged North Korean dissidents and legitimized an evil dictator. His shocking refusal to confront President Vladimir Putin of Russia over his country’s blatant interference in the 2016 United States presidential election highlights his unwillingness to protect Americans’ democratic rights, let alone Russians’ human rights.”
But I don’t think this is what is on the minds of Trump’s base. Their interests are perhaps more varied and more parochial. Some are passionate about killing Roe v Wade. Some are simply nostalgic for what they consider better times for the middle class in America and they insist on having that back. Some are concerned that America will no longer be a white and Christian nation, and they will allow children to be placed in cages if that will make their wishes reality. Some are protecting an almost frontier vision of America, with absolute rights guaranteed by local law enforcement and by the federal government, think Duck Dynasty and the passionate defense of guns in America.
But what Trump supporters will get in the end probably will be quite different from what they are asking. They may get an end to Roe v Wade but they will also lose good health coverage, especially for those with preexisting conditions, which will be practically everyone. They may be able to stop all immigration and thereby end illegal immigration and they may no longer see their benefits spent on “those people” but they may also lose their own benefits. Medicare and Social Security use money from the budget that Trump and the GOP would like to earmark for other things, or steal. Without Medicare and Social Security seniors will die and they will die earlier and in greater numbers than is natural. If Trump and the GOP see seniors as burdens because they are no longer able to labor physically and perhaps, even mentally, then a man with so little compassion would be happy to let go of unproductive members of American society with barely a twitch of emotion. Poor people have already been written off. Trump says there are no more poor people in America.
I think we can easily predict the demise of the social safety net. No poor, then no food stamps, no welfare, no Medicaid. We the people are the ones that will be cut out of America’s budget.
Who will do the work the immigrants have been doing, America’s dishes, weeding, planting and picking. Who will clean America’s public restrooms and serve as teacher’s aides in our schools? Who will complete American renos and put in American floors? Trump’s base could very well find itself doing all of these jobs or living in a nation where the niceties are no longer observed and filth and hunger and disease are what we inherit. We will have a government that keeps passing the dollars up the chain and we will be paid lower wages and have fewer ways out of the poverty that doesn’t exist.
We are the people who did not know how to turn a nickel into a million dollars, or who did not have a daddy who gave us a million dollar stake. We are the people who never learned to be ruthless in business but only ruthless to each other.
Who will our friends be? Well, Putin, and President Xi and Kim Jong Un and Duterte and Erdogan. We will have a whole new cohort of meanness and no one to appeal to for aid and assistant. Perhaps we will start picking off American drug dealers and drug users like Duterte.
The Rich, the 1%
What will the wealthy be doing? I saw an article about that this week also. They will be looking for guards they can trust to protect them in their walled estates. Sound familiar. It should, it is feudalism without knights, only paranoia.
In a world that promises to be crowded with 9 billion people, how expendable will most of us be? Trump’s little cult is helping him and others separate the wealthy from the poor in whole other dimensions besides our bank accounts and our possessions. Trump’s base may be dooming themselves and us to obsolescence. Unless we show genius or the willingness to perform menial tasks, how will we be necessary to people who do not value the rights of ordinary people. Why should they share the wealth with us? I doubt that they intend to.
Whenever you get into this realm of extrapolating the future from the present you lose any real basis in fact and you lose your credibility. The future could unfold in many different ways. However I do not see a role for Donald Trump in the future of America. Now that we have him in the oval office though there does not seem to be a way to rid ourselves of him that is consistent with our morality. And that is a dilemma because we are dealing with someone without morality, only some kind of code of personal loyalty. We know he is a bad President, possibly a traitorous President but we have given power to the Conservative literal interpretation of our Constitution and we therefore have no way, within the rules of our system, to unseat him. We are waiting for absolute proof which we may never have. This is a man who knows how to cover his tracks and see his troops indicted for his own deniability.
Our squeamishness may land us in Trump/Putin land. We can practice when Putin comes to oversee our election in November. I bet he will be here for Trump’s military parade. Donald will be so proud, except for the lack of the tanks. How will it feel? Like a betrayal of every little thing we treasured about the USA.
I have been keeping an eye on this extremely complex conspiracy theory since before the 2016 election because I began following a rather mysterious blog called Kauilapele’s Blog which kept referring rather obliquely and in coded language about this theory which is often referred to as Q. The whole elaborate intellectual structure could be just the twisted nonsense it sounds like, created by ordinary people to see an order, however nefarious, imposed from above by economic elites. It could also, I suppose, have some elements of truth behind it.
Here’s some of what was discussed today (Sunday, July 7, 2018) in the Daily Beast.
“Plotters in the deep state tried to shoot down Air Force One and foil President Trump’s North Korea summit. A cabal of global elites, including top figures in Hollywood, the Democratic Party, and the intelligence agencies, are responsible for nearly all the evil in the world. And now Trump is going to fix it all with thousands of sealed indictments, sending the likes of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama straight to Guantanamo Bay.
Or at least that’s how the world is going for the believers of QAnon, the complex pro-Trump conspiracy theory that’s starting to having unpredictable effects in real life. The real news can be bad for Trump, but in QAnon-world, the president and his supporters really are getting sick of winning.”
QAnon is unusual, according to University of Miami professor Joseph Uscinski, because it offers Republicans an alternate view of the world when they already control nearly the entire government. Usually, “conspiracy theories are for losers,” Uscinski said,
“Normally you don’t expect the winning party to use them, except when they’re in trouble,” Uscinski said.
“But the general story, outlined in a pro-QAnon video endorsed by Schilling, is that every president before Trump was a “criminal president” in league with all the nefarious groups of conspiracy theories past: the global banking elite, death squads operating on orders from Hillary Clinton, deep-state intelligence operatives, and Pizzagate-style pedohpile rings. In an effort to break this cabal’s grip, according to Q, the military convinced Trump to run for president.”
(This article also shows tweets connecting Roseann Barr to the Q group.)
Related Conspiracy Theory
This seems to be an extension of the theories about the New World Order and the Illuminati that I was hearing about just prior to the 2016 election which linked Hillary Clinton to the 13 Families who control all the events in our world. She does not belong to the these families according to the people sharing their prescience with us, but she partakes of some of the rituals practiced by these sick folks which include pedophilia and child trafficking (the roots of Pizzagate, a piece of conspiracy theory I never saw mentioned before the attack on Cosmic Pizza in Washington DC). It is impossible to exactly pin down the details of this breathtaking cabal (and it is breathtaking even as fiction). But here are some articles that foreshadow the Q movement.
“Some say, in an attempt to restore “balance” in the world, a New World Order was formed. Formed by America and Europe’s most elite (both in terms of wealth and power) with historical roots that date back centuries. This power-house formed by 13 families is known to be controlling practically everything around the globe. From political parties around the world, courthouses, educational institutions, natural resources, foreign policies, food, national economies, media houses, even terrorist organisations. They are the ones who decide where and when the next terror attack is going to happen, they decide when the markets will fall, they decide when a new government needs to take over, they decide what happens at the UN, they decide practically everything.”
(In case you don’t like to read url’s, in this article you can learn 35 things that the ruling cabal does not want you to know.)
Not everyone who writes about this conspiracy theory agrees about the details, not everyone names the same 13 families as holding the reins of the New World Order and some writers give power to lesser mortals who hold wealth and power. The QAnon people believe that Trump is the man who will overturn the old order that is pulling the strings of fate but if one of the goals of the Council or the Cabal is to get the world population below 1 billion by any means possible it seems more likely that Trump is trying to join the Cabal.
Who is screwed in this world view is you and me, we the people, mere pawns in the ploys of the human members of the New Mount Olympus. They are quite as capricious, according to myth, as the Greek and Roman gods of old and ordinary people who get caught in their plots have no power over the outcome which could be either great or terrible. How much truth there is in this conspiracy theory we may never know. The culling of the herd could look very much like the Rapture. Does what you believe determine what you will get?
Perhaps this particular conspiracy theory flares up before elections for some pretty mundane reasons, like a desire to win. Picturing Trump as some superhero who will rescue us from the elites is beyond any mental gymnastics my brain is capable of performing.
Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search – You Tube
You may wonder why Evangelicals don’t oppose 45, whose “sins” are coming home to roost and lowering the tone of our national discourse. But you don’t have to travel too far in your thinking to understand that Trump’s misogyny is tailor-made for furthering the policies of fundamentalist Christians. Iowa just passed a law that makes it a crime to have an abortion after 6 weeks. So far no one has overturned this law which violates the intent of Roe v Wade, a law with Supreme Court clout behind it. Perhaps this is true because Trump is packing Federal courts with conservatives as quickly as Congress can confirm them.
Evangelicals and Trump seem to agree that women are the root of much of the evil in American society. When women went to work families fell apart, they claim. Many conservatives feel that the demise of the nuclear family changed the entire tenor of American society and not for the better. They blame the disruptions to the nuclear family on educating women for careers that take their focus away from preserving close families. They also blame this statistical piece of data about fewer nuclear families on women’s liberation and feminism, birth control and legal abortion. But the true roots of this story, at least for these originalists, are in the Garden of Eden. Women led men into the original sin.
Some Evangelicals tend to also be white supremacists (these days) who bemoan the lack of large white families, the dearth of women who are baby factories turning out white infants to keep America white. I don’t know if you have been reading David Brooks in the NYT’s. While I would never identify Brooks as a white supremacist, he does feel that American values and our whole national psyche suffered as families lost strength. He places a lot of the blame on technology but behind his Luddite arguments are the missing elements that supposedly gave America, once upon a time, it’s sense of community. Those missing elements are moms and religion (the role of the church in community life). When women went to work, white women stopped having babies, that is the crux of the matter for Evangelicals, for white supremacists, and perhaps, in a different way, even for David Brooks.
Beyond that there is, of course, a religious belief that abortion is wrong, that God doesn’t like it and that it is probably a mortal sin, even though mortal sin is more a Catholic thing than an evangelical thing. Many believe that if they let women abort babies they are dooming their immortal soul and will never be accepted in Paradise when they leave this life. So they dictate what others can do because they feel they must for both reasons of faith and to insure their passage into heaven.
Lately Evangelicals have decided that life is so sacred that it is wrong to use birth control. Just as some schools are moving back to preaching abstinence; women are being burdened with a message that links abortion and birth control. Evangelicals seem to be saying to women, if you don’t want babies don’t be promiscuous; if you get pregnant, regardless of the circumstances, have the baby. Most of this enormous burden of judgmental religiosity is coming from men, who are responsible for every baby ever born and for the circumstances under which they are conceived (at least most of the time). Allowing this message to have power over women’s lives sends them spiraling backwards to pre-contraception days.
Donald Trump lives deep in the old Madonna-whore complex. Wives are placed on a pedestal and treated like queens (for a while at least) and other women who like their sexuality, or who exploit their sexuality, or who are exploited for their sexuality are Donald’s whores. He may also treat them well for a while, but they are not supposed to have children by him and they are definitely not squired about for public consumption. If they did get pregnant, which could happen because his pleasure comes without protection, I assume an abortion would suddenly gain favor.
And so, not totally by surprise we find this article at salon.com
“The slow drip-drip of revelations about exactly how deep Donald Trump was in with the Russians comes out on top of a veritable sea of corruption stories flooding out of the White House. But one scandal that’s getting less attention might end up having more dramatic impacts in the long run. It could end up drastically undermining women’s rights to get abortions, to prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, and even to protect themselves from cancer. New evidence suggests that Trump is, in effect, selling off women’s rights to religious fundamentalists, and personally profiting from doing so.”
It is certainly true that women’s rights have moved far down on the list of media priorities. There are so many attacks on various aspects of American traditions, laws, and practices that we mostly feel like victims of whiplash. Sleaze sells better than outrage. With hush money changing hands and Stormy Daniels piquing interest or moral judgment, and lawyers dominating our news cycles women’s issues, never of great interest to anyone other than women, have fallen by the wayside. (Although, of course, the treatment of Stormy Daniels, et al, is a women’s issue.)
“It’s not unusual, especially in the era of dark money, for special interests to buy off candidates by spending lavishly on campaigns. But with the SBA List’s hotel choice and questions about the Trump-inauguration money’s final destination, there’s strong reason to worry that Trump is simply profiting directly from influence-peddling. What anti-choice activists appear to be getting in exchange is terrifying: An all-out assault on legal abortion and affordable contraception that could roll back decades of progress for women’s autonomy and reproductive health,” says Amanda Marcotte, the author of the article.
Not all women enjoy child-rearing, at least not if it is all they are allowed to do. Women tend to be born with brains as functional as those of men. When women’s brains are solely concerned with healthy baby meals and children’s literature, songs and play activities it can make a grown human woman feel brain dead. I am not saying women don’t love their children. It would be great if all of the women who thrive on child-rearing could concentrate on that pleasure. I am saying that there are women who do not find fulfillment in raising children as their sole profession. In fact there are women who become depressed if they do not have a job to do out in the world away from their family for at least part of the day. There are women who go mad if they cannot create and study and read and exercise their minds just as they exercise their bodies. Much of Freud’s oeuvrewas based on the mental states of women who were suppressed in one way or another. Limiting human endeavors can have profound effects on anyone. There is scientific data about this if only these people valued science.
What will women’s lives be like when 45 is finished with us all? Will we be under the supervision of fundamentalist religious leaders as we see in other parts of the world? We can certainly see the relevance of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and why it has returned as a popular mini-series on TV. The battle was already lost for at least 4 years when Trump was elected. We resist but we worry. Will that be enough? And 45 is being handsomely paid to help take rights away from women? That just adds insult to injury.
After the stories we get, all too infrequently, out of North Korea – after the prison camps, the cult of “Dear Leader” that citizens are initiated into at birth – after the famine and the fear that the slightest misstep could bring imprisonment with torture and hard labor or even death – after all that and more, if you were a citizen of South Korea how would you feel about the possibility of ending Korea’s decades-long separation? Do you trust your new President with his goofy, light-hearted smile to stand up to a man who learned how to rule from his father Kim Jung-il a man who ruled by emotional whim, sometimes acting beneficent and sometimes vicious, paranoid and cruel. Kim Jong-un seems to govern in that same bipolar style. Would you want to cozy up to a guy who just threatened to bomb half the known world out of existence?
Do we hope that the spirit of Dennis Rodman is motivating Kim Jong-un to find his “Hangover” happy place as an adopted American frat boy? Does he hope to share Western pleasures with his people? Does he want sanctions lifted and an economy that can flourish as a serious leader of dependent people might? Will North Korea become more like South Korea or vice versa? Did the welcome his delegation received at the Olympics warm the cockles of his previously impervious heart? Does he wish to rebrand his nation from the “Hermit Kingdom” to something new? Perhaps seeing how far out ahead South Korea has managed to go in terms of modernity, technology, and prosperity he either wants to haul South Korea back to a harsher, simpler lifestyle or get some of that prosperity for his own nation. North Korea has always seemed to eschew modernity and critique the depravity of developed nations, America in particular, as being soft, self-indulgent and greedy. Perhaps this has just been a way to rationalize the advantages of starvation and strife.
No – if I were a South Korean citizen I would be quite leery of any abrupt attempt to reconcile North and South Korea. I would want to know exactly how such a relationship would function. Would a certain degree of détente still apply? Would Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in form some kind of coalition government? Would it just be a matter of loosening control along the DMZ? Both leaders seem to want the American military presence in South Korea to go away but if I were a South Korean I think I would say, “not so fast.” What is bringing on this new impulse to reunite the Korean people given the danger inherent in such move? What does South Korea have to gain from this reunion beyond squishy nostalgia for a past that would, perhaps, be difficult to recapture.
Was the collapse at the North Korean nuclear test site worse than we thought, making some move towards reconciliation a distraction to appease Kim Jong-un’s own people? What happened when the “Dear Leader” went to China on that slow train? Was he ordered to go hat in hand? Or did he go on his own to discuss his next moves with President Xi Jinping? The problem with secrecy is that it makes people wonder why such secrecy is necessary. What is being hidden? In this case we have had glimpses that what is being hidden is so terrible that it would raise outcries around the world if the truth of it were known. It gives me shivers to think that the South Koreans would want anything at all to do with this young man who knows how to smile so beguilingly while ordering death for dissenters or imagined dissenters.
President Moon Jae-in of South Korea is a liberal, he leans to the left. He even was imprisoned once in South Korea for activism. He wants to stimulate the South Korean economy and generate jobs. Corporate families like Samsung have disproportionate privilege and influence in South Korea. He would like to spread this power out, allow more businesses to share the wealth. And he would like to see a reconciliation on the Korean peninsula. He would like, as we would, to end the threat of nuclear war, which would certainly have negative effects on South Korea which might be subject to nuclear fallout or find itself in the margin of error of foreign retaliation. Kim Jong-un could be playing South Korea and Trump by meaning what he says but not telling everything. Nations that keep secrets can do that. Could he agree to not use nukes but never bring up bio-weapons if negotiations did not go there. Does he have a sincere desire to rejoin the world or is this all a power ploy? Hard to be a “player” and then expect public opinion to turn around on a dime and accept you when you suddenly act all sincere; hard not to suspect this could be a trick. Is President Moon Jae-in seeing what he wants to see? Is he correct to open his country up to a man who could still be a monster? I would not want to be the President of South Korea who has to make this decision. But if he is right he will be remembered fondly forever.
And then we put Trump into this mix which already has so much potential for duplicity. Trump wants a Nobel Peace prize. He has his people chanting “Nobel, Nobel” at his rallies. Peace is a good thing. None of us is happy when a possibly unstable leader of a secretive nation is threatening to nuke us all. We can sympathize with the people in a divided nation who wish to make their country whole again. Perhaps two unstable men can produce a stable and peaceful outcome much as two negatives can make a positive. It shouldn’t matter who brings peace as long as the peace is real. I am having difficulty accepting that such a flawed President as ours could leave us any legacy that will not have to be overturned as soon as we come to our senses. Part of me loves peace so much it will even accept 45 as the prince of peace, but part of me wishes that this was happening in any other administration. I will get over myself. Peace is peace and each little bit of it that is negotiated in this contentious world of ours is valuable. But can we expect one cruel leader, one hopeful liberal, and one old-reprobate-white- supremacist-con man to produce a truly trustworthy and lasting peace. It is a tough stew to swallow.
I would like to think that Donald Trump is a racist and a white supremacist/white nationalist because he has been turned into a pod person á la Invasion of the Body Snatchers (movie) by watching too much Fox News, but after my researches I can see that this that is not the case. All sources seem to agree that Trump’s penchant for making derogatory remarks that arise from the ethnic identities of people (who are classified racially as anything other than white) is a trait that he has displayed quite publicly for decades.
I don’t know why we pussyfoot (do you like the way I worked in the word pussy because Donald Trump is also a misogynist) around labeling Trump as a racist and a white supremacist, but we do. We say that Donald Trump likes to surround himself with alt-right types who are avowed white nationalists which really means white supremacists. But we are loathe to assume that he is one of their company.
I say that the white nationalists are simply not as honest about their true feelings, but that they truly do believe that whites are superior. They may, however, in their heart of hearts (if they have them) see that white supremacists got a bad name in Nazi Germany and they want to disassociate themselves from the horror people connect with the deeds that white supremacy justified.
Donald, of course, says he does not have a racist bone in his body and I recently remember hearing one of his old acquaintances repeat this claim. It is a specious claim considering that racism is stored in the brain and there are no bones in the brain. And like many things that Mr. Trump says it is a lie, although he has possibly convinced himself through repetition that it is true.
Donald Trump is a 50’s guy who uses inappropriate terms to describe minority people, terms others have discarded because they are offensive. He is proud that he does not bow to the changing norms of what is culturally appropriate and his followers like this about him. But using racist language shows a real lack of respect for the feelings of the people these terms were intended to denigrate. Refusing to adjust his language reflects his refusal to adjust his mindset. Conjugate the verbs; he was a racist, he is a racist, he will be a racist. And he does think white folks are superior.
If my logic is not enough to convince, even though others agree with it, then look at the people he brought into the White House with him. We are not supposed to make someone guilty by association, but I do not know anyone who would be willing to consort with this band of haters. We have Steve Bannon, Steven Miller, Sebastian Gorka and their cohorts outside of the White House, Alex Jones and Richard Spencer, et al.
Trump on Obama: ‘Why doesn’t he show his birth certificate?’
Trump on Mexican immigrants: ‘Criminals and rapists’
… “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he said in 2015. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
“And some,” he added, “I assume, are good people.”
Trump on dead Muslim soldier’s mother: ‘Allowed to speak?’
United States Army Captain Humayun Khan was killed in Iraq in 2004. His parents, Americans with Pakistani roots, spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, criticizing Trump’s candidacy and its inherent racism. The father, Khizr Khan, spoke; his wife, Ghazala, stood by him.
Trump’s interpretation of the scene: “If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably – maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say.”
Trump on right-wing extremism: ‘Racism is evil,’ or is it?
Trump was at first quiet following last weekend’s violence between left and right-wing protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. Then the president blamed “violence on both sides,” without explicitly calling out neo-Nazis and other racists. Following fierce criticism at home and abroad, Trump finally made a clear statement: “Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs.”
However, at a press conference just a few days later, Trump changed course: “You had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent,” he said.
Trump’s critics charge that he has not done enough to credibly distance himself from white-supremacist and other right-wing movements. His aide, Steve Bannon, was editor-in-chief of Breitbart News, a mouthpiece of the far-right movement known as alt-right.
Many right-wing activists and groups feel emboldened by Trump’s comments. Critics say he does not do enough to distance himself from white supremacist groups like the Ku Klux Klan or the alt-right movement.
We certainly have had racists in our government before, and even white supremacists who did not perhaps use that label but clearly expressed such views. We have never elected a blatantly racist/white nationalist/white supremacist as our President before, however.
Perhaps this is a backlash-President elected by people who were stunned by having a black man in the oval office as our President. Perhaps it is a reaction to the oft-repeated message that white people will soon make up a minority of the American population.
The roots of racism have always been deep in this nation and hard to extract. We have watched for a recovery from our Civil War which has never really happened. The murmurings sometimes become shouts as they seem to be now during the Trump administration. Perhaps this is because we see an unholy alliance between those who still fight the Civil War and those who resent seeing immigrants of color and immigrants from non-Christian nations, especially those here without proper documents, seemingly “changing the face” of our (supposed) (white) American “exceptualism.”
We need to remember that whenever Trump makes a decision or backs a policy this supremacist strain comes into play, consciously or unconsciously, and he may even have consulted some of these alt-right (racist) cronies to help him set his priorities.
We can see this in his travel ban, his deportation plans, his waffling over DACA, the importance he places on the wall, his reluctance to stick to agreements with non-European nations or contribute to programs that assist non-European nations (with the exception of Israel and, in fact, many Israelis have European roots).
We see this in his unwillingness to give credence to the violent acts, intimidations, and acts of hate that are in the DNA of groups like the KKK that join forces with the newer white supremacy groups; and in his failure to see the difference between Antifa and these alt-right groups.
There is nothing in our Constitution that prevents a racist from holding office, even the office of Presidency. In fact many will argue that since some of the authors of the Constitution and the early leaders in our government owned slaves that this President fits right in with our origins. Public cultural values have evolved since the days of our forefathers and racism is considered ignorant and wrong because our thinking has progressed.
And yet here we are with a racist President who would be happy to have all his jackbooted friends resting with their dogs and guns, feet on the fender of the fireplace, which we can easily picture taking up space in the oval office. And this President refuses to admit that this harmful aberration is a real part of his nature at all.
Do we remain constantly vigilant and resist, even while it all seems so distant and harmless, or do we let the worst be done and then try to clean it up afterwards? I know history swings around, that it is perhaps more like a spiral than a straight line, but knowing what we know now how can we not call out this racism each time it rears its ugly head. How do we accept any future that is not globalist in scope and inclusive of all living things on the planet? This is another one of the facets of Trump that causes us to worry and keeps us feeling that we must be always ready to resist.
We Were Eight Years in Power
“It is not so much that I logically reasoned out that Obama’s election
would author a post-racist age. But it now seemed possible
that white supremacy, the scourge of American history, might be banished in my lifetime.”
This is a very long article, but it is sort of like a “greatest hits” album. You have heard all or most of this before. It simply appears in a new framework.
If we examine each of the traits the DSM lists for Narcissistic Personality Disorder we can match each trait to actions Trump has taken or things Trump has said. We do not even have to make an exhaustive or complete list relative to each trait in order for the evidence to be fairly damning.
Has this particular mental disorder kept rulers from having powerful effects on world history? Not at all. In fact it is probably true that many rulers displayed signs that they had this particular form of mental disorder. However many of these leaders were authoritarian and the legacies they gave civilizations that came after them were not always positive. (Hitler) Narcissism does not seem as compatible with a democratic form of government. These character traits almost always lead eventually to an authoritarian style of leadership even if the way of governing purports to be something more egalitarian.
First Trait: having an exaggerated sense of self-importance:
I could shoot some on Park Ave…
Billy Bush and Trump disrespect women…
Second Trait: expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it:
Trump exaggerating inauguration crowd…
The crowd-size controversy began on Saturday, Jan. 21, a day after the inauguration, when President Trump claimed the media had misrepresented the number of people attending his inauguration. Trump spoke at CIA headquarters and said that “one of the networks” had shown “an empty field,” while he saw a crowd that “looked like a million-and-a-half people” and “went all the way back to the Washington Monument.”
Trump claimed that “we caught [the media] in a beauty, and I think they’re going to pay a big price.”
Third Trait: exaggerating achievements and talents
I (Trump) will give you the best health care plan and it will cost less… Here is piece of the full timeline you can find in The Atlantic.
September 27, 2015: Repeal and replace
“Obamacare’s going to be repealed and replaced,” Trump told Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes. “Obamacare is a disaster if you look at what’s going on with premiums where they’re up 45, 50, 55 percent.”
He was vague on the details, but insisted that all Americans will have insurance. “There’s many different ways, by the way. Everybody’s got to be covered… I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.”
November 11, 2016: No preference
Jump ahead to right after the election. Trump told The Wall Street Journal he has no fixed position, but would consider just trying to fix the existing law. “Either Obamacare will be amended, or repealed and replaced,” he said.
November 13, 2016: Simultaneous repeal and replace
Two days later, Trump was again on 60 Minutes, where he told Lesley Stahl he wants both to eliminate the law and to put in place a new one at the same time.
January 9, 2017: Simultaneous repeal and replace
Despite Trump’s statements, Republican leaders began floating the idea of repealing Obamacare first and replacing it later, likely recognizing that while a majority of the GOP caucus in both houses favors repeal, they have divergent views about what a replacement look like. (After seven years of promising repeal, leaders still had no viable plan.) But Senator Rand Paul believes that Congress should do both at once, and he convinced Trump to go along with it. The Wall Street Journal reported:
“I believe we should vote on replacement the same day we vote on repeal,” Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) said in an interview Monday. Mr. Trump called the senator on Friday night “to say he agrees completely,” Mr. Paul said.
January 15, 2017: ‘Insurance for everybody’
Trump told The Washington Post that he was close to unveiling a plan with the leaders of the House and Senate that would give insurance to everybody, lower deductibles, and lower premiums.
March 7, 2017: Trump backs House plan
On March 6, House Republican leaders unveiled their repeal-and-replace plan, which immediately took fire from all sides. Conservatives saw it as far too timid, but it also failed to meet the criteria that Trump had laid out. It increased premiums, slashed Medicaid (despite a Trump campaign promise not to touch entitlements), and would result—the CBO said a week later—in 21 million more uninsured Americans by 2021. Nonetheless, Trump backed the plan:
March 24, 2017: Wait for Obamacare to collapse
On March 24, the House bill collapsed, with Speaker Paul Ryan pulling it and acknowledging he didn’t have the votes to pass it. “I’ve been saying for the last year and a half that the best thing we can do politically speaking is let Obamacare explode,” Trump says in the Oval Office. He said he planned to move on to tax reform and let Democrats come to him when the current system collapses.
(As you know, there is much more to this time line and you can find the rest of it here:
I can be more presidential than anyone since Lincoln
Best ever list
“I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.” America needs jobs. The Donald will deliver.
“I’m really rich! I’ll show you that in a second. And by the way: I’m not even saying that in a brag.” Trump is richer than you. And more humble, too.
“I’m the most militaristic person.” Is that actually a good quality? I would have gone with Genghis Khan . . .
“I will build a great wall . . . and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me.” We will probably have to take The Donald’s word on this one.
“Hillary Clinton was the worst secretary of state in the history of the United States. Hillary was the worst. In the history of the United States there’s never been a secretary of state so bad as Hillary.” Whoa now. Don’t sell John Kerry short.
“I would use the greatest minds. I know the best negotiators. I’m in New York — I know the good ones, the bad ones. I always say: ‘I know the ones people think are good.’ I know people you’ve never heard of that are better than all of them.” The man behind The Apprentice will stock his cabinet with the best of the best.
“If you really love this country you have a very, very hard time convincing people that what you’re doing is right and that you’re really smart. And, like, a lot of us are really smart. I’m really smart — I went to the Wharton School of Finance.” Trump attended an Ivy League school, so he’s not like those bozos George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
“I would hit [ISIS] so hard your head would spin.” Trump is probably right about this one. He has, after all, been inducted into the World Wrestling Entertainment’s Hall of Fame. — Mark Antonio Wright is an intern at National Review. Editor’s Note: This article has been updated since its initial publication. Share article on Facebook Tweet article Plus one article on Google PlusRead more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/423003/trumps-superlatives-mark-antonio-wright\
Fourth Trait: believing you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people.
Reporter with disability
Insulting Rosie O’Donnell
At last night’s presidential debate, Republican candidate Donald Trump engaged in a number of activities no rational person could have anticipated a presidential candidate might do, such as accusing an unnamed, hypothetical person “that weighs 400 pounds” of hacking the DNC, suggesting Clinton does not have the “stamina” to be president, interjecting that not paying federal taxes “makes me smart,” and sniffing with wild abandon throughout. He also brought up Rosie O’Donnell. Why does he keep doing that?
“Rosie O’Donnell, I said very tough things to her and I think everyone would agree that she deserves it and nobody feels sorry for her,” Trump said, for some reason, in response to the allegation that he says terrible things about women. This seemingly random feud, as we’ve been made continually aware, has been going on for a while.
Donald Trump’s Cabinet richest in U.S. history, historians say
“And one newspaper criticized me, ‘Why can’t they have people of modest means?’” Trump said at a Des Moines, Iowa rally. “Because I want people that made a fortune. Because now they’re negotiating with you, okay?”
How rich? CBS News estimates seven of Trump’s picks are worth a combined $11 billion.
Betsy DeVos, nominated for secretary of education, comes from a family worth more than $5 billion; Linda McMahon, picked for small business administrator, has family wealth worth $1.2 billion; And Vincent Viola, the choice for Army secretary, is worth $1.77 billion.
“I guess they have a few poor millionaires on it, but mostly it’s billionaires,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Critics like Sanders say Trump’s choices fly in the face of his populist campaign message. “You don’t appoint a Cabinet of billionaires to be taking on the establishment,” he said on Sunday’s “Face The Nation.”
Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s Treasury pick has been estimated to be worth as much as $655 million. He and commerce secretary nominee Wilbur Ross, worth $2.5 billion, recently said they were attuned to the plight of working Americans.
“It’s also not true all jobs are created equal. A guy that used to work in the steel mill, now flipping hamburgers, he knows it’s not the same,” Ross said in an appearance on CNBC.
Having millionaire and billionaire cabinet secretaries is not unprecedented. They tend to attract slots at Treasury and Commerce. But neither President Obama nor President George W. Bush had a single billionaire in their first Cabinets.
First President to hold eight campaign-style rallies after inauguration.
Since the 2016 election, President Trump has held eight campaign rallies across the country. President Trump claims the rallies allow him to speak directly to the American people, but others believe they are meant to distract the public and massage Trump’s ego—rather than further his agenda. While it is not uncommon for sitting presidents to hold rallies leading up to their re-election, many are surprised as to why the president has held so many his first year in office. What do you think?
Following President Trump’s controversial rally in Phoenix, many are asking why a sitting president continues to hold campaign rallies so early in his term. President Obama held his first post-inaugural rally nearly six months into his presidency, which specifically focused on garnering support for a fellow Democrat’s re-election campaign. President Trump’s rallies, on the other hand, do not appear to be designed to support other candidates or pushing specific policy objectives.
“Trump’s tactics aren’t new, but his agenda is. His emotional campaigning serves solely as a tool for self-aggrandizement, rather than fulfilling its historic function of channeling voter enthusiasm toward a particular legislative program. His rallies, which are notably about him and not about policies, raise deep concerns about a president who uses emotional politics to build a cult of personality rather than to pass laws.”
Someone on a news show (I don’t remember which one) suggested that Trump’s rallies are like the visits of the aging soap star to malls because signing autographs lifted her spirits and her ego. (Sally Fields)
Seveth Trait: expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectation.
Trump fired James Comey even though it made Trump look guilty of collusion with the Russians.
Trump wants to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from presiding over the Russian investigation and for not being a Trump Toady.
He is irate that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell can’t get health care to pass. He expresses his anger in early morning tweets and he pretends to turn to the Democrats which the Republicans, now in charge of our entire government will definitely hate.
Perhaps he has abandoned making sure “we the people” all get affordable health care (but not Obamacare) as retribution for the demonstrations against the House and Senate plans.
He refuses to show us his taxes.
Eighth Trait: taking advantage of others to get what you want.
There is a possibility that Trump used Paul Manafort for his Russian connection, unless Putin was using Manafort to connect with Trump. Perhaps it was mutual.
Sending his children to take a meeting ostensibly about “Russian adoptions” or Hillary Clinton “dirt” but possibly about sanctions against Russia that Russia wanted lifted and then writing them a note as an “excuse”.
He surrounds himself with generals to give him more cachet.
(There are too many examples of this to list and some are too personal for us to know about, I am thinking.)
Ninth Trait: having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feeling of others:
Puerto Rico tone deafness-
Soldiers assigned to the 1st Mission Support Command, U.S. Army Reserve, move cases of bottled water while working to clear roads of debris near Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017.
President Donald Trump said the military shouldn’t have to distribute the “massive amounts” of food and water that have been delivered to storm-battered Puerto Rico.
When a reporter asked Trump about disaster relief on the island, the president said that food and water had been brought to Puerto Rico, but it wasn’t being distributed by local people.
“They have to distribute the food to the people of the island. So, what we’ve done is, we now actually have military distributing food, something that really they shouldn’t have to be doing,” he said in a wide-ranging, hastily scheduled press conference on Monday.
The remark follows comments Trump made last week, where he partly blamed the island for the devastation and said emergency responders can’t stay in Puerto Rico “forever.”
Puerto Rico has been reeling in the wake of Hurricane Maria, which left most of the U.S. territory without power or access to clean drinking water. Over the weekend, local authorities raised the death toll to 48 after reviewing medical records.
A local economist projected that the wreckage may have set back Puerto Rico’s economy so much that it will now take more than a decade to recover.
Trump said Monday that aid operations in Puerto Rico are “very tough” because the island “was in very poor shape before the hurricanes ever hit.” The island had more than $70 billion in debt before Maria landed.
The president has faced criticism for an apparent lack of empathy for Puerto Rico amid the disaster response.
During a trip to the island earlier this month, Trump said the hurricane destruction had thrown his administration’s budget “a little out of whack.” Later that day, he tossed packages of paper towels to hurricane victims.
As Americans were watching their fortunes dwindle, their jobs
disappear, their pension agreements getting rescinded, and their homes lose
value or get taken back by the same corrupt banks that granted the mortgages –
there were voices speaking in their ears, in their cars, in their man caves and
media room blaming “others”. These voices said that these beleaguered Americans
were giving people who refused to work money through “entitlements” like
welfare, food stamps, Medicaid and that they were actually wasting their money.
The whispers and vein-popped shouts from right-wing media claimed that giving
poor people money actually keeps them down, turns them into dependents. Those
who hammered away at middle class Americans in shock at their losses had no proof
for their theory. Paul Ryan, a Congressman, cited a fiction book, The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand as proof
that these takers are slackers, rather than needy people whose children will
suffer if taxpayers harden their hearts.
If you want some other evidence, also from fiction, and far
more believable, read Charles Dickens. You don’t have to have unselfish impulses
to disavow social Darwinism. You can be quite selfish about it because if the
poor live in squalor, that squalor affects us all, especially our health and
our mood. People used to walk through London holding a scented handkerchief to
their noses, stepping in offal, and even having chamber pots emptied over their
Some people got sold on this short-sighted approach to social
concerns. They started to think that small government was a good idea. After
all the government kept intruding into their lives, especially in schools. No
prayer in school was touted as the root of all moral evil. Teaching Creationism
was shouted down by those who felt that science belongs in public schools,
religion, not so much. Christians felt they should have the right to teach
Creationism. Pundits started to suggest that Republicans would help the middle
class get rid of social programs and turn schools into private entities
vouchered to the states who could allow state residents to decide on curricula.
Those disembodied voices, avidly attended to over the air waves,
eventually made their listeners aware and incensed that minorities would be the
new recipients of the American Dream. White folks said “hell no”. Keep America
white. Keep America Christian. Americans speak English, they said. Eventually
the Republican Party, not in so many words perhaps, but in code, promised that
they could make it so. Even as those radio pundits graduated to TV – lo and
behold, a Black man, possibly a Muslim, possibly a henchman for someone named
Saul Alinsky, got elected to be the President of the United States of America!
It turns out the GOP lied. It lied to the middle class about
everything. As long as Obama remained the U. S. President they could not
deliver any of their promises. The social programs were cut but not eliminated.
In fact Obama, in stealth, in the dead of night, pushed through the Affordable
Care Act with no Republican votes, making social health and welfare programs
bigger than ever. The government did not pass a huge school voucher program or
close the Education Department thus giving states more autonomy in schools. The
government doubled down on national standards and the Common Core curricula.
The Obama government did not take to Republican obstruction real well and the
GOP was now in thrall to the “Tea Party” that coalesced because of the radio “whisperers”.
These folks believe that America will be white again and that
white America will be able to eat as much white bread as it wants. America will
once again have secure factory jobs for life with pensions that are solid and
generous. They believe America will stop this nonsense about fossil fuels and
the environment because Big Business doesn’t like it. We will build a wall so
no more people can come here from Mexico without documentation and so we will
not have to learn Spanish. Life will be like the 50’s – we will freeze forever
at a mid-century modern lifestyle – before the pill, before women’s lib, before
gay people, before hippies, before Civil Rights, way before 9/11. That’s what the
GOP was supposed to produce for their “base”, and that is what the election is
about, a Renaissance for white America. These are Donald Trump’s people.
Disappointed by America and then disappointed again by the Republicans. Donald
Trump comes as close to the hope that the middle class can set things straight
as anyone has and they don’t really care how he does it. He seems like someone
who truly could turn America into a mid-fifties theme park from sea to shining
But the problem is that white America is tired, old or
addicted to bad substances. White America is not the dynamic demographic it once
was. We are not reproducing fast enough to prevent our numbers and prospects
from dwindling. Even many of those very Republicans riding herd over Obama are
ancient artifacts of distant eras (such as the 1950’s). Without the energy and
the thirst for freedom and success of our young immigrant groups we will very
likely just turn into a fusty, dying social experiment with a Dream that was
cancelled for lack of interest. A vote for Trump, or any Republican, is a vote
for national stagnation and decay.
It seems that a portion of America is having a
crisis of confidence, a self-image slippage. When we see these candidates with
huge egos (adjective deliberately chosen) running at the top of the polls it’s
a sign. We know what happens to teens with low self-esteem. They are vulnerable
to con men and users of every stripe.
These demoralized Americans believe that diplomacy
is wimpy and that the only proper role for America is astride a nuke (á
la Dr. Strangelove) pointed at anyone who causes trouble. What did that guy say
– yahoo, yipee-yi-oh-ki-ay? This could be about pride but it comes off as more
about fear – fear that America will be overrun by Muslims, by the Chinese, by
the North Koreans, by the Russians (wow, we are beset, aren’t we – it is a
little paranoid-making). Surely, looking at this, someone who advocates trying
to take a diplomatic approach to calm everyone down makes good sense to some of
us and, seemingly, no sense to the rest of us.
Opponents of diplomacy want America to come out
large, guns blasting and make sure that other nations know who is in charge, to
pistol whip them into some kind of dazed submission that puts star spangled
flags in their eyes when they even think of America. Well, to many Americans,
this looks more like an Armageddon-WW III scenario that may rage for a century,
as opposed to what we have right now, just the small conflagrations that pop up
now and then, have to be put out, but are confined to specific areas, so that
life in the rest of the world goes on.
There will always be people who get drunk on power
and stomp around uncaring about who they stomp on. And they will always raise
the ire of people who love freedom because they are enemies of freedom. But
after all these centuries of human interaction and after being taunted by power-
sick individuals over and over again, after endless wars to subdue men who want
to rule the world you would think we would have come up with some better
strategies for these megalomaniacs than to drive a few tanks over them (they
get back up). People with these personality disorders should not ever be
allowed to assume a role of power. They should be defused and their talents
redirected early on before it takes half a world to defeat one madman.
People in America, Conservatives, seem to believe
that the best way to defeat one megalomaniac is with another. So we have a
lineup of egomaniacs running on the Republican side (D. Trump, B. Carson, T. Cruz, C.
Christie) and we have free Americans on fire to put
themselves under the control of these nuts. But there is no “we” in ego. These
guys sound more like they are running for King than for President.
America, because it is a nation run by flawed humans
cannot be perfect. We have sometimes done what we thought would be right and we
have sometimes done wrong in order to protect our might (although that didn’t
always end up well). Right now our President is trying to walk closer to the
line of doing what is right – and many Americans are afraid that this will lead
us to lose our might. Boots on the ground or be a squish? Are those really our
only choices? Yikes! (Stop
watching FOX News!)