Accurate, Not Funny

A friend recently sent me the following “joke:”

The Republican Congress is preparing to pass a resolution adding an “S” to WASP.  The S will stand for STRAIGHT, and “White Anglo-Saxon Protestant will henceforth be “Straight White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.”

The Democrats in Congress will respond by creating  a new acronym of their own. MAGPIE will stand for “Minority Americans, Gays, Poor, Immigrants, Educated, Seculars.”

Clever word-play, but much too accurate to be amusing.

Count me among the many Americans who heard Donald Trump’s promise to “Make America Great Again” as a very thinly-veiled promise to “make America White Again.” Trump’s appeal was grounded in a notion of “true” Americanism that equated being a real American with being a straight white Protestant male. He appealed to nostalgia for a time when those white Protestant males dominated– and women and minorities “knew their place.”

That nostalgia, needless to say, is not shared by those encompassed by the MAGPIE acronym.

There are, as readers of this blog know all too well, many kinds of inequality. We tend to concentrate on economic disparities, and there is good reason for that—if you are a member of the working poor, unable to make ends meet even though you may be working two jobs, unable to afford adequate food and transportation, let alone health insurance—that lack of self-sufficiency hobbles you in virtually every other way.

People struggling just to survive don’t go to public meetings, rarely vote, and usually are in no position to assert their legal or constitutional rights. They lack the time (and too often the self-confidence) to complain about inadequate city services or substandard schools.

Economic equity is thus incredibly important. But as we all understand, in a society that privileges certain identities over others, the people most likely to be poor, the people most likely to be economically marginalized, are the people consigned to the “Other” categories. The MAGPIES.

One of the most depressing realities about Trump’s America is the increasing division of the population into tribes contending for advantage in what most see as a zero-sum game.

Rather than a liberal democracy in which elected officials work for their vision of a common good, America is rapidly devolving into a corporatist system where elected officials decide who they will favor with tax cuts, subsidies and other governmental prizes. (Those decisions, needless to say, are not made on the basis of what is good for all Americans—they are made in exchange for campaign donations and/or partisan estimates of what is good for the official’s “tribe.”)

From time to time, someone will repeat the old story about the Chairman of General Motors who reportedly said “What’s good for General Motors is good for the United States.” What he actually said was “What’s good for the United States will be good for General Motors.”

That recognition—that we are all in this together, that prosperity must be shared to be sustainable, and that sound management of any business requires a concern for the national welfare—is all but gone, replaced by Trumpism’s far more constricted and un-self-aware concern with the immediate prospects of ones own tribe.



  1. International corporations know no allegiance to any country. Their self-interest and profits are their only concern. If the government of any country provides goods and services that they do not have to pay for, the form that government takes and how it treats its citizens matter not.

  2. Nancy,

    The country’s economic downfall is already well under way. All one needs to do to see it is to acknowledge the 20% plus living in poverty, the one in six children who go hungry every day, the massive increase across the country in food banks. A country with this much poverty is not prospering, it is declining.

  3. The Demos apparently have forgotten me, who is 88 years old. They have forgotten ageing, forgotten the the acronym needs ro be MAAGPIE.

    The worst problems that age brings for a relatively healthy person, from my standpoint , is a robbery of energy, time, and predictability. Lack of energy means that hours that “should” be used in production are consumed by “rest.” Lack of energy means that, in the little time left, the job just can’t be rolled out easily or with any certainty. That’s why healthy people who are getting old need help. Those unfortunates elders who are ill have far greater needs

  4. Theresa; you see the poorest of the poor in your weekly work with homeless here in Indianapolis. Their plight will deepen with the current Republican control over all things economic; what will happen to them when the current donors can no longer donate? We here in Indianapolis are faced with a sudden, unexplained, skyrocketed increase in our power bills from Indianapolis Power and Light..those of us lucky enough to have homes. My bill has jumped twice since December, by approximately 35%, included in my latest bill is a notice that IPL has requested a rate hike. Is this in addition to the current hike or an after-the-fact notification? The Democratic Mayor and majority on the City-County Council will not be able to override the Republican control above them. Our utilities are a necessity and are run by monopolies governed by local elected official; leaving us no opportunity to shop around for better rates.

    “Rather than a liberal democracy in which elected officials work for their vision of a common good, America is rapidly devolving into a corporatist system where elected officials decide who they will favor with tax cuts, subsidies and other governmental prizes.”

    What exactly is the “vision” of today’s elected officials; is there an actual “vision” or goal or are we at the mercy of Trump’s irrational “vision” which we are being told to accept as our reality? The majority of Americans belong to the MAGPIES; we across this nation, will not be favored with “government prizes” such as reasonable utility rates, food, medical and other necessity costs; many are facing the distinct possibility of loss of health care coverage and increased tax rates – which WE must pay although Trump does not. His promised deportations will soon begin and must be paid for by someone’s taxes – someone other than those doing the deporting – that leaves we MAGPIES to foot that bill. Locally we are already facing the increased tax burden dumped on us by Trump with his “salvation” of those “alternative fact” 1,000 jobs recently. When will we members of those “tribes” begin fighting among ourselves for survival; turning to a “survival of the fittest” and “every man/woman for him/herself” society?

  5. I’m reminded of my days as an attorney in Dallas back in the 80’s before they started purging attorneys who were at least one-eighth Jewish. I was in the office of the Presiding Judge, John Mead whose wife was from one of the richest families in Texas. For some reason, back in those days, the super rich Texans liked to vacation in San Diego. John had just returned from San Diego, and says to me, “Freud why is it that when 100 white Anglo-Saxons get together there is always one Jew?” My response was, “Judge that’s easy, when you get through “screwing” everyone you need to have someone to pin it on, isn’t that right?” No answer from the Judge.

    John was referring to Ambassador Robert Strauss, a Jew and a power in the Democratic Party, who had been secretly fronting the racist oligarchy in Texas since the end of WW II.

  6. The first 4 days of the Trump administration have shown us exactly what we bought. First to go are environmental protections and the information provided by the EPA. Many people who supported Trump also supported the protesters at the Dakota Access pipeline. Next up will be immigration. There can be no visa for anyone from a myriad of Arab countries, refugee or not. Can we get an artist to take the poem off of the Statue of Liberty?

  7. Our country has been undergoing Neoliberalism since the late 70’s and early 80’s ushered into Western democracies by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Every single democratic president supported these policies, including 8 years of Barack Obama.

    Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba, said this last week in Davos where the worlds elite congregate:

    “Jack Ma, one of China’s most successful and richest entrepreneurs, has responded to America’s growing globalization backlash, arguing that the superpower has benefited immensely from the process – but that it has largely squandered its wealth.

    “American international companies made millions and millions of dollars from globalization,” Ma – the founder of Alibaba, the world’s largest online retailer – told participants on the second day of Davos. “The past 30 years, companies like IBM, Cisco and Microsoft made tons of money.”

    The question is: where did that money go? It was wasted, Ma explained.

    “In the past 30 years, America has had 13 wars at a cost of $14.2 trillion. That’s where the money went.” He also questioned America’s decision to bankroll Wall Street after the 2008 financial crash, arguing the money would have been better spent in other areas. [estimated at $14 trillion]

    “What if they had spent part of that money on building up their infrastructure, helping white-collar and blue-collar workers? You’re supposed to spend money on your own people.”

  8. Interesting! At my Democratic Ward meeting last night I made the same point during a discussion of how to revitalize the Democratic Party. If we want to solve the country’s problems, let’s focus on fixing the wealth/income disparity. Hillary understood that and said it. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as preaching hatred and bigotry! BTW- in Ithaca, we are focusing on helping Wards outside of Ithaca to mobilize.

  9. Theresa,

    In my earlier comment I mentioned the “root” of our country’s downfall. In my mind, I was referring to what has been going on since the beginning of our country. I should have been more clear.

  10. “Accurate, Not Funny” After reading this blog, my mind seemed to go in search of something from our past to compare with the issues we see today. Initially, the book “The Lord Of The Flies” came to mind; required reading for school children which I read as an adult and found it frightening. The reality of human nature coming out in young children in unfamiliar and frightening circumstances, surviving a plane crash with no adult to guide them. They evolved into two factions, good and evil, and seemed to do so quickly and easily. They were rescued but I wonder after reading it about their adulthood; what nature of adults would/could they become.

    This brought to mind the reports I read, and others on this blog mentioned, the Southern Poverty Law Center report on the effects of the Trump presidential campaign on school children. The bullying, the fears, threats, the hatred rising to the forefront and the unprepared teachers who had no idea how to deal with the demoralizing situation they faced daily. This made me question; what form of adults have we spawned and are nurturing in today’s children? Especially those young enough to still be in their formative years. Eighteen months is a huge chunk of time in a child’s life, especially the younger ones. The chaos and hatred didn’t end with the election, is has escalated today and Trump’s “alternative facts” have been added to these children’s vocabulary. Along with the misconception that lies are acceptable; our President said so.

    Another thought came to me from one of our heroes; not a hero to the Trump faction, Muhammad Ali. The song “Greatest Love Of All” from his movie “The Greatest”. Are the opening words from that song still true; or do we need to fear our children, our future leaders after what they are still witnessing from the adults leading them today.

    “I believe the children are our future
    teach them well and let them lead the way…”

  11. A good question would be: Who are the bigger FOOLS the Republican Party constituents or the pro-democracy constituents? In the name of harmony, I’ll keep my answer to myself. However, I will admit it is a tough call.

  12. FEMALES, Free, Eucated, Modern Americans for Love Equality Sharing need to stand together if we’re ever to put our country back to rights.

  13. I am a WASP but I recognize from history that when the first WASPs landed on these North American shores after the Catholics of the days of Columbus and others, white people were a decided minority. Then after muskets proved superior to bows and arrows along with smallpox and firewater, they became the majority, and as usual with supermajorities created a dictatorial swamp from which we are only slowly emerging. American natives became aliens in their own land and more white people came to our shores (along with black people who were involuntarily imported for cheap agricultural labor). Our history in this respect varies along the spectrum of good to bad to despicable immigration choices.

    Back to the future – Sheila today accurately portrays the economic side of today’s descent to Third World status. The fundamental problem, as I have blogged dozens of times, is that since circa the middle 1970s and Lewis Powell’s infamous memo we have had either stagnant or even a reduction in compensation paid to corporate workers measured by the median yardstick adjusted for inflation while the share of the economy’s income and wealth paid to the capital side has ballooned to obscene levels. Witness the Dow which will shortly exceed 20,000 while the middle class continues its downward trek to poverty, a situation Trump will make worse with his promised corporate tax cuts and less regulation of corporate enterprise.

    Sheila also correctly notes that poor people are despairing of their everyday lives and have little inclination to vote or otherwise involve themselves in community affairs. She is right to a fault. These poor serfs are too busy trying to survive the continuing wage theft by Wall Street to take a political interest in their environment. They have neither time nor inclination to involve
    themselves in a rigged system of bought politicans and greedy moneychangers. We have in reality reinstituted slavery to this country by many standards as the rich get increasingly richer and the poor get increasingly poorer.

    The solution short of taking to the streets, national strikes etc.? Rid ourselves of the currently disturbed executive class and cleanse the Congress by electing people who actually represent the best interests of those who voted for them as well as those who are currently buying their votes, but with this difference: that the distribution of the income and wealth of the economy will be decided in the public interest and not that of the paper shufflers and moneychangers.

  14. Gee, I usually try to say something witty or smart. But I have nothing but despair. I am no kid and no fool, but somehow it has really, really sunk in that everything I was taught about “America” my whole life was a lie. This country, without a king and without the more rigid strictures imposed by ethnic nationalist traditions, has evolved to be a reflection of the human race – ugly, psychopathic, greedy, tribal. We truly are not exceptional. Our history, like all of the history of the human animal, is a horror movie too bloody to comprehend, and today we are no better.

    What should my new nick be? I am more than over it. All I can come up with now is “Praying for the asteroid.”

  15. Interesting news: Here is how it works >>

    The top executive, Kelcy Warren, chairman and chief executive officer at pipeline operator Energy Transfer Partners, at the company behind the embattled Dakota Access Pipeline has donated more than $100,000 to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump since June, according to campaign finance disclosure records. Warren has also given $66,800 to the Republication National Committee since Trump secured the nomination for the Nov. 8 election, The Guardian reported. Greg Abbott, the current Texas governor, received $555,000 from Warren during the 2014 election cycle and subsequently appointed the businessman, and his wife Amy, to state boards. Oct 26, 2016.

    Donald Trump has sold his entire stake in Energy Transfer Partners, the company overseeing construction of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, a Trump spokeswoman told NBC News. Monday, 5 Dec 2016.

    Donald Trump’s pick for Energy secretary, Rick Perry, sits on the board of directors of Energy Transfer Partners, the company whose Dakota Access Pipeline has been fiercely opposed by Native American tribes and their allies.

    Energy Transfer Partners Chairman and CEO Kelcy Warren donated $5 million to Opportunity and Freedom, a political action committee that backed Perry’s candidacy, according to a Federal Election Commission filing. The PAC reimbursed Warren for $3.99 million of that amount in September 2015, shortly after Perry dropped out of the race, records show.

    For the 2016 election, Energy Transfer Partners employees donated a total of $1,518,500 to Perry’s campaign and outside groups supporting him, according to a list compiled by Open Secrets. Tuesday, 13 Dec 2016.

    Trump signed executive orders that will make it easier for TransCanada to construct the Keystone XL pipeline and for Energy Transfer Partners to build the final uncompleted portion of the Dakota Access pipeline. Jan 24, 2017.

    Crony-Capitalism, Corporatism, and Pay to Play Campaign Donations preceded the Trumpet. What I find depressing in the extreme is how normalized all this is.

  16. Over it,

    Yes, the human race can be ugly, psychopathic, greedy, and tribal. The human race can also be beautiful, intelligently sane, charitable, and accepting. We find ourselves in a great battle between these two extremes of humanity. It is horrifying to look at so much of the opposition and see such ugly, psychopathic, greedy, and tribal behavior. It is disheartening to see that same behavior in some on our own side. What is difficult to do is to see the good when the landscape is covered in the bad. But we must. We must all keep sight of the good, not just for our own minds, but for the world’s soul.

  17. There is one secret ingredient in America’s success and that is growth. First growth in land and resources, then growth in workers as millions of immigrants moved here where the opportunity was, then growth in cities as technology reduced the land and effort required to feed us and were replaced by factories, then growth in knowledge as our educational system for everyone worked it’s magic, now growth in technology.

    Now the simple truth is that growth is no longer either possible or even desirable for any country.

    Now what?

    We have a type of cancer now from people who don’t realize that the human race, like some of us individuals when maturity and growth has been replaced by maintenance and everything is different now, can only grow malignantly, at the expense of necessary tissue.

    They are consuming the us who built and are the country. Why? So oligarchs can continue to grow power and wealth.

    They tend to be good at taking the credit for what really was the irresistible forces that came from many being in the right place and time and now that those forces have diminished they feel that we need more control from them rather than recognize that they never were in control and responsible for our growth. It was entirely a natural fortunate happening.

    We don’t know where cultural evolution leads next except to a profoundly different place. We can’t even guess if it will be utopian or dystopian. What’s obvious is that the success of oligarchy giving power based on wealth can’t possibly lead there.

    So we hunker down and wait for the cancer to overgrow it’s support system, us, and collapse of the weight of its ego.

    Then we rebuild according to the Declaration of Independence a government of, by, and for the people.

  18. Louie – What you say is frightening. Can you please site your sources for the information you revealed?

  19. Theresa,

    “What is difficult to do is to see the good when the landscape is covered in the bad. But we must.”

    Maybe this can help to see the good by understanding the landscape better. It’s from a book I received a few minutes ago from Amazon, by using Kindle Unlimited, I was able to read the kindle edition last night:

    “By uprooting the past, I mean what happens when someone seeks to marginalize or even eliminate something he or she doesn’t like in the present by rewriting history in such a way as to accomplish that end. It can take the form of forgeries like the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” that fake document that led to so much real misery for Jews in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It can result from imagining a community, that is the process for nationalism, which implies the exclusion or persecution of those not part of the community. It can involve discovering a direction in which history is moving, as Marx did, thereby providing Lenin and his followers with a justification for suppressing all classes other than “proletarians.” It can surely show up as discrimination, whether on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, disability, or simple appearance, all of which require constructing some historical sense that certain people are superior to others. It can even take the form of deconstruction practiced by some postmodernists who confuse the indisputable fact that social constructions do exist with the highly disputable proposition that their own findings are not among them.”

    In each of these instances history is enlisted in some act of oppression: The past is reconstructed–which is to say that it’s made “legible” in some particular way–with a view to constraining someone else’s freedom in the future. Historians too often have participated in this process, but it’s hardly confined to them. The search for a past with which to attempt to control the future is inseparable in human nature: it’s what we mean when we learn from experience. What’s frightening about this process is when it targets victims: when excuses for marginalization lead to discrimination and to the next logical step, which is authoritarianism.
    I’d go so far as to define that term as what occurs when a reconstructed past produces the belief in the mind of some leader in the present, that the future requires reconstructed people.”

    “The Landscape of History: How Historians Map the Past” by John Lewis Gaddis (Oxford: Oxford University Press, Inc., 2002) pp. 142-3

    Sound familiar?

  20. We must understand the RECONSTRUCTED PAST in the mind of Donald Trump and the millions of his Tea Party followers from its inception. That’s the only way WE can re-direct the process into a favorable direction.

  21. Linda, there were several sources among them The Guardian, Reuters, CNBC, easiest, would be to Google. Try Kelcy Warren campaign donations.

    Former Gov. Rick Perry has resigned from the board of Dallas pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners as he prepares to become energy secretary under President-elect Donald Trump.

    Perry’s resignation was effective Dec. 31, 2016, according to the company’s filing Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Perry joined the board of Energy Transfer Partners shortly after stepping down as governor in 2015. The company’s CEO is Kelcy Warren, a longtime Perry donor.

  22. Trump … “We will Build the Wall and they will pay for it”

    and, we all know how he will pull that off ?

    Get Mexican Contractors to provide all the labor and materials,
    when its finished. Simply, refuse to pay them. The usual Trump
    routine …

  23. Peggy: what we have bought is ‘a pig in a poke’. Trump is the former and is a frequent participant in the latter.

    This miserable excuse for a human has set us back 40 years in the space of three days with his new toy (the executive order) in his playroom (the Oval Office).

    “Lord of the Flies” and “1984” are in reprint now and flying off bookstore shelves, and Amazon can hardly keep up with the orders.

    Why, I do believe that people are beginning to notice what is happening to them. It’s mighty late, but not too late!

    Rather be a MAGPIE than a WASP!

  24. Just watched the prez speak live; it surely was not accurate but I did find it funny. He signed the order to build His Wall and assures us Mexico will pay for it…at some later time. He and His Wall will be saving Mexico from the illegals from Central America coming into their country and of course save us from the illegals from Mexico. Will also be saving “thousands and thousands of lives”; those killed by the illegal Mexicans. What a guy! President of Mexico still saying he won’t pay for it.

    Caught only the last portion of an earlier interview after he signed the order; refused to give a direct answer to any question put to him regarding “will we pay for the wall initially?” or “when will Mexico pay for the wall, will it be direct payment?” Alec Baldwin will have another winner on SNL.

    I missed the beginning of the live speech; wanted to see if Pence introduced him, he was on the stage so I assume he must have…as that appears to be a new assignment for the Vice President of the United States. Heeere’s Donny!

  25. Drumpf WH is said to be using a private email server. Where have we heard this before?

    One of Drumpf’s first efforts about America First was to give Trans-Canada the KXL pipeline which will be good for Canadian companies. And since it will be shipping dirty tar sands-dil(luted) bit(umen) across America, wingnuts gave the pipeline a pass on paying into the hazardous cleanup fund by classifying tarsands as dil bit and not crude oil. It isn’t crude, it is infinitely worse.


    My God, if there ever was a LAND OF THE BLIND, it’s America. What other country or countries in the world [Planet Earth] would voluntarily host the ARMAGEDDON GAMES after observing the debacle in the Middle East? Maybe Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton should again be on stage together as the HONORARY CO-HOSTS.

    Anyone disagree?

  27. To prove the above point:

    As I have mentioned before, six of my seven websites are monitored as to the location of the visitors. This is yesterday’s RESULTS for my website:

    Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) 18%
    Casablanca, Morocco 9%
    Hangzhou, China 9%
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 9%
    Mumbai, India 9%
    Others 46%

    Fortunately, not all of the world is blind. With a few exceptions, the only persons in the U.S. who have ever identified with me in the past have been on their DEATH BED. The reason being is that they are no longer under the influence of the LAND OF THE BLIND. They are finally FREE.

    Betty and BarbaraG you are EXCEPTIONS. We need to get together for lunch.

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