Telling It Like It REALLY Is

Paul Krugman, who never shies away from telling it like it really is, has summed up the “conservatism” of today’s GOP in the first paragraphs of a recent column:

News item #1: The Trump administration is taking thousands of children away from their parents, and putting them in cages.

News item #2: House Republicans have released a budget plan that would follow up last year’s big tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy with huge funding cuts for Medicare and Medicaid.

If you think these items are unrelated, you’ve missed the whole story of modern American politics. Conservatism – the actually existing conservative movement, as opposed to the philosophical stance whose constituency is maybe five pundits on major op-ed pages — is all about a coalition between racists and plutocrats. It’s about people who want to do (2) empowering people who want to do (1), and vice versa.

For a long time–especially when I was still a Republican–I was sure that the two wings of the GOP were headed for a split. The genuine fiscal conservatives I knew–people who defined fiscal conservatism as economic prudence and “pay as you go,” not as favoring the wealthy at the expense of the poor–were as appalled as I was by the hypocritical piety of the self-identified “Christian” wing, which even then was willing to turn a blind eye to very unChristian behavior so long as it cemented their privileged status and their right to impose their beliefs on everyone else.

I utterly failed to realize what Krugman points out: once you separate genuine fiscal conservatives from apologists for the greedy, and once you rip off the false facade of “policy differences” from the racists, the two wings actually complement each other.  Genuine fiscal conservatives departed the GOP some time ago; Trumpism has removed the facade from racism.

Until Trump, the ugliness of this deal was cloaked in euphemisms. As Lee Atwater famously put it,

You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.

But the reality was always there. The conservative economic agenda has never been popular, and it is objectively against the interests of working class voters, whatever their race. In fact, whites without a college degree are the biggest beneficiaries of the social safety net. Nonetheless, these voters supported the GOP because it spoke to their racial animosity.

For a while, what Krugman calls “this bait-and-switch” worked; racism was used to motivate the base, but once elections were over, it was mostly shoved back in the closet. As he notes, however, that tactic was ultimately unsustainable. “Sooner or later the people who voted for white dominance at their own economic expense were going to find a champion who would deliver on their side of the bargain.”

Now, many in the plutocrat wing of the GOP seem to be genuinely dismayed by where this is going. They aren’t themselves racists, or at least they aren’t crude racists. But so far they’ve been unwilling to go beyond hand-wringing. Remember, just two Republican senators could stop all of this by saying that they’ll refuse to support Trump judicial appointments and legislation until the cruelty stops; they could bring all the evil to a dead halt by threatening to caucus with Democrats. But not one has stepped forward – because taking such a step would endanger conservative economic policies, and those are evidently more important than human rights.

When members of the “plutocratic wing” decry child separation at the nation’s border, when they join the rest of us by protesting that “this isn’t who we are,” it’s hard to argue with Krugman’s response:

It is who you are: you made a deal with the devil, empowering racism and cruelty so you could get deregulation and tax cuts. Now the devil is having his due, and you must share the blame.

I was wrong to see the two wings of the Republican Party as incompatible. They’re locked into their very own Faustian bargain, and unless and until American voters demand payment, they will both continue getting the benefit of that bargain.


  1. I have had the same reaction to members of Congress claiming “ This is not who we are”. It absolutely IS who we are. Empty words don’t remedy this terrible situation.

  2. There are the “movers and shakers” and the “plodders and doers” in the current administration. Trump and his unqualified cabinet members “move and shake” making up the rules as they go along and Trump and his elected Congress “plod and do” to see that the rules are carried out nation-wide.

    From my Webster’s Dictionary: conservative 1: favoring a policy of keeping things as they are as opposed to change, 2: favoring established styles and standards. Nothing that we have been subjected to since January 20, 2017, is evidence of conservative governing and many of the changes change throughout the day or week – according to Trump’s whims. He has never had one unexpressed thought in his life and, as Rachel Maddow so aptly put it, “No one does nothing better than him.” She was of course referring to progress as opposed to digressing to the early to mid-20th Century when racism was ruled by unwritten Jim Crow and anti-Semitic laws which Trump is now writing in his Executive Orders and signing his name in huge letters with his Sharpie.

    We relaxed our vigil; never believing the nationally known womanizer, bogus deal-maker, TV show host could possibly become our leader, the president of the United States and the most powerful man in the world…but there he is, deplorable, disgusting and demanding adoration…and getting it.

    “It is who you are: you made a deal with the devil, empowering racism and cruelty so you could get deregulation and tax cuts. Now the devil is having his due, and you must share the blame.”

    We kept pressing that “snooze button” on the alarm and slept through the takeover; but we are awake now and we are aware now that we must circle our wagons tightly, grit our teeth and vote for some weaklings in hopes of propping them up. Big headlines with big pictures on the front page of the Star today; Trump and Donnelly in a pictorial face-to-face with the headline, “Trump is leaning on Donnelly to support high court nominee”. This is NOT news to anyone on this blog, and probably not throughout the state of Indiana or much of the country; the news will be Donnelly’s decision. And Donnelly cannot be counted on to uphold loyalty to his oath to protect his constituents and the Constitution of the United States of America. Donnelly’s campaign is already being supported by a Republican contingent in Indiana; where his loyalties lie will be known before the November election…forcing us to make a decision to effect all of us due to the outcome of the makeup of SCOTUS.


    Join in efforts to register voters

    Do your research and know your stuff and then…

    Pick one or two candidates to support and volunteer to help them

    Send $$$ to candidates you support… NOW and again in the fall

    Attend as many rallies for your candidates as possible

    Speak out for your candidate and against the opposition

    Put up the yard sign, slap on the bumper sticker

    Don’t wait for someone else to organize your efforts… be self organized and get going!

  4. Theresa; I support your list, the donation to candidates brought a question to mind. Those offers to double, triple or quadruple my amount; if they have the money to donate, why do they not just donate it? My donations have nothing to do with other donors. At this time I am unable to continue donating; have had thousands of unexpected and unavoidable expenses at the time when my donations are needed most. This worries me because it is well known that the 1% who use Citizens United to their advantage buying elected officials puts us on an uneven playing field. Add to this equation for millions of suffering Americans the rising costs of all food, goods and services and we are at a disadvantage which cannot be overcome. Especially for the families who need the current administration ousted before they sink to poverty levels they may not recover from.

    Just “Telling It Like It REALLY Is”

  5. JoAnn,

    I too cannot give as much as I would like, but I will send what I can. It isn’t just the money. In many cases it will be getting out the vote. So, do what you are able to do. Meanwhile, keep posting your great comments.

  6. Why is Trump still so popular? He gives his base what they want
    Cas Mudde

    A recent Gallup poll showed that, at the 500 days mark, Trump was the second most popular US president among his own constituency. How is that possible?

    Fri 29 Jun 2018 10.18 EDT
    Last modified on Fri 29 Jun 2018 13.56 EDT

    ‘The 2020 presidential elections are still more than two years away. That is a long time in politics and an eternity in the Trump era.’ Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    In the past two months I have been traveling through Europe, talking to academic and non-academic audiences all across the continent about populism. And from Norway to Italy and Hungary to Ireland, people have been asking me the same question: how is it possible that Americans still support President Donald Trump?
    Hillary Clinton: ‘What is more uncivil than taking children away?’
    Read more

    After explaining that the vast majority of Americans do not support Trump, and that he was elected with almost 3 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton – because the United States is the only “democratic” country in the world where a person with fewer votes can win the presidency – I bring them the really bad news: if things continue this way, Trump will be comfortably re-elected in 2020.

    Of course, the main reason for Trump’s re-election, as well as his election, is the dysfunctional political practice and system of the United States. Like in other western democracies, the white majority is over represented because minorities vote at much lower levels. However, unlike in most other democracies, various types of old and new acts of voter suppression actively discourage the electoral participation of non-white minorities. On top of that, gerrymandering further strengthens the disproportionate power of the white electorate, particularly in the conservative rural areas of the individual states and the country as a whole.

    But all of this does not explain why Trump is actually quite popular – and probably more popular than he was when he got elected. Today, Trump’s approval ratings are at 42%, which is a mere 3% lower than when he started. But more importantly, he is extremely popular among his core electorate, ie Republicans. A recent Gallup poll showed that, at the 500 days mark, Trump was the second most popular US president among his own constituency (87% support), only topped by President George W Bush (96% support), who was at that time profiting from the rally around the flag response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks!

    But how is this possible, I hear you think? Has Trump not said that there were “very fine people” among the extreme-right demonstrators at the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia? Has he not consistently undermined the independent judiciary and media by attacking “so-called judges” and “the ‘Fakers’ at CNN, NBC, ABC & CBS”? Has he not systematically dehumanized immigrants and minorities, introduced nativist policies such as a (slightly watered-down) “Muslim ban”, and made the immigration services into an inhuman authoritarian apparatus that separates crying and screaming children from their parents?

    Yes, he has. But he has also give a significant tax cut which disproportionately benefits above-average-income Americans, the true core of the Republican, and therefore Trump, electorate. And for many Republicans, if they get a tax break, you can do little to no wrong. Moreover, he is rapidly dismantling the state, by deregulating industries and defunding regulation agencies, which satisfies most of the usual Republican mega-donors – including former anti-Trumpists like the Koch brothers.

    For the Christian right, he has appointed the staunchly anti-abortion Neil Gorsuch to the supreme court and moved the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This more than compensates for all his scandals with porn stars and bragging about pussy-grabbing. And given that he will undoubtedly please them with another supreme court judge soon (to replace Anthony Kennedy), and another supreme court position is expected to open up after 2020 (Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 85), the Christian right will come out again en masse in the next presidential elections, to take solidify the conservative hold off the supreme court and ensure the overthrow, or irrelevance, of Roe v Wade.

    Finally, the hardcore Trump base, the stereotypical white working-class male nativist, has been more than satisfied. Expecting little to nothing from politicians, Democratic or Republican, they see a president who tirelessly tries to ban non-white people (notably Central Americans and Muslims) from entering the country, introduces tariffs to allegedly protect US industries, and “owns the libs” at any occasions with “politically incorrect” and “taboo-breaking” speeches and tweets.

    Trump opponents, inside and outside of the US, always bring up that many of his most blatant proposals have been struck down by the courts or watered down in Congress. But rather than weakening Trump, this only strengthens him. This proves to his supporters that the system is indeed broken, just as Trump says, and that the will of the people is thwarted by corrupt elites in politics and “the deep state” within the broader bureaucracy. Hence, a second term is necessary to ensure that Trump can actually do what he has promised and tried to do.

    There is a silver lining though, even if it is thin. The vast majority of Americans still oppose Trump, in terms of his personality, policies and rhetoric. So far, they have not found a national voice, however. While Democrats have picked up seats in many local and state elections, and progressives are beating liberals in more and more important (primary) races, the national Democratic party has gone awol since the shock 2016 defeat and thinks that a combination of identity politics for non-white Americans and Russiagate for their white base will do the trick. It doesn’t and it won’t.

    But the 2020 presidential elections are still more than two years away. That is a long time in politics and an eternity in the Trump era. There might still be enough time for the national Democratic party to get their act together and become the voice of the silent majority, which is currently completely overshouted by Trump’s loud minority.

    Cas Mudde is a Guardian US columnist

  7. Theresa, thanks for the helpful list. Will use that to flesh out a speech I’m giving tomorrow to Wayne co. indivisible. (also good chat stuff for “Keeping families Together” rally today). Urge all to join in your nearest rally today, no matter how hot it is.

  8. The evidence was there long before Trump came along…what took Krugman so long to wake up?

    The policies set up by Clinton has incarcerated more young black men than any other administration. Privatizing prisons and then using those imprisoned as free labor for governments. How is that different from the slavery tactics we used during this country’s inception?

    I would love to see Krugman sit down with Michelle Alexander who has also called out the racism within the DNC. It would be an enlightening conversation.

    The problem is the likes of Krugman are insulated from the pain and oppression. It’s called privilege. He’s been an apologist for the Oligarchy for decades–willingly or unwillingly.

    More intelligent economists like Thomas Piketty have already done the hard work of pinpointing the exact descent to our current point–Neoliberalism brought on by Reagan/Thatcher. Austerity for the masses. Privatizing government because “markets are more efficient.” Piketty has proved they are NOT more efficient.

    Why are Americans so oblivious to a system which produces such poor results for the people?

    The shooting and killing of journalists in Annapolis have brought to surface a conversation we need to be having…a constitutional free press vs. U.S. Media. #FakeNews #Propaganda

    A free press is NOT the same as our media conglomeration owned by the Entertainment Complex. Look who controls the media…the Fourth Estate has been dead for a long time in this country. It was done intentionally.

    When a pillar of our democracy collapsed, it was only a matter of time for the rest to crumble. The division came when the media chose which target markets they could sell their commercial ads.

    The modern media is NOT a free press because it is part of the Oligarchy. It’s a mouthpiece for those in power. It’s how they communicate to the masses. It’s how they sell consumers specific products.

    And yes, that includes MSNBC and Rachel Maddow. Sorry…

    The free press doesn’t serve the people, and our government (public sector) doesn’t serve the people. They serve the Donor Class (private sector).

    If two pillars of our finely composed democracy aren’t functioning as intended, we don’t have one…take your pick when it imploded, but it doesn’t exist. No checks AND no balances. #POOF

  9. Thanks, Theresa. I just received another bartering donor message from Democrats; this time 5X my donation will be added. They never include what they will do for my donation, other than match it several times over. Do you think the Republicans are getting their financial support for Trump this way? They KNOW what they are paying for; we are still waiting to get that information. Still; I would be donating if I could and keeping fingers crossed I’m not paying for a pig-in-a-poke.

  10. Todd,

    “The evidence was there long before Trump came along…what took Krugman so long to wake up?”

    I remember, a few years ago, Krugman made a public apology for discounting the effects of racism. He’s afraid to get “ahead of the puck” on that issue. I don’t blame him. His “core readership” would surely plummet if he did.

  11. JoAnn,

    You may be on to something regarding the Dem donation requests with matching donations. I also wonder if there is any truth to the matching – why doesn’t the matching donor just give more?

    I am inclined to think that the matching donations don’t really exist and wonder if they are using lies inorder to fool people into thinking that their money will magically multiply.

    A friend learned yeas ago to stop donating to our state dem party. The money they recieve goes upstream to the national level. Instead, she and others found that their donations were better used when given to specific candidates.

  12. “After explaining that the vast majority of Americans do not support Trump, and that he was elected with almost 3 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton – because the United States is the only “democratic” country in the world where a person with fewer votes can win the presidency – I bring them the really bad news: if things continue this way, Trump will be comfortably re-elected in 2020.

    Of course, the main reason for Trump’s re-election, as well as his election, is the dysfunctional political practice and system of the United States. Like in other western democracies, the white majority is over represented because minorities vote at much lower levels. However, unlike in most other democracies, various types of old and new acts of voter suppression actively discourage the electoral participation of non-white minorities. On top of that, gerrymandering further strengthens the disproportionate power of the white electorate, particularly in the conservative rural areas of the individual states and the country as a whole.

    Marv; why aren’t you taking your message across this continent, at least the United States part of it? These are messages that would/could resound at American rallies, protests and marches. What good is your message doing to wake up voters in your own home state of Florida, which has the same one-party Republican political foundation as Indiana and all other red states? People from Norway to Italy are not donating to candidates or political parties here; neither are they registered voters any more than the minorities whose ability to even register to vote is being suppressed.

    You spoke of “PISSING INTO THE WIND”; do you know which way the wind is blowing?

  13. Sheila, there is no Republican Party any longer. The name has been hijacked. I don’t know how to label the so called “base”, but they aren’t Republicans. When I see polls saying that 90% of “Republicans” approve of their president, I know that there cannot be many left who call themselves Republican and I know that former “real” Republicans don’t want any association with the “new” Republicans. The old GOP is dead. RIP

  14. The evidence of social media convinces me that there are two kinds of Americans. One, those who are comfortable investing in the country through taxes for the many benefits of living here and, two, those who believe that every one of their dollars is best invested by them for them exclusively. The latter tend to have authoritarian personalities because of their self centeredness. It also includes business people raised on the one rule of business, make more money regardless of the impact on others.

    I know that’s too simple an explanation to cover 100% of situations but to me it’s close enough to be representative of our entire population.

    If they out vote us in Nov the country is washed up. The measure of this is the control of Congress going into 2019.

  15. GOP, no maybe they are or were not, all racists but they LOVE having power now. All the power or so thay think… and when things get ugly the Right have so much gold they can go where it is safe and fly their loved ones there too..
    How can the decent citizens come up with the rhetoric, the narrative, that defeats this?
    How do we stop this regression and cruelty.? These leaders/powerbroakers seem willing to go to ant extreme to win..

  16. Again, today, we have a fine, well-crafted blog statement and analysis from Sheila. Again, today, we get pseudo-intellectuals pissing on Clinton, the media and anyone else that seems to be a target of derision. Again, today, we see many suggestions for fixing our problems with Trump and the Republicanism that is destroying our democracy. Great. Meanwhile, Republicanism and their idiot acolytes just sniff and keep doing what they’re told to do and compelled to do because they and their masters are weak-minded, selfish and fundamentally corrupt as a societal element.

    Today’s nation-wide marches are typical of what happened during the Viet Nam protests in the 60s and 70s. It’s a start. These protests must get larger and occur more often and be loud enough that even the Secret Service can’t protect Trump’s ears and eyes from them. Trump’s “constituents” must also hear the voice of democracy such that it drowns out their self-serving noise and the sound of coins clinking into plates.

    Perhaps the ultimate irony will be that the only thing that will destroy Trump and his brand of fascism is another major war where his constituents’ children have to bleed for his lies. We are truly a sick society and getting sicker by the day. Just reading blogs like this confirms that.

  17. JoAnn, I have for several years intercepted, DCC, DNC and other entities, that beg for money in my E-Mail, to stop such and such, or stop so and so – These various appeals remind me of aggressive panhandlers – These messages now go into my junk mail, or I have unsubscribed.

    If I give money to a candidate, I write a check directly to their campaign.

    Good comments today by Marv @ 8:38 am and Todd @ 9:10 am. At least in terms of the McMega-Media CNN, MSDNC ans FOX, they are as Todd says part of the Entertainment Complex, and as such their Infotainment is bent toward the audience they have selected.

    The Republicans have managed to create a vertical and horizontal organization, with several interlocking pieces: Steroid-Crony-Capitalists, anti-federal government states rights types, Evangelicals, pro gun types, and the ethnocentric neo-confederates.

    This organization takes advantage of the concept of synergy, i.e., the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts.

    The Bible Thumper’s could probably care less about Steroid-Crony-Capitalists, but the Bible Thumper’s do care about limiting the federal government enforcement of separation of church and state. Thus, the appeal to the Thumper’s strikes a note of rolling back the power of the federal government, even if the roll back is some environmental rule- the federal government is evil in their eyes.

    The power of President Agent Orange to harness this synergy has been under estimated at every step, by the Republican Establishment, the McMega-Media, and the Corporate Establishment Democratic Party.

  18. Grifters, Oligarchs, and Plutocrats, with a strong racist bent, led by charlatans who hate government but love power.

  19. Todd,

    “And yes, that includes MSNBC and Rachel Maddow. Sorry…”

    What do you expect? The U.S. is not a democracy, as recently pointed out in the Economist magazine. This is an unfortunate fact despite the valiant efforts of Sheila Kennedy.

    Seven days after 9/11, I contacted the Diane Rehm Show on NPR [National Public Radio]as a potential call-in guest. It was Diane Rehm’s first two hour program involving the disaster. Her guest was Deepak Chopra, the nationally known peace activist, whose son, at the last minute, decided not to board one of the planes that crashed into the tower.

    That’s the only time I have ever attempted to be a call-in guest with her or anyone else. I hit pay dirt. I was the first call-in guest on her show. I explained that I was concerned about the response that President Bush would initiate against the involvement by Middle East terrorist. I had to be quick, I didn’t have much time to make my point which was to warn against the potential fall-out from the President’s response, as I had handled many discrimination cases, as an attorney, involving clients from countries in the Middle East other than just Israel. I emphasized that the President would be making a grave mistake if he rushed to judgment, since my experiences with my Middle Eastern clients revealed that their animosity toward Israel was only exceeded by their anger with the U.S. from our involvement in the Middle East.

    Deepak Chopra, immediately, responded with, “I agree with everything he just said.” And with that “the lights went out.” I was, immediately, cut off and Diane Rehm went to another call-in guest.

    A few months later, our local Public Radio and TV Station, here in Jacksonville, was having an important fund-raiser and Diane Rehm was the most important celebrity invited. I had, recently, received a rather large inheritance so I decided to make a substantial donation to the station which would allow me to be invited to a private dinner with Diane Rehm, knowing It would give me a chance to find-out why I was disconnected from her show.

    I got my chance by sitting at the same table with her. I then asked the simple question, “Why did you cut me off from your show a few months ago?” She then, candidly, explained, “I have a button that I can push to cut off any guest. And if you want to discuss the issues you presented on my show, then you need to go to Congress to do that.”

    Thanks for the tip. Hurrah! for free speech.

    The media, when it comes to important, defining, issues in the U.S., is nothing but a “bad Joke.” And the jokes are becoming worse and worse.

  20. Sheila, your clarity and articulateness are the best elucidation of the current political situation that I have seen. Thank you so much for presenting it in such a succinct manner.

  21. Bravo to Sheila for posting this today and to Vernon Turner for nailing what’s happening like a nail gun! Unfortunately, the ultimate irony that Vernon referred to in his post that would ultimately undue Trump and his cortege both inside and outside of government, a major war, might very well end up being the ultimate capstone of our own undoing. We have been so stupid and we continue to be!!!

  22. Thank you to all the commenters. I always learn so much from your extension of the discussions. And thank you to you as well, Sheila, both for your writing and providing this forum.

  23. Outstanding post, Sheila. I see Evangelicals as being stooges in all of this, which if they realized it, would stop the Trump/Republican agenda. Trump will literally do whatever it takes to get cheers and praise because of his serious, malignant narcissism. He will nominate whomever Breitbart/Fox News tells him to, because he has no ideals and doesn’t really understand the law or the Constitution. We all know, because there has been no secret about it, that the nominee will have to be anti-choice. That is solely to keep the Evangelicals happy, because they’re doing God’s will, so they’ll support this. Therefore, they won’t complain when the social safety net programs are gutted and/or privatized, they won’t say anything about environmental and consumer protection programs getting abolished, nor huge tax breaks for the uber-wealthy.

    If they realized how their religious beliefs are being leveraged by Republicans to accomplish a much-broader agenda that hurts ordinary citizens, and didn’t support Republicans who intend to roll back individual freedoms, environmental and consumer protections and massive tax cuts, Trump/Breitbart/Fox News wouldn’t have a prayer. (pun intended).

  24. Damn the Fascists! We need to see the administration LEAVE! NOW. And all their little tail wagging lackeys! TRUMP & CO. FOR GUANTANIMO IN 2018!

  25. Just a note to Todd Smekens, have you ever voted for anyone who is lives up to your standards of perfection. I have been active since I voted for Charlie Boswell in the 1959 mayorality primary. I have yet to find any elected candidate who lived up to my expectations. I have learned to accept that not to use it as an excuse to not participate in campaigns or elections. I suggest, Todd, that you employ your considerable skills of expression and your logical mind to pick a couple of candates and work like the dickens on their behalf. Get involved. Work in the arena with us and stop throwing things at us who are already bruised and bleeding from being there. We would welcome your company.

  26. Some of the negative commentaries I am reading in response to Sheila’s blog today are at odds with the commentaries I heard today from fellow marchers against Trump’s kidnapping antics in Big Rapids, Michigan. Whatever conclusions Reuters, Guardian and others may draw from the evidence (itself brimming with conclusions), I am happy to report that their burial of democratic idealism is premature. We are not only far from dead, we are in the majority, and all it will take this fall to end or severely scuttle this adventure in Trumpism is turnout – which will be my focus over political immolation, so, while recognizing history, let’s be guided rather than enslaved by it and the random conclusions reached by those who have not marched the streets and held the signs. With turnout, we win; Trump loses.

  27. Gerald,

    “let’s be guided rather than enslave by it and the random conclusions reached by those who have not marched the streets and held the signs”

    You are now my hero. You have “marched the streets and held the signs.” Where should we pin your medal?

  28. To those of you ‘on the ground’ – please keep up your efforts. You seem to me to be like that legendary Dutch boy with his finger in the dyke – NOT the Boy Who Cried Wolf. But, you are a legion of Dutch boys and I take hope.

    In pondering these issues, it has occurred to me that 45 is remaking the United States in his own weak, ugly, impovershed image. Further, that the apparently staunch majority of so-called republicans who support him are also, willingly and gleefully allowing themselves to be remade in his image. A nation of trolls (or is it lemmings) rushing off the cliff singing some sentimental hymn, pretending to be gods in their own right. Right now, I do not believe these poor deluded folk can be saved. So far I do believe the rest of us can be (pollyanna, remember).

    A note: Justin Trudeau has again declared a Canadian welcome to refugees shunned by 45. It is easy to suppose the difficulties and trouble this initiatives may in fact cause Canadians, but it is impossible to regret the offer. I like to think we can handle it.

    Tout le monde – Bon nuit…I think that means, broadly, good night everyone. Feel free to correct me – as I have said, I am mostly learning French from packaging…

  29. Further thought – I have long quipped: «If you want to know the future history of the United States, read the Handmaid’s Tale.». Terrifying! I will never get the guts to watch the award winning TV Drama, but its successful existence in one small brick in my reasons for hope.

  30. NVL,

    “Further thought – I have long quipped: «If you want to know the future history of the United States, read the Handmaid’s Tale”

    “Terrifying! I will never get the guts to watch the award winning TV Drama…….”

    Since TRUTH no longer matters as displayed during the exchanges, yesterday, on this blog. Maybe we all need to find the guts to at least watch the Handmaid’s Tale. That shouldn’t be so hard, especially, for those historic patriots who risked their lives and fortunes in yesterday’s historic march.

  31. It is difficult for most of us to admit what is going on at the most fundamental levels of our democracy, but until we do, there will be no way to combat it. And if we don’t it will soon become a moot point. Nancy MacLean in her book “Democracy in Chains” makes it all unarguably clear. Starting with John Calhoun in the 1840s, American right wing conservatives have despised democracy because it takes money away from what they call “lovers of liberty”, or “the meritocracy”, and gives it to those least able to care for themselves. Control of the flow of money is, of course, the only and the ultimate governmental goal. Calhoun was as brilliant as he was obnoxious, and managed to convince a large swath of property (aka slave) owners in the South that their instincts were accurate – the government was coming to take away what they had earned.

    Fast forward 100+ years and 600,000 dead American soldiers and an economics professor named James Buchanan was hired at the University of Virginia. His Calhounian philosophy was shared by the then president of UVA, former governor Colgate Darden, who agreed to establish a business school, now nationally prominent, to promote Buchanan’s ideas. Those ideas resonated among right wing conservatives, but mostly languished until noticed by two engineers who were in a position to help finance their dissemination. The Koch brothers were serious libertarians who agreed that capitalism was in danger of becoming a casualty in the war with democracy. What it most urgently needed was a group of determined defenders. Several hundred million dollars and many conservative think tanks (and a few university economics departments) later, the Koch brothers have succeeded beyond Professor Buchanan’s wildest dreams and democracy has begun to teeter and even to ponder the terms of its surrender.

    This was a well funded, intentional movement, not an accident of history. An uncountable number of Americans will cheer wildly when democracy is put to rest. Trump’s 1% budget is the next step forward in that process with Medicaid and Medicare and Social Security its immediate targets, now that he owns Congress and the Supreme Court. He didn’t start this movement and may not fully understand its goals, but he is its most inspired and unstoppable proponent. In a twisted way it supports his lifetime goals, including a perpetual presidency. His utter disdain for the rule of law and the American voter is his way of saying, “We have already won and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.” A Democratic victory in November will lead to postponement of the 2020 election and cement his status as President for Life.

    You have doubts? Please fill in here the name of the institution or person who is going to stop him: ____________________

  32. Terry,

    “You have doubts? Please fill in here the name of the institution or person who going to stop him:”

    The following is from “Organizing Genius: The Secrets of Creative Collaboration” by Warren Bennis (Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Reading, MA, 1997) pp. xv-xvi:

    “This book was born forty years ago, in a conversation with Margaret Mead. Mead was already world renowned, as famous for her social activism as for her cultural anthropology. I was a newly minted assistant professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. One snowy night in Cambridge, I went to hear Mead lecture at Harvard. Afterward, I introduced myself, and we talked. I had become interested in extraordinary collaborations, the process where Great Groups are able to accomplish so much more than talented people working alone. I told Mead that I was interested in writing a book on how NETWORKS of gifted people have changed the world.

    “That’s a wonderful idea,” Mead said, “especially since it’s never been done before. You should call it SAPIENTIAL CIRCLES.”

    It would be decades before I completed that book on creative collaboration. During the intervening years, I became fascinated with leadership in its many forms and styles. I interviewed hundreds of leaders in dozens of disciplines, trying to pinpoint the attitudes and behaviors that allow some leaders to succeed while others fail. At the same time I continued to study how organizations cope with change, never more important than in this tumultuous present. The more I Iearned, the more I realized that the usual way of looking at groups and leadership, as separate phenomena, was no longer adequate. The most exciting groups—the ones , like those chronicled in this book, that shook the world—resulted in a mutually respected marriage between and able leader and an assemblage of extraordinary people. Groups become great on when everyone in them, leaders and members alike, is free to do his or her absolute best. This book is about organizing gifted people in ways that allow them both to achieve great things and to experience the joy and personal transformation that such accomplishments brings. In today’s Darwinian economy, only organizations that find ways to tap the creativity of their members are likely to survive.”

    Do I hear a second?

  33. BLOG from Wikipedia:

    Political impact

    On 6 December 2002, Josh Marshall’s blog called attention to U.S. Senator Lott’s comments regarding Senator Thurmond. Senator Lott was eventually to resign his Senate leadership position over the matter.

    An early milestone in the rise in importance of blogs came in 2002, when many bloggers focused on comments by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott. Senator Lott, at a party honoring U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond, praised Senator Thurmond by suggesting that the United States would have been better off had Thurmond been elected president. Lott’s critics saw these comments as a tacit approval of racial segregation, a policy advocated by Thurmond’s 1948 presidential campaign. This view was reinforced by documents and recorded interviews dug up by bloggers. Though Lott’s comments were made at a public event attended by the media, no major media organizations reported on his controversial comments until after blogs broke the story. Blogging helped to create a political crisis that forced Lott to step down as majority leader.

    Similarly, blogs were among the driving forces behind the “Rathergate” scandal. To wit: (television journalist) Dan Rather presented documents (on the CBS show 60 Minutes) that conflicted with accepted accounts of President Bush’s military service record. Bloggers declared the documents to be forgeries and presented evidence and arguments in support of that view. Consequently, CBS apologized for what it said were inadequate reporting techniques. Many bloggers view this scandal as the advent of blogs’ acceptance by the mass media, both as a news source and opinion and as means of applying political pressure. The impact of these stories gave greater credibility to blogs as a medium of news dissemination. Though often seen as partisan gossips, bloggers sometimes lead the way in bringing key information to public light, with mainstream media having to follow their lead. More often, however, news blogs tend to react to material already published by the mainstream media. Meanwhile, an increasing number of experts blogged, making blogs a source of in-depth analysis.

    In Russia, some political bloggers have started to challenge the dominance of official, overwhelmingly pro-government media. Bloggers such as Rustem Adagamov and Alexei Navalny have many followers and the latter’s nickname for the ruling United Russia party as the “party of crooks and thieves” has been adopted by anti-regime protesters. This led to the Wall Street Journal calling Navalny “the man Vladimir Putin fears most” in March 2012.

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