When Politics Becomes A Culture War

I have my favorites among the columnists who write for The New York Times and The Washington Post, and I’ll admit that Tom Friedman has never been one of them. It isn’t that I disagree with him any more frequently than I disagree with others; he simply tends to address issues with which I’m less engaged, and to do so in a hectoring manner I find annoying.

I do think, however, that he hit this one “out of the park” as the saying goes.

The column was titled “A President With No Shame and a Party With No Guts,” which gives you a pretty good hint about the subject matter.

If your puppy makes a mess on your carpet and you shout “Bad dog,” there is a good chance that that puppy’s ears will droop, his head will bow and he may even whimper. In other words, even a puppy acts ashamed when caught misbehaving. That is not true of Donald Trump. Day in and day out, he proves to us that he has no shame. We’ve never had a president with no shame — and it’s become a huge source of power for him and trouble for us.

And what makes Trump even more powerful and problematic is that this president with no shame is combined with a party with no spine and a major network with no integrity — save for a few real journalists at Fox News like the outstanding Chris Wallace.

When a president with no shame is backed by a party with no spine and a network with no integrity, you have two big problems.

Those three paragraphs go a long way toward summing up where Americans find ourselves these days. But the observation that really struck me was this one:

The G.O.P. has lost its way because it has been selling itself for years to whoever could keep it in power, and that is now Trump and his base. And Trump’s base actually hates the people who hate Trump — i.e., liberals who they think look down on members of the base — more than it cares about Trump. This is about culture, not politics, and culture doesn’t change with the news cycle. And neither do business models — and Fox News’s business model is to feed, and feed off of, that culture war by allowing many of its commentators to be Trump’s parrots and bullhorns.

This, it seems to me, is the real problem, and it may be intractable.

Ever since the stunning result of the 2016 Presidential election, I have tried–and miserably failed–to understand how any sentient being could have voted for Donald Trump, a man so obviously unfit for office (not to mention polite society) that people who knew anything at all about government and/or business considered his candidacy a joke.

This is a man who makes polite people cringe and kind people recoil. If someone like Trump tried to strike up a conversation at a bar, most of us would change seats. He’s like the ignorant, self-absorbed uncle you don’t invite for Thanksgiving, because you don’t want your children to think his “all about me” behavior is acceptable.

I understand that hatred for Hillary Clinton (nurtured by misogynists for years) may have motivated some voters to cast that vote–but how do you explain the 30% of Americans who still support him? Fox News can spin–or ignore–the news, but you would expect anyone reading his misspelled tweets or listening to his delusional “word salad” speeches to be appalled.

I think Friedman answers that question when he writes that “Trump’s base actually hates the people who hate Trump — i.e., liberals who they think look down on members of the base — more than it cares about Trump. This is about culture, not politics.”

If he is correct–if Trump’s support comes from people who hold deep animus toward those they dismiss as “elitist” and “cosmopolitan” and who are more interested in “sticking it” to people they believe fall into those groups than in good or even adequate government– they aren’t going to change. They aren’t going to wake up one morning and say “gee, maybe sticking it to those snobs isn’t worth doing irreparable damage to the country and the planet.” They are lost to reason.

If Friedman is right–if this is culture war– efforts to right the ship of state need to be focused on the 49% of eligible voters who didn’t bother to cast a ballot in 2016.  I can only hope that Trump has been their wake-up call.


  1. If there is a “cultural war” going on in the United States, perhaps it is because the overall culture we all live in is sick to the core. Saddled with an economic system that pits segments of society against one another in the impossible quest for money under the banner of “equality for all”, of course those who earn less will feel resentment. Why wouldn’t they? The big difference today is that one of the major political parties has allowed itself to be used by Russia to exploit those resentments and with the help of a gangster family have gained control of the government.

  2. lets start off, those who,and i will take this from,personal observance,,those who,support trump as in,middle class,or so they think, and those with less of a socio economic life,yea im refering to so called trailer trash,and its up and down family values,though as i see most here of a well educated,and done well,and ive invaded your page with,some off charactor remarkes,and cheap comments,lets be clear.i live in a world where i have to associate with these types to do my job,and,and make someones day better. yes ima truckdriver,and i dont take ignorance lightly,though most here would see me as less than educated,i am in fact,well educated,in a real world of reality,in this trumpian mob.im stewing in it,not looking into it..lets get a grip,these trumpers are denied a life,because many of them can not,and will not,read a newspaper,do some basic looking back at why they are next to poverty,and or,less educated.its oblivious to them..they do however,spring off the seat when a fish bites,theres a new gunfor sale,and the neigbors dog mysteriously dies. seriously,you dealing with people who have a simple life,and do not want to have to deal with real,reality of todays lifestyle..for them looking at the tube is thier means of knowlege,and education,though many can read,im sure comprehension is not a strong factor,because they peobably dont exercise the gray matter much. they want simple,they want a demagod to see to thier needs,above others,hes a big smiling face telling lies,and giving a warma fuzzy feeling when they need one,after all, we denied them a way of making a living wage,security if they fall short beteween checks,(payroll) and to needed knowlege to suceed. a few family or.local buds got a good job with a corp,that doesnt need laws to change things,because that state doesnt comform to enviromental needs,only greed. this is passed down,and many see this as a job,and we need them,even if its killing the very workers who have them. try working petrochemicalplant,along the coast,yea,you never see the killing,as its a slow death. but,workers ,they have the money,they mainly are white,and they are ABOVE someone else!!!! whoever that may be..really,if you dont deal with this group in and out of your employment,your only looking at some studies jargon about whatever they conclude.its simple,thier simple…..they can and will be minipulated by the local faction,who,believe,because they believe it.,socio economic standings here,even when they are in the poverty line,most will always beleive,they are above most,because they are white.If you take trip to the south,i mean,to where these people live and work,get a first hand converstion going,save your opinion,and then work with them.most are real nice,and clean,and smiling.. but down inside,those simple minds are grasping for something better.and thier own buddy (trump)isnt even giving it to them..
    tommarow, at noon central time,to 5pm im having a hog roast,my 5th annual smokeout
    a 300lb hog, texas briskets,ribs that are top notch,veggies,and corn on cob,all on oak and apple wood smoke,,,,cost,FREE to all,if you wear a suit,leave it home.this is on the farm site i rent,private quiet,clean.bring a chair,byob..
    my conservtive associates all ask me why? i tell them,because labor day in my family,is still reconized as a national holiday,and we are the working class,we will support others,who want to join it..and we are proud to be,the very backbone,who built this nation,and many who for hurt and died building it…..tell trump he is not invited,but all of his supporters are..

  3. Yes, our culture is really screwed up. We’ve all been contributing the reasons for this mess, but most of them center around the tribalism and its stepchildren of fear, greed, prejudice, bigotry and the relative ignorance of our country is supposed to work. These things, amplified by Fox, Trump and Republicanism in general, have driven that wedge between groups deeper than its been since 1850.

    Our second civil war started with the Reagan administration and the lurch toward “Supply-side” economics. Capitalism thus lost its way from regulations that kept it under control. Now, that lack of discipline has bled into all aspects of our societal fabric and poisoned our politics to a point where we may not be able to recover.

    This is just as Karl Marx predicted, and all fascist/Nazi groups have exploited since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Trump and his acolytes are just the symptoms and symbols of our succumbing to primitive instincts instead of the continued pursuits of lofty ideals.

  4. “If he is correct–if Trump’s support comes from people who hold deep animus toward those they dismiss as “elitist” and “cosmopolitan” and who are more interested in “sticking it” to people they believe fall into those groups than in good or even adequate government– they aren’t going to change.”

    Call it “animus”, call it “elitist”, call it “cosmopolitan”, call it “culture”; what I have been watching since 2015 when Trump was pushed to the forefront of the Republican party is unleashed RACISM. Even the evangelical faction is racist in nature and all of it nurtured by a lack of decency and humanity which is the basis of our Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights. It is the lack of decency and humanity with no semblance of shame which led SCOTUS to the denial of Civil Rights protected by Amendments to the Constitution after the enactment of Citizens United.

    Theresa’s comment; “Saddled with an economic system that pits segments of society against one another in the impossible quest for money under the banner of “equality for all”, of course those who earn less will feel resentment.” feeds into a front page article in the Indianapolis Star today. “Indiana more a ‘Southern state’?” “Report cites wages, increasing poverty” The second paragraph, coming from an Indiana based organization is a report on the futility of that “impossible quest for money”; “The Indiana Institute for Working Families report – ‘The Status of Working Families in Indiana’ – contains a provocative summation: Indiana has declined from being a Midwestern economic leader to more closely resembling ‘a Southern state’ with stagnant wages and increasing poverty.” This statement alone screams of racism which today includes a number of entire groups of people…thanks for their inclusion goes to Trump and his administration.

    “When Politics Becomes A Culture War”

    “Culture” is a euphenism for racism today. Racism has always been primarily economic at its core.

  5. How can it be called a “war” when only one side is fighting? Most everyone on the left is not engaged in anything close to a “war”, they seem self absorbed and distracted by policy ideals and disputes. I try to tell anyone who talks to me that the point of an election is to win. And as far as I can tell only one side understands that. Trump’s formula is working because people on the left confuse populism and inspiration. One of these will win an election. The other will simply drive us down a path of self destruction and dispair…

  6. From the above:
    “The G.O.P. has lost its way because it has been selling itself for years to whoever could keep it in power, and that is now Trump and his base.”

    Alas, the Corporate Democratic Party has sold itself to Wall Street. The Corporate Democrats offer no real option, that would counter the GOP. Case in point is Joe Donnelly – a counterfeit Democrat.
    Trump’s Oval Office interview with Bloomberg came shortly after the president announced in a letter to congressional leaders that he is freezing a planned 2.1 percent pay increase for federal workers just ahead of Labor Day, claiming that “federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases.”
    This action by President Agent Orange is a direct slap in the face to the working class and Federal Employees specifically. The tax cuts for the already rich by President Agent Orange and Pastor Pence results in starving the government a plan near and dear to the like of Grover Norquist.

    I suppose the followers of President Agent Orange – Pastor Pence will be giddy with delight as the Federal Government has long been a target of their ire. The Trumpter’s will not view the Federal Workers as Working Class Comrades being screwed but as part of the swamp.

  7. “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.” FDR hit the nail on the head with that statement. The GOP has been busy stoking fear of the “other” for years. That’s why studies of 45 voters show that these are reasonably well off, middle class people. They are also, older and whiter than the rest of the population. In essence they are most of us who comment on this blog, with one exception, they lack the ability or the desire to think critically about what they see before them. Sound bites and conspiracy theories are like manna to them.

    How do we begin to stop it? VOTE BLUE!

  8. Drive through Carmel and other parts of Hamilton County, a deeply Republican county, in a deeply Republican state, and you will not see blue collar, under-educated people. You will see an almost completely white enclave of middle-class, and upper class, college-educated, ostensibly religious, gated or walled communities, surrounded by farms and businesses that are granted privilege and access in return for political and financial favor.

    These are the people who have wealth and power, who grasp it tightly and angerly lash out at anyone of color or ethnicity who dares to aspire to what they consider their right by race and birth.

    Yes, this is a culture war. It has always been there. Now it is out in the open, not yet bloody, but not far from that ultimate finale. Skirmishes have started again, with the body count mostly among POC. They know the true nature of this culture war. For them, the wound has been torn open once again and exposed for what it is.

    The Civil War left hundreds of thousands dead on both sides, destroyed an entire generation of potential, left deep wounds that have never healed, just scabbed over, to fester and burst forth in ugly, vicious, hateful eruptions. We are in one of those eruptions now. The difference is that while this war is openly declared, the fighting is still at the level of person-to-person animus, stealthy and hidden behind electronic shields.

    The man in the WH is the tool of those who wield the power and demand the privilege of racial dominance. He is mentally unstable and totally unprincipled in his own need for power and validation. His followers recognize his grievance as their own, because they need it to feel somehow justified in the hate and fear that they are being overwhelmed and losing power and status.

    Democracies have been short-lived throughout history. Will ours be just another failed experiment?

  9. JoAnn, back when we moved to Indianapolis from the South Chicago Area, my boss who was from NYC said “Welcome to the Alabama of the North”. We had racism and sexism in South Chicago, but it was amplified here, plus add in strong Anti-Unionism.

    I came across an article today: Psychological Factors for War. http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/cesar-chelala/80903/psychological-factors-for-war

    In 1895, Gustave Le Bon, a French social psychologist, published a seminal book on the psychology of crowds, “La psychologie des foules.” (The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind, which is considered one of the seminal works of crowd psychology)

    Crowds are transitory and tend to gather because they are homogeneous in their ideas about a specific subject or event. In his analysis of Le Bon´s work, Sigmund Freud wrote, “A crowd is trusting and easily influenced; it is non-critical. The concept of improbability doesn´t exist…Whoever wants to influence it doesn´t need to present logical arguments. It is only necessary to paint the most alluring images, to exaggerate and to repeat the same concept several times.”

    Le Bon pointed out, “Crowds are never thirsty for truth. They demand illusions, to which they are unable to renounce. Irreality prevails over reality, irreality acting almost as strongly as reality. The visible tendency of the crowd is not to make any difference between them.”

    Le Bon On religion, ideology, and fanaticism:

    A person is not religious solely when he worships a divinity, but when he puts all the resources of his mind, the complete submission of his will, and the whole-souled ardour of fanaticism at the service of a cause or an individual who becomes the goal and guide of his thoughts and actions.

    Intolerance and fanaticism are the necessary accompaniments of the religious sentiment. They are inevitably displayed by those who believe themselves in the possession of the secret of earthly or eternal happiness.

    These two characteristics are to be found in all men grouped together when they are inspired by a conviction of any kind. The Jacobins of the Reign of Terror were at bottom as religious as the Catholics of the Inquisition, and their cruel ardour proceeded from the same source.

    It is rather obvious from the statement On religion, ideology, and fanaticism, where the tie in is to the Pastor Pence Evangelicals fits in with President Agent Orange – Intolerance and Fanaticism.

    Le Bon claimed that “an individual immersed for some length of time in a crowd soon finds himself – either in consequence of magnetic influence given out by the crowd or from some other cause of which we are ignorant – in a special state, which much resembles the state of fascination in which the hypnotized individual finds himself in the hands of the hypnotizer.”

    The above paragraph encapsulates, plus the observation on Intolerance and Fanaticism, the Agent Orange followers – The Trumpter’s. Back in Le Bon’s day late 19th and early 20th Century, you had literally a “crowd” to feed off of. Radio, TV and now the internet means you no longer need the physical gathering of the crowd, you can join the crowd electronically and be validated.

  10. TLentych writes: “How can it be called a “war” when only one side is fighting?”

    Less than 70 days before the election for the future of the country, Chuck Shumer is waging a hopeless battle to block a Supreme Court nominee that will place some incumbent Democrat Senators in election peril, seeking to rename a federal office building and pushing for a federal sports gambling bill.

    Some War!

  11. Allow me to be the devil’s advocate.

    They focus on different things than you do and thus are offended by different things than you are, and they think life is inherently unfair. Yet they hear and see endless whining: by black people who commit a disproportionate amount of crime and tear down their own neighborhoods, but women who have had generations of men work their fingers to the bone and literally lay down their lives for them, for immigrants who would be despised in most other countries but have historically been given tremendous opportunity (and actual citizenship!) here, by blue collar workers who, in the lifetimes of older people, received extremely generous pay and benefits from industry but continually agitated for more until the industry was gone, by government workers who provided horrible, inefficient service for decades with a healthy dollop of contempt for taxpayers, by educators who were could not be fired and got three months a year of vacation, and others.

    Perhaps there is some truth to these things. They think so. And perhaps the neoliberal Clintonite wing of the Democratic Party, who have been more or less in charge since the early 90s, have utterly betrayed and impoverished their middle class constituencies, while social justice progressives have displayed an endless appetite for insanity, be it dozens of gender pronouns, litigation over “micro aggressions,” the concept that the difference between explaining something and being condescending depends on your gender, etc.

    That devil, he may be a liar, but no one is wrong all the time.

  12. It’s hard to believe that a number of U.S. voters do not feel we have a President who consistently exhibits no shame … no spine … and no integrity. Suck it up, folks. We’re talking about Donald Trump. No kidding.

  13. Such excellent comments today…what has been ignored, mainly due to our Entertainment Complex News Industry, is Classism.

    Americans were trained to believe in the American Dream, but that has become a nightmare in 2018. Lot’s of different reasons for this.

    Don’t forget, capitalism was built on classism and racism…remember when African Americans (slaves) were considered a fraction of a human?

    Only property owners had the right to vote…the mentality was only those who own this country should elect its representatives. That’s classism.

    The poor whites still believe they should have preferential treatment over people of color. Racism is stoked because of irrational fears. These people actually think they are entitled to more than others because of skin color even though they are both stuck in the same class.

    It’s almost taboo to mention classism in the USA. During the Clinton/Obama primary election, Lady Lynn de Rothschild accused Obama of causing class warfare. Obama was just playing progressives for their votes but it did awake the classist sentiment.

    Consider the 1% vs the 99% during the days of Obama taking office. The protests against bankers were quickly squashed with the help of Banksters and the CIA. The CIA would this “counter-insurgency.” It was considered “counter” because the Occupy protestors refused to join the DNC.

    As ML would say, the Proles need to realize the power they have if they can come together versus fighting against each other. However, as we’ve learned, the closed-minded far right will never hug people of color. That fear has been enculturated for generations.

    When we embrace the hidden code of classism in the USA, we’ll have a better perspective of both the problems and solutions to our oppressed state.

  14. John,

    “TLentych writes: “How can it be called a “war” when only one side is fighting?”

    Some War!”

    Critical thinking without CIVIC COURAGE in this battle is totally WORTHLESS. Most of you need to try to STOP kidding yourself. You need to concentrate on Donald Trump’s overt threats of a RACE WAR this past week or so, DEMONSTRATED by his public utterances, along with his meeting with evangelical ministers.

    Unfortunately, some African-Americans are now starting to take PREEMPTIVE action, which should be expected. It’s hard to blame them in this, THE LAND OF THE BLIND.

  15. This man really hit the nail on the head. I have a lot of friends who voted for Trump. They hated Obama and simultaneously Hillary because they were educated and in Obama’s case black. However it is becoming more clear to me that my friends some of who are educated actually hate what they consider elitists. Even though I guess I fall in that category they don’t view me as that because I’m a country person who grew up with them.

  16. “When a president with no shame is backed by a party with no spine and a network with no integrity”

    That in itself is a huge mess, but wait, there’s more.

    I grew up in a small town which could be sliced and diced in innumerable ways but one was families who by trditiion valued education and families who didn’t.

    The ensuing years rewarded the education crowd but dishonored the others. That can be blamed on conspiracy but in reality it was the combination of technology and rapid population growth. As a beneficiary I personally tended to ignore the big problems to focus on the little ones like raising 3 kids and maintaining stuff we thought that we needed.

    While my focus was elsewhere the lightly educated crowd seethed at the injustice of it all, that time left them behind, and like human nature dictates they needed something tangible to blame and found it on entertainment media. They found sympathy and understanding and leadership and brotherhood and anger, hate and fear and most of all scapegoats blame to relieve them of their bad feelings and give them hope false though it was.

    They did what cornered animals do. The elected fight over flight, anger over fear. They stuck it to us with what entertainment had educated them in which while wrong and serving only those paying for it, was the only education that they had.

    Now there’s a monumental mess.

    They want what we want. They want a more perfect Union and to establish Justice, to insure domestic Tranquility, to provide for the common defense, to promote the general Welfare, and to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity but have been “educated” to believe that government cannot deliver any of that but business or region can.

    Their victimization has been completed and the oligarchy vultures are circling the feast.

    What liberals are seen by them to offer is welfare, which they hate. What religion offers is mystical power, at least some possibilities. What business offers is a job, redemption, all they wanted in the firstplace, but at a pay that’s no longer sufficient to survive. Why? Again they get the answer from entertainment media. Taxes. Government. Demands from others. Waste.

    Agent Orange, chief among the oligarch vultures, tells them like the TV talking heads do, that he feels their pain and shares their anger and hate and like them has been a victim of the elite who call him uneducated and dumb and a President with no shame. He will lead them to revenge.

    “ Oh! What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive“

  17. Many thanks to both you Sheila and to Tom Friedman for this piece. I’m very grateful to you both for summing up what is going on in this country right now with such clarity. I do tend to read Tom Friedman since he is written extensively about Middle East politics for decades and it was a major focus in my education in international relations. Both what you have keyed and what he is written detail a very sad commentary of just how much we as a society are at political and social loggerheads right now and it helps me, personally, greatly in understanding the disease that is at work it creates the horrid symptoms that we’re seeing devour what used to pass as unity, albeit fragile unity, of the body politic of this country
    It is so obvious that those that voted for and support the current occupant of the White House have hitched themselves to the worst possible person imaginable as their leader and the person that they believe in even when it’s beyond all reason. Your peace helps me understand people that I have known all my life, who are great friends of mine that have been infected by the efforts of those that exploited nativist thinking and anger to such an extraordinary degree.

    I’m keying this while watching and listening to John McCain’s funeral at The National Cathedral in Washington, DC, where speaker after speaker, including former Presidents Bush and Obama spoke eloquently about the late Senator’s patriotism and love for this country, all of it. We have now people that, as both their profession and avocation, work very hard every day to divide this country and render our political system inert. What we have now reminds me of a Civil War era skirmish line where soldiers on both sides fire volley after volley after volley at each other. Our political system, are very society, cannot function this way and those that are trying and succeeding in driving the deep wedge we’re facing today that pits neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend, relative against relative, are having a field day. We have a chief executive that tells us not to believe what we see with our eyes or here with our ears and that person continues to pummel everything that we all should be standing for into the dirt each and every day he remains in the White House.

    We seemingly failed to remember that he lives in our house and that he presides over our gov’t and we still, inexplicably, look on while we perhaps shake our heads and talk about burying our heads in the sands like the proverbial ostrich when this will only continue because we have that attitude and is all pervasive. I know many very politically aware Foltz that are suffering from the fit TV that seeing this catastrophe play out every day brings on them where they feel they must look away to preserve their own sanity. I must be dumber than they are because II continue to look on aghast that what I am seeing each and every day. I must confess that while I am working as a consultant on preserving the history of Riley hospital for children here in Indianapolis, and as a former employee of that institution, I have roughly 7 hours each work day where I can focus on something else then the putrid spectacle that is been allowed to happen.

    My late father used to tell me that someday this country will fall. He never really explained why he felt that way but I assume that it was from his experience as a young man growing up during the Great Depression and seeing most of Western Europe laid waste in the war that he fought now over 70 years ago. My dad was a fairly deep fellow however and perhaps he saw something linked to the Great Depression that rose up in 1935 through Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s reelection in November 1936 where this country was at risk, a very real risk, of coming apart at the seams via the continuing impact of the Great Depression, the raging and bone crushing unemployment, and the rise of demagogic politicians and other individuals that in no way were appealing to our better angels. FDR, thankfully, was able to do that and stave off what could’ve been a political and sociological catastrophe in this country. Now, lucky us, we have one of those demagogic individual actually running the country and while we are aghast at what he is doing we seemingly try to roll over and play dead every day largely to the save our sanities. When we do that however, the dastardly infection that permeates the White House and the entire legislative branch of our government and the small minority in actuality of individuals that support the behavior that sickens us every day continues on, with the governing party bowing to the will of the demagogue and being essentially spineless before him due to their own concern in regard to their own political futures while the other major party has lost its way and appears nearly voiceless and disorganized in regard to confronting this obscenity that we see every day.

    We’re rudderless with an incompetent and demagogic and a hugely corrupt President who represents a danger to both this country as a physical entity and to our society and yet we still look on as if business is usual when it is far from being that. We will, at some point, have to reassert the popular will of this country’s people and reestablish some semblance of normalcy and good governance in our nation’s capital as well as through each and every state capitol across the nation. We cannot afford to stand back and nearly shrug our shoulders and grumble about what’s going on. The longer we wait the worse it will be. Donald Trump is not going to just wake up some day and see the light and change his behavior – it’s far too late in his own personal life for him to do that. He is never going to be able to appeal two our “better angels” as a true leader and a true President would do. He’s not capable of even faking doing that because he just doesn’t understand nor will he ever understand. It’s just not in him.
    I keep finding myself reminded of a phrase that I believe came from the French revolution and that’s “It’s time to man the barricades” and that might be exactly what we will have to do to save our country and would fit the world. That’s a tall order but it’s one that we very likely are going to have to face. I have no doubt that we will succeed in this task since we simply have to.

    With apologies for any grammatical errors due to my using voice activated software and the limitations of spell check.

  18. Dear Over It —
    What a myopic view of the past! The Clinton Administration did NOT impoverish Americans — we had a surplus during the 90s! Republican tax cuts for the uber wealthy have drained the coffers! Please go back and read histories written about the struggles of African-Americans, women and blue-collar workers during the previous generations under the patriarchal & racist regimes that have dominated this country since its inception. And, you didn’t even mention those ingates – Native Americans – who should be happy to live in extreme poverty on barely liveable tracts of land called “reservations”!! Wow!!! It’s hard to believe that there are still people who believe that propaganda AND read this blog. The social justice extremists who make issues of non-issues are NOT in charge of the country.
    The devil doesn’t need an advocate right now — his minions are running/ruining the country.

  19. Sheila,

    “I have my favorites among the columnists who write for The New York Times and The Washington Post, and I’ll admit that Tom Friedman has never been one of them.”

    Actually, he’s one of my favorites.

    The following is from “That Used To Be Us: How America fell behind in the world it invented and how we can come back” Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum (Picador/ Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, New York, 2011) pp. 8-9:

    “We will argue that this slow-motion decline has four broad causes. First, since the end of the Cold War we, and especially our political leaders, have stopped starting each day by asking the two questions that are crucial for determining public policy: What world are we living in, and what exactly do we need to do to thrive in this world? The U.S. Air Force had a strategic doctrine originally designed by one of its officers, John Boyd, called the OODA loop. It stands for “observe, orient, decide, act.” Boyd argued that when you are a fighter pilot, if your OODA loop is faster that the other guy’s, you will always win the dogfight. Today, America’s OODA loop is far too slow and often discombobulated. In American political discourse today, there if far too little observing, orienting, deciding, and acting and far too much shouting, asserting, dividing, and postponing. When the world gets really FAST, the speed with which a country can effectively observe, orient, decide, and ACT matters more than ever.”

    I’ve previously mentioned on this blog, that I was one of the principal speakers at the 1st Annual Sun Tzu “Art of War” Conference held in Nashville, early in 2015. My subject matter, back then, was understanding and using the OODA LOOP. However, AT THIS TIME, it is useless without the benefit of STRATEGIC INTELLIGENCE, which is being, PURPOSELY, withheld by certain leaders in the Democratic Party, more specifically, Chuck Shumer.

    John Neal,

    “Less than 70 days before the election for the future of the country, Chuck Shumer is waging a hopeless battle to block a Supreme Court nominee that will place some incumbent Democrat Senators in election peril, seeking to rename a federal office building and pushing for a federal sports gambling bill.

    Some War!”

    From “Intelligence Analysis: A Target-Centric Approach” by Robert A. Clark (CQ Press, Washington, D.C., 2010)pp. 50-51:

    “Strategic Intelligence deals with long-range issues. For national customers generally, it is used to create NATIONAL STRATEGY and policy, monitor the international situation, and support such diverse actions as trade policymaking or national industrial policymaking, Strategic Intelligence is also produced for the senior military leadership. It is used to prepare military plans, determine what weapon systems to build, and define force structures. For corporations [or political parties] it typically supports strategic planning.”

    “Here an analyst must spend much time building a TARGET MODEL from scratch or updating an existing model. There are lots of options. One can consider many possible target models (SCENARIOS), and the situation can evolve in many different ways. Intelligence takes a LONG-TERM, analytical view.”

    “Strategic Intelligence involves creating much the same target models whether in business or government. Both business and government look at the political structure and alliances of opponents; both create biographical or leadership profiles; both asses the opponent’s technology.”

    “Strategic Intelligence is TOUGHER than tactical intelligence. The analyst has to command more sophisticated analytic techniques. The models will be similar or identical to those used for tactical intelligence, but usually they are more complex because of the LONGER PREDICTIVE TIME FRAME of strategic intelligence. Another problem is that the intelligence analyst is seldom able to put aside short-term, tactical support to customers while developing a clientele having the LONG-TERM VIEW. The analyst needs a CHAMPION in the CUSTOMER SUITE to support him or her in strategic intelligence because TACTICAL INTELLIGENCE, dealing with immediate issues, usually consumes all available resources.”

  20. Hating the right people is the only criteria for being a Republican these days, though it’s been that way to one degree or another, for a long time. Look at beloved “provocateur” Milo Yiannopoulos. He’s quite popular in the right wing. He’s also a loudly out of the closet gay man who enjoys cross dressing as a drag queen – not the usual person you’d expect to be a right wing darling. However, Milo says the right things. He insults the left. He insults gay people. He throws hate at all the right groups, so he’s accepted.

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