Trump’s GOP

Ever since the 2016 election, liberal publications have been bending over backwards to include more diversity of opinion, a project that isn’t going so well. As we saw with the Atlantic‘s recent effort, there is considerable conflict over what sorts of “conservative” opinions should be given a respectful hearing–which opinions deserve to be part of a reasoned and civil argument–and which are so beyond the pale that including them would simply legitimize abhorrent positions.

Vox weighed in on that issue awhile back.

The article considered–and criticized–recent efforts by the New York Times to broaden the perspectives represented by its columnists.

The newspaper’s defense, articulated repeatedly by Bennet, news editor Dean Baquet, and onetime ombudsman Liz Spayd, is that the paper is pursuing diversity of opinion, attempting to challenge its readers. “Didn’t we learn from this past election that our goal should be to understand different views?” asked Baquet.

That defense doesn’t hold up to much scrutiny. As I said in a column on Stephens last year, “it takes a particular sort of insularity to hire a pro-war, anti-Trump white guy as a contribution to diversity on the NYT editorial page.”

As the article acknowledged, Donald Trump’s victory was seen by a number of  people in “elite political circles” as evidence that they had been living in a bubble of their own–that they had utterly failed to understand a supposed “heartland” filled with Trump voters, and that they needed to understand the perspectives of those voters. (I have yet to run across Trump voters who want to understand the perspective of the “elitists” who were unwilling to hand the nuclear codes to a four-times-bankrupt reality star with no government experience.)

David Roberts, who wrote the Vox column, is particularly critical of the conservatives who write for the Times.

Consider, oh, David Brooks. His conservatism, of Sam’s Club affectation, fiscal conservatism, tepid social liberalism, and genial trolling of center-leftists at Davos — whom does it speak for in today’s politics, beyond Brooks?

Or Ross Douthat. He is sporadically interesting, often infuriating, but above all, pretty idiosyncratic. His socially conservative “reformicon” thing — whom does it speak for in today’s politics, beyond Douthat?

Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss are a familiar type of glib contrarian. Their opposition to Trump has given them undue credibility among Washington lefties, whom they relentlessly (and boringly) troll. But whom are they speaking for? What has the Never Trump movement amounted to?

Roberts argues that, although these writers might serve the purpose of challenging liberal thinking, they don’t expose Times readers to the people who voted for Trump–the people from whom they are allegedly alienated.

The signal feature of the 2016 election is that it settled the question of whether US conservatism — the actual movement, I mean, not the people in Washington think tanks who claim to be its spokespeople — is animated by a set of shared ideals and policies. It is not.

For many years, many people have convinced themselves otherwise. A lot of people believe to this day that the Tea Party uprising and the subsequent eight years of hysterical, unremitting, norm-violating opposition to Barack Obama was about small-government philosophy and a devotion to low taxes and less regulation, and had nothing to do with social backlash against a black, cosmopolitan, urban law professor and his diverse, rising coalition.

And therein lies the dilemma. An effort to understand conservative philosophy is irrelevant to the reality of today’s GOP. Whatever one thinks of Paul Ryan, he represents the  “small government, low taxes, anti-social welfare” conservatism with which well-meaning (albeit naive) liberals want to engage. Whatever else his departure may mean, it is a signal that the GOP is now the party of White Nationalism, not conservatism, and it has no coherent or remotely respectable philosophy with which to engage.

At this point, though many people on all sides still refuse to acknowledge it, the evidence is overwhelming: It was cultural backlash, against immigrants, minorities, uppity women, liberals, and all the other forces seen as dislodging traditional white men from their centrality in American culture.

It’s Trump’s party now.

 

34 thoughts on “Trump’s GOP

  1. With respect to reality, is it Trump’s Party or is it more like Trump’s America NOW? The fact that he is so hated isn’t coming from any effective opposition, it’s from his NON-STOP destruction.

  2. Play your card on November 6th. Usher in a new Congress to trump Trumpilstilskin and the deplorable GOP.

  3. “Didn’t we learn from this past election that our goal should be to understand different views?” asked Baquet.”

    Let’s turn this quote around; “Didn’t THEY learn from this past election that THEIR goal should be to understand different views?” I believe “we” do understand their different views, which are based in racism, bigotry and gaining personal wealth at the cost of others. As Marv questioned, “…is it more like Trump’s America NOW?” But, Marv, is it possible that “Trump’s America” is only surface deep now and that explains why so many old, die-hard Republicans are not running for election? Do they see or possible fear “the times they are a changin'” now that “we” are forced to admit to ourselves regarding Ryan’s taking leave his powerful position, “Whatever else his departure may mean, it is a signal that the GOP is now the party of White Nationalism, not conservatism, and it has no coherent or remotely respectable philosophy with which to engage.” America’s foundation is crumbling, and our once strong support of long-time allies has been weakened by Trump’s ego and lack of self-control and the inability of his own people to control his mouth or his actions.

    “We” understood but ignored all of the signs due to Trump’s appearance of being a fool, a court jester, who couldn’t possibly be elected by the American people who have fought racism and bigotry and believed “we” were winning that war. “We” ignored or underestimated the power of the almighty dollar as the 1% bought up politicians and all three branches of the United States government as the full meaning of “conservatism” changed before our eyes to “follow the money”. The media is promoting “Trump’s bombing of Syria” as a decision made by him alone and for good reason; omitting the part – and decisions – played by the UK and France. Was it a good decision? Only time will tell and we don’t have much time left to us to prevent Trump’s sought after nuclear war as his stubby fingers move nearer to that button by the hour now, not by the day or week.

    Again I ask; “Didn’t THEY learn from this past election that THEIR goal should be to understand different views?” We are all within a hair’s-breadth of nuclear war as Trump’s party depletes our tax base while filling the 1%’s coffers with his “tax reform”; the full results won’t hit his supporters till probably next year…will it be too late and will “they” finally see who and what they elected to lead us into destruction? With this bombing; will November be too late no matter how the election turns out or who is inaugurated January 1, 2019?

  4. Since when did the duty of any newspaper become “to challenge their readers”? That whole “fair and balanced” thing, insanely adopted by liberal news outlets, is nothing more than a way to sell the public on how open minded they are. Instead, they might try being true to themselves and their beliefs, something fast fading from the public domain.

  5. The stone-age policies of the GOP can be traced back to the influence of the John Birch Society in the 1950s. Ever since then, the party has been against anything that helps anyone other then the very wealthy.

  6. JoAnn,

    “But, Marv, is it possible that “Trump’s America” is only surface deep now and that explains why so many old, die-hard Republicans are not running for election?”

    You’re probably right. The problem is that when “Trump’s America” eventually falters we will then be faced with a bigger problem: “Pence’s America.” Then what? That’s why if Trump falters, he must take Mike Pence down with him. That’s our only chance. But I see nothing on the horizon that would face up to that fact. What I am observing is APPEASEMENT as is reflected in the actions of The Atlantic and PBS.

    Yesterday, I watched a new program on national PBS featuring an interview with GLENN BECK as a rational conservative who we should now embrace in a meaningful dialogue. Are we all cowards, I’m beginning to think so.

    The only thing that we seemed to have learned from the 30’s is the appeasement that occurred at Munich by N. Chamberlain the then British Prime Minister.

    Maybe a new book will be released entitled: “A Coward’s Handbook” that every American can carry along with their bibles whether they be Christians or Jews.

  7. The “Times” is apparently trying to make up for the fact that they don’t have comic pages by giving us commentary that at its best should be open to ridicule. I’d rather have something truly relatable, like “Zits” or “Dilbert” or “Pearls before Swine” or, a particular favorite, “Non Sequitur” for my daily laugh.

  8. Even though today’s blog nibbled the edges, Trump’s party was always there, seething below the surface of our society’s attempts to extricate itself from the dreadful sins against humanity: slavery and bigotry.

    At this point, though many people on all sides still refuse to acknowledge it, the evidence is overwhelming: It was cultural backlash, against immigrants, minorities, uppity women, liberals, and all the other forces seen as dislodging traditional white men from their centrality in American culture.

    It’s Trump’s party now.

    It’s still about race and the fear that it engenders. The pitiful irony is that “race” in humans is an invention specifically designed to describe bigotry. Biologically, race doesn’t exist, and geographically, insulated gene pools are increasingly rare. Bigotry may be interpreted as tribalism, and we all know how that goes.

  9. There never was a genuine “small government” movement among conservatives in the John Birch Society; it was merely a phony mantra used by Randian Republicans to reverse progressive New Deal policies and provide cover for handing over political control of the economy (read Randian and Powell “give it all to the rich” conspiracies) to the rich and corporate class. Historically, as the John Birch Society’s reach faltered, its “small government” underpinnings were given new life by Lewis Powell’s infamous memorandum in 1971 and the corporate takeover of America continues to this day, now further aided by Norquist’s no tax pledges and Tea Party adherents.

    Reducing corporate regulation and taxes helps cement the takeover. Thus Ryan’s recent orchestration of Trump’s tax bill through the political maw tells us all we need to know about Republican “small government” pretense as a cover for rewarding the Republican Party’s rich benefactors, that is, unless taxpayers are persuaded that making the rich richer and adding some two trillion dollars to an already humongous debt while reducing social outlays is for the common good. I am not persuaded; I think this bill now law has nothing to do with “tax reform” and “small government.” A better description, in my view, would be to call this law a “public embezzlement.”

    Ryan and the rich and corporate class have won and we have lost – so far. There is hope with a blue tsunami on the horizon that we the people can begin to retake policy-making back from the corporate autocrats and their political lackeys and truly legislate for the common good, so let’s do it this November.

  10. I understand what the Times is trying to accomplish, but if they want to “inform us” or “challenge us”, why not focus on the truth?

    The KKK members used to wear hoods and meet in a barn out in the country. As hate crimes grew 1,800% under the Black Man in the White House, the Tea Party legitimized the KKK. Suddenly, they could abandon the barn meetings and the hoods. They put on suits and ties. They became elected into political office.

    The establishment wing of the GOP was now under attack by the former KKK, Evangelicals and the working class who were abandoned by the Democratic Party.

    The funders for this movement were Charles and David Koch. As the brand suffered from a negative image, they rebranded the organization, Americans for Prosperity.

    If the Times wants to garner more readers, they might want to focus on dismantling the fraud our government has become. Expose the whole corrupted institution from top to bottom as a “free press” is supposed to do. This will draw readers, but they’ll lose advertisers.

    Racism isn’t a positive character trait. It needs to be exposed. Those in power have used it instead to manipulate ignorant white people for generations. Nixon called it the “Southern Strategy”.

    Instead of blaming the billionaire and corporate oppressors for their shitty lives, the racists are easily manipulated into scapegoating people of color, including immigrants.

    The South Shall Rise Again

  11. Child of the Sixties speaking here (and I will read everyone else’s always illuminating comments after I offer this observation this time, just so it can stand or fall on its own): I have been avoiding/resisting the narrative that explains this ridiculous mess we are in by suing we just have to wait for the fill-in-the-blank to die off because most often the blank is filled in with Baby Boomers and I don’t like that for several reasons. 1. That’s me, and dammit I’m not the problem. 2. I see a lot of racists and other ideologues and other -ists who are of other generations . And 3. That’s an easy way out and I’d prefer that we actually confront and solve the problems. BUT I finished reading Sheila’s blog today thinking “this sure sounds like the death throes of the ragtag though still powerful leftovers of The Establishment and its hangers on, the people who know they may never be powerful but are willing to be kept safe instead.” The smart money folk of The Establishment long ago moved on and are living in the present, which looks a lot like the future these days, with the rest of us who have been keeping up all along, even though it’s been a struggle all the way. I’m concerned about the non-powerful hangers on, who will be left behind by the powers of The Establishment if they are not spent somehow as cannon fodder. They’re scared, wisely for a lot of reasons and also for a lot of unnecessary reasons. Let’s not try to understand them. That’s patronizing. Let’s try to welcome them as fellow citizens and let them leave their unnecessary fears behind.

  12. And to Theresa’s good question about newspapers seeing their mission as challenging readers’ thinking. That’s not the news part of the papers. It’s the editorial page part of them, in in this case the NYT. The two parts of all American newspapers (I’ll play it safe here and specify all good American newspapers) are run completely separately. Editorial pages, which are sometimes multiple pages, do want to be thought leaders and affect their readers’ opinions with good arguments and information.

  13. I’m ashamed of the NYT. I’m scared by the people who think Trump is wonderful. I still won’t dry my hands on GP paper towels because the Kochs own it. I was horrified the first time I heard Trump speak and continue to be. I doubt I can ever see Trumps point of view. I hope not. All I can see with Trump/Bolton is where a large, beautiful city was and is now a huge sea of melted glass.

  14. I think there is a consensus that the Republican Party is Trump’s now. The midterm election will be the test of its viability. The news media is in that place now where the are afraid to state the obvious about Trump’s shortcomings because they will open themselves to an attack from Limbaugh. I say the conservative talk radio and Fox have created the dialogue; it’s time for a real response from the adults

  15. We can’t solve any PROBLEM if we’re too scared to look at the CAUSE. After three years of commenting on this blog, nothing has changed. And probably never will. The COGNITIVE DISSONANCE is overwhelming. Is there an answer to that? Maybe.

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer was right about his concern for the lack of CIVIC COURAGE. The problem in the U.S. is much more acute than what Bonhoeffer experienced in Germany during the 20’s and 30’s.

  16. The Rabid Reactionary Republican Party has been since Raygun attacking the “entitlements”. Supposedly, trickle down economics, with plenty of cuts to “entitlements” programs was all we needed to achieve Nirvana.

    I still hear and read about the attacks on “entitlement programs”. The Rabid Reactionary Republican Party is never specific about what and who they are going to cut and what the effects will be. The base of Rabid Reactionary Republican Party is left to their own imaginations what and who should be tossed off the Programs: Welfare Kings and Queens, people on food stamps, Medicaid recipients, or raid and privatize Social Security and Medicare.
    ================================================================

    From a Web Site: The democratic conception of the free press centers on it’s being a so-called “fourth estate,” independent from and skeptical toward the claims of the political establishment. But in the frenzied war fever, the distinction between journalism and state propaganda has been obliterated.

    While journalism seeks to question and probe, propaganda seeks to sensationalize, simplify and incite. Journalism sees all claims as suspect; propaganda treats the statements of the government as sacrosanct and everything else as lies.
    =========================================
    Here in the USA there is no serious debate on should we strike Syria in politics or in our McMega-Media and the serious ramifications of doing so. I was taught years ago about the “decision tree”, that is how one decision can branch off. Untended consequences of that decision can lead to multiple branches and cascading events that cannot controlled. Given the intellectual make-up (no pun intended) of The Trumpet (Aka Agent Orange), it is doubtful if The Trumpet can envision any result other than what he wants.

    Our Congress has been reduced to a subservient boot licking role. Congress is capable only of standing by and watching the presidents, who now have virtual dictatorial war powers. Congressional power to intervene or thwart the Wall Street-Military- Industrial Complex is nil, in fact they are owned by this group.

  17. I recall discussing a theory in undergrad Poli-Sci class. That is that, in a world of billions , only a few thousand are original thinkers. They never become leaders or prominent personages. They chuck the stone that causes infinitesimal ripples on every shore of the ocean of human thought. Unsung, unknowing, and unknown ; they have their original perspectives plagiarized and stolen by others. They write no essays, opinion columns nor treatises. They are not among anyone of the personalities you cite. Yet they are the fuel for the engines of progressive change . I subscribe to this theory.

  18. What if there never was a conservative movement? What if all the time it was the ease in brainwashing authoritarian minds through mass media? What if it is merely oligarchs attacking the system that they manipulated the wealth from and now nothing’s left but to manipulate the politics in the ultimate victory for them; all of the wealth and power? What if it, as Trump constantly signals, is merely a temporary victory, because nobody suspected it to be possible, of brainwashed ignorance is search of entitlement?

    Liberals constantly look for the good. There ain’t any in Agent Orange or his sycophants attached to his “brain” by their lipstick.

  19. Marge Wood ~ We think alike…I too will not purchase Angel Soft bath tissue or Sparkle paper towels, even if I have a coupon! I can’t relate to anyone (friends included) who support Trump and cannot watch or listen to him speak. Each night I pray that some member of the GOP will speak up and say enough is enough. Not too happy with Democrats either – just look at DACA. I don’t know how many of them sleep at night.

  20. Charlie,

    Well, we could begin by asking the uninvolved and the ignorant to step up and learn about how the government works, what their would-be representatives really think and who are their donors. Then, we could ask these poor sods to go and vote with at least a modicum of knowledge.

    If this were the case in 2016, Donald Trump would have never made to the RNC convention in Cleveland let alone being EC-ed into office.

  21. the intro to this forum from Sheila,is spot on, in my normal,(maybe not so normal) day to day working, i always run across the teabagger, like trumpers,they carry a look,and a in your face agenda. ive had my clashes with this ilk.. when one is raised in a closed society,like farming and ranching. one begins to breed with the locals.. my encounters with them always rail on welafare,immigration and go,forbid,social security.(im 63) i may join the converstaion on the sidelines,allowing the brood to fester up,its contempt.. now allow me to voice some opinion..
    have you ever lived inner city?,went to a inner city public school,? had to use a bus to go,to work?had children in a less than adequate housing?, and a wage where you can actully put something aside? heres the comeback,,,,who cares….. seriously,they make their opinions,based on fox news,thier buddies view,and god forbid,trumps view.. (Comney is correct about trumps standards) none of themever go beyond fox news,the face,and twwits.. ive even asked how much they read? many never,alot,too lazy(their words) like my previous comments here, when i ask my rancher friends,,,,,how their entitlement progarm is going,(farm bill) ( of course my tone and comment about entitlement is to make it sound like welfare) they just rail,on about how hard it is to get ahead,etc. though they never fight the corps that have DECIDED,, how much you will make,when you will make it. when you will spend it,where you will spend it,and how,you will spend it…. (this is carved in stone for everyone actully)so as they vote themselves,and us,down a road of lose and poverty, they the gall to,support the teabaggers,even if its to their demise…if food stamps wernt dependant upon a farm bill, how fast would that dry up?

  22. “Dietrich Bonhoeffer was right about his concern for the lack of CIVIC COURAGE. The problem in the U.S. is much more acute than what Bonhoeffer experienced in Germany during the 20’s and 30’s.”

    Once again, Marv Kramer has separated the wheat from the chaff and go on to the absolute core of our collective problem and coming up with any sort of credible and sustained reaction against what is happening in this country. His is a crushing indictment that is very likely right on the bull’s eye and it gives me chills to the very quick just thinking about it.

    None of this is crept up on us, instead we’ve been watching it and its component parts over the course of the last decade coming into full view during the 2008 general election. We looked that the rise of the Tea Party as perhaps an aberration when in fact it was showcasing the shift occurring in what used to be known as the Republican Party and our population itself.

    In response to this the opposition party grows more fragmented and more dissolute everyday where the only constant in their approach to combating this move in a partisan way is to ask donors for more money without having any true, definable and easily explainable set of objectives for anyone to coalesce around. While many of us, including yours truly, have been talking about the country’s self- destructIng and the grave and incalculable risks associated with that happening, it is been going on all along starting, again, 10 years ago centered on the election of Barack Obama as President and the virulently racist reaction to it.

    As someone who grew up with rational Republicans, or those that seemed to be rational, I figured that the party would reject this race is bent and realign itself into what it wants wise when, in fact, perhaps all of this was always fit and just below the surface and I didn’t see it because the people that, again, I grew up with didn’t exhibit these tendencies, being virulently anti-John Birchers and Abe Lincoln Republicans, whatever the heck that means anymore
    .
    This is where Marv’s comments regarding Dietrich Bonhoeffer have their huge import. We’ve been essentially asleep at the switch all along and since that seems to be are normal modis operandi we never really have understood that depth of the divisions that exist in this country nor how dangerous some of them always were too the stability of this nation politically and socially. For far too long it’s been chalked off is being the lunatic fringe when that fringe really amounted to a huge blanket that permeates every political stripe in this country in one way or another.

    Perhaps this is why we have been so ripe for the picking for all the Russian BOTS and the homegrown loons that are all now all out of the woodwork and threatening to destroy or otherwise cripple this country. We can only hope that this current administration and all its sycophants, along with every one that thinks in a similar fashion are removed from the dialogue that needs to happen. The only rub is after that happens will there be any one left standing to work on that dialog given how deeply this problem is imbedded in what we call political and social discourse in this country.

  23. When economic displacement causes wide disenchantment, people will look for scapegoats. Trump has a well-tuned radar for offering up scapegoats on which to blame disenchantment. You are so correct that it’s a cultural backlash which he has manipulated and exploited.

    Immigrants, Muslims, blacks, and political correctness have been blamed for our woes when mechanization and robotics and out-sourcing to foreign countries have contributed much more to economic displacement. Trump blames trade agreements for economic woes and seeks tariffs on some imports but noticeably NOT on any of his or his daughter’s manufactured goods from sweat shops off shore. And his tariffs promise to hurt as many and maybe more Americans than they help.

    His dog whistles to and apologist posture for white supremacists are more evidence of courting the cultural backlash.

    Fear and hate rather than leadership are his modes of operation. It’s emotional and convincing to many who feel left behind which has been growing since the 70’s. Were Trump not such a jerk in so many ways, even more people would succumb to his scapegoating.

    Much as I enjoy the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other major media outlets, I DO SO wish they would get out to the farms, factory floors, small towns, Dollar Stores, grocery stores, schools, and various denominational churches and temples in America to walk and talk daily to the real people who are working so many hours and jobs that they don’t have time or money to subscribe to and read newspapers or to keep up with the news and think tanks. Trump likes those folks the best because they only hear the headlines, and he is a master at dominating them. But politicians do respond to headlines. Poor people need the help of journalists to MAKE the headlines. When real people learned their Obamacare coverage of pre-existing conditions and Medicaid coverage were on the chopping block, they reacted loudly.

    I wish our journalists would pay less attention to Trump’s ‘shiny object’ distractions and more attention to the damage he is doing to real people every day in damaging our environment, our common spaces, our K-12 and post-secondary schools, our retirement security, and the overall futures of the 95% of Americans who are not among the wealthiest and healthiest 5%.

  24. Sorry for the subject-verb disagreement. The “many who feel left behind which HAVE been growing since the 70’s.” Now I feel better.

  25. This article from the Daily KOS encapsulates rather well The Trumpet (Aka Agent Orange) support by the evangelicals. https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/4/14/1756926/-The-Real-Reason-Evangelical-Christians-Don-t-Care-About-Trump-s-Sordid-Sexual-Behavior?detail=emaildkre

    Excerpts below:
    The history of white Evangelical Christianity in this country can be summarized much like George Orwell summarized the totalitarian state in his seminal novel, “1984”:

    If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.

    But it’s a little more like this: If you want a picture of Evangelical Christianity, imagine a boot stamping on a woman’s face — forever.

    It is not revulsion towards adultery, but preservation of patriarchy, that underlies Evangelical “thought”.
    As it turns out the whole idea of Evangelical Christianity is rooted in a conception of Biblically-inspired male dominance and superiority that was used as a selling point for the religion’s spread in the South, albeit cleverly packaged as “family values”:

    The authoritarian dynamic was central to Southern antebellum families. To win Southern hearts, evangelicals buttressed patriarchy, empowering fathers and looking the other way when they took prerogatives which crossed moral lines. Catering to Southern values, evangelicalism became one of the predominant forms of religious expression in America.

    Trump’s ratings with Evangelicals have actually soared since the Stormy Daniels story came out—from 61 to 78 % approval. The reason for this is simple. One of the pillars of Evangelical Christianity is the perception that Evangelicals are “outcasts” standing bravely against the evil forces of the world. Religious outsiders have much to gain from boundary maintenance, often courting outcast status or even persecution to rally the faithful. (Side Bar – War on Christmas)

    So we shouldn’t be looking anytime soon for those Evangelicals who make up his base of support to recoil in horror at Trump’s sex scandals, or for that matter anything else he does up to and including money laundering or conspiracy with the Russians.

    In their minds he’s one of theirs, and always will be.
    ==============================================================
    This Hierarchical, male dominance and superiority found it’s way into the pre-civil war society, where slaves could be and were raped, with virtually no fear of retribution from their churches or the state.

    So it seems simple no one is going to “convert” these Rabid Reactionary Evangelicals from supporting The Trumpet (Aka Agent Orange). No matter how many more woman were paid hush money that are revealed – Mike Pence will stand behind Trump with his bobble head smile.

  26. Tom,

    “This is where Marv’s comments regarding Dietrich Bonhoeffer have their huge import. We’ve been essentially asleep at the switch all along and since that seems to be are normal modis operandi WE NEVER REALLY HAVE UNDERSTOOD THAT DEPTH OF THE DIVISIONS that exist in this country nor how dangerous some of them always were too the stability of this nation politically and socially.”

    Many thanks. You are much more eloquent than I am.

  27. Nancy – >> The New York Times, the Washington Post, and other major media outlets, I DO SO wish they would get out to the farms, factory floors, small towns, Dollar Stores, grocery stores, schools, and various denominational churches and temples in America to walk and talk daily to the real people who are working so many hours and jobs that they don’t have time or money to subscribe to and read newspapers or to keep up with the news and think tanks.<<<

    Nancy, the McMega-Media's job is to preserve Steroid Capitalism and Neo-Liberal economic thoughts and actions. If they reported honestly on what was and is going on economically in America for the 99% for the past 30 years, they could incite a class war.

  28. Tom,

    As you know we have to learn from the past. The following is probably the best WARNING we could ever have:

    An excerpt from
    “They Thought They Were Free
    The Germans, 1933-45”
    by Milton Mayer

    But Then It Was Too Late

    “What no one seemed to notice,” said a colleague of mine, a philologist, “was the ever widening gap, after 1933, between the government and the people. Just think how very wide this gap was to begin with, here in Germany. And it became always wider. You know, it doesn’t make people close to their government to be told that this is a people’s government, a true democracy, or to be enrolled in civilian defense, or even to vote. All this has little, really nothing, to do with knowing one is governing.

    “What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it.

    “This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.

    “You will understand me when I say that my Middle High German was my life. It was all I cared about. I was a scholar, a specialist. Then, suddenly, I was plunged into all the new activity, as the university was drawn into the new situation; meetings, conferences, interviews, ceremonies, and, above all, papers to be filled out, reports, bibliographies, lists, questionnaires. And on top of that were the demands in the community, the things in which one had to, was ‘expected to’ participate that had not been there or had not been important before. It was all rigmarole, of course, but it consumed all one’s energies, coming on top of the work one really wanted to do. You can see how easy it was, then, not to think about fundamental things. One had no time.”

    “Those,” I said, “are the words of my friend the baker. ‘One had no time to think. There was so much going on.’”

    “Your friend the baker was right,” said my colleague. “The dictatorship, and the whole process of its coming into being, was above all diverting. It provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to think anyway. I do not speak of your ‘little men,’ your baker and so on; I speak of my colleagues and myself, learned men, mind you. Most of us did not want to think about fundamental things and never had. There was no need to. Nazism gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about—we were decent people—and kept us so busy with continuous changes and ‘crises’ and so fascinated, yes, fascinated, by the machinations of the ‘national enemies,’ without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us. Unconsciously, I suppose, we were grateful. Who wants to think?

    “To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it—please try to believe me—unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, ‘regretted,’ that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these ‘little measures’ that no ‘patriotic German’ could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.

    “How is this to be avoided, among ordinary men, even highly educated ordinary men? Frankly, I do not know. I do not see, even now. Many, many times since it all happened I have pondered that pair of great maxims, Principiis obsta and Finem respice—‘Resist the beginnings’ and ‘Consider the end.’ But one must foresee the end in order to resist, or even see, the beginnings. One must foresee the end clearly and certainly and how is this to be done, by ordinary men or even by extraordinary men? Things might have. And everyone counts on that might.

    “Your ‘little men,’ your Nazi friends, were not against National Socialism in principle. Men like me, who were, are the greater offenders, not because we knew better (that would be too much to say) but because we sensed better. Pastor Niemöller spoke for the thousands and thousands of men like me when he spoke (too modestly of himself) and said that, when the Nazis attacked the Communists, he was a little uneasy, but, after all, he was not a Communist, and so he did nothing; and then they attacked the Socialists, and he was a little uneasier, but, still, he was not a Socialist, and he did nothing; and then the schools, the press, the Jews, and so on, and he was always uneasier, but still he did nothing. And then they attacked the Church, and he was a Churchman, and he did something—but then it was too late.”

  29. Milton Mayer was a Jewish convert to the Society of Friends (Quakers). The phrase “Speaking Truth to Power” has been contributed to him. He was a partner with Professor Harvey Wheeler at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at Santa Barbara. Professor Wheeler was later my partner at The Political Epidemiology Institute before he died. See http://www.StrategicPower.org

  30. Just some thoughts regarding Trump, his fully supportive GOP, basically curiosity of a high school dropout with a GED whose chemical knowledge is limited to adding vinegar to baking soda to make a fake volcano; what happened to the chemicals in the targets hit by the attack? Would some of the chemicals be disbursed into the air rather than being destroyed? Is it possible that Trump, who cannot keep his mouth shut when his ego is in 3rd gear, gave ISIS that week the time remove many, if not all of those chemicals? “Mission Accomplished” Isn’t that what Bush said about FEMA’s salvation of the Gulf Coast after Katrina and the levee collapses? Or maybe that is what he said about the war he declared on Iraq after a mere five months?

    Here in “Trump’s America” (thanks Marv) where the GOP “It is Trump’s party now” (thanks Sheila); the media appears to be touting this bombing mission as “Trump led” or “Trump’s bombing of Syria” as if he accomplished this alone rather than with the aid of the UK and France. This is actual “fake news” which Trump is letting stand as-is…unless we learn at a later time that little damage was done (as with his bombing of Pakistan and Afghanistan) or that civilian deaths were collateral damage. Will it then somehow become Obama’s error?

    Just some thoughts…

  31. Thank you Marv for your very kind words but you seriously underestimate yourself in terms of eloquence. The depth of what you have cumulatively read over the years is betrayed by your insightful comments and I, like you, see the parallels of what is happening to us today and what happened to the most literate nation in Europe nearly 90 years ago, Germany. My Dad lent me his copy of William L. Shirer’s “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” when I was just a kid which I still have it in very dog-eared condition and have been rereading over the last year off and on.

    The Germans, just like us, particularly those that frequent this blog and the author of it, never could quite believe that what ultimately overtook them could actually happened there and yet it did. We sit here with our sense of exceptionalism and have allowed ourselves to fall into what is very likely the same sort of trap. In this occasion, we’ve had a lot of help. It’s come from those pesky Russian BOTS, their FSB/GRU, and via ultraconservative billionaires who think they have the right to rule the country because of their wealth.

    Add to that, a whole lot of basically good people that have the attitudes that they do because they have found themselves on the bottom of the deck too many times via “business decision” induced layoffs and lots of other things. Those that deviously manipulate us and who prey on our collective fears that the American Dream is dead should be boiled in oil with the spectacle being made available for public viewing through social media and all the cable networks. For short term political and monetary gain they are waging an all out war against our democracy and using us as pawns in waging that war. They sit back and laugh while there doing it watching us working hard to destroy ourselves.

    Adolph Hitler and Josef Goebbels would be very proud of these people and the damage that they have collectively done to us and our country. What we have to do, in a civilized way, is to excise these people and their influence as well as their dirty tricks from our political system and keep them from having any leverage over any and all decision-making processes whether they result from government or the private sector country.

    We do not have to make America great again since it already is!

  32. Bannon says for the record, “It’s my party; it’s my movement.” And he intends to be the next GOP presidential candidate.

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