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November 28, 2016

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The post-mortems were brutal, schadenfreude combined with I-told-you-so nihilism. Democrats were not merely mistaken but metaphysically wrong to practice politics in the real world instead of the biker bar that passes for our political culture. My own feeling is such deep despair about the future that it's impossible to imagine how we possibly reconstruct the bridge back to sanity. This election blew it up once and for all.

The hatred shown to Hillary Clinton was a primary presenting symptom of how advanced democracy's auto-immune disease has become. We don't want carefully crafted compromises. We want showy demonstrations of certitude and victim-counseling. The subtext to the campaign was really who was most deserving of their incoherent rage. The side that won rolled the dice and decided a con-man buffoon was the perfect answer to their existential woes.

Burning (or Berning) down the house because we can is what juvenile delinquents do. We will live to regret this exercise in heady idiocy once we realize shelter from the storm is a more primary need than righteousness and self-expression. The white working class has been kept afloat by Democrats for decades with policies designed to increase access to health care, public education, an open and free marketplace, housing, food security, and and job-training efforts. Republicans offered virtually nothing except tax cuts for the rich along with the sub voce reassurance that they really didn't like those people either. So, that's who the WWC voted for in strong majorities over the past 30 years.

Democrats are not free to imagine it's 1955 culturally or economically. We can't invent a time machine taking us back to the days of a post-war superpower manufacturing virtually everything the world bought. By 1980, those days were clearly receding from view. But Democrats and less ideological Republicans could still respect the world as it actually exists. There were and are different points of view we can still disagree on. What is the optimal carrying cost of society? How far does government do in leveling playing fields? Democrats would argue in favor the little guy but the debate clearly shifted in favor of the rich and corporations in the wake of the Reagan Revolution.

The double game the right has played involved telling Joe Sixpack he was a "producer" but the black guy trying to get a union job wasn't. They told Joe they were on his side where it really mattered. They would eat pork rinds and brandish the Stars and Bars to suggest cultural affinity. Credit where credit is due: the messaging was a smashing success. And now the white working class is free to contemplate its demographic eclipse in an increasingly dysfunctional nation.

Idiots.

Excellent column. I only disagree with one word, "stunning".

Soleri said "biker bar".
The stunning thing was that the pot smoking academia crowd couldn't see it coming.

You all can kiss off the Democrats for the next 50 years as the white European Nazi's will rule. Just look at Trumps appointments. AND France is next.
If you are a young progressive liberal with skills suggest you check out other countries. Particularly if you are not pure white or if you are not a evangelistic white christian. Welcome to AMERIKA.

Cal, not true. In fact, one academic, Richard Rorty, actually published a book in 1998 about the very possibility of that happening this year, Achieving Our Century.

I'm not quite sure what the pot reference is about unless it was a kind of put-down coming from environmental elitists like Ed Abbey.

Culturally, America is not going the Full Adolf. That was never in the cards because we overfed older whites are not nearly as adventurous as we imagine ourselves. What we are is addicted to Pavlovian media telling us every outlandish lie they can dream up. Enter Donald Trump, and you have a perfect storm of pathological lying, demonization, and scapegoating.

If we bear a comparison to any nation, it might be the South Africa of the 1980s that was desperately trying to hold onto Apartheid. The regime grew increasingly harsh over the years repressing the non-white population but in the end it could not hold back the tide. I suspect that's our fate. Whether democracy by that point is too far gone to rescue is another question, but I don't see the triumph of David Duke, Steve Bannon, and Jeff Sessions. They'll all be gone in 10 years.

Cal,

I agree with you that at this time it appears that the owners of corp D are not going to pull their heads out of the sand. Without a through clearing out at the top corp D is going to keep swirling down the drain. The outcome of this election makes that clear to all but the hardest core cool-aid drinkers.

Some chose to blame Putin and Obama care for Clinton's failings. I think the problem is much deeper. As for Putin let's get real, no country on the planet has a greater record of interfering in the political lives of other countries than the USA. I shouldn't have to list examples but I could. If you want to get worked up about foreign interference in US politics you need to look at the role Israel plays in manipulating US politics.

As for Obama care let me comment as a self employed contractor for over 40 years. My family was raised without medical insurance. We could not afford it. It was a matter of making a house payment and having food on the table or a medical insurance payment. We chose to own a house and eat. We were lucky and managed to pay cash for our medical needs. Obama care would have been a disaster for us. We made just enough money most years to not receive government help in making our insurance payments. We would have been forced to make insurance payments for lousy insurance with astronomical co-pay even when there was no work. All this so big pharma and big insurance could continue to bleed the economy dry. Do the poorest segments of the economy benefit from Obama care? To some degree, but any benefit is declining while profits for the authors of Obama care skyrocket at taxpayer expense. If Clinton had a plan to deal with this robbery she didn't announce it. Whether he meant it or not Trump said he would go after big pharma.

Today Democracy Now (democracynow.org) interviewed Bernie Sanders. It was an interesting interview. Bernie is still out there fighting while Clinton slides into irrelevance.

"Whether he meant it or not."

That pretty much sums up the whole Trump oeuvre, doesn't it?

Remember the other guy who said he was a uniter, not a divider? And then, after that, he was the "decider"? Fun times.

I happen to be an old white guy lucky enough to have enough money to weather just about any storm. I suppose I could sit back and watch it all burn.

But I do have a certain fondness for a country I remember. So it fills me with sadness to see what has happened to that place. And dread to imagine what will happen next.

I'm not in any way a religious person, but I thought we were supposed to take care of the weakest among us. Not torment them. Not ostracize them. Not vilify them. Not laugh at them. Not punish them for being poor, or ill, or just different from us.

PS any autopsy of 2016 that doesn't include massive voter suppression by the Republican Party is woefully incomplete.

B. Franklin: quite right.

Soleri: excellent stuff. Thanks.

Cal,
Amerika!

Franklin,

I pretty much agree. To be fair let's include "hope and change" in the list of campaign slogans. Trump pandered to an electorate that wanted to hear someone say "I feel your pain" whether he meant it or not. I doubt too many believed it. Like it or not, and I don't, that is what wins elections. Trump came from outside the beltway and lots of folks in this country saw that as a plus. They were willing to overlook his BS to give the beltway the finger.

You and I may be in better shape to weather an economic storm than many but that will mean very little to our grandkids as predatory capitalism kills the planet to maximize it's profit. Think global warming. Think corpo-cops and Wounded Knee III.

I'm looking into my crystal ball and I'm seeing the headline:

TRUMP FIRST PRESIDENT TO RESIGN OVER TWITTER COMMENTS

Have patience folks, this guy has the self control of a one week old baby.

Ross, I want to defend Obamacare without boring everyone to tears, so let me simply say if you couldn't afford health insurance under it, you would likely qualify for Medicaid. If for some odd reason, the vagaries of your job wouldn't allow that, then you could still simply eat the penalty without any significant damage.

Democrats passed something that was imperfect because this is called the REAL WORLD where health insurance companies have extraordinary economic and political clout. Absent a revolution, we weren't going to get single payer through Congress. So, you do the next best thing, which is create the architecture for reform that can be tweaked over time to more closely approximate single payer. Yes, it's inelegant and frustrating, but that's how it works in a country where half the citizens are so bereft of common sense they voted for Donald Trump (not to mention the morons who voted third party or not at all).

If Bernie Sanders had been the Democratic nominee and if he won the election (two very bigs ifs), he would not have been able to pass single payer. He's not the Messiah, as touching as your childlike devotion to him is. Politics is always brutal and messy. You fight as hard as you can but you don't behave like a child and demand perfection because that's usually not a choice. You do your best, in other words, and fight again tomorrow. I'm sorry all you Bros have to live in a world where recognition of your moral superiority is not immediately granted, but that's not how it works here. Democrats are not perfect but we don't pretend to be. We will continue to fight for people who will have their health insurance taken away by Trump and his Randian cohort in Congress. Eventually, the country that thinks Republicans are their friends will wake up from their white nationalist daydreams.


Ruben before he goes he will do a lot of damage. It's what is behind him that is the most dangerous threat to the planet. Starting with Theocrat Pence who is pushing for Theocrat Romney to be secretary of state.
And with the help of the other crazies it will be awfully bad and sad.

Jon, my response to Soleri went missing?

Cal,
It's not in the spam folder.

Bernie is still out there swinging wildly.

Hillary won the popular vote by 2 million, a sign of irrelevance?

Bernie Bros need to hook up with the white working class in the heartland to form a serious political voting block.

Middle and upper middle class households with family incomes between $100,000 and $500,000 per year are not going to vote for a BS massive increase of thousands of dollars in their yearly tax bill. You won't need a right wing conspiracy to take down BS, just show the professional and managerial Democrats a Form 1040 under the BS plan.

Thank you Ross for your BS political purity: my siblings just had tens of thousands of dollars reduced in taxes with Trump. By the way, three quarters of my siblings voted for Clinton. For BS, no chance.

The US is a great country to be rich: the working class votes your interests.

The Nazi next door.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/swastika-cupcakes-birthday-gift_us_583df40ee4b04fcaa4d562a6

Soleri, You obviously know nothing about how the medical insurance system works for the self employed. From your comments I would guess you have never been self employed or had to buy your own health insurance, or make your own social security contribution. I am tired of your demeaning style. If you didn't consider your self so superior you might learn something about how the part of the nation you show nothing but contempt for thinks. I hope you hold no position of responsibility in corp d because if you do corp d is toast. I am out of here. Attempting to offer a view other than that you and Jon hold is a waste of ink.

Previously lost response to Soleri.
Soleri you are one smart Sloper and you get more gold stars from the teacher than most but to borrow a word you like to frequently use, you are not “fucking” infallible. Tell me NOW you knew Trump was going to win.

I kept posting the past months that the Campfire guys and the Wagon Wheel bar dudes were completely at ease that Trump would win. As I recall you were not impressed with my observations. Oh well!

Soleri said, something about stupid voters from the “Biker Bar” and I said, “The stunning part was that the pot smoking academia couldn’t see it coming.” Regarding Richard Rorty’s book I was aware of such and I thought I had posted it here previously? Regarding Soleri’s comment the pot smoking reference maybe being a put down from environmental elitists like Ed Abbey.
Now Soleri that’s COLD picking on a dead man. You can insult me all you care to as for 60 years or more I have been insulted by experts. In my humble opinion ED Abbey was neither an Environmentalist nor an Elitist. I believe he considered a number of environmentalist, elitists locked in ivory towers.

“To call Edward Abbey simply an "environmentalist" would be inaccurate. Although his writing focused primarily on environmental issues, Abbey seemed to be constantly critiquing the culture that surrounded him. His works ranged from fiction writing to blunt, and sometimes slighting, essays. Much of his writing was so controversial that even some groups of environmentalists rebuked his stance. Abbey was known to throw beer cans from his car because the highway he was traveling had already ruined the landscape surrounding it. He wrote essays degrading western farming and ranching methods and yet he was a proponent of the National Rifle Association. His writing suggests he wasn't comfortable with environmental activists or activism as a whole. Abbey wasn't concerned with keeping either a liberal or conservative point of view; his views were directed by nature and his love of the American West.”
From Wilderness net.

Per Charles Bowden Abbey hated being called an environmentalist as did Chuck hate being called a Journalist. He considered it an elitist term, He considered himself a” reporter.”

But like you maybe, One Dennis Drabelle lists Abbey's writing as arrogant and elitist, saying the "immense popularity among environmentalists [of Abbey] is puzzling." Abbey was truly a man loved or hated by those who knew him and his work; he kept his supporters and his cynics speculating on his next move, which was often a move no one expected."

However, per Abbey living in harmony with our surroundings is not an elitist...

Abbey was an Anarchist and if you consider he seemed to be a populist, you could probably squeeze the word elitist into that.
He was also a democrat.

My friend Charles Bowden who was also Abbey’s friend assured me on a number of occasions that Abbey was first and foremost an anarchist.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/epitaph-for-a-desert-anarchist-james-bishop/1103852186
“Anarchism is not a romantic fable but the hardheaded realization, based on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, and county commissioners.”
― Edward Abbey

PS, Soleri, I think you might be useful helping Amy Goodman, she could use your writing skills.

Regarding Trump being gone in 10 years, probably accurate but the most dangerous problem is the world of Steve Bannon who plans on controlling the next 50 years. And with the likes of Theocrat Pence who is promoting Theocrat Romney for secretary of state backed up by the rest of the crazies like Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan they just may pull it off. So crank up your DVD copy of the Hunger games folks it’s going to be brutal.

Awinter thanks for the AMERIKA video.

Cal, what made Abbey so compelling as a writer was inseparable from his tendency to be so frustrating as a thinker. His environmental activism (if we're permitted to call it that) was awash in romantic impossibility. He was not given to half measures in his rhetoric or his anti-political theory. He lived like the legend he imagined himself to be - an outlaw throwing beer cans from the window of this Cadillac driving the back roads around Tucson. He brooked no compromise in his consciously created life because he never had to. His greatest work of art, finally, was himself. It was an amazing performance but a terrible legacy, less Ishmael than Icarus.

For anyone seeking a political as opposed to authoritarian solution, Abbey is a cautionary tale in excess. If you see yourself as indispensable and infallible, you don't persuade so much as bludgeon others with your impatience. My own "infallibility" is predicated in the same authoritarianism - make no small gestures when thundering from the mountain tops. But I'm doing so in the name of a tradition that does not bear my name. Rather, I stand squarely in the center of the American political tradition, not on the fringes with Bernie Bros and anarchists. I don't care how hip these people think they are. To me, they feel stupid with their smug certitude.

Abbey wanted the desert to himself and was distressed to find it under siege from people he regarded as interlopers. His revenge was that of a Luddite, assailing all the various compromises hydraulic civilization has wrought in this once beautiful, now ravaged, land. Most of us here sympathize but is solipsism like Abbey's really a solution? It was for Abbey, of course. For most of us, it's tone deaf and pointless.

If you make the story of Arizona one of romantic heroes wanting to make the entire modern disappointment disappear, there really are no solutions so much as gestures like a shaking fist in a violent storm. There's no second let alone third act in a play where life doesn't unfold so much as explode in furies of insight and rage. I want to ask people who see themselves as heirs to this romantic ideology to think more deeply about our common problem. The seven billion extraneous souls on this planet were born doomed. That doesn't mean we celebrate cruelty for its own sake. It means we curate this suffering with our compassion and wise counsel. Anything less would be inhuman.

Not bad Soleri, Bravo.
But as you are one of my favorite poets as is ee cummings, Abbey is my favorite Anarchists as Camus is my favorite philosopher.
I keep a copy in my car and another on my desk of Abbeys Desert Solitare for those moments when I have time.

Abbey did so much self-mythologizing and left so little as a useful political program, one can only enjoy his writing, particularly Desert Solitaire. My beef with Abbey is that he had no appreciation for the unique oasis of the Salt River Valley. I don't even consider him an Arizona writer, for southern Utah and New Mexico were his great muses. My two cents.

True Jon, but Desert Solitaire published in 1968 is still selling and in its 54 edition. SAHUARO Cal liked CACTUS Ed in that he sat a CAMP FIRE well and was a straight talking no bull shit kind of person that not only was intelligent but had a bond with the earth and a connection with common man. He tried being a proffesor at the U of A but was not comfortable in the Academia world and had much more influence regarding man made devastation than many other writers. Proffessor Wallace Stegner was much more a academia formal literary writer about the Southwest but I found him boring. Even so I still have collected his books. There is a boring book written by a College proffesor comparing Stegner and Abbey if you care to read.
"Keep Scribbling "

Cactus cal on the road and from my cell phone.

PS, Abbeys favorite book was not Desert Solitaire but Black Sun. He desired to be a novelist but his followers made him an environmentalist. I'm in my 3rd reading of Black Sun. It has a real man and a college professor in it. And its a love story.

Cal, to finish this Abbey segue, I want to make an observation about this blog. It's many things but it's primarily political. We don't spin our wheels demanding impossible solutions to our common problems for that reason. Politics is the art of the possible, after all. This has been a frustrating for me this season partly for that reason. Abbey is not an answer to anything in our external lives. Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, is, but he's so far from the center of political life that his crusade feels cultish and detached, like a minor Judean sect traveling through the Life of Brian.

Politics is necessarily about us but Bernie Sanders is so emphatically himself that compromise is not even on the table. That's his authenticity. To young people and old idealists, it's a bracing tonic in a culture that seems to have run out of inspiration. Just believe everything this old codger says and all life's problems will be solved. In his own way, he's as anti-political as Abbey.

I've scratched my head about your ideology for a long time, wondering if you were fully aware of the political abyss between a socialist and an anarchist. Maybe there is no answer or maybe that IS the answer. It's not in our book of common dreams but in the heart of the solitary dreamer. Both Abbey and Sanders inspire people who want to believe big, as it were. No more half measures! We want a Total Explanation and we want it now! The problem for everyone else is whether you walk away or simply capitulate and join the cult.

We all have poetic license here and I don't want to deprive you of yours. Still, I want others to look at this problem of politics in a way that doesn't reduce it to solipsism. America is in a crisis because we've stopped compromising. But most people think we've compromised too much. Somehow, the now rigidly ideological Republican Party is no longer such an obvious danger to our shared values and aspirations. The Democratic Party is now the threat because they think the entire point of politics is that it ultimately yield workable solutions. Call me a pot-smoking pointy head but I suspect that's much more real world than the dead enders at the Wagon Wheel appreciate.

SOLERI excellent response. It pleasures me that I cause you to dig deep and respond.
I think both the pointy pot heads and the dead heads at the bar should try to get together more often. No guns allowed, just beer cans and hooka pipes. And I'll buy Jon Martinis, stirred not shaken with a Sahuaro stir stick.

And I'll continue into my 77 year of continuing education credits.

NY Times - How Stable Are Democracies? ‘Warning Signs Are Flashing Red’
Especially irritating that younger people don't believe it's essential to live in a democracy. Heroic millenials?!

Cal, I just read Jonathan Chait's New York piece off The Front Page about David Brooks. I recommend it because he really gets at what I'm struggling here to articulate. Chait is critical of Brooks for his pretense that there really was a Republican mainstream untainted by ideology until Trump came along. This engraged me and thousands of other liberals who read his column hoping for a more honest admission from Brooks. None ever came since he's wedded to the idea that conservatism isn't irredeembably stained by its accommodation to racists and xenophobes.

Bernie Sanders, for all the criticism I've heaped on him, is still a fundamentally decent politician. He cares about people, which ought to be a primary reason to take any pol seriously. Trump does not care about people, and he found a perfect vessel to channel his sociopathic impulses - the GOP. Even Brooks recognized how pathological Trump was early on. You don't elect someone this damaged to the presidency. Sadly, we discovered differently three weeks ago.

Sanders meteoric rise in our political consciousness came about partly because full-throated liberalism has been on the defensive since the 1960s. It was midwifed by the exploitation of racial tensions, particularly in the white working class. Were Democrats doomed to lose their key constutency? My own reading says yes because human nature is fundamentally tribal, not cosmopolitan. As America Big Sort-ed its way to political and social apartheid, the battlelines became clearly drawn. It's red states vs blue states, rural vs urban, old vs young, the full catastrophe of our cold civil war.

I think our side (if we can said to be on the same side of this struggle) will eventually win. But while the country may teeter between liberalism and conservatism, what won't change is the fundamental division in society. Republicans made a conscious decision to exploit the sorest and most tender wounds in our body politic. We are damaged, perhaps beyond repair, by their cynical and brazen decision. I will always detest the GOP for this reason. They are despicable, full stop. This includes David Brooks even though he's a very pleasant person who is not racist in the least. He just makes his living whitewashing his party of racist toxicity.

We on the left, however, cannot govern like Republicans. We have to believe there is this one America, indivisible and inclusive. It means we have to govern from the center. It means we have to struggle with people not fully mainstreamed into society for various, mainly historic, reasons. Bernie Sanders, unfortunately, simply wants to pretend that's not as important as economic justice. But as we keep learning over and over, poor whites vote for the policy preferences of the rich for a reason. We needn't guess why.

There is no escape from our responsibility, neither romantic anarchy nor ideological certitude. Politics is all we have in our public lives. If we give up, all those sundry demons of the far left win - the corporatists, the oligarchs, the plutocrats, the neoliberals. Except they will be Republicans who don't mitigate any of the damage they do. They will lie, dissimulate, and deflect according to their Pavlovian instincts. They just won an election with precisely those means. There was nothing else there except this yawning abyss of human evil. Sorry to be so prolix and repetitive but this more than saguaros needs to keep us awake at night.


soleri, thanks. I read the front pages as they come and had read this one. I forward a lot of those to old white guys I know. Most seem to like the current Atlantic article.

If U think what Obama's administration is doing to reporters is bad? Stand by.
Drones and the first amendment.
Experts say the no fly zone is a blatant violation of the First Amendment that has normalized a chilling precedent set by the FAA during the 2014 protests in Ferguson following the police killing of Mike Brown.
http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-government-is-using-a-no-fly-zone-to-suppress-journalism-at-standing-rock?trk_source=homepage-lede


But will they print it?

In 1975 Sydney Pollack produced the Movie Three Days of the Condor. The theme resonates today.
It’s about Oil and the Games the CIA’s of the world play. Our Brilliant Hero a book reader for the CIA finds himself hunted for assignation by CIA Contract Killer Joubert (Max Van Sydow). In the end Joe outsmarts the entire federal government but not Joubert. And if you decide to watch this very dated movie, at least watch the last 15 minutes. As Joe gets back in touch with the CIA for a meet knowing they will try to kill him. Playing it safe he meets the not quite brilliant but savvy CIA Agent in front of the New York Times. And indicates they have it. The whole story.
Momentarily STUNNED the CIA takes a breath and says to our Brilliant Hero, “You poor dumb son of bitch, do you know what you have done”. As our Brilliant hero fades into the crowds of NY sidewalks the agents last words echo in his Brain, “Turner how do you know they will print it.”

Stand by for Extreme Censorship, Journalism is dead as we knew it once upon a time in this great “Democracy”. They will be making sure you can’t print it or create an Arab spring via the internet.

Trump will be king until his Brutus arrives.

Assassination not Assignation. duh

With all the disdain of David Brooks going around (and I, for one, subscribe to it), there are just as many "thinkers" on the Democrat AND progressive side who are just as much to blame for the fix we are now all in.

Items mentioned from the Front Page can be found on the Best of the Front Page archive, as the FP is updated daily.

And yet, there exist the "deniers" of racism, and just about all of these are climate change deniers.

This racism had much to do with Clinton's defeat: it just happened that the racists embraced Trump's "lost jobs" rhetoric in equal measure.

Norm W, I encourage you to read the Chait piece before you comment on it. The point he makes is that the political system relies on good-faith practitioners on both sides. That is, people who are willing to compromise. People like Obama, Hillary, virtually every Democrat in Congress and elected official this side of Alan Grayson. This system fails when half of it has been captured by implacable ideologues. You don't compromise with McConnell, Ryan, the Freedom Caucus, anyone to the right of John Kasich, or the assorted thought channels on the right. It's all war all the time. This crisis has had led, paradoxically, to the black swan event of the American experiment: the election of Donald Trump. Chait wants to trace responsibility for this series of events to those "serious" pundits like Brooks who were perfectly fine with the Republican playbook up until Trump arrived on the scene. There's a connection but if we fail to see it, we've missed the crucial meaning of this epic failure in our governance.

Here's Paul Krugman's mordant take on one more aspect of America's self-defeating behavior: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/11/29/how-many-people-just-voted-themselves-out-of-health-care/?_r=0

When you stand for everything you stand for nothing. This is the modern Democratic Party.

The reelection of Nancy Pelosi shows that the establishment Democrats are not interested in any sort of change. It's their (the status quo elite's) party and it's your fault for not all being excited and mobilizing for them -- not their fault for being a terrible alternative to a terrible GOP slate, including Trump at the top of the ticket.

I said this before, when stocks went up on news of Trump's victory, it's because the GOP is Wall Street's blue chip stock. Big, powerful, unafraid, and have offered some historically large returns. They're not going to bail on the Democrats though -- Pelosi & Co is their bond portfolio; slow, steady, and offering consistent, if not home run, returns. The Democrats are where Wall Street goes when things are getting a little too hot in the GOP kitchen. That's it. That's the system. The GOP is happy with their majority control and the Democratic elite are happy to get their scraps (and, more importantly, the perks that come with being a Wall Street tool).

You may not like the GOP's agenda (direct the ignorant to embrace their own shortcomings and hope that they see these same traits in the Republican platform) but they have one. This should be a watershed event for the Democrats and they're treating it as just another loss to dust themselves off from. That is why the Democratic Party is simply a zombie party; leaders in name only and void of any sincere platforms beyond the '(D)' next to their names.

I have to ask, what does it take to get the different sects of the "progressive coalition" to turn out? We know African Americans will turn out for a charismatic black man but not an old white lady. We saw hispanics prefer Trump/Obama to Romney/Clinton. Why the hell I hear the pundits talking about 2020 Howard Dean, Al Franken, or Kirsten Gillibrand is beyond me. If Kamala Harris or Cory Booker isn't the 2020 nominee, Trump will be a two-term President.

They're too stupid to pull it off subtly but the Democratic Party would be wise to bench white presidential candidates for a couple decades. And, on top of that, maybe candidates who are not 'natural campaigners'. Trump's election -- and the silence from his base as he renegs on every promise made -- shows that elections are simply about campaigns. Trump fans regularly were quoted as saying, "he's not really going to do that," because, ignorant as they may be, the GOP base knows the government isn't going to represent their interests. They're just asking for somebody who will buy them dinner before they fuck them in the ass. Considering the payoff, that seems like a pretty cheap date for the Democrats to pick up the tab.

I'm not sure what is meant by "sincere" platforms.

You can, if you're really interested, find the 2016 Democratic platform online.

I read it, and it seems pretty "sincere" to me.

No talk of unicorns or magic beans or trickle down miracles. No hatred of "the other". Just straightforward, sensible policy.

People voting against their own best interests is completely illogical and therefore not something you can simply eliminate by nominating a "better" candidate.

Emotionally like what blaxabbath said.
And he may be right.
B. FRANKLIN, Americans don't go to movies or elections to see Doylestown Green the go to see Tom Cruise kill as may people as possible.
There is a study out there that suggest most humans make mostly emotional not necessarily rational decisions.

Hate spell check.
That was supposed to be Soylent Green.

Doylestown Green

Charlton Heston just rolled over in his grave.

Most suicides are "emotional decisions."

Democrats are just emotional enough to actually care about how policies help or hurt people. You might not notice how much until Republicans start threatening to cut a poor person's food stamps, voucherize an older person's health care, or ban people for coming from the wrong part of the world. I can't think of anything good Republicans (or Greens) have done for anyone, at least in the last 40 years. Granted, cheap explanations are what everyone seemingly craves. Even so Democrats have to trust voters have just enough reasoning left to tell the difference between a sleazy con artist like Donald Trump and a stellar public servant like Hillary Clinton. If voters fail that test, it doesn't mean we should discard our standards and embrace the Stupid Identity Movement. It already owns one party. It doesn't need two.

My all-time favorite Charlton Heston moment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0Wn3Eey6dY

Franklin I think U just described the election.

To all bemoaning the election results,

I believe many who voted Trump just voted to "give the middle finger" to the "establishment." But I'm hardly the first one to state this.

In terms of "you can't fix stupid," maybe stupid will realize the answers they were "sold" weren't there at all. But then, a nod's as good as a wink...to a blind horse.

While this is hardly news, if the rest of the world becomes more insular by following Brexit and the US, this may mean less cooperation on things like trade and finance. Those constrictions would hurt the White working class more than anything they've seen--including the Great Recession. Protectionism will have a price, and it may be much steeper than anyone anticipated.

As Shakespeare said, "Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war."

Jon, good column in Seattle Times on Carrier and the con man Donald.
I forwarding it on to a bunch of ole white guys and some White women, toooo.

Note: It occurs to me that maybe LDS Arizona Senator Jeff Flake should get a good hand for sticking to his dislike of Trump. And for his backing of Obama's move on Cuban relations. I'm sure the Arizona GOP will try and get rid of this traitor.

Cal,

Being soft on communism or socialism (one and the same for the far-right zealots) is sure to land Flake in the alt-right (all-white) doghouse.

Seig Heil with a smile!

FYI There's an interesting article in today's NY Times magazine by Ian Buruma, entitled "Exit Wounds".

In it he discusses Brexit and Trump and the Anglo-Saxon retreat into isolationism.

If you don't have time for the entire article, just read the last five paragraphs, which include the thoughts of British military historian Sir Michael Howard.

I had thought we’d wait until Jan. 20 to draw the line under the “Obama economy.”

But seeing as Trumpists are already claiming credit for good economic news since the election, such as the rise in the stock market, I guess we can do it now.

And the picture is pretty clear.

That “terrible” Obama economy? That picture of U.S. economic and industrial decline? That image of malaise and an economy that is no longer “great” and “doesn’t win anymore” and “doesn’t make anything anymore”?


It’s total nonsense.

There’s no point in trying to have a rational argument — or even talking facts — to angry people who shout “libtard!” at their opponents and cite Infowars or Sean Hannity as sources.

But for all those who didn’t vote for Trump — and that’s about 70% of adult U.S. citizens when considering the eligible population — here are the facts. I’ve compared the third quarter of 2008 — just before Obama’s election — with the third quarter of 2016. (I’ve included links to the data, although Trump’s tinfoil army, most of whom wouldn’t know an actual source if it hit them over the head, will just cry conspiracy theory, as usual.)

The Obama Economy
Third-quarter 2008 Third-quarter 2016 Verdict
Gross domestic product (2009 dollars) $14.892 trillion $16.713 trillion Up 12%
30-year mortgage loan rate 6.46% 3.54% Nearly halved
Nonfarm payrolls 136.3 million 145.0 million Up 8.7 million
Uninsured (health) 45 million 27 million Down 18 million
Exports (2009 dollars) $1.766 trillion $2.163 trillion Up 22%
Un- and under-employed rate (U6) 11.8% 9.5% Down 20%
Median household income $50,303 $57,929 Up 15%
Manufacturing output per worker (2009 dollars) $382,977 $436,776 Up 14%
Dow Jones Industrial Average 9,319 18,332 Nearly doubled
Not bad. Especially as we were just plunging into the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Of course, this isn’t all about the president (or Congress, for that matter). Growth mainly comes from the private sector — from entrepreneurs and workers. But presidents and governments play a role. They can foster an environment in which growth occurs. Or they can screw things up. If people blame President Obama for bad economic news, then they do really need to give him some credit for the good.

I’ll confess: When I first ran these numbers, I was surprised. I hadn’t realized they would be this positive. I guess I’ve been listening to the doom-and-gloom merchants too much.

But here’s a prediction: At the first sign of trouble next year, President Trump and his cheerleaders, like Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones, will say it’s the fault of that “terrible” Obama economy that he inherited.

One economic metric appears to be the most reliable indicator when it comes to forecasting political outcome on the presidential level: the GDP growth rate in the first half of the election year. If that rate is slipping, woe betide the incumbent party. According to these models, Trump had an edge going into the election. Other models include other factors like fatigue with the "governing" party - the third term problem. One reason why predicting this year turned out to be so problematic was the idea that models always assumed mainstream candidates would be their party's nominees. Trump was an outlier in this respect and seen as unlikely to galvanize a party where personal sobriety and comportment are highly valued. That idea turned out to be, well, "quaint".

In our post-factual political environment, it may be that the economy is less important than the felt sense that the candidate is "relatable". Trump's success here is counterintuitive but instructive. Because he regularly demeaned knowledge and expertise, he might have seemed less credible to some voters. Unfortunately, reality probably has a liberal bias, so those voters were unlikely to vote for him anyway. That Trump did surprisingly well among blacks and Latinos given his explicitly xenophobic campaign suggests that authoritarianism wedded to populist disdain for complexity has significant crossover appeal. Bluntly put, no coalition has a monopoly on smart voters. What matters more in this post-factual era is a simple explanation delivered with emphatic and repetitive authority.

How dumb do we have to go to fight worse dumbness? That's the problem many of us are gnashing our teeth over. We're not going to repeal modernity but we can try and do a lot of damage in that process. Globalization happened. 1955 is not coming back. But on some level, the craving for simplicity and certitude is such a strong pull that we'll have to address it, if not with actual policy proposals, at least with the symbols of populism.

After Trump, we can probably look forward to more candidates who dramatically dumb it down. But he was uniquely qualified in this arena and I doubt anyone will ever quite match his gift for brazen demagoguery coupled with keen show biz instincts. But if something is irrevocably broken in our system, we'll soon experience it first-hand. Our constitutional framework was designed explicitly to withstand temptations like Trump. Given that, it may have already failed.

Right Soleri, It's failed!
But Trump may have made one choice that is smarter, tougher, saner, expeienced and more human than Trump or anyone else he has selected so far. Mad Dog Mattis.
Trump is the psychotic Mad Dog in the ring not the wise Marine General.

Since your doing statics I'd like to know the self deportation rate since the election.

If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?
Alexander Solzhenitsyn


I sometimes think Trump's deeper failing isn't his bad judgment so much as an unwillingness to admit moral complexity. It's how he, of all people, can somehow imagine himself to be endowed configured than people who can do real evil. This is the most difficult of life lessons. If we're not taught by own life stories, we'll go through life thinking evil is somewhere else rather than in all of us. Trump is not religious, of course, but then neither are most American Christians. To believe you are better than "them" is not so much self-confidence as a failure to know oneself.

Cal, I don't know if a recently retired career military office is fit to be DOD head (I tend to think not), but the real danger is that even if Mattis would serve as a check on Trump's impulses, Trump will find the one adviser who like him imagines evil is out there rather than right here.

Trump has always gotten away with everything.

Whatever his failings, he has bought his way out of them, and besides, in his mind they weren't his fault anyway...

This is not the ideal background for the leader of a democracy.

He has convinced himself that he is the smartest, the best, the "bigliest".

To admit that he isn't would undermine his entire psychological foundation.

Why would someone like that listen to advisers?

Yep I agree.

Dear Santa,

Thank you for these early presents.

The party of no is realizing that they now have to govern and they are shitting their britches. I'm enjoying every minute.

Paraphrasing the clueless repubs, "We have to repeal ACA now. Or maybe in three years, but definitely now or two years, sometime between now and three years. One year, two , maybe three years. Maybe all of it. Maybe parts of it. But for sure some of it, soon, but maybe three years."

The Dems "did anyone get the license of the truck? You know , the one that hit us.

Media. What? Who? When? Why? Where?
"Are those the questions we're supposed to be asking?"

Public "Well, ya, sort of"

Media, "OK, what happened?"

Journalism is dead. Long live Post Truth.

Very good Ruben!

On this St. Nicholas Day, coal in all your shoes.

I'm in Tucson. Want me to come doen your chimney?

The "disenfranchised" that voted for Trump to "send a message" will likely find window dressing sent back in reply.

These disenfranchised masses will grow ever more angry when they find that "the new boss is the same as the old boss."

But if they were voting on appearances, maybe the appearance (mirage) of a sweeping overhaul will suffice.

Looks would seem to matter to them, but many of these disenfranchised readily admitted in the election run-up that they didn't expect much change. Apparently, they liked the declasse vocal track and bullying bellicosity.

If only appearances and looks could accomplish something--and in a hall of mirrors, it actually works!

A nod's as good as a wink...to a blind horse!

Wow. Wow. And just plain Wow.

I wake up this morning and I find that the Center for Arizona Policy has taken over our state government.

Wow.

We already knew that Ducey is Cathi Herrod's hand puppet.

Now the legal counsel for the legislature is a lawyer from CAP and he has the highest credentials possible.

HE WAS PLACED AT CAP AND AS THE AZLEGISLATIVE COUNSEL BY GOD HIMSELF.

I'm sorry to have to tell you this, ladies at the Democratic Diva website. You are as defeated as the Dems in the election. Shut your site down and move on down the road.

This theocratic juggernaut rolling across the country is something to see. I don't like it one bit.

What a way to start the day.

Governor Herrod and now the CAP openly runs the legislature.

All that's left is for Herrods husband to declare himself Arizona Supreme court.

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