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December 07, 2016


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I'll admit right off the top that I'm tired of caring about Arizona. It's simply not worth it. I see no way my home state avoids catastrophic climate change or some of the lesser verdicts of human history. We became a state of Know Nothings, golfers, and I've-Got-Mine retirees. In many respects, Arizona's fate is poetic justice.

That said, what can you say about a nation that when confronted with an existential threat to its long-term survival goes ahead anyway and chooses a president with the temperament of a adolescent boy with interesting behavioral issues? Yes, Hillary Clinton was uninspiring (although Bernie would have beaten Trump in a landslide, as our omniscient lambs insist). But this avoids the crucial question we have to ask about ourselves in advanced nations where citizens simply can no longer abide the ambiguity of modern life and eroding tribal bonds. If this trainwreck was preordained, few outside the alt-right saw it coming. The implications are very dark for multi-cultural, multi-ethnic democracies. Thomas Hobbes, take a bow.

Trump's larger ambitions, if he has any, may be revealed in his top-level appointments in which authoritarianism and incompetence are the rule. Bread and circuses, distractions piled on distractions, will constitute our public life. Sobriety and caution are over as civic values. This is what a lifetime of TV viewing has made of us: an idiocracy.

My advice to Zonies: rent, don't buy. There's no future in a state where a complex hydraulic civilization is governed by low-information goobers who think every difficult problem has a simple solution (tax cuts for the rich, deregulation, and gun rights for fetuses and felons). Remember: most of us voted for this program. We did so because wishful thinking is intrinsic to our nature. Democracy demands of us that we become more responsible with time, not less. We did the opposite. The future, such as it is, was our creation. The wise souls at the Wagon Wheel could tell us as much if we only stopped whimpering long enough to ask the dust.

The guys at the Wagon Wheel haven't been sober since Hillary conceded.

Just to nitpick, Clinton also won Santa Cruz County with 72% of the vote. (Baja Arizona finds itself in an even more awkward position than post-SB1070 - do we actually start campaigning for Aztlan independence and fulfill all Tom Horne's nightmares?)

They don't call it the vast arid wasteland for nothing.

Santa Cruz and Cochise Counties are much better places to be than Maricopa County. The only Vast Wasteland in Arizona is at the State Capitol Building.
I just got back from SE AZ And Tucson.
The pace and rythum is much more in harmony with the planets than the polluted chaotic morass of the over built County trying to imitate LA.
Patricia, next time you are on your way to Mexico stop in for a Corona at the Wagon Wheel in Patagonia and share some quiet time with the ghosts of Jim Harrison,
Charles Bowden, Pancho Villa and folks that know how to be with the land not "DRILL BABY DRILL.
Just dont drink the Water.

Cassandra,the power's to be hung bounty hunter Tom Horn after they hired him as an assassin to kill off small ranchers and they hung Pol Tom Horne out to dry as he like Pearce had become an embarrassment. If I had a choice of drinking a cup of coffee with either it would be Tom the Bounty Hunter. But I fear this election has brought us people into power that like the Cattlemen's Association that hired Tom Horn the assassin is happening again. They are back, the Hunger Games are on.

Thanks, Cassandra. My information was incomplete.

Interesting to see what a blowout it was for Trump in certain places, e.g. Yavapai County.


Jon, U been to Yavapai county. It's White, LDS, old retired folks with a bunch of NRA Birchers. The native Americans that have been there for ever are completely outnumbered and out gunned.

As much as we talk about the misdirection that the Trump administration is going to throw (and it will), it's eerily quiet within the progressive sphere about what the Democrats are doing to change the tide in two and four years. I expect the MSM to cover Trump non-stop -- but why are we beating the Trump dead horse here? Everything listed above were facts we knew before the election (less that voter tallies, of course).

Nancy Pelosi was just re-elected as house minority leader. It was barely a challenge and Pelosi clearly took the tone that she was entitled to that post (sound familiar?) and that things would be fine under her. The Democrats -- both at the grass roots level and the organized national level -- had better pull their heads out of their asses before the next rounds of primaries pops up and they tell us that they just liked their 2016 agenda and just need to do a better job mobilizing people.

Talk about Trump? Trump's gonna do what he's gonna do and no one is going to control him. The Democrats should be on red alert and realize that they're facing match point -- but instead they're just putting their feet up and, I guess, hoping turnout is better next time.

The modern Democratic Party is a failure. It's dead. These conversations about what a progressive Congress or President would do are simply academic exercises. There is one party who is going to hold 90% of the power in the US for the next century. We'll just have elections to see when that 10% of the time will be that some DC insider with a (D) next to his/her name will get to wear that hat and do nothing for a term or two.

Blaxabbath good post. You R giving the GOP 50 more years than Facist Steve Bannon did.
I recommend updating your passports.

MSM? Does that stand for Fox News?

Republican rule is complete. Talented Democrats see the writing on the wall and retreat to their personal interests as the Darwinian society ushered in by Republicans unfolds . Eat the BS nihilists and rank and file Trumpsters.

I sometimes think commenters like blaxsabbath and ross are simply parts of an RNC operation trying to demoralize the Democratic Party. Indeed, it was interesting to see how Trump played naifs like blaxsabbath during the primary season, telling his own followers how Bernie had the nomination stolen from him. Look at the DNC e-mails! It's all rigged!

The epistemological standards of the far left and far right are fairly similar. A belief in bullshit is a telltale sign, although the left outclasses the right when it comes to the strategic deployment of jargon. There must be something is polysyllabic words that mesmerize people into thinking they understand deep reality.

There's one progressive coalition and the sanctimonious left did everything possible to destroy it this year. Why? Because it wasn't pure enough for them. These same bozos decided Al Gore was too corrupt to be president and this year, they did a similar hatchet job on Hillary. George W Bush was the result in 2000, and Trump is this year's self-inflicted wound. After him, all our precious snowflakes can tell themselves how they tried to warn us about Hillary but we wouldn't listen. Memo to you clowns: go fuck yourselves.

It's sad to see the American right from the KKK and the neo-Nazis all the way up to Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani enthusiastically embrace Trump while on the left we self-flagellate because a centrist Dem didn't inspire raptures of bliss in us. Maybe the right wins because they understand war a lot better than people who confuse their own imaginary superiority with political acumen. We're only as strong as our commitment to one another. I'm really, really tired of arguing with children. We either compromise in order to win or we don't compromise and we lose. If you don't like Nancy Pelosi, just stick with nut-jobs like Jill Stein and Susan Sarandon. You're killing us with your insanity. You have never won an election and you never will but you can stab our coalition in the back, which appears to be your only real interest.

"Trump played naifs like blaxsabbath."

soleri berates any progressive as living in a fantasy world while insisting that establishment democrats aren't just a slightly different shade of Lobbyist Donation Green than the GOP. How dare progressives not be inspired by a candidate who lost the primary eight years ago and ran effectively unopposed (because Wall Street had their gal!) in 2016? Well, we know if's because the spoiled rich kids on their insulated college campuses couldn't get over that the party manipulated the primary, even when Clinton was the overwhelming favorite. But that's a small group that, more importantly, was most vocal during the primaries (followed by #iguessimwithher) and would only pile on to Clinton's popular vote win -- she won the states that Bernie took in the primary.

I'm still yet to hear an analysis as to why the rest of the Obama Coalition fell apart for Clinton. Where is solaria's take on why women abandoned Clinton? Do US women carry a silent case of ingrained sexism that they'll vote against their best interests because the better candidate is in a pantsuit? Why didn't black voters come out for Hillary after Obama campaigned on her continuing his legacy? Is the only way to mobilize the black vote to run a charismatic black candidate? If not, do they simply buy that, under Trump, "it can't get any worse"? What about the hispanics? solar doesn't scold them so I assume they simply didn't turn out against a guy who wants to send them back to Mexico because the Secretary of State...oh, I'll just use solari's own words... "It's all rigged!"

soleri and his camp aren't interested in how Clinton didn't match up with the multiple groups that were supposed to propel Clinton to victory. There's no conversation about how she lost the primary as the establishment favorite in '08 and, amazingly, lost as the establishment favorite in '16. No talk about Clinton distancing herself from BLM but holding up her jar of hot sauce as a scepter over the black vote. No talk about the 'Taco Bowl Engagement' language. No talk about conservative hispanic values or the strong resentment many legal immigrants feel about those who 'jumped the line'. No talk about the female vote and what that group needs to be empowered to vote for a qualified woman. No talk about the white blue collar rust belt voter other than to remind them that they're racist and their jobs ain't coming back.

Which, as I said above, is why the modern democratic party is dead. It's a fringe group in a political system that requires a second party. Their leadership operates an inclusive platform that, mostly due to the people they choose to empower (Podesta, DWS, Pelosi, Hillary), executes the party in such a way that all they do is come off insincere and no one fully buys in. soleri says this is the fault of voters; I say it's the fault of the party.

Well said, Soleri.

If some commenters want to continue post-election noodling, it's fine with me. I think most Democrats are in a daze over the loss. And, as I have written before, it may be years before we fully understand. The Jonathan Chait piece in Best of the Front Page (A Disaster Without a Moral) is good.

I remain unconvinced that the white working class that voted for Trump acted primarily on economic issues. If so, they will be deeply disappointed. Likewise, I remain unconvinced how the Democrats can maintain their coalition while bringing in culturally adversarial working class whites/Reagan Democrats.

Hillary won the election by more than 2.5 million votes. She lost the presidency because of a quirk in the 18th century Constitution, ironically meant to stop a person like Trump. Hardly a blowout.

Also, this blog is not a far-left salon. It continues the work from my Arizona Republic columns focused on Phoenix issues and history. Why? No one else is doing it. Second, it covers issues about politics, cities, and the national scene. All columnists are obliged (or should be) to hold the powerful accountable, so that means Trump and the far right.

Jon I posted a response to Soleri and it's not there?

Why Soleri needs to retake psychology 101.

Trump, “Make America great again.” “Make America Great again” “Make America Great Again”

Clinton Response, an hour long very intelligent and logical explanation on why you should vote for her.

Soleri I don’t think some of the folks that come here are plants for the GOP. They are human beings with an opinion that they want to share. So let’s assume you are the most intelligent person to visit this blog and you are right about the politics of America (how about sharing your wisdom on the rest of the planet). Just because your right doesn’t mean you should make accusatory statements and suggest people try and perform near impossible acts.

Soleri said, “I’m tired of arguing with children”.
Some of us “Children” come here to learn and insults don’t create a good learning environment. So quit arguing and act like a teacher. Spanking and dunces in the corner is not good for learning.

AND now what’s your game plan for the Democratic Party that will not get them enslaved in empty Walmart buildings? Is your passport up to date?

PS, Do you mind explaining the following and maybe provide some examples.
You said, “There must be something is (you seem to type is when I think you mean in) polysyllabic words that mesmerize people into thinking they understand deep reality
(Deep reality, is that like Deep Space?)

Jon, with all due respect, given that you and Soleri are the two brightest bulbs here
does not translate to you "ARE RIGHT."
OK maybe most of the time but not always.
My goal is to try and be right at least 51 percent of the time.

AND like or hate it,
no matter how many times
one says "fuck you"
Those white old idiots at the Wagon
Wheel just got lucky
and picked the winner.
When they all sobered up they went out and bought lottery tickets and more beer.

Cal, since you're a Republican, an anarchist, and maybe a progressive in that order, why should I even make any effort to get through to you? It baffles me that you spend so much time reading all those far-left sites and then fail to understand that it's only our solidarity that can advance a progressive agenda. When you substitute purity voguing for this real-world coalition, you're hurting the planet and real human beings. Sorry, but this is personal to me. I love this country in my fashion and I'm tired of explaining this to all you snowflakes. If you think helping Trump advances your agenda, like ross and blaxsabbath do, just say so. I know I can't convince your troll friends about this, which is very frustrating to me, but we now have a climate denialist appointed to head the EPA because Hillary is a liarcorporatistneoliberaloligarch. Happy? She would have kept real scientists in charge, but the good is never quite good enough for your tribe.

Maybe if you took Politics 101, you would understand this. I vow not to waste much more time explaining this to you. The sanctimonious left is helping the hard right because it thinks it will pick up the pieces from the wreckage it helped create. I really doubt this will happen. The left has not won a significant battle in this country since 1965. It's not the lack of purity that stymies us. It's the lack of realism. The firewater of certitude is poison whether it's in this blogs' comments or quaffed at the Wagon Wheel. George W Bush was a disaster, Donald Trump will be an even worse one, and you're still smug about Hillary and the DNC? Please: wake up. This insanity is killing our country.

From a 76 year old "Snowflake " Soleri I'm not saying your wrong just questioning your delivery. I learn something new most every day here. I dont fail to understand I just keep questioning in order to obtain more insight. I have had political science 100 for 60 years. I understand what went to hell. And is going to get really bad soon.
The guys at the Wagon Wheel will have to drink beer as the water is about to get scarce (privately owned ) and what's left will be much more poisoned than Flynt Michigan.

Cal, I don't want to waste time anymore since we don't have much left now. We either wake up or we keep playing this very stupid game over and over and over. We either pull together or we fall apart. It's that simple. If you think blaxsabbath, Ruben, or Petro, or any of the other snowflakes have a keener appreciation of reality, just converse with them. It amazes me you have this excellent friend in Jon Talton and you apparently don't even respect his opinions that much. This isn't about being right. It's about being sane in a world that has slipped its mooring. No one sees the whole picture but you want to make sure that your view is not so exclusive that it takes in only the coffee house where the hipsters and cognoscenti hang out. It's not that difficult. We don't have to be right but we do have to be responsible.

I do respect your and Jon's opinions.
Don't attempt to make me an enemy.
I think you fail to understand me.
I respect nearly everyone's opinions. Agreeing with them is another issue.
Again I come here to learn,
so keep posting.

Cal, good enough. I guess I spend a lot of time worrying why the house viewpoint doesn't command more respect among commenters.

Its been a tough season for many of us, and certainly for the nation. It may well get worse, and that's the most troubling aspect of our cold civil war. Hillary Clinton got creamed in the media with gratuitously vicious attacks that made her wonkishness seem like a worse sin than the utter pathological horror that is Donald Trump. It's almost as if we searched for the worst aspects of our national character in a single person and then elected him president.

I keep telling myself to take a break from this nightmare, that there's nothing we can do and that it's all outside any one person's understanding, let alone control. I may yet don my monkish robes and make a hermitage of solitude and quiet. If I do, you'll know why.

I "absolutely " understand.
Hermits are part of my DNA.
It is a self repair system.
Ajo and rural Uraguay are looking favorable.

A commenter said that he hasn't seen much in the way of progressive plans for how to deal with Trump over the next four years. One very, very sad reason might be that many really smart people have simply bowed out.

There are people who believe that by allowing the republicans to do what they did in the 90s with no real repercussions...allowing the Bush appointment to go unchallenged historically...allowing the dishonest leadership during the Iraq war to carry on without consequence...allowing the perpetrators of the 2008 crash to remain rich and free...and allowing, almost without comment, the obstruction of Obama to flourish with the capstone being the theft of the Supreme Court...All of these things speak to an America that is simply not what it once strived to be. That we have allowed such grave crimes and behaviors to go unpunished - to even be rewarded - has destroyed us.

Those who win power have made and continue to make mockeries of our institutions. And so, it is not simply a matter of strategizing for the next "election" or for how to govern under a mutant administration. It is much more. It is deciding whether or not to even believe in this place anymore. It is quite possible that we are witnessing the tragic end of a massive farce - us. That is partly why there is a silence among progressives. Hopefully, it is temporary.

All I read, from the left, is "WAAAA. WAAAA WAAAA"... I told you all, long ago, to not hang your hat on the crook, thief, unethical HRC, "THE ANKLE"... BUT...no one listened..
IMAM OBAMA HAS opened the USA to terrorist, and they even admit, now, that many were not vetted properly... And HRC vowed to continue IMAM OBAMA'S policies.
So...our choices came down to an unethical crook who made her and Bill very, very wealthy with the fraudulent "Clinton Foundation"... (remember the reports that those funds paid for Chelsea's wedding)... and the other choice was a NON POLITICIAN, Trump...
Well...I'll take Trump over a crook. IMAM OBAMA HAS been an 8 year LIAR...HRC PROMISED TO FOLLOW.
I love the persons named, thus far, by Trump... MATTIS is my favorite...FOR I think the World will no longer think we are weak and bow to them, as IMAM OBAMA HAS done. He has NO legacy, other than destroying this great Country, destroying and hating our Military, and putting MUSLIMS and Islam over Americans.
I can't wait for Jan 20... and Assholes like Michael Moore, (who would not have the balls to join his calls for disruption) will face the wrath of the "Biker Americans"....
IMAM OBAMA HAS set back race relations 50 years!

There you go.

The Trump voter in a nutshell.

And some people still want to "reason" with them.

Excellent posts soleri. Thanks Rogue.

Snowflakes meet your fellow traveller Skip Redpath. Good luck coming together in 2024 in the event presidential elections are still actually being held. The safety nets and environmental programs will be fond memories by then as Republicans will waste NO time dismantling any program not enriching their cronies. Ryan and company will repeal and replace them with the "dignity of work" until death do you part.

Arizona was always Trump land. The electorate continually elect Kooks, so why would a presidential election be any different?





I'm betting a military coup before 2024.

James Earle Fraser.

The ability to form single or polysyllabic words into coherent sentences has left me. I manage to maintain my soon to be former work as a professor, which involves a lot of sentence formation, but beyond that and the occasional 60th birthday card my writing is pretty much a bust now. As Andrew Solomon points out, the opposite of depression is not happiness. The opposite of depression is vitality. Perhaps, that is where all the snowflakes Soleri rails against have gone. Funny, I don't care that he thinks people like me are to precious to be worth engaging. I certainly would have in the past. I don't much care about people who shout or speak in all capitals, except when they shoot up pizza places because of yet another fake news story, and then I feel sad and incompetent and once again completely at a loss for positive action. I do wonder how the stance that one is tired of arguing with children and the heartfelt belief that it is our connection and commitment to each other that will bring us through are compatible. I see a lot of people ripping each other up, a lot of people gloating and a lot of people stuck in the middle between those two groups with no real plan beyond wearing safety pins and selling their oil stocks. Like anyone in trouble is going to see your safety pin or Exxon gives a rat's ass if you divest yourself of their stock or not. People are, I think, doing what they can think of, but they are painfully aware of how inadequate what they can think of is. I will say this - If someone with a decent plan and a tenth of the charisma of the current POTUS gives people a good reason to stop clutching our collective pearls I imagine we will see some pretty fireworks. That is what passes for hope in my world these days.

America got what it supposedly wanted: Atlantic City. A row of shady businesses and an inland slum for the workers. This is America's future. Everything of value will be stripped and put in the pockets of our corporate overlords and we will cheer it because 30+ years of toiling in undemocratic workplaces have prepared us for an uber bid'ness shill to run this thing into the ground. Will our courts (the judicial branch), or Congress (the legislative), or the bureaucracy of the executive save us? No, because the revolving door is spinning and the players must grab for the ring before it's taken away (as if it was ever there!). Will the USA have the balls to face down our President like the ROK has done? Or will the war criminals (want war have they won?), police state (tracking my every keystroke for when it can be used against me), and the wrecking crew of no-nothings and glorified pawnbrokers rally the mob against the others on the other side of this some border or the others on this side of the border? Time will tell.

It's worth noting this morning that the CIA has determined that Russia indeed had a horse in our election and his name is Donald Trump.

Let that sink in, faux patriots. The con artist/buffoon you fell for was essentially a Manchurian Candidate.

There has never been an election quite like this where an extraordinarily out-of-bounds candidate brazens his way to victory with helpful assists from Vladimir Putin and James Comey.

Question for our snowflakes: do you still think Clinton and Trump are the same "corrupt" entity? Democracy died a month ago and you were co-conspirators in this felony. You don't get credit for any of your purity, "insight", jargon, or typing ability. Next time you decide to sabotage our self- governance, just get drunk instead. You've done enough damage to last several lifetimes.

Excellent posts.
Soleri and Jerry, I agree.
If you scroll back a few years here I believe we predicted such on this blog.
Where financial Barons would come to power.
So I repeat, The Hunger Games begin.
I believe many will self deport to the forest to join Robin Hood. The social security problem will be solved with Soylent Green factories.

Soleri, maybe now is the time.
"Reveries of a Solitary Walker"

For the record, Soleri, I voted for Secretary Clinton and was enthusiastic about doing so. I voted for Senator Sanders in the primary, noted the DNC's shenanigans and moved on for the good of the country. Yet, I am still self selecting into your snowflake group because I had the nerve to suggest that Secretary Clinton was not perfect, publicly, and for this unpardonable sin I summarily removed from groups with nasty invectives to boot. I also like big words. Have since I was a kid, but I digress. Yes, it was a huge mistake for those who made the mistake of statement voting to do so. I had to face that this Thanksgiving when I made the consious decision not to bring that up with people I love. I didn't make that decision in the effort to promote a harmonious table. My annual Thanksgiving to-do is known as the Land of the Misfit Toys Thanksgiving event for a reason. I did it because this shaming is counter productive, as I pointed out before I was jettisoned from the afore mentioned rabid group. You don't incentivize people to come together and form solidarity by shaming them into it, that is how you drive them away. We are here now and I am watching my local chapter of Pantsuit Nation rip itself to shreds over who has the authentic voice to speak for specific marginalized elements. I am an academic and I know better than most the importance of asking these questions and honoring voices that are so often squelched that they squeak whenever a big shoe gets close to them. But, if we are to survive what, metaphorically speaking, looks to be the Zombie Apocalypse, we need to leave the self righteous "I told you so" rhetoric behind.

Welcome aboard 4 the paws.
Good, Interesting and eloquent posts.
I have read them 3 times so far and
I think I get it?

PS are you from planet earth
or do you live in
zombie political Arizona

4 the Paws, if you voted for Clinton, you are not the subject of my ire, so there's no need to take it personally. I know many Bernie primary voters who did as you have and I have no problem at all with them.

What I'm getting at in my screed(s) is the false equivalence that suggests if someone isn't perfect, they're sell-outs, whores, corporatists, etc. By any measure, Clinton was an infinitely better choice than Trump. Yet for many in the Bernie or Bust camp, statement voting was more important than reality itself. Self-righteousness is less a symptom of most Hillary backers, who if they're like me, accept that she is virtually the opposite of a cult figure. She's this competent but boring public servant, not a messiah. I recognized, too, that she was not a particularly effective speaker or retail politician. I don't make excuses here. I supported Obama over her in 2008 for this reason.

I'm not sure how long you've read this blog, but we've had fierce debates here that break down over the definition of reality itself. My take is that it's very complex, ambiguous, and not ideological at all. The zealots, on the other hand, tend to think that jargon and ideology explain everything. If I have a sneering tone toward them, it comes down to this division. There are very few really simple answers out there when it comes to the knotty interface of economics, political power, cultural expression, and historical antecedents. Certitude doesn't help us understand our situation so much as burlesque it with cheap explanations.

I will say this: I fault Bernie Sanders for his arrogant campaign during the primaries. He knew - or should have known - that you don't simply wave a magic wand or saddle up a unicorn, and somehow achieve virtual impossibilities like single-payer health insurance. Granted, he would use the escape clause called "revolution" to explain away the intractable difficulties in the political process. But it can't be explained away. Politics may be poetry in its campaigning but the nitty gritty of government is much more prosaic. By dreaming impossible dreams, Bernie gave rise to a great wave of enthusiasm that wasn't properly grounded in reality. The net effect was to damage Clinton, particularly among younger voters.

Idealism is wonderful if it's thematic and inspirational. It's less wonderful when it's used to impugn the motives of real-world political practitioners. Hillary Clinton was tainted by a presumption of moral compromise. But her life and career are vastly more consequential than that of Bernie Sanders. This needs to count for something. Donald Trump has no public service period, and a rich history of predatory self-dealing. To look at the candidates through this prism is to realize just how tragic this election was.

To RC Nation: Get a grip. Three things:

HRC lost. This was an almost impossible task. She had a well-recognized “brand”. Huge war chest of campaign money; hey if there’s an upside to all of this, Wall Street bet big-time on HRC. In a pinch she could call on BHO and WJC to stump for her. Most of the media was in the bag – and shamelessly so. Her opponent was a polarizing personality that couldn’t keep from putting his foot in his mouth. And yet she lost. In retrospect, the fact that Bernie could push her strongly in the primaries should have been warning. I’m not going to go into the failings of her campaign since I know squat about such things. Personally, the message I received was “my plan is pretty much the same as BHO’s with a little tweaking here and there.”

I’d recommend that the left dial back on the political (which would be about anything that’s truly non-scientific) issues. If you’ll recall the comments of the last four or five postings you’ll find numerous bombastic statements. At this point the issues are merely possibilities. The most egregious of the statements transform mere unlikely possibilities into certainties. The country simply doesn’t lurch from here to there. And many issues are not “party line” ones. I think this was one of the main failings of the BHO administration. He forced many Dems to fall on their swords. The result was that many of the centrist and rightist members of the party were driven from office; ideas that play well in the Bay Area may be political poison in Ohio or Michigan or Wisconsin.

It will be interesting to see who becomes the face of the Demos. Very is real possibility of a left-wing version of the Tea Party arising. I think the “Occupy” movement suggests that it can.

"Most of the media was in the bag"?

I guess I must have been watching a different campaign.

I recall endless coverage of a phony email "scandal" right up until the weekend before the election.

I recall hours of Trump rallies featuring outrageous lie after outrageous lie greeted with a collective shrug.

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2.8 million, as many as Obama in 2012 -- just not in the states where she needed them. Maybe.

I like and admire Hillary. I never bought into the "flawed candidate" meme. As I wrote earlier on this blog:

"A failed one-term congressman, wishy-washy on his party's most important moral issue, no executive experience, too homely for television — and despite the media campaign to make him out as a simple, honest frontiersman, in reality he was a highly successful lawyer for the nation's most powerful industry. His own law partner noted, 'his ambition was a little engine that knew no rest.' You know him as Abraham Lincoln.

"An elitist intellectual, hotheaded, jingoist warmonger, impetuous and too young to be even vice president. Otherwise known as Theodore Roosevelt. The white privilege dandy who concealed his crushing disability and constant pain, running on a balanced-budget promise but in reality holding no fixed ideology and depending on a coalition that included Southern segregationists. That was TR's cousin, Franklin Roosevelt.

"On the other hand, there was 'the great engineer,' a self-made man, the rightly lionized savior of refugees in World War I — the only man who came out of the Paris peace conference of 1919 with his reputation enhanced, according to John Maynard Keynes. This progressive and pragmatic man seemed ideally cut for his time. Yet Herbert Hoover as president was overwhelmed by catastrophe."

Hillary was flawed, as they all are. Donald Trump is a unique threat to America.

As for the Washington Post scoop on Russia, now we're talking treason. I'll have much more to say about this next week.

Liquidating a civilization? Emptying out the store while there is still some inventory? From 'The Greatest Country that has Ever Existed' to "Make America Great Again" (tm). An inadvertent admission that old Niebuhr was right:

One of the most pathetic aspects of human history is that every civilization expresses itself most pretentiously, compounds its partial and universal values most convincingly, and claims immortality for its finite existence at the very moment when the decay that leads to death has already begun.

Regarding Arizona's climate problem...

I have been in AZ so long that I know the best places to park for protests at the capital, Cal, and in fact met you once at a book event for Jon. I have an acre of flood irrigated land, around 70 fruit and nut trees and a house that, evidently, is Zombie Apocalypse proof. The young workman who informed me of this no doubt voted for Mr. Trump. Never bet against irony.

I have followed this blog for a couple of years and when I have time I go back and read the archives. I am a big fan of your and Soleri's writing. It is always sad when Soleri takes a break, but there is only so much any of us can take of whatever reality we engage with. I did not take your frustration personally, Soleri. I have way to much respect for your ideas and manor of articulating them to get my panties in a knot over a perceived slight. It seemed to me that you had just about had it with gratuitous vocabulary pushers who had less than complete commitment to the one person who could stop the "once and a future" fuhrer. Living in the Ivory Tower I can appreciate that sentiment. There are times in committees that it takes an act of superhuman will not to come across the table at a pompous ass. But, I know that sometimes I am that pompous ass and I know that you don't get me or anyone else off their high horse by deriding them, pun intended. I have learned to adopt a face that I recognized instantly on Hillary Clinton during the Benghazi Hearings. My point was, and is, that assuming that this treason doesn't sink the Trump boat, and given the many things that should have already sunk it and didn't I am not optimistic, we will need all hands who do not paint swastikas on garage doors or harass women in burkas on deck. As much as I want to slam the people I know that did not vote for what now seems like the resistance, be they my conflicted LDS neighbors or my dear, sweet, hyper over educated libertarian nephew of choice, I know I am going to need those people when they start rounding up the Muslims or the Mexicans or the queer folk and the best way to build a coalition is to go forward from here. Now, I am not insinuating that people should not speak their mind here. You are not trying to build a coalition here, you are dissecting some very sticky thoughts and expressing frustration that I feel as well. I wanted to note, though, that what works in this wonderful and rarified holodeck that Jon has created for us is not going to get us what we will need out there.

That would have been at Phoenix Changing Hands. You are tall and formally well educated?
"Keep Scribbling"

4 The Paws, I understand exactly what you're saying, and I have thought about this before. One of the advantages of this blog, however, is that its readership is small enough that we don't have to worry about those ramifications of political utility you mention. To be sure, there are many times when I feel bad anyway for alienating a potential ally or convert (Cal, in particular, whose good nature I can personally vouch for).

I do a lot of commenting on the internet, btw, and my other favorite sites are the Kevin Drum blog, Washington Monthly, and The Atlantic.com. This blog satisfies my "local" interests - Rogue is an interesting and insightful provocateur, of course, and it helps that our values overlap to a large extent. There have been times when we sharply disagreed on various subjects and people. I feel confident enough that I seldom censor myself in fear of damaging the fantasy bond with him. This honesty is a kind of intellectual elixir. You don't want to risk it, of course, but it's heady enough that you enjoy pushing some boundaries. Taken too far, it can become irritating so it's better to curate this relationship rather than intentionally nitpicking minor differences.

You're spot on about my need to take breaks. This was particularly true when Emil held court here, but it's also an ongoing mental health requirement. Some of the dialogs here are, in their dumbed-down way, almost Socratic in their intensity. The dualism involving separate polarities cannot be sustained without significant damage to one's personal perspective. For want of a better phrase, I'll call this perspective "spiritual hygiene". The deeper reality is one that exists beyond opposition or polarities. I meditate daily to remind myself of this. Occasionally, it becomes a "spiritual emergency" and I take a break. This season of Trump has exacted a heavy psychic toll on many of us, and I am getting close to needing another period of recuperation. Still, we are social creatures, and hence, political animals. There are many aspects to our shared reality: politics, culture, cities, etc. What underwrites all of it is a kind of moral philosophy which we create every time we tell another human being what is personally important to ourselves. This is why forums like this are ultimately so difficult to abandon. We need this contact to be more fully human. I sometimes want to give it a lofty name, like transpersonal political theory. You know what it is when you do it, so there's no need to dress it up in fancy verbiage.

I appreciate your comments more than I can say.

As for needing a break... I am so burned out that I feel like an ash tray. But I also feel as if this space is important in its modest way. If someone else did this, I would gladly stop.

Until then, I will keep on as long as I can and people keep coming.

Rogue and Solari: You are so right about everything! I get the feeling from some commenters that they rather like the idea of everything going to hell. Are they bored or something?
This blog and comments are essential reading for me. Explain, explain, explain. That's the way to go!

Keep coming back.

I don't see much coming out of this alleged Russian interference -- it's not like they overthru a democratically elected leader for a chosen dictator or hacked electronic voting machines.

Point taken with your swings at the "cultural left," here and elsewhere (like Facebook.)

You realize that we're, like, the actual left.

And we are not amused.

Petro (if I'm permitted to address you), the "actual left" may not be amused but it is amusing. It can't win elections, but it can pout and throw elections to Republicans, which it does now with disturbing regularity. We now have another four years of wandering the wilderness of far-right corruption, incompetence, and cruelty. That will teach sellouts like me!

Look at the US Senate. Probably at least half the Republican members qualify as right-wing extremists. Not just "very conservative," either. Genuine extremists. Who is the most left-wing member? Bernie Sanders. If it makes you feel better, I don't consider him an extremist. But it points out the problem Democrats have. This is not The United States of Vermont. There are 49 other states, and their sense of reality is less Ben and Jerry than McDonald's.

Paul Krugman, who is very liberal but probably not left-wing enough for you, wonders about this problem in his blog: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/12/09/fast-food-damnation/?_r=0 My sense here is that we can't turn reality into a cartoon like Republicans can partly because we have to respect ambiguity and complexity. Those qualities make for lousy bumperstickers. Reality has a liberal bias because we respect it, not because we're wonderful and pure.

If we are to convince the white working class we're on their side, we'll have to abandon our advocacy for other groups, say black people. I know you don't want to do that, and I applaud you for it. But there's no other way we can win on your terms. None.

We either admit to this reality or we will keep bashing our heads against the brick wall of purity. We are a post-ideological party because America is an extraordinarily diverse and hyper-complex nation. Republicans win because they play to white tribalists. There's no other reason. It's certainly not any of their policy positions, which after electing a "blue-collar billionaire", are still pro-rich, pro-plutocrat, and pro-Wall Street. If Hillary Clinton was your go-to devil in this formula, make room for the real deal.

My advice is to demonstrate the viability of your program in various congressional races, or even at the state legislative level. But I will admit at the outset that I'm neither optimistic about such an effort or even approving of it. Ideology is bullshit. If you're over 40, you really ought to know this by now. There's no way to encapsulate all of reality into buzzwords and jargon. It's impossible. As human beings, we can only live life in its tangible details, not the abstractions we create in our head.

Four years of Trump will prove once again that ideology is an incompetent means to govern effectively. Will the white working class learn? Some of them, maybe. But the sadder truth is that most of them have already opted out of citizenship and responsibility. I wish it was not so. And while we can envy the success of the Republican Party, it would be vile in the extreme to emulate them.

Regarding the Russians electing Trump.
It's our Mokita.

My foremost concern is the physical condition of the planet earth. Most other issues pale in the face of the Idiots that want to rapidly escalate the destruction of the planets resources. No matter your religion even most idiots should be able to recognize that their god doesn’t just automatically renew coal. So that’s where my focus is going to be helping slow down the building of Trump castles in the Wilderness. The planet needs more Roadless Wilderness not gold covered toilet seats. I find it amazing that “Smart” (his opinion) folks like Trump seem to think more about right now than for the their Baron and Baroness Children and their children.

Post after outstanding post soleri!

Drifter, thank you. I'm only human so it really sustains me to think I'm getting across to some people. Politics is a form of ethics, which is ultimately about how we treat each other. The Democratic Party makes a good-faith effort to find the fulcrum point in its policy positions that can ease injustice while respecting the interests of other concerns. There's no magic formula here, just a continuous effort to keep the process open and vital. If we decide to burn down the house out of impatience. we've lost faith with democracy and this country. Republicans, sadly, have been losing faith for a couple of genrations now, and they don't have much left. Their example needs to be a daily reminder of what not to do.

Hattie, thanks for your kind words, too. You're exactly right about some people apparently wanting everything to go to hell (essentially the same idea as my burning down the house metaphor). This is nihilism. I'm fond of saying we can't see around corners. We are ethically bound to act, even in our darkest despair, because not to do so is inhuman. There is no respite here. If you give up, evil triumphs.

White tribalism is an ideology. Why do white people keep voting in their racial interests to the detriment of economic? Is that not ideological?

There are other Americans. That is the entire point of the left: there are social interests other than the corporate class.

To tell social justice warriors to "stop with their ideology" 1) is to remove the most grassroots activists from electoral participation and 2) reifies the legitimacy of the white tribalism the Republican Party is running on. If you're under 40, you can't live in that world without violence being inflicted upon people you love.

If we do succumb to fascism/totalitarianism it will probably be because we were unable to develop an electoral coalition which could prevents abuse of minority rights.

[don't know if you meant me, among others, but I'll try to clarify things anyway - if only for myself]

I'm not bored. Because I'm one of the younger guys around here I have more reasons to fear the future. But I don't feel personally insulted by this latest political disaster. I don't want our civilization to decline but life is not all about what I want.

To some degree we know what's coming and we have to keep grinding regardless. Max Weber, the proponent of the ethics of responsibility, said it best:

"Politics is a strong and slow boring of hard boards. ... Even those who are neither leaders nor heroes must arm themselves with that steadfastness of heart which can brave even the crumbling of all hopes. This is necessary right now, or else men will not be able to attain even that which is possible today."

There is always a way to make a things less bad even if the situation turns out as abnormal and dangerous like now. To say it again: the tide will turn again.

Indeed, the tide will turn again...

But many will drown in the meantime.

Change takes time and effort. And in our dumbed down culture of instant gratification and simplistic, bumpersticker length answers to complex questions, one side has decided that the best course is to ignore facts entirely and rely instead on passionate ignorance and chants of USA! USA!

The only thing that seems "possible today" is a holding action against plutocratic nihilism.

The Rape of the Earth Party is in charge now. Drill Baby drill, and all that entails. Unfortunately, Climate Change doesn't care whether or not you believe in it.

I don't disagree that racism is ideological as practiced on the right. In fact, it's the only way their dominant ideology, Randianism, can succeed. The problem is that the Randians are fairly clever here about disguising the connection. It's why Paul Ryan was so adamant about not endorsing Trump prior to the convention. He understood to make that connection clear would be to permanently taint their nominal ideology. Once Trump began to look like he could win, Ryan gradually backed off his opposition to the racism and the GOP rapidly began coalescing behind Trump.

For the American left, however, the problem is that there has to be an explanation why the white working class keeps voting against its own interests. Bernie Sanders himself said identity politics is the reason, as if once we stopped coddling the minorities, the WWC would start voting for Democrats. Obviously, Sanders is in no way a racist but he was feeding a kind of damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't position that the left has adopted. Essentially, he was saying Democrats drove the WWC away by not repudiating movements like BLM. Blaxsabbath, above, however, scorned Clinton for her less than fulsome embrace of that movement.The SJW themselves explicitly practice identity politics. They can do so because they were really talking primarily to themselves, not the WWC.

The Democratic Party is juggling various constituencies here, which gets interpreted to mean Mom Always Liked You Best among the ones who don't feel sufficiently heard. It's this tension which gets exploited by left-wingers to divide the party between the purists and the pragmatists.

If the left wants to blame the Democratic Party for insufficient ideological commitment to the left's social interests, it better decide who's right here. It can't be Bernie Sanders anymore than it's Hillary Clinton. You can't have it both ways when it comes to analyzing the WWC. There's something of a mind-fuck going on here, and while it certainly started on the right, it's interesting how the left has gotten co-opted by it.

Guardian - Wolfgang Streeck: the German economist calling time on capitalism

The political economist on Trump’s election, why we should be happy about Brexit and the crises facing western democracy

“Before capitalism will go to hell, it will for the foreseeable future hang in limbo, dead or about to die from an overdose of itself but still very much around, as nobody will have the power to move its decaying body out of the way.”

"[But] citizens too can “panic” and react “irrationally”, just like financial investors … even though they have no banknotes as arguments but only words and (who knows?) paving stones.

"Why should the new oligarchs be interested in their countries’ future productive capacities and present democratic stability if, apparently, they can be rich without it, ... and then leave their country to its remaining devices and withdraw to some privately owned island?

"Politicization is migrating to the right side of the political spectrum where anti-establishment parties are getting better and better at organising discontented citizens dependent upon public services and insisting on political protection from international markets.

The government is murdering defenseless citizens and you think the Democratic Party should denounce identity politics? How is an overreaching state not a concern of the left? I totally understand having a strategy which de-emphasizes the appearance of non-white power in a political party, but the issues which identity politics address affect all Americans in scary and ugly ways.

In fact, I would argue the rise of the Republican party as the voice of white nationalism gives the White working class a stark choice: join the deplorables or join in diversity. The reforms raised through identity politics can improve all of our lives despite the racist negativity attached to the causes. At some point, white moderates are going to choose which vision they are more attracted to. If white supremacy really means that much to white voters, they'll keep accepting the shit show which the Republican Party offers. So the question is integration but to what degree?

The Obama coalition does not exist without identity politics. And honestly, there are a lot of white people for whom that enough is reason to vote against Democrats. The party has to ignore those voters-it won't win them anyway-and appeal to those who hate neoliberalism more than they do non-white people. Because the flip side: it is unreasonable to expect those whose identities have been marginalized to have their demands ignored yet keep participating. And their demands will benefit the white working class too.

So, yes, perhaps we will need to have more white men who are leaders in the Democratic Party, and make political appeals which don't exacerbate tensions in racist whites, but there is no left without the work in identity politics. Even labor organizations are run by members of marginalized communities--how are they supposed to ignore the concerns of their communities?

The rejection of identity concerns says more about the politics of old leftists than the current activists. We will not see economic justice as long as we live in an America where cishet white male is assumed normative. That entire assertion is only made feasible through violence against other identities. There's no solidarity without respect.

I'm not sure how or why you think I'm stating the Democratic Party should give up identity politics. Did I state that someplace? No. Please: blame someone more relevant than me, say Bernie Sanders or that large share of liberal pundits who blame the November disaster on abandoning the WWC. Do I believe there's a place for compromise here? Not really, and if there was, it wouldn't work anyway. Cultural affinity is a much stronger explanation than anything as quaint as facts. The WWC prefers the solace of righteousness to the solidarity of working class power. LBJ himself pointed out this problem 50 years ago:

"If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man. He Won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him someone to look down on and he'll and he will empty his pockets for you."


Why didn't the black vote turn out for Clinton? And how does the DNC get it to mobilize in the future?

Why didn't women turn out for Clinton? And how does the DNC mobilize women in the future?

Why didn't the hispanic vote turn out for Clinton? And how does the DNC mobilize this group in the future?

This is it. This is Florida. This is Michigan, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin. This is the 2016 Presidency.

I can't mobilize voters east of the Mississippi. I don't have the war chest that the DNC has. I don't set the schedule that puts in Hillary in Arizona more times than Wisconsin over the course of the general election cycle. Candidates, platforms, and Congressional seats aside -- how does the DNC get people who will default vote (D) to simply show up?

blaxsabbath, you're asking me why there are stupid voters in all seriousness? Really?

My best guess is that Donald Trump's vivid if toxic personality beat Hillary Clinton's plodding and non-telegenic personality. Voters, needless to say, can be very irrational. Many no doubt believed Clinton "untrustworthy", which ought to disqualify them from voting. I would ask some of these nitwits what they meant by that and they would say nonsense like, "oh, I don't think she'll my interests first" or something really insane like that. I responded to one, "so you'll vote for career criminal because you're sure he'll think of you first before he bends you over and rapes you?"

If people voted their real-world interests, they never would have voted for Reagan or George W Bush, either. Hillary Clinton is not the first candidate to run into the buzz-saw of American idiocy. A quarter of all Americans think the Sun revolves around the Earth. Let's not get too analytical about democracy. It ain't pretty.

Ted Cruz the Princeton Debater and speaker of the year didn't stand a chance against a in your face guy in in a red ball cap screaming, "Make America Great Again".
Any politician that talks longer than 30 seconds gers tuned out as we hit the remote button moving on to let's make a deal. I suspect the most watched TV show in the future will be The Pawn Shop.

It cannot be repeated often enough: a whole bunch of people who wanted to vote for Clinton were not allowed to vote.

Certainly hundreds of thousands. Maybe millions.

Throw in Comey's treason and Russian meddling and that's all the explanation a reasonable person needs for why Clinton "lost".

In any case, the problem of how to deal with Deep Stupid remains.

I'm not sure there is a way to reach people who are so fact averse. They really do live in their own reality. A place where all of our problems boil down to welfare queens in Cadillacs, abortion, gay marriage, and drug dealing Mexican rapists who are stealing all of our jobs.

They've been screwed by the Republican Party for over 30 years and yet they still vote for Republicans.

They may soon lose Medicare, Medicaid, the ACA, and Social Security, but by God, they'll Make America Great Again if it kills them.

There may not be a cure for this disease.

Why do Assholes win?


Hey B Franklin - aren't you forgetting the 4 million who voted Clinton in CA? I'll bet that if those millions had to produce valid citizenship, they wouldn't be in the popular vote tally.

I have, of late, been thinking a lot about Raymond Loewy and his amazing MAYA. Mr. Loewy was a man with a very specific aesthtic who set out to share his vision with the world and, remarkably, remade industrial design in his own image. I imagine Soleri has forgotten more about Loewy than I will ever know. What is relevant to this discussion is the formula he devised for selling his ideas and cultural movement. MAYA stands for Most Advanced Yet Acceptable. It turns out that we humans are bored to tears with lock step repetition, but we are also terrified by that which is utterly novel. The best way to move us along a continuum of adoption is to MAYA us. Figure out how much new we can take and then package that in as much familiar as can be found. This is one of the most tested principals of all time and ranks up with cognitive dissonance in terms of both research and useful thought. This is the way I teach. I have students attach new concepts to familiar life events and observations. Much of the discussion above has been about how progressives can engage with a group of people that used to be part of their herd, but is no more. The answer seems to me to lie in seeing how much multiculturalism can be engaged while still waving the flag and eating apple pie. One tipping point seems to be transgender bathroom rights, which seems very odd to me because all the transgender people I know (and I know a boatload of them) pass so seamlessly that the people who are so terrified that they might share a bathroom with someone born a different gender will never know they are doing it. We have been working on a nondiscrimination ordinance in my town for years and it seems now like it is pretty much coming down to transgender bathrooms. A number of high profile groups are not going to let that one go, and I completely understand why, but at this point I am betting that the ordinance goes down because of intractability on that point. It is the purity/compromise problem meets MAYA. Until we figure out a way to do MAYA in politics and make inordinately tough sacrifices, those sacrifices and a bunch more will be made for us. MAYA is incremental. One "pushes the peanut forward" one incremental move at a time until unthinkable change has been created. I honestly don't know if we can do it in progressive politics, but reading the careful thought and engaging dialog here helps me not be completely convinced that we can't.

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