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November 28, 2017


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The last breathes of the Greatest Generation and the Boomers are suffocating.

I believe the "plain view" doctrine will lead Mueller to the centerpiece of Trump's "business model," which is money laundering for Russian oligarchs and such. I doubt Trump is even aware this is essentially what his function is, he is too narcissistic to think he is anything other than brilliant. Will the Republican congressional delegation be able ignore that?

Will the Republican congressional delegation be able ignore that?


Trump has unfortunately given the American public the right to express it's worst sides of race baiting and inequality .One only has to look at the South to see that Dems are worse than child molesters and the West where the tumble weed movement would love to have an armed confrontation with the "jack booted" federal authorities.Voters on the coasts and large cities should recognize that they will soon be marginalized by "electoral college" type rules as they were in 2000 and 2016.I see a civil war on the horizon or Central American style strong-man government.

One thing about George W Bush that still bothers me is how his own malfeasance regarding al Qaeda was somehow levitated away in the patriotic hoopla after 9/11. By 2002, Republicans were running ads against Democrats like Senator Max Cleland of Georgia, morphing the severely wounded Vietnam vet's face with that of Osama bin Laden. Why? Because this is what sewer rats do. George W Bush is a decent person, unlike Donald Trump. But the way his party treated Cleland and principled dissenters against the Iraq invasion is probably one of the most shameful episodes in our nation's history. They told brazen lies because they understood most Americans can no longer tell the difference between a hard-hitting truth and outright slander.

It has gotten to the point where the torrent of right-wing propaganda makes legitimate debate impossible in this country. Try talking to any Trump voter and you realize that there's no possible halfway point between simple facts and partisan disinformation. Republicans lie like most other people breathe. It's why someone like Jeff Flake seems almost human in his willingness to say "enough". Even John McCain despite his patented maverick shtick routinely capitulated to this torrent more often than not. Our republic is in crisis for one reason: Republican contempt for truth, empirical reality, and basic morality.

We won't repair our nation's wounded soul by meeting aggrieved white burghers halfway in the cesspool they gladly inhabit. At some point, you have to say enough to the race baiting, the chronic self-pity, and reflexive excuse-mongering that constitute the right's polemical style. It's killing this nation in a way ISIS, al Qaeda, or North Korea could never hope to do. Let's start by refusing to call these cretins who defend Vladimir Putin's puppet patriots. They are anything but.

If this country is going to survive, the torn-and-tattered progressive coalition will have to come together in sustained sanity against our common enemy. Some of the clowns on the far left may as well be Russian trolls given their contempt for the only vehicle that can rescue this nation. Clearly, the Trump campaign and Russia had a common interest in tweaking the far left's sense of victimhood. At this point, they are either too vacuous or too narcissistic to understand that helping Republicans advance their nihilistic agenda doesn't help anyone but the proto-fascist right. There have been some valiant truth-tellers out there. I love Michelle Goldberg, Adam Schiff, and James Clapper, for example. But too many people are willing to equivocate even at this late hour. At some point, you either choose to wake up or to collapse languorously on democracy's embattled watchtower.

But what worries me is whether or not a majority of Americans might start to believe what the 30-33% who support Trump without question espouse. This is a worldview that the United States still is the major determiner of what happens worldwide--and that the "rest of the world" is inferior to America, and, thus, must march to the beat America wants.

While China might have something to say about that (owing to their owning much of America's debt), the willfully ignorant provincials who are immune to anything resembling "worldview" news are the base trump plays to. If these "nationalists" become more than 50% of the U.S. electorate, the world will become a MUCH LESS secure place.

It is good to see RC venture into national politics, though I have been enjoying the good articles on Arizona. I hope, Jon, that you do more of it. I have to say that this article, as well as many of the ones you did prior to the break, has a kind of Grand Unified Theory of Political Calamity feel to it. I would find articles on any particular issue in detail more interesting. By my count, you touched on 23 separate issues. It's a little difficult to sink my teeth into anything. There is just too much to hate about Washington D.C. Still, since you put the effort into a heartfelt article, I feel I would be negligent if I didn’t harass you with a few of my contrary thoughts.

I couldn’t click through to the FT article, but I agree with the premise that our system is stronger than any one individual president. Since before Trump won, the left has been freely calling him a fascist, comparable to Hitler, etc, etc. I think it is clear now that those comparisons were overwrought. He has not succeeded in expanding the authority of the office, he has not diminished the personal rights or freedoms of citizens and he has not suppressed the freedom of the press. Sure, he has been annoying and aggravating, tasteless and tacky, and the communications coming from the White House are often a disaster. He has certainly struggled to be competent and effective, but where he has been as far as actual governing accomplishments, the worst you can say about him is that he has governed like a conservative. He would have a lot more accomplishments if the republicans in Congress, and particularly the Senate, were more effective. Getting fifty of them to agree on anything substantial has been nearly impossible, notwithstanding confirmations. They are hardly a focused, uniform cabal united in a clear Trump agenda as RC seems to paint them. More like a feckless bunch of careerists more interested in maintaining personal position and power than actually advancing an agenda through legislation, definitely more the errant shooting gang. Democrats, who also have excised their centrist and right wings, are much more unified and effective in their minority.

As far as President Trump goes, I believe a case could be made that President Obama pushed the envelope of executive power far more than the current president has. In fact, much of what Trump has done that has liberals up in arms are reductions in executive power and federal control (e.g. EPA, ACA, DACA, title IX). The left’s problems with the President are not that he is bringing an end to American democracy, but that he has sporadically been an effective conservative.

Here’s a sample of this line of thinking:

Your "sporadically...effective conservative" is at best a pathological liar and at worst a traitor.

If proven to be the latter, it follows that those who continue to support him must be traitors, too.

You can call yourself whatever you want. "Conservative" "Libertarian" "Contrarian" "Patriot".

Doesn't much matter.

By the way, what are "conservatives" trying to conserve, other than our nascent plutocracy?

One thing that really bugs me is the chestnut that Democrats lost the white working class by not focusing on issues that really matter to them. Maybe it's Jon7190's fluffing a clearly delusional president but at what point can we simply scream an obvious truth? The WWC has gotten nothing from Trump despite extravagant promises to the contrary. Nothing EXCEPT the thing they probably needed least: validation of their cultural (i.e., racial) grievances. In other words, the things that ought to matter most here to any citizen, like effective government, economic fairness, and basic security - have receded in favor of all-out culture war. Oh, and FU Theresa May.

No one expects Donald Trump to have any grasp of policy issues or political subtlety. He is what he is - a boorish, self-pleasuring vulgarian who appeals to TV addicts and hyperventilating gun nuts. But Republicans are on the cusp of passing a big double wet kiss to the 1% they call "tax reform". Hey, does a light ever go on in the cranial exurbs of Dogpatch? Is this what they call "winning"? Donald Trump signing into law something he promised not to do? I get that "populism" doesn't quite mean what it used to, but Trump's hate Muslim tweets don't quite compensate for further tilting the economic playing field to the extremely rich. Maybe this is a conscious strategy - get the rubes drunk on white supremacy so the cons can make the rich even richer. If so, let's call it 11-dimensional checkers.


My Twitter thread on the tax bill:

1. If this monstrous "tax" bill passes, the very rich will get richer, inequality will increase. New Gilded Age.

2. Congress will use it and "paygo" to further savage funding for infrastructure, education, social services...then they'll come for your "entitlements" (earned benefits).

3. The oligarchs, including members of the richest cabinet in history, will keep offshoring their wealth in secret accounts.

4. Few jobs will be created. The windfall will go to shareholders. With pullback in regulation, dangerous bubbles will be the result.

5. The hidden, destructive elements of this made-on-the-fly bill will sneak out only gradually. Further sabotage of ACA despite record enrollment.

6. The Beltway press will still lionize "maverick" John McCain and "greatness in the Senate" Jeff Flake. Trump still won't release his tax returns.

7. And the vaunted white working class will blame mi-norities and liberals for the pain the legislation causes them, and keep voting R.

I can't think of anything reassuring to say that isn't bogus.

B. Franklin,
Treason is a specific crime defined in the U.S. constitution and is punishable by death. Calling somebody a traitor is one of the most serious charges you can make. For one’s own credibility, it is best to know what it actually means before throwing the term around at others. I would suggest you do some research, because I don’t think it means what you think it means.

As far as what conservatism is, in the unlikely case that you are actually interested in an answer, here’s a quote: “To my mind, conservatism is gratitude. Conservatives tend to begin from gratitude for what is good and what works in our society and then strive to build on it, while liberals tend to begin from outrage at what is bad and broken and seek to uproot it.” – Yuval Levin.

The speech this quote comes from is a great optimistic statement on the mindset and idealistic goals of conservatives. Make sure to read the whole thing because the part about promoting plutocracy and destroying the republic is at the very end.

Jon1790 apparently received his legal education from watching Fox News. Texas and Arizona: two states with the largest per capita ignorance in the US. Unfortunately for the Trump gang, US prosecutors have read the US Constitution and know the difference between the words treason, traitor, criminal statute and constitutional clause.

How does the wild assertion “ Conservatives tend to begin from gratitude for what is good and what works in our society and then strive to build on it...” square with Trump’s inaugural speech?

I enjoy reading Yuval Levin since I consider myself a philosophical conservative. He's been a consistent and fierce critic of America's most conspicuous anti-conservative, Donald Trump.

The Republican Party has been playing with fire for the last 45 years. It has degraded patriotism to empty exercises in flag-waving and chest-thumping. It tweaks the paranoid impulses of America's least-informed citizens in order to advance an agenda that lost all relevance in the ruins of 1945. It services the rich at the expense of the middle and working classes and future generations. And its most potent weapon is white-identity messaging.

I am not immune to the anger and frustration that the GOP has stoked for decades among those people we once called Reagan Democrats. But there is only one America and we might as well make a moral demand that Republicans stop dividing this nation for political gain. If you vote Republican, you are not a patriot. You are either "culturally anxious" or, for a small cohort, rather greedy. There's no middle ground that says voting for a pussy-grabber is okay if you get Neil Gorsuch in the bargain. That's sophistry. There's no asterisk allows collusion with an adversary if it helps the GOP beat a bitch. When a party minimizes Trump's assault on Constitutional norms and traditions, that party has collapsed morally into Roy Moore territory.

One of the pleasures I derive in this current era of bad feeling is finding common ground with real conservatives (as opposed to pseudo-conservatives like Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, and Donald Trump). I see and read David Frum, George Will, David Brooks, Jennifer Rubin, Michael Gerson, Bret Stephens, Ross Douthat, et al. I realize that there is no such thing as a final victory over one's fellow Americans. Rather, there's only compromise, reconciliation, and a renewed vow to keep talking and making sense. Donald Trump is not an accident. Republicans cleared a path for this demagogue with cynical and ugly strategies that have significantly weakened our political norms. Please, don't claim you love this country and then vote for someone as brazenly contemptuous of ordinary human decency as Donald Trump. Please: wake up.

Treason conviction? Not likely!
The difference between Donald Trump and Mafia boss Vincent Gigante is that Donald really is insane.
Wonder if Donald has any of Vincents old streetwalking bathrobes?

Good column Jon keep scribbling.

The "Chin" was way smarter than Herr Trump.

Mi amiga agrees. She used to run into the Chin when he was out strolling.

Weeel, da Donnie is the first big blast of cold air on the minority driven democrat party. And a blast of cold it is, but guess what- it will probably get colder before it gets warmer.

My guess is the real plutocrats will find a much smarter Trumpe bumpkin to put up to stooging the rubes. In reality, all it takes is the next one to make the same promises and get strong enough to actually bite the hand that feeds it and turn to national socialism- and if you read the polls, that is what they want without any more immigration.

But that would mean we bridle big business, and rip money out of the heart of politics.

And the trains will run on time.

And healthcare will be much more egalitarian- sux to be a doc counting on being rich.

But nobody seems to expect an even worse outcome from this. I do.

Same stuff from 100 years ago- and the end results were not pretty when socialism finally got going:

Jack London going on tour through the bottom of London- beginning of the last century...

I'm still trying to figure out what the Levin quote has to do with anything the Republican Party has done in the last, oh, let's say 50 years.

If consorting with a foreign nation to "rig" an election, changing your party's platform to favor said hostile nation, attempting to open back channels to undermine the sitting President's policies, all while ignoring our own intelligence agencies and kissing up to the hostile nation's leader, don't amount to treason in your mind, then bucko, you need to rethink your definition of treason.

As for me, I stand by what I said, and I'd be happy to help with the firing squad, though I'd settle for life in prison and total asset seizure for Trump and some of his family.

I’m definitely not a lawyer, but I try to use words carefully. B. Franklin, even if all the deeds you list are true, it still isn’t treason. I’m willing to bet more money than I have that if the Mueller team finds any more crimes, nobody will be charged with treason.

Soleri, you are a very well read person, and I mean that as a sincere compliment (I wish I was). I agree that Donald Trump is not a real conservative. He gets plenty of criticism from the right, especially from intellectually serious writers like the ones you mentioned. Not that I always agree with them, but I’m a big fan of George Will and Ross Douthat as writers. Other non-Trump-loving conservative writers I enjoy include David French, Andrew McCarthy and Jonah Goldberg. I wish I could say I read more liberal writers, but I do subscribe to the Atlantic and get a lot from many of the authors (except Ta-Nehisi Coates). Until very recently, I was a big Charlie Rose watcher. I don’t know how they are going to replace him very well. I’ll also miss Mark Halperin. Craziness. Anyway, the Republican primaries were the hardest fought in recent memory and many conservatives ended up with a very difficult choice afterward. The irony of Trump is that a man with no serious ideological background and an apparent deficit of morals in his life, has governed so far as the most consistently conservative Republican president since Reagan. Many social, fiscal or intellectual conservatives don’t respect him as one of their own, or perhaps even as a man, but they all agree with at least some of the moves he has made.

The Republican party certainly has its faults and undoubtedly deserves blame for the polarization of our politics. The Democrats can’t escape blame for contributing mightily either. They have purged any type of conservative and many moderates from their party, and gone all in on identity politics in all its forms: racial, ethnic, sexual, economic and probably others that haven’t come to mind. Members of the Left, public figures and privately, have taken verbal demonizing of people on the other political side to new heights, and in the cases of Antifa, certain campus radicals and others, physical attacks are becoming accepted. Even in this post, commenters have said the President and his supporters are traitors, people from certain states are ignorant, and Republicans can’t be patriots and don’t love their country. I’m not saying I’m insulted. After all, I’m voluntarily hanging on the internet in a place mostly frequented by liberals and being somewhat supportive of Donald Trump. I’ll take the lumps and be glad for the relative respectfulness that prevails on this site. I do it to get a feel for how the left thinks about things and I’m glad to know how people honestly feel. I only mention it to underline the point that you can’t lay all the problems with our politics at one side’s feet. It’s mystifying to me why more people on the Left don’t understand that all the hatefulness coming from their side towards middle Americans who voted for Trump or other Republicans only turns people off and makes them less likely to ever vote for Democrats. It is difficult to understand people with a different worldview, but I believe it is possible to disagree without ascribing the worst possible qualities or motives to the other side.

Jon7190, i guess you think Donald is not insane?

Cal, trying to get inside the head of Trump is a fools errand. Do you really want to spend time in there and honestly, what good does it do? It's a venting method for those frustrated by his election (and the dumb things he says or mostly tweets) So many on the left invest so much time and energy hoping to invalidate the election, either through proving illegal Russian collusion or somehow proving the president unfit for office or hoping for a really bad scandal. 

That's the place that birtherism came from. Most who bought into that probably knew it was a long shot, but they just loved the idea that his election could be nullified by proving him ineligible for office. It was a pipe dream, and so is Trump being removed from office. People would be better served by expending their efforts within the normal bounds of politics to win the next election.

Jon, the problem here is that there's a history of ugliness, mendacity, and chutzpah going back to Richard Nixon (and George Wallace). Asking liberals to believe that we should be more understanding of the right given this history is - perhaps! - a little cheeky. Your team elected Donald J Trump president, the most flamboyantly self-serving man ever to run for any public office in America, someone without morals, scruples, kindness, or decency. You would not have a person like this for a friend unless you enjoyed hanging out with mafiosi or criminals.

That the "family values" party chose someone this bad, someone without any political integrity, skill, or background had to be for a reason. Let's be blunt. There was only one reason to vote for Trump. His naked racism. No one voted for Trump because they liked his track record since his track record was that of conning people like you out of their life savings (see Trump University). They liked the "hate" part. Now, when I make provocative statements like Republicans are not patriots, this is what I'm getting at. We all self-deceive to some extent or another, but the right's self-deception goes much deeper. It wants to pretend the racism and bigotry that splices and dices America into good people and bad people had nothing to do with it. Really? What else was there?

Now, before you go Mike Pence on me and start shaking your head at me in sorrow, let me reassure you that I'm sure you're a nice person. I would love to have a beer with you post-Trumpian day. But right now, for reasons that unfathomable to me, you choose to believe that Republicans are innocent of the civil war they consciously unleashed on the America we both love. The difference between us is that I have a very good memory. I remember the poison injected directly into America's bloodstream, the innuendos, the fearmongering, and brazen lies. Yes, it wasn't so bad in the 1970s but by the time Bill Clinton was elected president language itself had been weaponized. The word "liberal" had become a term of contempt. Truth had become malleable as well. Vince Foster was killed by Hillary because blah blah blah. And this wasn't merely the nuttiness of the fringe. There were Republican congressmen like Dan Burton alleging this kind garbage. The American right went completely bonkers in the 1990s and it has only gotten worse since then.

I think the breaking point in our national project came sometime after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The paranoid right suddenly had an enemy gap. It filled that gap with the understudy in its passion play, the half of America that calls itself Democrats. This civil war has been mostly cold but there has been more than a little violence, too (see: Timothy McVeigh, Eric Rudolph, et al). But worse, politics itself no longer mediated differences so much as exacerbated them. Instead of compromise and reconciliation, we have a war that pits people like us against one another. It is hardly an accident that your team elected someone steeped in this craziness. Trump is an actual wingnut, a conspiracy theorist and gasbag. He goes on the Alex Jones radio show and retweets insanity from the far right fringe. Take your head out of Fox News for a day and a light may go on.

Patriots love their country as it is, not as they wish it was. This country includes lots of darker-skinned people. Democrats, by and large, accept them as family members, warts and all. The all-white Republican Party seems a bit more squeamish, however. It's president is even willing to pick silly fights with black athletes and Gold Star families. He suggests Neo-Nazis are "good people" but blacks, not so much. His dislike seems more than a little instinctive.

I react to the past 18 months like a nightmare I cannot awake from. I've seen Republican approval of Vladimir Putin skyrocket. I've seen them minimize collusion with Russia as a "nothingburger". I've them put party over country in a way that suggests their real affinity is not to our collective responsibility - America - but to their tribe of white-skinned, culturally aggrieved people. Please. This is killing us. Your tribe is not going to win this war because demographically it cannot. Whites are a diminishing share of our country. How willing are you to see this country go down if whites become just one more minority? That's the frightening question but we might as well be blunt. I suspect most of you would sooner move to Australia than live in the country America is becoming.

Jon7190 said, “People would be better served by expending their efforts within the normal bounds of politics to win the next election”. Well Jon, I agree with that statement except the word “normal.”
IMHO I can’t recall a normal Republican since IKE.

Around six I became a capitalistic kid, selling toys I scrounged in alleys and wherever to other kids for a dime or so. At nine I began to doubt this God thing after being brutally punished for laughing at Jonah and his whale myth. By 14 I was a stone cold atheist that left the poverty stricken Roosevelt democrat parents I had been forced to live with. On the road it was obvious to me Republicans had the bucks. Since 21 I have been a card carrying Republican. I am also a conservation minded frugal Scotsman with an infusion of English and German heritage.

Are there really any “normal” Republicans today?
It seems to me that many of today’s Republicans are Replicants programmed to wear red hats, wave guns an get Nazi tattoos along with finding illogical and inane evangelistic reasons for the existence of Roy Moores and Donald Trumps and justification for polygamy and pedophilia. (Note: Includes the dangerous Theocratic Mike Pence and the bible thumping senile fool, Jeff Sessions. At the very least poorly informed seldom thinking beyond ME, cloned white folks.

So back to is Donald insane? Of course he is! After 77 years on this planet with a military Medic background, working psychiatric wards and a stint at state hospitals along with 22 plus years as a cop where I was certified by the Superior courts of Arizona in a case that went all the way to the Arizona Supreme court, as qualified to testify to the mental condition of an organized crime figure. He was found guilty and my testimony on his mental status held
I am not trying to get inside Trumps head. No need to his outward actions speak for themselves. I guess one could consider that he and Steve Bannon (I think Steve sleeps in his clothes , so no bathrobe) get up about 3 AM and decide on what twitter statements Donald should make today to keep his moron “base” enthralled causing goosebumps to rise on their lily white skin. I have an image of Steve winding Donald up like a jolly narcissistic pecker windup toy. Ah another fun day at the WHITE House.

Soleri’s hope that these white folks will migrate to Australia is not realistic. They are willing to die right here in the USA (“United States of Advertising”) to make America White AGAIN?

PS, looking for sanity, try V. Putin. Trump wouldn't last long living in Putin's Russia. But here Trump is helping Vladimir restore Putin's vision of "Mother Russia".

I've been to Australia several times over the years, and I'm dead certain that Australia wouldn't want them.

For one thing, they'd have to leave all of their guns here. And what would they do without all of their guns?

Now, if they could cobble together a time machine and head back to apartheid South Africa, or the antebellum South...

They are creating their own "white-opias" in places such as Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. All all these tiny-population states have two US Senators. Also in suburbs of cities. The red-blue divide plays out all over, driven by these identity politics.

John Birch is smiling.
Ayn Rand is happy
As old white boys dream of big guns and young gals.
Warren Jeffs looks forward to when he gets his own heaven stocked with his 100 wives.

Cal, you have an interesting biography. It’s been alluded to occasionally here for a while and I was very interested in RC’s Phoenix PD article. Thank you for your courageous public service. You deserve the peaceful retirement you achieved.

Two questions, please take them respectfully as they are intended. If you are a card carrying Republican, how is it that you don’t like any Republicans since Ike? After all, you would have been 21 in 1961, the year Eisenhower left office. Are there ANY current Republican politicians, or even pundits, you like?

Soleri, as I recall we’ve covered some of this territory before in this epic post:
I reviewed our discussion there and you laid out some detail on the 1968 campaign and GOP Silent Majority strategy. I’m not real knowledgeable about that campaign, but what I recall is that with turmoil going on at the time from massive Vietnam war protests and a general questioning of all the general values of American society by protestors and the countercultural movement (damned long haired hippies!), Nixon was trying to appeal to the parents, traditionalists and ordinary people who weren’t involved in any of that but were dismayed by all the turmoil. I don’t see how that was racial at all. I’m less clear on the GOP Southern Strategy, where they went after Wallace voters. The generally conservative southern wing of the Democratic party seems like a natural block for Republicans to target. Did they offer specific racially related campaign promises? How exactly did that work?

I am interested in your ideas and would like to ask for some more information if you will indulge me. We tend to talk in generalities here, but specifics might help to illuminate what we are talking about exactly. Can you give historical examples of what you referenced of the Republican party’s “poison…innuendos, fearmongering and brazen lies”? (I got you on the Vince Foster example) Can you provide examples of Trump’s instinctive anti-black bias in statements (besides the previously mentioned NFL anthem business)? Can you give examples of anti–black policies the administration has adopted? Are there any administration policies not related to immigration that could be considered racist? (Immigration is of course a legitimate example, but it’s obvious and that can of worms has been opened up here plenty before, I’m not looking to do that again now. I’m curious if you can go deeper.) Can you give examples of Trump’s naked racism? (I assume the recent Muslim retweets would be an example, and I’m sure there are others. For my own piece of mind, I don’t read twitter. Charlottesburg has also been mentioned.) Can you give examples of the Republican party’s “racism and bigotry that slices and dices America into good people and bad people”? I’m not challenging the veracity of your assertions, I’m just not well versed in the specifics you are referencing.

I have to say I am skeptical about the prevailing view on this site, and obviously on the left generally, that it all comes down to race. After all, wasn’t it the 92 Clinton campaign that famously said, “it’s the economy, stupid”? However, I’m open to arguments and it would help me to get a little meat on the bones of your ideas. I don’t have a lot of time tonight, so I will leave it there

Jon7190, its late and right now i cant think of any current Democrat or Republican politicians i care much for.
But for starters:
Retired General James Norman Mattis for a start. Back in a day or two with comment.
I am off to met a Yaqi.

Jon1790, scroll up to The Front Page and click on the link How Republicans Broke Congress. That actually gives you a short but decent primer on recent political history.

There's a wealth of history on this subject, from Rick Perlstein's books (which I don't think you would like) to Kevin Phillips's books who was an actual architect of the Southern Strategy. His 1969 book, The Emerging Republican Majority would be an excellent place to start this exploration.

Thomas Frank's book What's The Matter With Kansas? is probably the clearest outline of how the Southern Strategy (or culture war) plays out in our politics. The Wikipedia page gives you a concise overview:

I think Trump's racism is fairly self-explanatory - his personal history speaks for itself. Remember, this is someone whose political career was catapulted on a racist slur, Obama's "Kenyan birth". This slur spoke to the American right with the force of a nuclear bullhorn. Recall Ted Cruz's candidacy being disabled by his Canadian birth? Hmmm? Why would one spurious allegation rock the nation but not the analogous fact of Ted Cruz's birth?

Thank you for being curious! I don't need you to change your mind; that you are actually interested in history redeems this conversation from all the petty provocations and attacks. We are a nation that doesn't read very much except bumper stickers, chain e-mails, and Facebook memes. Going deeper is how we can make sense to one another. Thank you.

Well Soleri and Jon are playing nice!

Jon7190 (is that your serial # Mine was 1658)

Regarding Republicans since Ike. I slept on it. I am sure there are some good ones but I just dreamt of moving to Alsace. But Paraguay or Uruguay seem more logical. Why would one care to live in a country that does everything possible including genocide of living species and annihilation of the planets resources and insists on nation rebuilding of the world in its own image.
We have been toppling governments for decades and now we are upset that Putin may have compromised a sociopathic white castle, cheeseburger eating moron.

Here is to the Gary Webb"s of the world may they survive to report the facts another day.

Because the Front Page is updated daily, below is the referenced article: How Republicans Broke Congress:

Soleri, thanks for the book recommendations. I'll have to check out some of them for different perspectives on republican history. I have a few thoughts I'm working on which I'll be posting soon, but not tonight.

Jon7190, While you are checking history might want to check your future.

Yes Virginia there are liberal republicans.

and Rhinos?

Can donald and his ducks stop Mueller?

“Flynn’s false statements and omissions impeded and otherwise had a material impact [emphasis added] on the FBI’s ongoing investigation into the existence of any links or coordination between individuals associated with the [Trump] Campaign and Russia’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.”

Mueller follows the Trump Money.

Will the real donald trump speak up.

I wanted to flesh out my feelings on Trump and race a bit more. This post has grown quite long, so be forewarned. I go into a fair amount of detail, which hopefully services my points. I apologize in advance for the long-windedness.

I have never been one to support everything Republican and I certainly have never been one to support everything Trump does or says. Some of it is indefensible. Much of it makes me just scratch my head, or shake my head, or [insert head metaphor here]. Admittedly, I’m a little biased since I agree with a lot of the policy (it’s amazing how much of a difference that makes), but I just have never been able to see how President Trump is the most racist person, or even president, ever. I’ve been coming to the conclusion that for the left, the fact of Trump’s racism is simply axiomatic. He’s racist because he is. It is accepted as a given and unchallenged, then all statements and events get interpreted through that belief. Now the left considers almost everything he says and does as racist and it’s prejudicing their interpretation of events (which is ironic because prejudice is the counterpart to racism). The thing is, if you drill down into any given statement or policy, it may not be necessary to see racism behind it.

Donald Trump’s candidacy started with a bang with the infamous “Mexican rapist” announcement speech. The media meltdown that ensued set the stage for how he would be perceived going forward. He followed that up several months later with the Muslim Ban speech. I think those are the two things that cast the die on the perception of Trump as a racist, at least among anybody who didn’t care for him or his policies.

Trump has never been accused of being too careful in his verbiage. He has a way of mangling his message and saying things in an awkward way, on both monumental and trivial things (covfefe anyone?). He could have still said criminals and rapists are coming here from Mexico and done it in a more diplomatic and credible way. No, he said it in the most offensive way possible. He clearly meant the message to make a splash, but the way he said it has the mark of the awkwardness he brings to most any remark, unless it is a speech prepared for him (and he’ll still go off script and mangle the message). Looking at the issue dispassionately, it is indisputable that many criminals and rapists, regardless of their percentage of the overall flow, do come into the country from Mexico, and from Central America by way of Mexico. It’s also indisputable that we have real problems stemming from foreign drug and sex trafficking and related crime, foreign gang violence and the rape culture that exists in Mexico and Central America which makes for problems in immigrant communities. That there is a problem with the southern border is not controversial, and a conventional politician could make a case for securing the border and restricting immigration without immediately alienating half the country (and an entire other country). Not Donald Trump. Did that come from racism or a combination of Trumps’ flair for theatrics and his ham-fisted ineloquence?

Take the Muslim Ban. This was an emotional time for the country in the wake of the San Bernardino shooting, carried out by a pair of Islamic Jihadist terrorists, one of whom was an immigrant. Trump either took advantage of the mood, or reflected it, by saying what many people thought but no other politician would ever say (because it’s inflammatory and wildly impractical legally). Of course, as a policy, regardless of the many other considerations, by definition it would lower the risk of Islamic terrorists entering the country. Again, the media and much of the political world melted down, but it got Trump tons of attention and a lot of regular people heard that and thought it’s nice to hear a politician not mince words and propose a drastic common sense idea. He later in the campaign modified his position to a more practical geographical ban, and as we know the eventual much watered-down executive order has been constantly court challenged (yesterday the supreme court lifted all stays 7-2). Again, was it racism or Trump wanting to make a grand impact in the media by proposing something no one else would dare to?

The same logic applies to the Wall, which he also first proposed in his announcement speech. It’s a solution that addresses a real problem and is not original to Trump by any means. Whether or not it would be a wise solution, practically speaking, is debatable. It’s a classic Trump proposal that gets attention by striking some people as a common sense policy and others as inflammatory and racist. Trump is a living Rorschach test. What does one see when looking at him? Some see a racist, others who like his policies may not. I see a carnival barker. He’s spent his life as a hyperaggressive businessman, promoting his businesses and himself as the face of them. Doing the thing that gets him and his organization the most attention is the one constant in his public life. He just shifted his organization to be his campaign and now the executive branch of the U.S. government. In his life, he hasn’t been constant about anything else, he’s not had any consistent political positions or philosophy, evident religious beliefs, one marriage or even a constant political party, but we’re to believe that he has a dogmatic racist belief system? I’m not saying that all is a great thing, it’s just the way I see it. This self-promoting tendency remains very active in him now as President, and often that is the last thing we need when the job calls for diplomacy, restraint and measured responses. I don’t believe he is motivated by racism, he just has no sensitivity and will gladly run into racially delicate matters where others fear to tread because it gets him publicity.

Perhaps the answer is that these are both a publicity tactic and racist. That’s certainly possible, but my point is it’s not logically necessary to think so or that his voters are. I follow the principle that the least extreme explanation that fits the facts is most likely. It keeps me away from extremism and conspiracy theories .

The question of the president being racist is part of a larger question much of the country is wrestling with: is America racist? At least, does a major part of it inherently support and internalize a system of majority supremacy over minorities? I won’t try to answer that as this post is long enough. I think a growing number of people are coming to believe that and it is poisoning the civic culture. It brings up a lot of questions. What is racism? Is it a binary thing, you are or you aren’t, or is it a spectrum that everybody falls on somewhere? Can only the majority be racists? Could racism be considered to include having a worldview that filters everything though race and sees most everything others do or say as being motivated by race?

That last question seems to describe a lot of folks these days, public figures and not. I see it in popular writers like Ta-Nahesi Coates, who walks right up to the line of advocating a race war. I also see it in the evident glee that posters on here talk about the disappearance of a white majority in this country and flippantly dreaming of sending all the white people to Australia (OK, I assume some of that is tongue in cheek and baiting people like me). I’m kind of old fashioned because I thought the impossible-but-worth-striving-for ideal was a colorblind society, as made famous in MLK’s I Have A Dream speech. We seem to be going backwards now. Many people are imbibing the toxic but tasty potion of seeing race behind everything, embracing the ultimate tribalism. It’s one sign of the spiritual sickness that is affecting all aspects of our public life including: extreme political polarization; politicizing previously nonpolitical arenas; lack of common beliefs; civic ignorance; lack of pride in, or even knowledge of, our national history; retreat from public pursuits into private digital worlds; virtually universal consumption of pornography; the recent avalanche of revelations of sexual harassment and misconduct by public figures. The list could go on and on. Soleri and I disagree on much, but we seem agree in this: people should be careful because we are playing with fire and a lot of people don’t seem concerned at all that our country could get burned. We may mean different things by that, but maybe we can still have that beer someday.

Postscript to my post. Birtherism was mentioned earlier and I didn’t include it in my essay above. I also think that could fit in with the Trump pattern I proffered. There is obviously a race baiting aspect to that affair. It’s silly because even if it were proven that President Obama was born in Africa, he’d almost certainly still be eligible since his mother was a U.S. citizen. Genuine racists loved it because it emphasized the president’s otherness and dark hue. I think the majority of people who bought into it were simply grasping at straws in their dismay that a liberal Democrat who came out of nowhere won the White House, and maybe he could be disqualified. Trump’s promotion of this theory bought him a lot of publicity. He was already considering a run for president and this was a way to make a splash on the national political stage. Probably the most racist thing he’s done, in my opinion.

Personally, living in Texas and knowing a lot of conservative people, I’ve only run into probably one or two people who I heard espouse the birther theory. I don’t think it was as wide spread as the internet might give the impression it was. I’ve also only heard one or two people speak of President Obama in racist ways, and I think they’re the same people. I truly don’t believe that Republican voter perspective is shot through with racism. I’m not saying that I or other voters don’t ever think about race, just that as a group we are not the irredeemable racists the left seems to think of us as. I’ve encountered a handful of racists in Texas, but most of the conservative types I know don’t talk about race much. Guns, yes. Race, not so much. Immigration was an issue for a lot of voters, so to the extent that’s about race (not fundamentally for me), yes it got Trump elected. However, I still think other issues were just as important like the economy, gun rights, taxes, supreme court, coming off 8 years of a democratic president, not being Hillary Clinton, etc.

Shorter paragraphs are easier to read. Just an observation.

jon7190, Using your word "Bait". I think you already know the answers. I keep having this feeling that you seem familiar but the tone and in-flexion is different.

and the very pale white Donald, the shrilling circus barker conman with Mob connections. (The Chin Jr?)

And the story of another fine NY con man and mafioso. The real Chin.

Nothing racist here???
In the past few weeks, President Donald Trump has, in no particular order: tweeted out anti-Muslim propaganda, disgraced a ceremony honoring Navajo code talkers with a racist slur of Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas,” called Kim Jong-Il “little Rocket man,” lied about not benefiting from the tax plan that will line his pockets, revived his bizarre birther claims about Obama’s birth, and questioned the authenticity of his infamous Access Hollywood bus tapes.

News coverage of this nonstop carnival barking has missed the real story of the past month, however. These antics are a distraction from the pernicious GOP agenda that is moving through Washington with amazing speed.

From the Front pages:

Jon1790, there's probably no pat definition of "racist" that everyone could accept. That said, ask yourself if Donald Trump is kind, tolerant, humane, and compassionate. By this I mean, is he recognizably a good person to other people? By all accounts, Trump is not a good person in the very ordinary sense of the word. He's cruel, domineering, predatory, and self-serving. He will never apologize to anyone despite his chronic abuse of other people. He will not apologize for the horrifying slurs and lies he tells about others.

He never apologized to Obama for his racist Birther lie. Nor did he apologize to Ted Cruz for the astonishing assertion that Cruz's father was involved in the JFK assassination. He cruelly brought attention to the looks of Cruz's wife. Ditto Carly Fiorina. He lies compulsively about Hillary Clinton, calling her a criminal for deleting e-mails, something everyone does. He jumps to the worst possible explanation of other people's positions and asserts the meanest and most self-serving explanation. He lies pathologically because he is a profoundly damaged human being.

Your president is a monster.

Yes, he's a racist but he's something even worse. I imagine David Duke, for example, has friends and family who check him when he crosses boundaries. Trump has no friends. He has lackeys, lickspittles, punching bags, and sounding boards. He has, from all appearances, never had a relationship with anyone outside his family that can be described as kind and reciprocal.

I think if Donald Trump was an essentially decent person, his presidency would be a much less controversial affair. The reason Trump is the most divisive president in modern political history is fairly obvious. He is commonly described as a sociopath because of his cold and bullying behavior. He uses people for his own purposes. He demands loyalty from other but has never reciprocated this loyalty. He abuses people, he verbally pummels them, he lies about them and then he walks away, oblivious to the damage he has casually inflicted.

You show by your demeanor here a capacity for decency and humility. Still, I can't help but wonder how you can defend a man who would never defend you. I understand Trump is an alpha-male and that that species of humanity mesmerizes people who crave a strong Daddy figure. I suggest, as kindly as I can, to take a deep breath and question your loyalty to a man who on his best day has never shown another human being 1% of the humanity you show in this forum.

I consider trump to be a "magician"
Magicians achieve their illusions by misdirection. trump continually uses this technique to deflect scrutiny of his foibles.

"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain." The Wizard of Oz

But Soleri, they love him when he GRABS them by the Pussy?? Up next a gay male presidential candidate is heard to exclaim, but they love it when i grab them by the balls.

However, I am of the opinion that the country would not be any better off with Ted Cruz or Mike Pence as president.

Cal, I left out the sexual assault allegations because I wanted to get at something undeniable about Trump - he's an out-and-out asshole. It's not arguable unless you're the kind of zealot who refuses to accept consensus reality.

That said, Trump's various sex assault accusers are more numerous than Al Franken's and their accusations are much more disturbing. It looks like Al is going to resign soon, which I'll regret because he's been a great advocate for our side. The "me-too" movement has taken on a life of its own, and there's a real shift happening in public life now. Women are pissed off and they're not going to be quiet about it any longer.

Trump, of course, will not resign because of this and there's a good chance Roy Moore will be elected senator next week. The "family values" party will display not merely its faith-based credulity in its own sexual predators but the brazen hypocrisy it has always been famous for. Tribalism means attack, attack, attack. Steve Bannon gave a stellar performance last night in this sickening behavior. President Pussy Grabber is a serial abuser beloved by morons like Jerry Falwell, Jr and Franklin Graham. This is why people laugh at Christians.

The last Chritian died on a cross.

Hi all,

This is a Christmas gift to Petro and Cal since I will have to pay them $60 for this post. So, considering the cost, I hope you will give this post your utmost attention.

Cal, I hope the Crit who was nailed to a cross was properly compensated for being mistaken as a Christian.

By my estimation, the only two behaviors left for the Republicans to accept as "we can live with that" are beastiality and cannibalism.

I wouldn't put any money on beastiality because of you know, sheep. It would not surprise me to see a Northern AZ Republican show up at the congressional Christmas party with a wooly wife.

Merry Christmas Cal and Petro. (be sure to list your money on your 1099 filing.)

P.S. sorry for the spelling on beastiality, as you know I gradjucated, matriculated from UNLV.

Soleri, you make a very eloquent and thorough case for President Trump being a deplorable human being. I can’t say I completely disagree with you. Unsurprisingly, I am not willing to go as far as you. He clearly has more than his share of human flaws, but I believe he is still a human being like most of us, having a unique mixture of good and bad qualities. Fortunately for us, we don’t have the media and the entire internet scrutinizing, mostly negatively, everything we say or do or have ever said or done. Unfortunately for us all, Twitter exists.

It is not hard to find plenty of information that he does have friends who aren’t political or in a dependent business relationship with him. There are close employees who’ve stayed with him for many years. He reportedly has a solid relationship with his wife and most tellingly, he has good relationships with all his grown children, who are well spoken and responsible people that choose to stay close to him. I’ve always believed you can tell a lot about a person from his children.

I’ll give you this: the suggestion floated by Trump that Ted Cruz’s father may have been involved in the JFK assassination is probably the worst, most slanderous personal attack I’ve heard in politics. That was tough to forgive and I’m not sure I truly have. Ted Cruz has forgiven him, politically at least, so I guess I can too. That was really bad, though.

I didn’t support Trump in the primary, and if there are any primary challengers in 2020 that I could vote for, I probably will. For the time being, the bottom line is that he is the president. I would want no part in removing him for anything less than a damned good reason with widespread bipartisan support. I defend him because he is the president (our president, I believe, like him or not) and because there are too many opponents of the president willing to uncritically think the very worst of everybody who voted for him.

Cal says the country would not be any better off with Ted Cruz or Mike Pence as president. That’s a practical point of view which gets back to my original point, that the real problem the left has with Donald Trump is not his racism, or his personality, or being a fascist (whatever that means). It’s his and his administration’s policies. If I ever find myself wavering on how I feel about Trump being elected, about that time he does something presidential like he did today;)

I’ll let you have the last word on this rambling discussion on Trump qualities, if you want it.

P.S. If anybody is reading after today, I was referring to Jerusalem. RC, I’m trying to break my paragraphs up more, thanks for the input.

Jon, if your intention is to advocate for the implicit honor and faith of conservatism, defending Donald Trump is not the way to do it. He is a pathological liar, a libertine, and psychologically damaged (see: narcissistic personality disorder). Did he ever apologize to Ted Cruz for his attack on his father? His wife? Apparently you don't mind him slandering Barack Obama, but again, honorable people don't tell lies and then blame his lies on a political opponent (Hillary Clinton). This is also called "shamelessness".

When Trump confessed to being a sexual predator in the Access Hollywood tape, he already had been with Melania for several months. A model of fidelity he has never been.

I am willing to forgive personal lapses because males are designed by nature to be promiscuous. That said, contrary to what you say, Trump has no real friends. There is one rule in his relationships: submit or take a hike. He has, from all accounts, never had a friend who was his equal. Friends are there to serve him, full stop.

When you consider Trump's long and scandalous career in grifting, what comes through is the man's complete and utter disdain for moral standards. He routinely stiffed contractors on his projects. He shafted investors in his casino business. He cheated those who believed his con that Trump University could teach them success. He uses lawyers to ruthlessly attack people who oppose him.

As citizens we don't owe Trump loyalty. Someone who leveraged the help of Russian oligarchs to win the presidency deserves our contempt not our honor. We must respect the office of the presidency but oppose Trump's vandalism of our Constitutional norms with every moral fiber we possess. Democracy is on the line. I'm sorry you choose to defend this pathetic human being but if you're a patriot, you won't conflate Trump the person with the presidency itself. He is a stain on our collective honor as citizens. The sooner he exits our national life, the sooner we can return to expecting better of our politicians than servicing our errant bigotries and wishful thinking.

I'm becoming increasingly optimistic that the Mueller investigation will force Trump's removal from office. The larger challenge, however, is to recognize the pathology that Trump both embodies and exposes in our political life. Dividing Americans against one another almost sounds like a strategy hatched in Moscow. Why would you want Trump polarizing Americans this way? If you love this nation, you'll want the president to both unify it and personify its broad currents and values. Trump, of course, is wholly ignorant of American history. He's not even curious. He's simply an empty blowhard riding the waves of popular hysteria.

You can do better. Conservatism must do better. America will do better.

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