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August 24, 2020

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From north of the 49th: Like many modern democracies, barely a majority (in engaged cycles) of eligible American voters actually cast a ballot. "Principled conservatives" will vote Biden, as well as tried and true Dems. Who does that leave out? Contrary to the fear mongering, angry progressives (for the most part) will not vote for the former "reality" TV star, nor will the majority of independents. But will they actively support the Democratic ticket? Will the Biden platform present a vision and action plan for the country that doesn't look like the same old crap that led to the current situation? And if Biden/Harris is successful, will they accomplish enough in 4 years to prevent another batshit-crazy-far-right rebound? One that would feature a (currently unknown) smarter, more able version of an authoritarian leader? Will, if the orange-utan manages (gawd forbid) to hold on to his office, Americans finally own the result and do something about it? Is anarchy a bad thing in that case? These are questions that have no answer as of yet. And they may all be moot if the cesspool doesn't get cleaned up. I look forward to spending future winters in the verdant Sonoran Desert, but for the first time in a decade I'm concerned it may not happen. Fingers crossed, friends.

Just a note, NormW: "The verdant Sonoran Desert" is on its way to extinction, and the current summer fire season has been one of the worst yet.

The Sonoran Desert evolved without wildfire, but now exotic grasses, red brome and buffelgrass imported to "improve" the desert for cattle grazing, dry out and carry fire. Saguaros, in particular, cannot survive these rapidly moving, grass-fed flash fires. We've had a near-200,000-acre burn NE of Phoenix that has taken out all of the surviving Upland Sonoran Desert east of State Route 87. I drove it recently and it is grim. Several other large fires are incinerating the desert as I write. I grew up here, and this is unprecedented. The Arizona I knew is literally burning away. Much is a lost landscape that will never rebound. I am in sorrow. It is a hard thing to see.

Back to topic: I heard from my German cousin this morning. She lives in Berlin and without knowing about or reading Rogue, shared that in her social circle many of her friends are concerned about violence over disputed election results in the U.S.

Good column Jon. Cant disagree with your pointers. However I am hearing from folks that are still pissed off and going to write Bernie in for President.

Cheating: The Trumps and Kushner's cannot afford to lose this election.
Looks UGLY and violent to me!
Keep your powder dry!

Norm said, "I look forward to spending future winters in the verdant Sonoran Desert, but for the first time in a decade I'm concerned it may not happen."

Norm, The desert border is filled up with out of State workers building a worthless wall. The Chapos will grind it into metal hamburger.

"Woke and Wokeness" WTF at 80 I still look this up to try and figure out how it fits into a sentence.

From Jon's Front Pages
Another reason why they will cheat.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/jared-kushners-private-channel-with-putins-money-man-kirill-dmitriev

Cal, I'm curious as to the "logic" of anyone who would write in Sanders instead of voting for Biden, especially since Bernie endorsed Joe? No hit and run, please. Let's hear the explanation in detail. What is the end game they envision?

Your question sounds like you think I'm voting for Bernie?
Anyhow i can't answer your question.
I sent you an personal email earlier about a lady in her late 60"s who sent me the latest Chomsky piece. She didnt state her reasons just that she likes Bernie and is going to write him in. Im not going to dial her up and ask her to explain. You can if you want.
I wonder how many more are out there?

Joe Schallen: down in the Ajo area the wildfire season is usually caused by taxpayer-supplied munitions on the BMGR. Cal Lash: the out-of-state wall assemblers have been partially responsible for the Covid-19 outbreak in the 85321 zip code. And contrary to the sales pitch, the "big beautifl" wall is ugly as all getout. And just so you know, we've been spending the last 10 winter seasons in Ajo, we're very familiar with all of issues...

I knew that. But just wanted ti to get it out thar

Jon, this is what the Dems needed to think about pre-convention. It's not as bad as 2016, but the leadership remain incapable/unwilling to speak to the needs, and fears, of fly-over America. They still don't understand that not everyone reads the NYT. And I'm afraid that last evening's RNC, esp. Gov. Haley and Sen. Scott, may have been enough to calm the fears of fence-sitting Republican voters about another 4 years of Trump, in spite of that crazy lady in red. The Dems can't afford to waver or nit-pick this time.

Democrats have complained about young people not voting for years, but then when they get excited about a candidate who speaks to their economic issues - insane college debt, gig economy abuses, lousy, if any, health insurance - they’re told to shut up and sit down. Many (including myself, and I’m not young) were inspired by Obama, who, once elected, couldn’t touch race with a 20-foot pole, let Wall Street escape responsibility for the Great Recession with nary a scratch, and put off anyone like Elizabeth Warren who DID work for justice.

The election of a black president did not fix America’s race problem. It’s ridiculous to think that it would. Knowing that America isn’t unique in its systemic racism doesn’t help people who are terrified of getting shot by a post-9/11 militarized police force.

Yes, I’m voting for Biden. But I will continue to support down-ticket candidates who are further to the Left, who aren’t freaked out by LGBTQ people - I could speak at length about the real social and economic discrimination I’ve faced over the years for being a minority - because I’m tired of being told NOT to vote in my best interests so people who find me repulsive won’t be disturbed.

As for the violence in the streets, do you think a black woman would be on the Democratic ticket and quite possibly in the White House if not for Black Lives Matter? I’m not a fan of property destruction, but the fact is, it works. It forces prevailing issues. It worked to end the Vietnam War, and it’s working now.

Trump said, “if you really want to dive them crazy, say 12 more years” If this doesn’t scare the pants off you, you are not aware of the plan for DJT. He will not stop until every pillar of the Constitution is toppled.

I find it hard to discern a path for Trump's reelection. If anything, he has narrowed his already slender coalition by, well, just being Trump. Ill advised tariffs and trade wars, alienating our allies, gross incompetence and lack of leadership are not going to be overlooked by thinking people. And the day to day chaos, tweeting, and meaness is just plain exhausting. Elect a clown, expect a circus.

Having said that, his cult will go down with him to the bitter end. There is no bottom with this guy, expect the most bizarre two months in polical history as reality starts to sink in.

Because I live in Portland where wokeness is not merely a virtue but a near-requirement if you want to engage in civic discourse, I feel the kind of despair that even a Biden victory probably won't lift. Antifa, because they hitched their wagon to BLM, are considered "good guys". One friend in Phoenix even wrote me to suggest there should be no complaining about property crimes because of George Floyd's horrendous death. 85 straight days of "street action" demanding the dissolution of the police department and our elected officials can only barely bring themselves to murmur a dissent when it comes to the actions of these violent thugs.

A majority of Democrats are sane but close to a third are possessed with a glazed-eye certitude that you sometimes see in cults. The racist right and the utopian left may be on opposite ends of a moral spectrum but nearly abut one another in their authoritarian instincts. It's why I think Trump still has a shot despite Biden's polling lead. Americans crave security more than justice. Trump knows this, which is why he's trying to paint Antifa as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party. Instead of vehemently denying the connection, however, Democrats speculate that the really bad stuff is done by agents provocateurs or is really very minor given everything we know about the proto-fascist Proud Boys.

Our cold civil war is beginning to warm up. I witnessed a street action on Saturday that was harrowing in its ugliness. It amounted to an attack on civil society itself, the necessary basis of our political lives. If there is no political center to pivot around, there can be no compromise because extremists by definition have no interest there. Yes, it's romantic to think you might be a "street-fighting man", but fascism doesn't care if your heart is in the right place. If you intimidate with thuggish behavior, you might as well be democracy's angel of death.

The moral squalor of the American right definitely eclipses the purity-mongering of the narcissistic left in terms of civic vandalism. When we don't model a form of political behavior that is both sane and consistent, we send mixed messages about our seriousness as political actors. If we blur distinctions out of guilt or confusion, we're helping the right betray democracy. This one should be easy except in our fragmented and angry nation nothing can ever be that easy again.


I do share your concerns about the "law and order" issue. I watched Nixon ride that horse to the White House and Trump is following his playbook to the letter.

I am extremely frustrated by the continued anarchy masquerading as "protest" that is playing out night after night, in various cities. It just looks like recreation for looters, vandals and anarchists.

And it seems a week can't go by without another shooting of a black man with questionable optics at play due to EVERYTHING being recorded.

What needs to happen in Portland to stop writing Trump campaign ads every night?

When did the Democrats move left? They are still Reagan Republicans. The squad and other Progressives are blocked, demeaned, primaried, pilloried by the press and the Republicans, and yet they are the most promising politicians of either party. The best we can hope is this election is that both parties fracture and new parties rise. The Dems and Pubs are both losers. They will not survive the coming crash.

Why does Melania like to dress up like Fidel Castro??

Fear is a great motivator. Trump's entire campaign is based on creating fear among the voters. Fear of our fellow man who doesn't look or act like us. Fear that a different President will take away everything. Fear of anything else possible except voting for DJT.
I will stand by my earlier statement to watch out for a declaration of martial law and postponement of the election by mid October.
I can only hope that I am wrong.

Ruben. Its not Cuban! Read more history.
Roger. Us old crumedgeons just get more pessimistic every day in
(Jerry)this insane empire of idiots.
And watch out for Mrs. Pompeos big moves as she trys to figure out how to keep big Mike from being hit by Haley's comet.
Aint it wonderful!!!

sorry cal, I forgot Castro's tailor was most likely a Russian. You can take the girl out of Yugoslavia, but you can't take the Yugoslavia out of the girl.

Putin Trump and Lukashenko
Belarus’s Contested President Launches Criminal Probe Against Opponents As He Clings To Power
https://www.conservativedailynews.com/2020/08/belaruss-contested-president-launches-criminal-probe-against-opponents-as-he-clings-to-power/
The Belarus crisis is a cautionary tale as we watch a U.S. president lay the groundwork to reject election results should he lose in November. He clearly does not want to leave the White House in January 2021, no matter the public’s will.
https://www.inquirer.com/opinion/belarus-alexander-luklashenko-trump-putin-svetlana-tikhanovskaya-20200819.html?ocid=uxbndlbing
I casually asked my new acquaintances what their revolution would be called, if it had a colour. They reacted as though stung. It didn’t have any colour, they said. It wasn’t even a revolution
https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2020/august/the-revolution-will-not-be-colourised

If you would be kind enough to go to Youtube, check out todays message to Biden and the democrats from "Beau of the fifth estate".I would advise you dems to consider that message.

Also, just a side note: If the dems and Biden are dumb enough to get drawn into debating trump, I would probably not be able to vote for such a dumb party. DO NOT FALL INTO TRUMPS DEBATE TRAP.

Nancy says no debates?

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/08/27/pelosi-biden-trump-debate-403598

and a right wing news outlet says
https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/washington-secrets/trump-pops-to-52-best-job-approval-rating-on-record-up-with-blacks-even-democrats

and its Billionaire owner runs Marathons
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Anschutz

I'm glad to see Rogue dive into the national scene and address some of the big issues of the day.

I'll offer a few belated thoughts. I actually agree with much of the second half of the article. I haven't seen any evidence that people outside of the hard Left, even among minorities, even understands, let alone supports, policies like defunding police. I watched some of the DNC and it's clear they were pursuing a "base" strategy rather than a "swing voter" strategy. Apart from the appearance of Kasich and a few other (former?) Republicans, there was very little aimed at middle of the road voters that I saw. I suppose you could say the lack of talk about specific policy was aimed at swing voters, because the settlement with Sanders and the platform would repel a lot of moderates if it was promoted very heavily.

The DNC was most satisfying to those interested in hearing about what an awful president and person Donald Trump is because that was the bulk of the message. Democrats seem to hope that Biden simply not being Trump will be enough to carry the day and keeping him away from live campaigning and actual voters will prevent gaffes and temper outbursts. Portraying Harris as a moderate is laughably not-credible for all but the most disengaged voters, as anyone who has paid any attention to her over the years or followed the primary race at all knows. Ratings suggest that there wasn't too much audience beyond the base, anyway.

I think the base strategy explains the missing outreach that Rogue points out. Democrats are more scared of offending their base than they are of not reaching out to moderates.

Biden's speech was good, grading on the Biden curve, but I'm not sure it was enough to assure people that he can make it for four years or that even if he is still President, that Harris wouldn't unofficially be functioning as Acting President much of the time anyway. Backing out of the debates would absolutely give any voters who are on the fence about Biden's mental capacity second, third and forth thoughts about placing the country in his hands.

Rogue asks, "How could anyone who has been paying attention to the lies, corruption, incompetence, and treason of the past three-and-a-half years support this man?"

The simple answer is that the question is more loaded than a gold-plated Bentley (which Trump would love!). It's been said that Republicans made a deal with the devil to win in 2016. I'm not sure I would say that, but I would say that Democrats have now made their own deal with a different devil. Biden, it could very easily be argued, has his own set of lies, corruption, incompetence and treason. I submit that there certainly is an equivalence and Democrats denied it during the primaries to their own peril. Voters seeking to avoid those things don't really have a good alternative in Biden and it doesn't help that he may be the least inspiring candidate ever. His affability and "Uncle Joe" image will only take him so far. The DNC narrative that he is just an honest, honorable, competent guy is almost as believable as Harris getting the VP spot because she was the best choice of everybody out there regardless of gender or race. Biden seemed like a safe choice among the 12 dozen options, but in choosing him Democrats gave up the moral high road and any chance for an inspirational candidate. We'll see how that deal works out.

I spoke of fear being a strong motivator in a previous post.
I think, after watching, the "Show" last night that it is readily apparent that FEAR of everything is the program of the party of Trump.
Lies, and bovine processed alfalfa were in great abundance.

Let the games begin!

Yes, Hello! You need some sanity in this post. Let me provide.

You've seen this movie before. Are you Joe Biden? Did you forget?

Only this time some minor differences:

1)The candidate is a wHiTe MaLe (rEEEEing intensity level 10/10) and is an even worse candidate than that of 2016.
2)There will be NO DEBATES. I know it. You know it. You know why.
3)The VP is an affirmative action candidate that Biden TRAPPED himself into selecting.
4)The people are stirred up by the violence in our streets! Not good for Uncle Joe!

To believe the Dems/BLM/AntiFa have a shot at winning this election is the mental equivalent to the physical exercise of clutching pearls or kegel balls. Keep squeezing folks.

Finally - it's quite nice to see the DNC accept loser Republicans with open arms. Maybe it will clarify how the DNC and RNC are a single evil entity - but I'm not holding my breath.

I eagerly await the post in early November claiming the Russians once again stole the election - who knew people had such stamina!? to remain clinically insane for 8 years!

Cheers!

The only way to sustain “law and order” is to allow militias and law enforcement to wantonly kill people of color and allies protesting alongside them. Granted, these protests must be suppressed to protect property, but the idea that economic life can return to normal while Covid-19 runs rampant is a fantasy only a dictator could bring to fruition. So, it does feel like 45 will win because, collectively, Anglos would rather see the end of our democratic republic than admit the necessity of structural reforms to address these dual pandemics. And yes, this is due to leadership failures in both parties, but really it is due to Anglo fearmongering. This election concludes 250 years of white majoritarianism.

Also: the US does a pretty good job of putting ethnic minorities in concentration camps (see, reservations, prisons, ghettos, etc). It’s just that China is better at it. And that’s why they would rock the US in the next war. The countries that win wars are the ones who can best suppress opponents both domestic and foreign. Good luck getting this polarized nation to fall behind any specific leader. A dictator like 45 can’t do that without ethnic cleansing. The US would lose a global competition behind him just like German fascists did while following their leader. Not what I’d like to see happen... just reading the historical tea leaves.

People forget that racial integration was necessary for the US to win the 20th century. Racial disintegration (along with climate change) would cause the US to lose the 21st. But if there is a happy ending to this next chapter... it will happen because Harris is better than any of us expected. She’s set up to be our Abraham Lincoln. I mean, honestly, prosecutors are radicals? But who would have thought a railroad attorney would abolish private property? So we’ll see. Besides, it’s always people of color who save this country. Always.

I've been interested in hearing Solari's perspective on the protests, unrest, riots, or whatever you want to call what's been going on incessantly in Portland and other places, since he lives there and I'm confident he is not one who likes setting non-metaphorical fires or cracking heads.

His thoughts were very even-handed and honest, I thought. "A majority of Democrats are sane but close to a third are possessed with a glazed-eye certitude that you sometimes see in cults." I think you are about right in the proportion, though I haven't known personally what percent exactly but I've felt for a while it is a significant one.

I believe in the metaphor of the God-shaped hole, where everyone is said to have a God-shaped hole in his or her heart and if it isn't filled by God (in whatever form of divine spirituality one subscribes to) then it will get filled by something else. Everyone has a faith of some sort, even atheists. An increasing number of people fill that hole with politics and it can give their activism a disconcerting religious fervor. This is seen some on the fringes of the right but I believe it is a major phenomenon on the Left. Studies have shown that people who consider themselves to be completely secular are much more likely to be liberal than conservative and for an increasing number of progressives, they consider their political activism to be one of the main things that give their lives meaning.

The Academy and the Left in general has been increasingly filled with people who teach that America isn't a great country with flaws, but rather a fundamentally flawed place that is filled to the brim with evil and needs to be completely changed from top to bottom. Many younger people have taken these lessons to heart and they believe the only way to do that is to tear out the present government system and societal values by the root and remake it into something in their image. This is the Utopian Left, as you say, and this has become a sort of religion for some people.

Whatever that new system would be, you can bet it would not be the country we've known and loved, the relatively (and increasingly) tolerant society with robust constitutional rights for all, rule of law and a moderately regulated free-market system that has been so successful in giving personal liberty and prosperity to the largest number of people ever in the world. It would not be a country I'd want to live in, which is why I want no part in supporting these revolutionaries or any current politicians who refuse to denounce them (because they want their votes).

*please don't read into this that I'm saying everyone secular is a revolutionary or some other insulting generalization. If you disagree with my theory (which is not original to me), please let me know.

Jon7190, it won't surprise you to learn that I regard Trump as the very worst president in our history. His appeals are not to our better angels but rather to our cruelty, smugness, and contempt for others. To watch the RNC convention should illuminate the extent that your party and tribe not only despise Democrats and liberals, but virtually anyone not in your toxic cult. While I dislike the left's certitude, which is as exclusionary as the right's, their ideals are still commendable in the sense of wanting greater justice and tolerance. What does the right want? Power, privilege, and white nationalism, I suppose. Idolizing a man as damaged as Trump is the clue. Trump makes no attempt to embrace the reality of other people and their viewpoints. Narcissists can't do that because their personal stories necessarily reflect their overwhelming insecurity and neediness. The cascade of lies that is Trump's rhetorical style make no effort to build a bridge to anything other than his own grotesque self-glorification.

There is an acute anxiety among liberals that Trump's authoritarianism will be unleashed and unchecked if he wins reelection. A man who doesn't read anything more serious than Twitter has no reverence for the arc of the American saga let alone the difficult progress we have made as a country. He is utterly boorish and unread, which to a thinking citizen disqualifies him to be president. Trump plays well in Fox Land where cartoonish crudeness is the rule, but America is more than your tribe of anxious white citizens craving security and cultural power. Yes, your tribe deserves respect but not at the expense of other people. Grievance and resentment can't be politically resolved because they're too amorphous in the first place. Trump can embody the rage of left-behind Americans but his power is more symbolic than real. The right's chronic whininess is really pathetic in this regard. It's almost as if your tribe demands a time machine to take you back to the glory days of Mayberry.

You are better than Trump, which is not meant to damn you with faint praise so much as to awaken you to dire circumstances of our national crisis. Secession is a pipe dream which is not only unachievable but fraught with unintended consequences. Hating the other half of America is the opposite of patriotism. It's nihilism in service of a fantasy. Similarly, damaging the federal government might seem like a clever Fuck You to liberals but impairing critical agencies such as the CDC have real-world consequences not just in blue states but in states like Arizona, one of the most sorely afflicted states in the current pandemic. If we could agree that government is actually a necessity rather than a punching bag or looting opportunity, we might reestablish some common touchstones of reality. But that would mean the Republican Party would need to be focused once again on policy and not merely riling the rubes with inflammatory talking points.

My fading hope is that Biden wins in a landslide, which causes the GOP to become a serious political party again. Right now, the set of incentives favor not the people of conscience, like Mitt Romney, Jeff Flake, the McCain and Bush families, but the pyromaniacs like Trump, Fox News personalities, militias, the NRA, and various Neo-Confederate organizations like the KKK. Your path leads directly to the diminution if not dissolution of America. Once again, you are better than this. Your misplaced confidence in Trump is embarrassing but it's also a growth opportunity. America needs two sane political parties. Please don't give up on us.

Soleri,

I'm not sure there is much prospect for us to agree on much. I thought we might agree on how crazy the Far Left has become, and maybe we do. Well, actually they have always been crazy, it's just there are a heck of a lot more of them these days.

I agree with this: "Hating the other half of America is the opposite of patriotism." However, your diatribes against Trump and his supporters (about half of America, or at least half the voters) seems like the picture of division. Your hate for the man seems personal and emotional, and consequently your picture of his supporters reads like a caricature based on what one would read and hear in the liberal bubble.

I agree with this: "Grievance and resentment can't be politically resolved because they're too amorphous in the first place." Grievance and resentment are what identity politics are all about and identity politics is the fuel and oil of the modern Democratic party. I see it in the way you describe Trump voters, Republicans or conservatives (not necessarily all synonyms) as a "tribe" that's all about "white nationalism, anxious white citizens craving security and cultural power, and [watching] Fox Land where cartoonish crudeness is the rule." What a narrow view of people you think you understand so well, but probably don't.

In that light, you said " the RNC convention should illuminate the extent that your party and tribe not only despise Democrats and liberals, but virtually anyone not in your toxic cult." I suppose I'm biased, but I didn't see that. Besides talk about Biden (who would surely be fair game, right?), can you reference any specifics from the RNC that you are basing that on?

One observation I had about the RNC is that the Republicans and the president were clearly trying to build a bridge to African American voters, particularly the first night but lots of other times, too. I don't know how much of the convention speakers you actually watched, but I would recommend you watch some of the speakers below if you haven't:

Ann Dorn- wife of retired police chief slain during St.Louis riots
Daniel Cameron- black Kentucky Attorney General
Madison Cawthorn- NC congressional candidate
Vernon Jones- black Democratic Georgia State Rep.
Alice Johnson- convict granted clemency by Trump
Carl and Marsha Mueller- parents of Kayla, kidnapped and killed by ISIS
Jack Brewer- former NFL player and self-described lifelong Democrat
Herschel Walker- former NFL player and self-described longtime personal friend of Trump
Clarence Henderson - 1960's civil rights activist
Chen Guangcheng- Chinese Human Rights activist
Andrew Pollack- impassioned father of Stoneman Douglas shooting victim (and possessor of absolutely glorious NYC accent)
Kim Klacik- running for Baltimore congressional seat
Robert Vlaisavlievich- Democratic Mayor of Eveleth, Minnesota
Myron Lizer- Navajo Nation Vice President
Maximo Alvarez- Cuban refugee with some interesting things to say about Communism
Tim Scott- SC senator, you might have seen this one but it was a great speech
President's speaking with former international hostages


I would agree with you that if Biden wins, it would be better for it to be a landslide (but not for the Dems to win the Senate). In fact, my hope has been that either way it goes, that the result will not be at all close. There is so much potential this messed up cycle for election disputes, it could end up being a real mess if it's too close.

Will Michael Moore be wrong this time?

I think there are a number of people in the US that think a civil war would be a good thing. Primarily because they think they would win by killing a lot of those "other" folks.
As this unfolds most are missing that the current administration actions are brining us closer to a hot war. They havent got a clue on how to conduct a good old fashion Cold War. So a hot war might see us lose, AGAIN!

Jon 7190
Keep the faith
Trump is going to Kenosha.
He is going to let the kid with the gun
know there is a pardon coming his way.
Then the kid will get a kneeling automatic weapon firing statue placed in front of the gas station. And Donald will have his face carved on a mountain.
Not sure what planet you live on but keep coming back. Cause you ain't seen nothing yet.
Cal an 80 year old Republican
EX Air Force and retired cop.

Soleri,


I had a few more thoughts based on your response that I didn't have time to write last night.


I understand that many liberals fear an unrestrained second term Trump, it's a concern I've heard a lot. Granted, these are often the same people who four years ago were predicting that Trump would literally destroy democracy in his first term. If one buys into the authoritarian, fascist, nazi (add terms as needed) straw man that has been made out of Trump, then clearly a second term would usher in his dictatorial end game. I don't think Trump wants to be a dictator, he just tends to think he can run the government like he could run a company. Granted Trump says a lot of crap, but what has he actually done that is authoritarian?


Consider this. This pandemic has been an unprecedented national emergency and emergencies (or often manufactured emergencies) are what leaders seeking more power use to get it. The president could have used this opportunity to shred federalism and get as much power for himself as he could by nationalizing all aspects of the response. One could imagine lots of scenarios of draconian federal power displays. Instead, he mostly delegated responses to states to handle as they saw fit based on their conditions and focused on doing what the federal government could to support the states. 


In fact, many conservatives feel that some blue state governors (and some local officials) have in fact used this crisis to increase their power over citizens and to exercise authority in legally questionable ways. 


Where I would say that the president may excede his authority is in using executive orders in ways never envisioned by the founders. This is not unique to Trump, though. Recent decades have seen an escalation of presidents trying to use executive powers where they can't get legislation passed. Congress has willingly ceded more and more authority to presidents. This has been a problem for a long time and has really been escalating the last few administrations. 


I'm not a huge fan of the recent virus relief orders, but agreement on legislation at this point seems impossible and something needed to be done to help folks.


There is also a fear on the right of Democrats' authoritarian tendencies should they win in November, especially if they get the Senate. I am not personally scared of Biden being an authoritarian except for what he might bumble into and what his advisors remind him he is supposed to do that day (here, just sign this Mr. President...). 


Trying to find ways to distinguish himself on corona virus and seem like he's serious about it, he has said he will make a nationwide universal mask edict and (if epidemiologists recommend) would completely locking down the entire country. Yeah, that's what people want...


I, and lots of others, are genuinely fearful of Kamala Harris. Based on everything I've seen in her public life, I fear she is a tyrant in the making. 

Jon7190, I have a grudging admiration for the GOP's talent in finding (and likely rewarding) Blacks who espouse the right's viewpoints. If you detect some cynicism in my tone, very good. Herman Cain, RIP, even took his unmasked faith to Tulsa in May when Trump decided the pandemic was over. His fervent belief in right-wing lunacies was rewarded with a one-way ticket to Valhalla. Clarence Thomas has spent his grievance-laden life dutifully bending jurisprudence to the various needs of the right's ideological hobbyhorses. Senator Tim Scott has gone from the cotton fields to corporate boardrooms to the US Senate in one deliriously improbable ascent. But there's a reason why all-white suburbs and exurbs are Republican and why Blacks are the Democratic Party's most loyal members. I don't mean to mock your naive faith in the GOP's color blindness, but David Duke is enthusiastically pro-Trump and Neo-Nazis are some of Charlotteville's "fine people" probably because racism is more a reality than you think it is.

To truly understand this reality, you would need to know some history, which goes back to Barry Goldwater's presidential campaign in 1964. If you're vague about this, I recommend Rick Perlstein's magisterial books. The story picks up steam in 1969 when Nixon advisor Pat Buchanan suggests a Culture War to further exploit racial unrest for the benefit of Republicans. This is the necessary backdrop for understanding how the GOP went from the Party of Lincoln to its current address in the Trumpian sewer.

I'll admit to a strong aversion to politicized racism. We have one overwhelming patriotic duty in America: mainstreaming America's Black population in order to keep our nation strong and stable. You don't seem to understand or sympathize with this idea since it's only Democrats who strongly advocate for this position. The last Republican I can recall who fully embraced this necessity was Jack Kemp, who died a decade ago. Tokens like Herschel Walker and Tim Scott, in this vein, are ideal for blackwashing right-wing racism.

Trump himself requires no history lesson since his racism is naked to the eye. Not yours, of course, since your rose-colored glasses magically filter out all unpleasant evidence. But people with functional memories can recall his demand that the Central Park Five be executed. After their exoneration, Trump put a giant exclamation point on his racism by refusing to apologize to them. Similarly, Trump told his racist lie about Obama's "Kenyan birth" for years. In September 2016, it became something of an albatross, so he renounced his own lie by falsely attributing it to Hillary Clinton.
 
If Trump is a sociopath, you are his apologist. Leave aside Trump's own vile history of racist remarks (e.g., Mexicans are rapists). What kind of Christian would not recoil in horror at his breezy depravities? I'll tell you what kind: a Republican Christian. Jerry Falwell, Jr. is not merely a wayward pilgrim. He symbolizes the marriage of Mammon and a theology of convenience.

If it makes you feel better, I'll admit to this unpleasant truth about our species: we're all racists, including victims of racism like Black people. Our small share of freedom is mostly spiritual. We acknowledge our feet of clay and struggle to become more conscious of our sins. We won't fully overcome our innate aversion to differences in appearance but if we can tell the truth about them, we become freer. Simply denying you're a racist is problematic because it suggests you never struggled at all. This is the vibe I pick up from you and the vast majority of Republicans.

I am increasingly hostile to left-wing piety about this problem because it suggests that a genuine struggle isn't necessary. Rather than humanize this problem, the left tends to tribalize around its own "wokeness", which can be both obnoxious and delusional. Nobody is perfect despite our zest for self-exoneration. What the left often does is buy grace on the cheap by using snotty jargon to preen its moral superiority. The binary trap that humans fall into time and time again is easy to understand in one's own political convictions: I'm right and you're wrong.

If it's any consolation to you, I can understand why the right not only hates people like me but the culture we champion. What most people want is to feel loved, connected, and useful. When the left advocates a culture that is stripped bare of these necessary blessings, it is attacking the very balm that makes life bearable. Tribalism is both a necessary evil and inevitable outcome of strong human communities.

America is an ongoing experiment in the viability of genuine diversity in a functional democracy. I can't say whether we'll fully succeed. Right now, it doesn't look good. But I'm willing to meet you halfway as long as we can understand the basic contours of reality itself. Right now, a fire is destroying our social trust. The pyromaniac here is Trump, who is an extremely damaged human being. He threatens our collective survival as Americans and neighbors. We can and must do better than him. Please stop normalizing his pathologies. They are literally killing us. The fire next time is now.

Well said.
Enjoy your bike ride today.

Race is probably the most complex aspect of politics. It has become almost a third rail in political discussions. It's not impossible to touch, but lots of people have been injured trying to. Hopefully I won't get shocked here. I'll start a little slow and heat up towards the end.

I don't disagree with a lot of what you say. Thinking fairly about people who are significantly different than ourselves and our family doesn't come naturally to any of us humans. I have to check my personal attitude on a regular basis, especially as my career has largely been spent working closely with people in their most unguarded moments among every population in one of the most diverse cities in the country (as a firefighter, paramedic and RN). I can confidently say that none of us is perfect (individually or culturally), as I can also say that every culture has its admirable qualities.

I am not an authority on the subject, I would like to read more and I should check out Rick Perlstein. I think I do understand the basic history of how the parties have approached race. I know Republicans came out of the civil rights era pursuing white votes and Democrats, while historically being the party of slavery and Jim Crow, came out of that era pursuing black votes. Both parties have cynically manipulated racial issues, we'd probably have to say going all the way back to at least reconstruction. It's been a complicated dance that has led to recent times, when both still manipulate race, but in my opinion Democrats do it more today. If Republicans can play to the racial insecurities of some whites, Democrats (and/or racial activists) can play to the fears and bad experiences of some nonwhites by exaggerating the extent of white racism and taking advantage of the fear they stoke. Wouldn't it be nice if parties could just pursue votes, instead of them having to be a color?

I agree Republicans do need to do things to improve the lives of the black population and there is always more that can be done. Republicans are naturally going to oppose many polices of the Democrats, as well they should, when it comes to things like increased quotas, reparations and defunding police. Opposing policies like that is not racism and Republicans could do a better job generally of explaining why it's not in the face of Democratic ad hominems. The Trump administration has had legitimate achievements and policy advances specifically benefiting African Americans. If you don't know what those are, then you're not paying enough attention.

I can't speak for them, but as I understand it, one of the things black conservatives cite as a big factor in why they are what they are is the condescending and demeaning attitude towards them by many on the left (of all colors). That attitude is on full display in your reply, e.g. GOP finds against the odds a few blacks willing to espouse the GOP's viewpoints for a reward, Clarence Thomas is just a servant to the needs of the [white] right (you should really watch the documentary Created Equal: Clarence Thomas In His Own Words), Herschel Walker and Tim Scott are tokens. Partisans can't give them credit for being their own persons and having their own honestly-held opinions that differ from Democrats. Blacks are expected to think a certain way and if they don't, they must be stupid or corrupt. That sounds pretty damned insulting to me, and the opposite of civil rights. It's supposed to be about freedom, right?

I also think liberals celebrating or mocking Herman Cain's death is pretty disgusting (and your comments, while rather hateful, are not nearly as bad as some I've seen). People should at least give him credit for making his own decisions, rather than having to be a stooge or victim of Trump. If he indeed caught it there (seems likely, but the event was not the super spreader it has often been portrayed as according to this study: https://www.nber.org/papers/w27522 ), he took the risk on his own. I don't know, but I am pretty sure he never wore a mask anywhere and believed the risks were overblown hype, an opinion he would have held with or without Trump's influence. I would classify this as the downside to the politicization of the pandemic that I referred to in the threads here last month. There are a lot of people in the country that get caught up in the politics of it and either overestimate or underestimate the risks. Cutting through all the noise, looking at the evidence rationally and striking the right balance is tricky.

Without getting into the weeds on it, there are plenty of good reasons for African Americans to walk away from the Democratic party (on their own, for their own reasons and determining their own best interests!). Anybody who says otherwise is patronizing and underestimating their intelligence and independence. I am not a very good spokesman for black conservatives, I really recommend you spend some time with people who are. Some of my favorite commentators on the subject include:
Thomas Sowell (retired now but has a ton of great writings)
Star Parker
Shelby Steele
Larry Elder
The Hodge Twins (I mentioned them before, they are great at talking about deadly serious subjects in a funny, entertaining way that takes no prisoners)

Soleri, I appreciate your criticism of some the left's excesses and your willingness to debate in a civil manner. I think you have an above-average level of thoughtfulness and intellect but your overall attitude is reflective of liberals generally in being broadly judgemental of people you don't agree with. This attitude enhances the tribalism you say you dislike.

The Democratic Party is a broad coalition of racial and ethnic minorities, white professionals, and a still sizeable number of white working-class citizens. It looks like America. The Republican Party looks like the all-white suburb you live in.

There's a reason for this, and it's the last 50 plus years of the GOP's tectonic shift to becoming a party of white grievance. Trump is the avatar of this national pity party, and it shows up in the hateful comments he regularly makes about minorities. It's why he's spending so much time blaming the pandemic on China. It's why he uses such lurid language about Latino immigrants at the border. It's why he singularly focused on spreading fear about urban unrest (psst: "those people"). Jon, it isn't my "hateful" comment about Herman Cain that's the problem. it's your denial that there's even a problem at all.

When Trump says he doesn't have a racist bone in his body, or that no one has done more for Blacks than himself, he's doing what you're doing here: gaslighting the public so Republicans can claim to be high-minded realists instead of culturally anxious reactionaries.

I have several Trump-supporting friends in Arizona and they are good people. What they aren't is well-informed. They tend to watch a lot of TV, from Fox News to crime-reenactment shows, which feed their viewpoint that if it wasn't for all the minorities, America would still be a great place. Now, they've read the memo titled Don't Say Anything Racist! But it's not hard to pick up their real feelings. When a black man is killed by the police, they sympathize with the cop. When a white kid murders a couple of protesters, they bend over backwards in explaining his motivations (see: Ann Coulter's new presidential favorite, Kyle Rittenhouse).

I'm not sure if you're sincerely flummoxed by my assertions or - more likely - performing yeoman service on behalf of Team R. But this points out the almost Orwellian weirdness in of our public discourse. The race issue hovers over our public lives like a fogbank in Sausalito and you blame the Democrats for talking about it instead of denying the problem like you would do.

I mentioned the racism conundrum in my previous comment because I wanted to reassure you that we are all human here, that no one is unsullied by its toxicity be they Black or White. I threw you that olive branch because I wanted to advance this conversation beyond who's right and who's wrong. I'm not coming at you like a Social Justice Warrior on meth because I know better than to shame anyone about human nature. We're all contaminated. But there's only one America and if it's going survive, we need something like consensus reality if politics is going to work at all. Debating whether racism is even a thing collapses that effort before it can even begin.

Worse than not talking about is intentionally inflaming the public like Donald Trump does on a daily basis. It's telling that you see my comment as "hateful" while exempting Trump from any criticism at all. I know: politics ain't beanbag, but the power differential between myself and Trump is approximately infinite. According to you, Trump bears no responsibility at all but I do. Odd, don't you think?

I do appreciate your even and civil manner. What I really want from you, however, is less agreement than an effort to contextualize our public debate in discernible social reality. It's crazy-making on your part when you minimize racism in a country that is virtually having a nervous breakdown about it at this very moment. Jon, up your game just a bit. Ease up on the studied head shaking ala Mike Pence and meet me halfway. Give me some truth because at this moment, I'm wondering whether you're even human.

I asked that question in previous blogs.
I had that same question about Caitlin Johnstone? But I have heard she is alive and living in Australia. Another country with no racial issues?

Australia, like every country, has racial issues, especially involving treatment of Aboriginal Australians, as well as tensions over immigration.

Been a tough summer. Been reading, not posting much. Love the soleri responses. That said, the effort to be civil quickly dies on the vine when trump supporters act as if everything he does is normal.

Sadly, most of his sick schtick is so far beyond the pale the only thing they can do is ignore it. There's nothing normal about trump or almost all of his pathetic actions. Just when you think it can't get any worse, a new day breaks and he goes one step further.

I do resent this effort jon to paint the democrats in one ugly brush stroke. The far right and the far left are the minority and always will be. The vast majority of us live in the mushy middle.

I have lots of friends on the right who are weary of the constant turmoil. They long for normalcy as much of us on the left. They also understand with trump as our president, it will never happen.

The violence has to end. The only question you need to answer is whether Biden or trump will be the one most likely to get us back to normal?

At 80 I recall a lot of civil unrest and its history of war on Americas streets.
Following is a comment that was generated on a news article I shared.
With a friend of mine:

"There is so much to unpack there that I am going to ignore most of it and keep it simple.

(BTW, I consider Andrew Sullivan to be an ass. A close reading of his shit over the years reveals a wet finger in the wind. I am not surprised by this latest whine.)

1) Protests and civil disobedience emerge when the conventional paths to participation in the civil order are blocked.

2) No one (of any sophistication) expects any “in” political party to condone acts of civil disobedience (except in the abstract – “civil disobedience” as a “cherished” principle); to do so is indeed political suicide. However, it *is* expected that the party(s) respond to the issue(s) that fired up the protests in the first place.

3) Civil disobedience is SUPPOSED to be unacceptable, to be terrible, to be intolerable. Protesters *want* you to make them stop, but only if you address the issue(s). Law-and-order approaches to protests are historically stupid, and it will ever be so.

4) Not to repeat myself, but these activities are by definition LAWLESS. That’s the point. “No justice, no peace” is not some meaningless chant. Tough shit to all of the hand-wringing guardians of order – you don’t get to go about your business if your business involves treading on the necks of other people. And that’s how the bourgeoisie do. It’s very frustrating, you know.

5) It’s not for the weak... or, rather, it is a show for the weak, to get the weak to weep and bleat, and for them to push their toadies in government to fucking address the problem already, we’re tired of buying new window glass for our fucking storefronts.

6) Finally... it’s ugly, it’s lamentable, it’s what happens when “government” gets the notion that it is somehow “in charge” of the people. Not. Acceptable.

It always ends up in the streets. History, folks."

Yep, Jon I’m up on the Aussie racial picture. You also mentioned immigration which reminded of Peter Kaye’s book Moving Millions. It was a good read about the history of migration with a focus on ""coyote capitalism,"" a system of interlocking, dependent relationships, to describe how unauthorized Mexican labor recruiters trade in human cargo and influence migration.

“Humans are a migratory species,” he writes. “To escape problems and to seek out fresh prospects, we’ve been in the process of ‘globalization’ for as many as a hundred thousand years, ever since our ancestral wanderers ventured out of East Africa.” But it’s also true that the process is accelerating: “The world is experiencing an exodus on a scale never before seen.”

It's been a smoking summer here in the Great Sonoran Desert. The fire is still burning in the Superstitions. On the plus side its been much quieter. Given the diminished frequency of cars and planes. Of course the absence of lots of white mid westerners and Canadians is always a good thing. I have had an amazing amount of Hummingbirds and Verdins all summer along with the usual desert denizens.
As Charles Bowden once said, "Summertime is always the best of what might be."

Well back to watching the birds and turning another page on Dispatches From Pluto.

First there was Nixon. Then the Tea Party and along came Donald and now you got his back up
allies.
QANON THE FUTURE OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!
https://theintercept.com/2020/08/28/is-qanon-the-future-of-the-republican-party/

Dear Kyle "Shit for brains" Rittenhouse,

The gun battles you win are the ones you avoid.

P.S. cal, the friend you quoted is a smart guy.

Protests and civil disobedience emerge when the conventional paths to participation in the civil order are blocked.

I appreciate this provocative statement because it challenges us to think deeply about the very nature of civil society. While it's necessary and overdue, it's ultimately very, very wrong.

The writer of this provocation apparently didn't live through the civil rights' era of the 1960s. What laid the groundwork for the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Ace were peaceful protests. Yes, there was disobedience, which is not the same thing as violence. It meant getting arrested for sit-ins, sometimes blocking traffic, and disobeying various police orders. It didn't mean setting fires, throwing objects at the police, smashing windows, and destroying public art and amenities.

When the narcissistic left thinks it can commit violence in the name of justice, it creates a backlash among those citizens who are not as obnoxiously hip as they are. We can see this in the current polling data that shows Trump has knocked off Biden's lead by about a third since the Kenosha debacle. Make no mistake: these riots are exactly what Trump wants. He knows there will be a reaction from the center and it's already here. You think it's necessary to destroy Biden in order to realize "justice"? There won't even be an independent DOJ if Trump is reelected. The left is playing not only with fire but cyanide here because they will be the first to disappear if Trump goes the full authoritarian route as he is promising to do.

Gandhi and Martin Luther King showed how you can make fundamental change without collapsing every meaningful distinction about truth and justice. You do it with nonviolence because that's how other people can be persuaded. Self-romanticizing street fighters who are largely illiterate dopes when it comes to history cannot be trusted make real change. Indeed, their whole shtick appears to be little more than an effort to destroy the the rule of law, which is what makes civil society possible in the first place.

I live in Portland, which is now the epicenter of the Insanely Woke movement. As a lifelong liberal, these zealots are making me doubt my own faith in human reason. If you think your "values and ideals" entitle you to commit violence, you are a fascist. You are as nihilistic as any right-wing extremist. In fact, there is not even a significant difference between you and the right-wing militias who threaten our peace and security with automatic weapons. Just put a Trump bumper sticker on your Prius because that's who you're really supporting.

Really excellent stuff, Soleri. The same dynamic is at work in Seattle.

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 is the exception to these rules. It occurred in response to a nationwide rebellion within inner cities after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. The previous acts did wonders to ensure that middle-class Blacks could fully exercise their civil rights (and also ended poverty or illiteracy as an disqualification to the ballot) but one could argue that the final act created Black wealth through more equitable access to suburban homeownership. Without a violent response to a violent assassination redlining might have continued to persist as public policy. Also, can anyone explain why protest related killings happens in some of the whitest states (OR, WI) and not states with a larger black population (GA, DC)?

Soleri, of course you know i posted that knowing you would respond to your bumping up against that jumping cactus.
Those little thorns do send inflammatory thoughts to the brain.
Good response.
And its always good to have a backup when you go to war.

Donald Trump and Jared Kushner cannot (afford to) lose the power of the presidency. Their concern will not be Joe Biden winning but their losing the office of the President. They owe their life to a few vicious Oligarchs. So how will it play out if the popular vote goes for Biden?
Tim Wirth published an op-ed in Newsweek where he lays out his theory, apparently inspired in-part by HBO's adaptation of the Philip Roth novel The Plot Against America.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/donald-trump-2020-us-election-third-term-tim-wirth-white-house-a9600486.html
But that is if Trump is losing. Currently with the violence in the street Trumps numbers are getting better. So with the FEAR factor driving the zombie GOP and others and Billy Barr and the backing of major police organizations and Home Land Security officers Trump may get the votes and not need a backup plan on how to remain as King.
Then the real violence will begin but not be visible.
We shall inherit “The Disappeared Ones.”
https://strollingsouthamerica.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/the-disappeared/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forced_disappearance

When did it become MANDATORY that a president serve two terms??

Clinton had two too many terms.
Bush had two too many.
Obama had two too many.

Intellectual Assassin, the King assassination riots also led to 20 years of Republican presidencies interrupted only by Jimmy Carter's forlorn one term. Even worse, the Republicans discovered the magic elixir to virtually unchecked power - the culture war. Instead of running on real-world issues, they nationalized our elections with white grievance. That turned previously competitive states like Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, the Dakotas, Missouri, and Oklahoma into hard-right states that no longer send Democrats to the US Senate.

The Delusional Left lives in a daydream where John Q Public is a secret radical lefty. All you have to do is offer him the Full Bern and presto! Behold the workers' paradise! The only problem with this fantasy is that it remains a fantasy because we can't get enough middle-class whites voting Democratic. They're afraid we'll make excuses for lawbreakers, looters and rioters. One guy who did understand the problem was Bill Clinton (see: Sister Souljah moment). He won two terms because unlike the radical left, he knew the public wants law and order before "justice" and guilt trips.

Black home ownership is scarcely better than it was in 1970. https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnwake/2019/05/16/the-shocking-truth-about-the-u-s-black-homeownership-rate-50-years-after-the-1968-fair-housing-act/#779e3f1763ba The ongoing tragedy of America is that Republicans have leveraged white panic to not only win elections but permanently hobble politics as a means of settling ordinary differences. As a result, we are no longer speaking to one another from a shared consensus reality.

PS: it's remarkable given how hard-right that Republican Party has become that its Senate caucus vote in 1968 was 29-3 in favor. Our national crisis is entirely attributable to the ascendancy of the hard right in the GOP over the past 50 years.

Soleri,

Yes, consensus reality is really the crux of the matter and why racial issues are so vexing. How one perceives reality depends so much on one's worldview and so many of us have such drastically different worldviews. How would we establish consensus reality? If we were all getting our information from the same sources, that might help. That's impossible, though, because media has stratified so completely that everyone can get their information from a source that reinforces their existing opinions. That includes the mainstream media, which is one reason why people like me get frustrated by their biases (and get accused of whining about it). "Woke" conservatives don't consider the major national media outlets reliable sources on politics or other controversial issues. You may disagree with their conclusion but is that only because you generally find your point of view confirmed by that media? Personally I try to read a variety of sources to keep from being too bubble-ensconced, but I always have my radar up for the sources' point of view and the radar pings on the left a lot!

We will never settle anything unless we can agree on reality, so it comes down to what is reality? I, and most of the right I believe, doesn't deny that racism exists, the question is how big of a factor is it in modern America and what is keeping African Americans disproportionately poor?

In regard to the current tensions, I, and I think most on the right, would agree that injustices with the police occur and where they do action should be taken to improve police procedure, discipline officers who make mistakes and prosecute them when those mistakes are clearly made in bad faith. Practically the entire country was united that George Floyd suffered injustice at the hands of the police. Where the idea of consensus reality breaks down is on how prevalent injustices like that are.

When you talk about contextualizing, here's some context that comes to mind: the number of unarmed blacks that are shot each year is very small (9 in 2019, and most of those were clearly justified, compared to 19 whites, according the Washington Post Police Shooting database). In both unarmed and armed suspects killed by police, blacks are killed in disproportionately lower numbers compared to the proportion of crimes committed by blacks, and the corresponding number of interactions they have with police. In short, there is not empirical evidence of systemic police bias against blacks in shootings (I won't document that here, but I could if anybody wants). Those claiming there is are inflaming people around a very emotional subject and delegitimizing law enforcement and putting us perilously close to a race war.

I think our country is virtually having a nervous breakdown about race at the moment because activists and politicians are overemphasizing racism. I will grant that Republicans and Donald Trump need to have more empathy and understanding about the problems the black community faces. Race is probably the most complex long term issue in our country and it is simplistic at this point to say that all the problems blacks have are because of white/Republican racism, or are even necessarily largely solvable by the government. Our law enforcement, courts, schools, etc, are administered at a city, county and state level. If blacks are the victims of systemic racism, these systems that are victimizing them in most all the black population centers are run by Democrats and have been for many decades. Why are they not accountable for that?

Your comment in response to Cal I actually agreed with largely (hope that doesn't throw you off). Also, how much of a hit did black home ownership take in the 2008/09 economic crisis do you think? I know they made up a big amount of the foreclosures at the time.

Bill,
You said, "I do resent this effort jon to paint the democrats in one ugly brush stroke. The far right and the far left are the minority and always will be. The vast majority of us live in the mushy middle."
I think I said early in this thread that I thought about a third of Democrats being Far Left was a pretty good estimate. I think probably the majority of Dems are much more moderate, but the energy and momentum in the party is on that fringe, and the center of gravity of the party has shifted left. Just ask Bernie.

I don't ignore the president's rhetoric, I just don't pay a lot of attention to it or give it inordinate due. Everything, all the time is not always about Trump (though he would probably like it to be) and I don't see why we need to act like it is.

"The violence has to end. The only question you need to answer is whether Biden or trump will be the one most likely to get us back to normal? If Biden wins, the street movements will consider that a win for them and confirmation that their tactics worked. Those committing violence are basically bullies and when you give bullies what they want, expect more bullying. If violence works to elect dems, expect more violence to get them to give them everything they want. Democrats so far have proved constitutionally incapable of standing up to the mob.

Intellectual Assassin,
I have an answer to your question about the most unrest being in whiter locals, but I think I will refrain because I've been talking way too much this thread.

The Fair Housing Act of 1968
When Republicans were different
Such as Republican for passage John B Anderson

However
Democrat:
"Representative Joseph D. Waggonner of Louisiana claimed that rioters had “blackmailed” the House into considering the bill. Representative Anderson, however, saw the violence as the product of “conditions that for all too long have been left untended in our society.”

King’s murder on April 4 in Memphis, Tennessee, changed the calculus for passage, igniting a week of intense debate in the House over the fate of the legislation as riots spread through cities across America.

There is the Democratic Party and the Republican Party and the Donald Trump Party.
Currently Donald owns the GOP. Primarily because he is giving them what they want.
Lots of Catholic Judges. A very conservative supreme court. A slowing of the Browning of the US.
Big stock market profits.
Trump is about conflict. His life profile is one of conflict. Business and Personal.
Biden may be sleepy but he seems saner and more reasonable and works hard.
Here’s to you all’s optimism. Hope you can work out some solutions that will bring about some sanity to this planet of almost 8 billion humans and less and less other species every day.
May Soleri and John 7190 continue their
Eppe word thrusting in a fair but grueling manner.
Jon 7190 its OK to agree with Soleri when he responds to something I post. I hold no grudges and come here for the education delivered by geniuses.

Jon7190, consensus reality was a given back in the day when there were three major networks. America wasn't yet paralyzed by the Republican culture war while Republican officeholders tended to be sane. There was still something called the Fairness Doctrine that maintained guardrails around our discourse. This changed dramatically in the 1990s when Newt Gingrich in tandem with Fox News and Rush Limbaugh initiated America's descent in epic polarization. Your side did this, Jon, because it couldn't resist the poison fruit of division for the sake of power. You seemingly believe this division is ideological and principled. It is not. It is ad hoc and incoherent. You are, to my way of thinking, not a conservative because you are not interested in conserving what is best in America. What is "best" is our national unity. What is "worst" is dividing us for the sake of power.

Fox News is mostly red-meat opinionating that has dramatically weakened our nation. Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Jeanne Pirro, Fox & Friends, et al, are not journalists. They are far right pundits who speak with manic authority about current events in the manner of barroom blowhards at 2am.

Fox News does employ real journalists like Neil Cavuto, Bret Baier, and Chris Wallace. They often refuse to lie for Team R, which means their ratings are at best so-so. The Fox News audience, however, is addicted to certitude and culture war. They have been primed to hate America's other half. Congratulations, I guess, but they - and you - are making America weaker, not stronger.

Journalism is a craft with rules and standards. This explains why the right's flamethrowers never win prizes for investigative reporting or criticism. They tend to be crude, obviously biased, and laughably simplistic. They also tend to lie profligately. Remind you of someone orange?

One reason why I keep knocking the progs in this forum is to show you it's possible to think outside the ideological boxes of left and right. You don't have to believe everything your side says. Sadly, you do. Your criticism of the right is, well, non-existent. You blithely skate over Trump's manifest unfitness to be president, his pathological lying, his intentional and brazen divisiveness. He's Vladimir Putin's favorite American for a reason, and it's not because Vlad has our best interests at heart.

I'm close to giving up on our exchanges because all my promptings still have not stirred in you even a tiny impulse to step outside your political comfort zone. My guess is that your lack of willingness to do this is an aspect of tribal consciousness. You are too immersed in it to think freely or bravely.

A few years ago, Rogue's comment section was full of left-wing zealots. Bernie's near-capture of the party in 2016 was the proximate cause. Cal and I went at it quite a bit and I know I alienated a few people in the Talton Fan Club. I'm happy Cal has forgiven me but I'm getting close to the point where I no longer care to pretend I'm even a liberal if liberalism means espousing ideological nonsense like "Wokeness" and socialism in a center-right nation. Today's lefties can be every bit as close-minded as Rush's dittoheads. Many are inebriated with certitude and group-think. But I don't have to struggle hard to remember how I was at their age, overflowing with self-righteousness, anger, and self-pity.

I never thought of myself as a patriot when I was young. I was bitter about Vietnam and America's failures to confront its brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. As I grew older, I gradually began to see the arc of history in America's fitful progress toward a more perfect union. Justice was elusive but we struggled consciously to join hands anyway if only to make things better for future generations. This is our story and it's worth honoring. What isn't worth honoring is the glib and cynical idea that "being right" is more important than being kind, compassionate, and humble. True patriotism happens when we empathize with others instead of slicing and dicing ourselves into ideological boxes. We can do this by listening, entertaining doubts, and even changing our minds. Right now, I can't reach you because you because the noise level is too intense. Maybe someday, but the best opportunity is always here and now.

Bravo soleri! Outstanding comments.

Soleri. Time for a long bicycle ride through the forest.
Take a few days off.
Go to Powell's and grab a copy of
Sinclair Lewis's "It Cant Happen Here."

The GOP said he was sent by God and thus they made him King.

https://www.salon.com/2019/08/22/evangelicals-told-trump-he-was-chosen-by-god-now-he-says-it-himself/

Survival suggestions
https://www.treehugger.com/grow-food-not-grass-fight-climate-change-4867740?utm_campaign=treehugger&utm_medium=email&utm_source=cn_nl&utm_content=21375076&utm_term=

Arizona goes Biden Blue
https://morningconsult.com/2020/09/01/battleground-presidential-polling-post-conventions/?utm_source=The+Muck+Rack+Daily&utm_campaign=d69f951bbc-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_09_01_04_27&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_af2b2023a3-d69f951bbc-28068313

However
Investors should position for the rising odds of President Donald Trump winning re-election, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-09-01/jpmorgan-says-prepare-for-rising-chance-trump-wins-second-term?utm_source=The+Muck+Rack+Daily&utm_campaign=d69f951bbc-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_09_01_04_27&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_af2b2023a3-d69f951bbc-28068313

Soleri,

You said earlier that America is an ongoing experiment in the viability of genuine diversity in a functional democracy. That's very true and I've observed often that this experiment is getting more challenging as our country gets more diverse. Not only more racially and culturally diverse, but perhaps more crucial: theologically, religiously, ideologically and morally diverse.

There's a saying that politics is downstream of culture, which I think is very true. If there are problems with our politics, that's a symptom of an unhealthy culture rather than a cause. If the parties are getting more polarized and not compromising as much as they used to, it's because society is more polarized. If people elect a brash businessman political brawler as president, it's because that's what they feel is needed to make things happen in the government. Whatever dysfunctions one sees in politics, it is probably a sign of existing dysfunctions in the culture.

Looking at events and trends in our country, who could deny that there is a deep spiritual sickness? Our politics and government reflect it and the cure for it undoubtedly goes beyond the capabilities of politicians. That's not to say that this isn't still a great country and that good politicians and public policy aren't helpful, just that politicians can't save us and it's unreasonable for us to expect them to. It's a job for individuals, families and communities.

I hear your frustration. I'm sorry I can't give you what you want, if you are hoping to change my mind on which of the two choices would be better for the country. It's a binary choice and I don't think the president or Republicans are perfect or even close, just the better option. If you have never heard me say a critical word about them (over our many exchanges), I'm not sure how closely you've been reading. I think listening, entertaining doubts, and even changing our minds is good too. I don't sense a lot of mind changing from your end, either. I think maybe we're both a little tribal. It's frustrating to me that you can live in a place like Portland with your eyes wide open and so clearly identify the toxicity of wokeness, socialism and escalating street violence and still support the politicians who either submit and kowtow to them or actively support those philosophies. The rising stars and energy of the Democratic party are all in that direction, but moderate Dems will still vote for a ticket whose administration would surely be chockablock at senior levels with those type of radicals (or their appeasers) who will have a huge influence on policy.

Besides letting the far left get perilously close to the levers of our government, if people elect an over-the-hill pol who never had an opinion he didn't get from sticking his finger in the wind and has a whole closet full of past questionable ethics, what does that say about us? (That's a softball question for you, but a serious one to me)

We should probably wrap this up soon, if you want you can have the last word. Thanks for the good exchange. Even if we don't change our minds, it is enjoyable and valuable for me to hear your point of view and your pushback.

Just one more thing on the topic of the media. Increased political polarization started around the time of the emergence of conservative broadcast media, but I'm not sure about your inference of cause and effect. In keeping with the idea of politics being downstream of culture, I would say that the rise of figures like Rush Limbaugh and Gingrich reflected that there were conservatives out there in the country and figures that could speak effectively to their concerns would naturally gain popularity. Fox News wouldn't have succeeded if there wasn't an appetite for a news outlet that told the conservative point of view. With the lower financial bar for entry to AM radio, the advent of cable TV and later the internet, it was inevitable that more political points of view would be broadly aired. The Fairness Doctrine sounds kind of nice in the abstract, but the government dictating to organizations what the political content of their broadcasts must be clearly violates the first amendment and if the FCC hadn't dropped it in 1987, it surely would have fallen to a court challenge before long. Polarization was coming one way or another because the country was getting more ideologically varied and putting all the blame on Fox and Republicans for creating it is viewing things a bit too partisanly.

Republicans may have been the innovators (them being the big free-marketers that they are!), but Democrats picked up on it pretty quick. Today, MSNBC and CNN are the corollary on left to Fox and Democrats take a back seat to no one in dividing us for the sake of power.

The "politics is downstream from culture" trope is something I use a lot to remind the wide-eyed zealots on my side that you can't simply vote for a new and better reality, that it's much more complex than feeling the Bern and raising some imaginary flag of liberation over the chaos of modern life. Politics used to work in America because there was a broad middle swath that agreed with the broad contours of reality. That consensus reality began breaking down in the late '60s and the final rupture occurred in the '90s with Newt Gingrich and the rise of hard-right mass media. So, here we are in 2020 wondering whether America can even survive an election in which one rogue leader is trafficking in bizarre conspiracy theories from the lunatic fringe (see: QAnon). Call it the Apocalypse Maybe election.

I wanted to reassure you in this exchange that I was aware of the issues of our governance were not just the bad actors on your side. I noted the presence of zealots in Portland who inhabit an alternate reality in which disbanding the police is considered a possibility. I mentioned the culture which is not merely a political construct but a necessary boon for people to lead sane and fulfilled lives. I regularly threw my hands up with the utter vacuity and nonsense of the "woke" culture. That's my side and I put it on the table. Qeustion: what have you put on the table?

I kept saying I want to meet you halfway because I acknowledge the left is far from blameless in our national breakdown. Who did you mention from your side who is contributing to this nightmare? Anyone obvious? Say, Donald Trump?

No.

Merely denying that a man with the ethical and moral compass of a mobster might be a threat to our democratic norms is not a discussion. It's just reality denial. Forgetting to mention that right-wing extremists, who are much more lethal than their counterparts on the left, pose an ongoing threat to the domestic tranquility is a conspicuously missed opportunity. https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/trump-homeland-security-official-endorse-biden-blame-trump-covid-1050281/

As near as I can tell, I'm the only one in this forum inviting you to lay the cudgels down and actually engage in a real discussion. I'm avid to explore this stuff because I believe if America is going to survive, we will have to de-polarize enough to not only establish a truce but to start making sense to one another. What I want from you is an acknowledgement of the scope of our mutual problem and why it might be a good idea to think outside our ideological and political boxes.

There's a podcast in Portland I follow which explores this problem really well. There's no partisan flamethrowing. It's essentially reasonable people clearing out the underbrush of "talking points" to explore what really matters. Give it a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0YJz62Bi18

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