Monday Reads

6367822Well, I’m not sure what to say … still …

The first bad news is that Steven Bannon is the new Karl Rove. There will be a white nationalist who hates women in charge of policy strategy. This is from a petition at SPLC. Please consider signing it.

Bannon presided over a news empire where he, according to former staffers, ”aggressively pushed stories against immigrants, and supported linking minorities to terrorism and crime.”

“We’re the platform for the alt-right,” Bannon said in July, using a term that is really just a rebranding of traditional white nationalism.

Under Bannon, Breitbart published a call to “hoist [the Confederate flag] high and fly it with pride” only two weeks after the Charleston massacre when the country was still reeling from the horrors of the murders.

Under Bannon, Breitbart published an extremist anti-Muslim tract where the author wrote that “rape culture” is “integral” to Islam.

Worse perhaps, Bannon personally insinuated that African Americans are “naturally aggressive and violent.”

6179cdcc09b92d94eccbceb1d10d34aaThe second bit is that Lamar White, Jr. is likely right that media theorist Neil Postman who wrote Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business was astoundingly prescient. Has America “amused itself to death”? The media played right into proving Postman’s hypothesis imho.

From the moment he announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015, bizarrely gliding down the escalator of his eponymous tower, America was hooked.

It didn’t matter how absurd he behaved or who he insulted; that was part of the fun, and instead of marginalizing him, it became a justification for the media to focus on him even more. He became must-see TV, not because he said anything substantive or even remotely realistic about domestic or foreign policy. In fact, he made it repeatedly clear that he had very little idea what he was talking about. According to non-partisan fact-checking organizations, more than 70% of what he said on the campaign trail was either mostly false or completely false. He lied far more often than he told the truth.

No, he became must-see TV, because like any good salesman and showman, Donald Trump understood his audience. He spoke in vague platitudes and pitched a slogan- “Make America Great Again”- that could fill in for an answer on any question. He surrounded himself with media professionals. His son-in-law owns The New York Observer, a paper that was more than happy to publish thinly-sourced gossip about his opponent as if it was gospel truth. He counted Sean Hannity, the conservative talk show radio host and FOX News celebrity, as a top adviser, along with Roger Ailes, the Republican political operative who built FOX News into a media empire before being forced to resign amid allegations of sexual harassment. And he hired Steve Bannon, the anti-Semitic editor of the popular conservative news website Breitbart, as his campaign’s chief executive.

In the immediate aftermath of his stunning victory, which shocked even Trump himself and which practically no one had predicted, there was a tendency to believe that Trump’s message of “economic populism” was the critical key to his success. He flipped enough working-class white voters in the Rust Belt because his message resonated with them.

This, I’m afraid, gives far too much credit to what truly motivated those voters, because Trump, despite all of his bluster about renegotiating trade deals and being the only person on the planet that could solve America’s problems, never had a serious plan to help the working class. His message was not about “economic populism;” it was about nativist resentment. It was not about inspiring “the forgotten man and woman,” as he suggested shortly after winning the presidency; it was about stoking their anger: Mexicans are illegally depriving you of a job; the Chinese are ripping us off; Muslims are terrorizing us; African-Americans are disrespecting “law and order” by protesting against police brutality; a global cabal of financiers are secretly conspiring to plunder our wealth (you shouldn’t need a history degree to figure out what that was about).

These Rust Belt voters, who determined the election despite the fact that Hillary Clinton is expected to win nationwide by at least 2 million votes, weren’t parsing through detailed policy papers from both candidates; they weren’t reading the objective economic analysis about the ways in which Clinton’s plans would add 10 million jobs to the workforce while Trump’s would result in a loss of 3 million jobs.

Please read the entire essay. You’ll be glad did.maxresdefault

Amanda Marcotte–writing for Salon–says “Yes, the white male anger that fueled Trump’s victory was real — but it isn’t valid.”

The anger that Donald Trump voters feel is very real. You don’t fling a proto-fascist pussy-grabbing monstrosity into the White House unless you really want to convey that fuck-you sentiment.

Because this anger is so real and so palpable, there’s been an unfortunate tendency in much of the media to assume that this anger must also be valid. The entire election cycle was a clusterfuck of articles demanding empathy for Trump voters, insisting that their rage must have some rational rootsperhaps economic insecurity?

The persistence of the “economic insecurity” angle in the face of overwhelming evidence against it was a testament to the power of hope over reason. If economic insecurity drives this rage, then something can be done about it. But if the rage is driven by less savory factors — unrepentant sexism and racism — then there is no way to mollify it without throwing women and people of color under the bus. It is also not for nothing that most “economic insecurity” theorists were themselves white men, perhaps eager for a narrative that makes people who look like them seem a little more sympathetic.

But wishing doesn’t make something true, or we’d be chatting about a President-elect Hillary Clinton today.

No doubt Trump supporters are people who felt they’ve lost something. But what they’ve lost is something that wasn’t rightly theirs to begin with: Unearned privilege. The Trump revolution was driven by white men who are watching women and people of color making gains that put them closer to equality. They are rebelling at the erosion of the sense that white men are better and more important than everyone else, simply because they exist.

enhanced-14774-1392074209-28Rebecca Solnit at The Guardian writes: “Don’t call Clinton a weak candidate: it took decades of scheming to beat her.”

Sometimes I think I have never seen anything as strong as Hillary Clinton. That doesn’t mean that I like and admire everything about her. I’m not here to argue about who she is, just to note what she did. I watched her plow through opposition and attacks the like of which no other candidate has ever faced and still win the popular vote. To defeat her it took an unholy cabal far beyond what Barack Obama faced when he was the campaign of change, swimming with the tide of disgust about the Bush administration. As the New York Times reported, “By the time all the ballots are counted, she seems likely to be ahead by more than 2m votes and more than 1.5 percentage points. She will have won by a wider percentage margin than not only Al Gore in 2000 but also Richard Nixon in 1968 and John F Kennedy in 1960.”

You can flip that and see that Trump was such a weak candidate it took decades of scheming and an extraordinary international roster of powerful players to lay the groundwork that made his election possible. Defeating Clinton in the electoral college took the 2013 gutting of the Voting Rights Act by Republican appointees to the supreme court. It took vast Republican voter suppression laws and tactics set in place over many years. It took voter intimidation at many polling places. It took the long Republican campaign to blow up the boring bureaucratic irregularity of Clinton’s use of a private email server into a scandal that the media obediently picked up and reheated.

Kurt Eichenwald continues to be a voice worthy hearing.  His Newsweek headline reads: “THE MYTHS DEMOCRATS SWALLOWED THAT COST THEM THE PRESIDENTIAL zt1_maya_angelou_quote_mELECTION.”

A certain kind of liberal makes me sick. These people traffic in false equivalencies, always pretending that both nominees are the same, justifying their apathy and not voting or preening about their narcissistic purity as they cast their ballot for a person they know cannot win. I have no problem with anyone who voted for Trump, because they wanted a Trump presidency. I have an enormous problem with anyone who voted for Trump or Stein or Johnson—or who didn’t vote at all—and who now expresses horror about the outcome of this election.  If you don’t like the consequences of your own actions, shut the hell up.

So, I could post dozens of links about stuff here but I think it’s best you share what resonates with you today.   Meanwhile, just let a little bit of Maya’s wisdom wash all over you!!!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?



68 Comments on “Monday Reads”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Top House Oversight Democrat asks for hearings on Trump’s conflicts of interest
    by Matthew Yglesias

    Donald Trump’s dual roles as president-elect of the United States and owner of a large but completely opaque network of privately held companies present unprecedented conflicts of interest that the country heard little about during a campaign where coverage was dominated by Hillary Clinton’s emails and chasing the latest crazy-sounding Trump remarks.

    Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, wants Congress to start focusing on these problems and has sent a letter to his opposite number, Chair Jason Chaffetz of Utah, requesting hearings into the matter.

    Cummings notes that “Trump’s unprecedented secrecy and his extensive business dealings in foreign countries raise serious questions about how he intends to avoid conflicts of interests as president.” He correctly notes that Trump’s plan to have his children run his businesses does not even begin to solve the problem, because “these same individuals have played a significant role in his presidential campaign and continue to advise Mr. Trump on his transition team.”

    Consequently, he’s asking Chaffetz to “begin a review of these issues and invite appropriate officials designated by Mr. Trump to hear from them directly about their plans.”

    well, we know a few dem congress folks are going to be doing right by the country

    • Enheduanna says:

      My first thought was nah – they won’t do a thing about it – BUT, could this be the way the GOPer establishment gets rid of Trump and gets Pence?

      I find Chaffetz one of the most revolting people in Congress – in part because he’s kind of youngish and doesn’t have the “excuse” for being a throwback of growing up in the Mad Men era. The way he talked to Cecile Roberts over the PP “baby parts” ridiculousness made steam come out of my ears.

    • NW Luna says:

      This blatant conflict of interest needs to be intensely scrutinized. Glad to see something start.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Gwen Ifill dies at age 61

    I’m shocked. I had no idea she was sick. She died in hospice care. Very sad.

    • NW Luna says:

      Another loss.

      • Enheduanna says:

        What a dreadful year this has been. Did anyone see John Oliver last night and his “Fuck 2016” segment? I didn’t catch the whole thing but it was funny. We’ve lost so many people this year.

    • joanelle says:

      Oh, no – I met Gwen at a dinner honoring female business leaders a number of years ago. I sat next to her that May, at our head table and had a wonderful conversation about then candidate, Barack Obama as he ran for the presidency. She had a great sense of humor and humanity about her. What a terrible loss.

    • Fannie says:

      Just getting in from my Rural America trip……….and heard this sad news. I asked myself why wasn’t she involved in the debates….she was too sick. R. I. P. Gwen Ifill.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    I read Postman’s book many years ago. It was great and of course prescient.

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    “They” own everything now. There is little we can do to change it. Let’s be honest with ourselves – this is the reality,

    Trump just thumbed his nose at the rest of us by appointing Steve Bannon as his “chief counsel”. He owes Bannon a lot and payment will come do shortly after the swearing in. Don’t
    underestimate Mike Pence’s influence who I predict will bring down the hammer on gays, women, and climate change immediately.

    We can roar, scream, march and howl at the moon but the dye is cast. Count on the press to rollover and play dead in short order. Ratings, donacha know.

    What I have learned in this past16 months is that you can stand before the public and lie your soul into hell and nobody really cares. Even if you are running as the leader of the free world you can slide by unchallenged because this is what and who we are.

    Bush lied to the public and the world has never been the same since. We are looking at even more lies followed by consequences we have yet to endure and the saddest of all is that we do it willingly.

    We are nation of dunces, shameless and without a moral center. We have failed.

  5. janicen says:

    Yeah, I’m not letting anyone get by with the notion that Clinton lost the “White Working Class”. WTF is that anyway? If you think you are talking about a group of people interested in economic principles or trade deals then why “White” working class? Why did the majority of them vote Trump and yet Minority Working Class voters went overwhelmingly for Clinton. Clearly the reason for the WWC vote is other than economic interest. As well, she lost the WWC in the rust belt. Well Obama pretty much saved the rust belt’s collective ass when he rescued the American auto industry didn’t he? So it seems the whites in the rust belt were voting for some reason other than their economic interests.

    Eichenwald’s article in a must read for all Democrats whether you supported Hillary or Sanders in the primaries. It’s jaw dropping. I’ve been thinking about that Russian propaganda operation as I’m now seeing a resurgence of so-called Sanders supporters attacking Clinton. I just don’t think they are real, I think the Kremlin’s pro-Sanders propaganda machine has been cranked up again to get us fighting with each other while they take over our government. Heaven help us all.

    • dakinikat says:

      Some of the Sanders supporters are acting over the top again. I still don’t think they get it that Bernie would’ve fared much better if not worse. These folks are making terrible anti-Semitic signs and Bannon would have had a hey day with him.

      • janicen says:

        After reading Eichenwald’s piece, I’m beginning to think I was right during the primary season when I was saying that I didn’t think the nastiest and most vocal Bernie supporters were really Bernie supporters but rather they were ratfuckers. Turns out they probably were but they were Russian, not Republican.

    • Enheduanna says:

      Janicen – Joseph Cannon has an interesting read from yesterday about Bernie’s Russia connection.

      Not sure what to make of some of it, but I wasn’t aware of the Tad Devine/Yanukovich connection.

      • MsMass says:

        Did you see Bernie’s tweet- what a POS!
        Bernie Sanders ✔@BernieSanders
        I come from the white working class, and I am deeply humiliated that the Democratic Party cannot talk to the people where I came from.
        10:55 AM – 14 Nov 2016

        • Fannie says:

          What the hell is he doing now? We knew he was going to worm his way in the party, and maybe go in like the tea party. But really, I’d be happy to go spend a season there, can he put me and a few other dems up?

        • NW Luna says:

          Sanders — You’re not a Democrat. STFU.
          The real question is — Why does the WWC not listen except to a racist serial rapist?

    • Enheduanna says:

      Thank for this! I’ve already donated but will do it again!

      Also apologies for calling Cecile Richards Cecile Roberts above!

    • NW Luna says:

      Good article. They have only themselves to blame. And they still ignore

      the fact that the Democratic nominee is not merely winning the popular vote, but is running away with it. There is little to no coverage that a vestige of the shameful slave era meant to protect slave states, the electoral college, is massively undermining the will of the people. There is little to no attention being paid that not only will Hillary Clinton win the popular vote, she will have gotten more votes for president than any other presidential candidate in history, except for Barack Obama.

    • Fannie says:

      Haven’t watched them for 5 days………….damn I am cleaned.

  6. purplefinn says:

    Amanda Marcotte – Yes!!!!
    Hillary got people who would vote for Hillary – a variety of identities and interests. And they were the majority of the people. Strategically they were not in the right place for the Electoral College. That’s it.

    Marcotte –

    The Trump revolution was driven by white men who are watching women and people of color making gains that put them closer to equality. They are rebelling at the erosion of the sense that white men are better and more important than everyone else, simply because they exist.

    It is hard to lose status. But everyone has to face hard stuff.

      • NW Luna says:

        Yes. It’s always made me furious that people assume Hillary was not as liberal as she is. They don’t even bother to reality-check their assumptions and read those detailed policy descriptions on her website. Lazy assumptionists. Not that Tina Brown has ever been someone I’ve liked.

        Plus it’s so easy to 2nd-guess afterwards. This was the 1st Presidential election since the Voting Rights Act was eviscerated, and with so many states putting regressive voter ID laws in place. Hillary got more white women who in the past voted Republican to vote for her than did Obama against Romney in 2012 (sourced: Atlantic article I linked to last thread). Also, the damned Electoral College skews the voting results. Had she gotten the same popular vote numbers, or even a bit less, in difference states, she would have won the EC votes. But the combination of all those things brought us tragedy. Our candidate was not flawed.

      • Earlynerd says:

        Lisa Featherstone is the wife of that woman hating progbro Doug Henwood.

        Mr. Henwood squatted on a woman-and-economics email list for over a decade, in partnership with another liberal woman hating male Carol Cox, and shut down every academic, informed and concerned question about women’s economic rights by stuffing the “what about the poor minority menz, you privileged white women?” gag down their throats. When I asked who cleaned his toilets, in the midst of a guilt trip in which he addressed not at all the fact that most men expect women to do their housework, during an exchange about hiring household help, that sparked a lively and considered discussion with the women of the list. But his confrere remained silent (of course) and M. Henwood blustered that he and his wife shared housekeeping. Like hell.

        In the same way women’s studies were conscripted by these fauxgressives, that list eventually stopped discussing anything much relating to women and economics and settled for sending out conference announcements and university postings.

        (It’s always kind of tickled me that her name is the same as that existentialist horror who ends up running away from his own existence in Middlemarch. I believe Elliot was explicit in naming him for those two contradictions)

    • ANonOMouse says:

      True that! And a lot of those white men are enabled in their delusion of entitlement by white women

  7. Valhalla says:

    Both the Solnit and Marcotte pieces should be required reading for everyone in the media. I would add that this obsession with the WWC, esp WWC men, is a dangerous romanticisation. It is like a disease that is running rampant among (mostly) white male media.

    I believe there IS lots of economic anxiety in this country. Some of it is real, since many people didn’t recover well or at all after the 2008 crash. But the greater part of it was manufactured anxiety by the Republican lie machine over the past 30 years.

  8. ANonOMouse says:

    The “white working class” line is plain BS. Hillary’s loss was 1 part sexism/1 part racism. No matter what Bernie says, many whites voted for Trump because he’s a white MAN. On the day of the election I was watching MSNBC or CNN, I don’t remember which and they showed a line of voters waiting to vote in PA. The line was out the door and down the sidewalk. I quickly scanned the line and saw only 1 woman in that line and no people of color. That hit me like a brick and I thought to myself that it was a bad omen. Later in the day they showed a line in rural PA standing in the dark waiting in line to vote. I knew those folks weren’t waiting to vote for Hillary. And white women voting for Trump is easily explained, especially if you know many evangelical white women. They voted as they thought their husband, pastor, church friends or BF wanted them to vote. They are what we describe in the gay community as “self loathing”. They still believe that women should not lead because leadership is reserved for men. And many of the women who voted for Trump who aren’t evangelicals, well my question is “DID ANY OF YOU WATCH THE TRUMP RALLIES?” If you did then you saw a lot of the women who attended those rallies and no explanation for why they voted for Trump is required, but I’ll give it to you anyway, REDNECK! They simply have no appreciation for an accomplished woman like Hillary and distrust any woman who isn’t part of their klan. Sorry to make those judgments about my own gender, but JJ knows exactly the type of woman I’m talking about because she lives around them too.

    • NW Luna says:

      Yes again. It was the white women with little education who went for Trump. Voting against their own interests, as tradition and their husbands demand.

    • Fannie says:

      And those women, all thought Hillary Clinton was so wrong for calling the voters DEPLOREABLES………… don’t do that in politics……… in go ahead and call her a bitch, a slut, and cunt, and everything else, but she shouldn’t have used to term “deplorable” to the VOTERS.

  9. Beata says:

    RIP, Leon Russell.

    • Beata says:

      “I love you in a place where there’s no space and time.

      I love you for my life, you are a friend of mine.

      And when my life is over, remember when we were together.

      We were alone and I was singin’ this song for you.”

    • Fannie says:

      Oh No, Leon. On the road be sure to tell our Lady friend Lori Mesa, I will always be thinking of her, and this here was for the time that this was truly a song of her.

      Thank you man, it was fantastic making love to your music. It was fantastic watching you in Bangladesh with George Harrison. It was fantastic to watch you at Filmore West in SF. Watching you was always a good thing.

      R. I. P.

    • janicen says:

      As a teen and an undergrad, I didn’t have a whole lot of money to spend on albums but I damn sure bought that one. That’s one of the most beautiful, soulful pieces of music ever performed. Thank you.

    • contrask says:

      I live in Ok where Leon is from, know some of his relatives and recently went to a concert put on by the Leon Lifers. Fun group of people sill following him. Sad day for for fans. He was unique.

    • Ron4Hills says:

      One of the truly beautiful songs. Thanks.

  10. dakinikat says:

    Anyone ever heard of someone trying this before?

    • janicen says:

      Even if it worked and it went to the House, wouldn’t the House just pick Trump anyway?

      • NW Luna says:

        Probably. If they picked someone like Romney things would be slightly less bad than with Drumpf. But we still wouldn’t get Hillary.

        I am going to hammer my Rep & Senators to start tearing down the Electoral College, for whatever good that will do.

        • janicen says:

          I can’t think of another Republican who wouldn’t jump at the chance to get rid of Social Security and Medicare. G.W. Bush didn’t but he was a disaster in other ways. Yeah, maybe you’re right, maybe Romney would be better.

          • ANonOMouse says:

            GW Bush wanted to privatize SS, but that effort was swatted down quickly. He was also a fan of Medicare vouchers. Paul Ryan has adopted both plans and I feel certain Medicare vouchers will be one of the first things they attempt to touch on the 3rd rail and they may be successful. They keep LYING and saying that Medicare is being tanked by Obamacare, but that’s untrue. In fact Obamacare has helped strengthen Medicare.

            If they voucher Medicare we’ll take a giant leap backward to a time when seniors ended their lives destitute because they were taken down by medical costs. I saw it in my own family in the early 50’s when my grandmother cared for my grandfathers dying brother after he lost his home and could no longer afford medical care. He died in my grandparents bedroom, in excruciating agony. I remember a doctor coming to the house every couple of days to give him a shot, which I now know was morphine. I also remember seniors being sent to places they called the “poor house” where seniors without resources or help went to die. Why Trump voters romanticize and want to go back to the late 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s is beyond me. Those were not good times.

          • Beata says:

            There is virtually nothing stopping a GOP-controlled White House and Congress from destroying Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid now.

            I remember my grandparents worrying about “the poorhouse” even though, in their adult years, they were solidly middle-class. But that is where people often ended up before the New Deal and the Great Society provided a safety net. That safety net has always had holes in it but it will be turned into shreds by this administration.

            My mother used to have a key chain with the words “The Rats Win” printed on it. To her, it was no joke.

          • ANonOMouse says:

            “There is virtually nothing stopping a GOP-controlled White House and Congress from destroying Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid now.”

            There are 2 things stopping them.

            1. Cloture/Filibuster. They need a 60 person majority vote to Close debate and to bring it to the floor for a vote before the Senate. Unless McConnell nukes the rule, which isn’t a smart move because GOP won’t always be in the majority, they’ll never get to 60.

            2. The American people will not stand for Medicare to become a voucher or SS to be reduced and privatized and put into the Stock Market. You saw what happened when Obama contemplated chained CPI.

            I know that Ryan will try like hell get both Medicare and SS reform out of the House, but getting those 2 things out of the House and then getting them through the Senate are not the same things.

            I’m more concerned about ROE in the short term. Roe is vulnerable, but replacing Scalia isn’t enough to overturn ROE. Remember that Roe has been law for 43 years and in that time the GOP has had the ability to get ROE back before SCOTUS with the balance of power in their favor. Still, in order to bring a case challenging ROE before the court, someone must have standing and prove that they are harmed by the law. Lower courts continue to support Choice and in it’s 43 years no one has been able to get a strong enough case before the SCOTUS to overturn it.

            Here was the last challenge

            Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt

            On June 27, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a historic decision striking down a Texas law designed to shut down most of the state’s abortion clinics with medically unnecessary restrictions.

          • bostonboomer says:

            If Ryan succeeds in privatizing Medicare, the GOP will never win another national election. I’m with Mouse. I’m worried about abortion rights–and of course Trump starting WWIII

  11. jan says:

    Reading some comments online and ran across one that really blew my mind. a guy saying that what he had against the liberals and democrats was the fact that women could divorce their husbands and live on alimony and also that democrats refuse to sign up for the draft. the draft!!!! Either he was too stupid to realize there hasn’t been a draft for a long time or he has issues from long ago. Seems like the trump voters haven’t liked anything since the 60s or 70s and want to get rid of progress. or democracy.

  12. Beata says:

    I’m busy hoarding meds for the future that is already here. No time to waste! A good plan is the key.

    Have a great Tuesday, Skydancers. Here’s an upbeat little swing number for your musical enjoyment:

    • Beata says:

      I spent my college years studying Jewish history, particularly the Holocaust period. I also studied modern Russian and East European history. There were reasons, some very personal reasons, why I was consumed with a need to understand the nature of evil, and how, if possible to survive it. I was a diligent student but I can’t say I came away from those years with any answers. Sometimes there are no answers.

  13. contrask says:

    Beata, I don’t believe there are answers. I “felt” hate literally unleashed at the time the race was called. That feeling hasn’t lessened. Here is a good article from George Takei:

  14. NW Luna says:

    We have a caring and thoughtful community here in Sky Dancing. Bald words but I am so grateful to all of you.

  15. dakinikat says:

    one bit of good news today: