I stole the title from a friend’s Facebook post. I doubt he’ll mind.
He and I had the identical reaction to Trump’s speech to CPAC on Friday, in which Trump declared that America is about to undergo the greatest military buildup in history. Military buildups have one and only one purpose: going to war. That’s especially true when the nation embarking on the buildup already has the largest and most advanced military in the world, with most of the world’s other large fighting forces aligned with its own.
Worse yet, Trump, who expressed puzzlement at America’s no first strike policy regarding nuclear weapons, has promised a buildup in nuclear weaponry as well.
The only real questions are who and when. Iran? China? Mexico?
These are, as the saying goes, “interesting times.”
And we’re living in them.
Trump’s recent exchange with reporter April Ryan at last Thursday’s press conference has generated a ton of criticism.
Criticism that has been far too kind.
I saw Trump’s presser referred to as a “scream of consciousness.” I agree, but the presser included a scream of something else: racism.
In American politics these days, the unofficial rule is that as long as a politician doesn’t go so far as to use the “N” word, the press won’t use the “R” word. I will: Donald Trump is a flat-out, screaming racist. Racism is the only explanation for his exchange with reporter Ryan, his past birtherism, and countless other remarks. I remember an interview years ago in which he spoke of his “great relationship” with “the Blacks.” The Blacks? Really? Does Trump believe that all Black Americans think and feel the same way, or that they sit around a 40 million-person dinner table to discuss whom they like and don’t like? Continue reading
My son-in-law just reminded me that Stephen Miller, a co-author of Trump’s unconstitutional and racist ban on Muslims entering America, was John Shadegg’s press secretary during my race against him. Which makes for perhaps the easiest exercise in dot connecting ever. Dots we should have connected years ago.
Although under-reported by the media, Shadegg was a raging Islamaphobe. I learned this about midway through the campaign, when he used his two-minute speech at the annual AIPAC breakfast in 2008 to tout two books: Knowing the Enemy and America Alone. Later that day, a Google search revealed that Shadegg was pimping those books every chance he got. Although I was inundated with reading material related to the campaign, I felt compelled to read them.
I’m glad I did. I could never have known who I was running against without doing so. I never understood, however, that he was under the spell of a 23 year-old monster. Continue reading
Fortunately, among those who didn’t vote for Trump (and maybe a few who did) the resistance crowd is prevailing “bigly” over the “give him a chance” crowd.
That’s a great sign. It provides a glimmer of hope.
Here’s a not-so-great sign: Orwell’s 1984 tops the best seller list. Wait, what? “Lord, you quote Orwell incessantly. Now you don’t want people reading Orwell?”
No, reading Orwell isn’t a problem. But not reading Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals is. If this resistance is going to succeed, all Americans who don’t share Paula Pennypacker’s medieval worldview must not only resist, they must do so with maximum efficiency.
And that’s what Rules for Radicals is about. Which means people need to put down Orwell and pick up Alinsky. It’s been years since I read it, but the one thing I remember about Rules for Radicals is how outside the box Alinsky thought and how outsized his results were.
A recent email from a friend reminded me of this. Continue reading
I’ve taken issue with David Brooks of the New York Times on countless occasions here. I rarely agree with him.
But Brooks’ column today is entitled The Republican Fausts. In my post yesterday, I referenced the Faustian bargain conservatives had made with Trump. Not much vapor between those perspectives. Brooks explains the Faustian bargain reasonably well:
Many Republican members of Congress have made a Faustian bargain with Donald Trump. They don’t particularly admire him as a man, they don’t trust him as an administrator, they don’t agree with him on major issues, but they respect the grip he has on their voters, they hope he’ll sign their legislation and they certainly don’t want to be seen siding with the inflamed progressives or the hyperventilating media.
The dynamic referenced by the clause I’ve bolded overshadows all else. Brooks is dead on, but at the same time he sugarcoated his criticism of Republicans who refuse to oppose Trump. Not surprising. The reality of Republican cowardice is far more sinister. Continue reading
We all have our fears about Trump. Are we on the road to fascism? Will he lead us into a new war (or two)? Will he crash the economy? Will he bankrupt us? Will the planet burn after we gorge ourselves on fossil fuels for four years?
In this respect, “we” are not limited to progressives. Plenty of conservatives are far from sanguine about the first week of Trump’s presidency. Will they regret the Faustian bargain they made when they voted for him? They’re not at all confident, but they’re putting on a brave front.
I wonder, though, if the most dangerous aspect of the Trump presidency is one rarely discussed, mostly because it connects to a hazard we fail to recognize. Continue reading