#278 Twitter Furor (and Trash Talk) from America’s Fuhrer (Part 2)

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations.  Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters (see link at top of page).  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan and Matt (reporter) run into each other at coffee shop near Jordan’s office in Washington, DC.  Conversation begins Entry #277.

092615_2031_Characters11.pngMatt: “While getting a coffee refill, I was thinking about what you just said.”

Jordan: “You mean, ‘…in the first 12 months in office King Donald did as much damage to America…if not more damage…than Hitler did to Germany in his first 12 months in office.’”

Matt: “You really think that’s possible? I mean look how bad Hitler was.”

HitlerJordan: “Keep in mind the time frame. I didn’t compare Trump’s first year to Hitler’s entire time as Chancellor. Just one year to one year.”

Matt: “Just to make sure I understand your point — Trump was dragging down American faster in the first year than Hitler was dragging down Germany in his first year. Right?”

Jordan: “Yes. And still during the first years in office there were lots of people supporting actions by Hitler and lots of people supporting actions by Trump. Trump still was very Chart Decliningpopular with his base, which made up about 25% of the population. While his overall approval rating was somewhat higher, his rating was lousy by historical standards for presidents after their first year. And as time went on his approval rating kept dropping…and the disapproval rating kept increasing.”

Matt: “Somehow the high disapproval rating didn’t seem to ring alarm bells for most people. Frustrated, yes but no alarm bells. However, alarm bells did go off for those who understood history. Historians are good at looking at patterns…and what they saw and talked about was the Trump Administration demonstrating a pattern of Nixon Watergateobfuscation and cover-up that was similar in many ways to Nixon and Watergate.”

Jordan: “I’ll tell you another pattern of the Trump Administration that paralleled Nixon’s…discrimination and anti-Semitism.”

Matt: “OK, I’ll buy Trump and discrimination. But anti-Semitism? Trump’s son-in-law was Jewish…and Ivanka converted.”

Jordan: “I look at actions over time, not appearances. Trump’s father was an anti-Semite, refusing to rent his New York apartments to Jews. King Donald’s major confidant…at least during the campaign and the early part of the administration…was Steve Bannon. Bannon and Breitbart were no friends of Jews.”

Matt: “What about Trump’s attitude toward immigration? He didn’t specifically cite limiting the number of Jews…did he?”

Jordan: “Like I said, I look at actions. Remember the meeting at the White House in early 2018 to discuss a proposed bi-partisan senate deal on immigration reform and DACA?”

OuthouseMatt: “You mean the meeting with the infamous ‘why do we want to let in people from those ‘shithole’ countries?’…or something like that. I know the shithole countries part is right, and Trump’s shithole-countries included Haiti and parts of Africa.”

Jordan: “What does that comment tell you?”

Matt: “The most obvious was Trump preferred white to people of color.”

Jordan: “What else?”

Matt: “He thought immigrants should already be educated…and he didn’t think people in shithole countries weren’t educated. Some lived in huts.”

TurtleneckJordan: “What about religion?”

Matt: “We know he disliked Muslims. Hated Muslims might be a better word choice but leave it at ‘disliked.’”

Jordan: “What kind of people did he like?”

Matt: “As I recall he wanted more people from Norway to immigrate.”

Jordan: “Yes, white, Cristian-focused people were Trump’s ideal immigrants. But, guess what? Trump’s perfect Aryan people had no reason to immigrate.”

Matt: “So Trump was OK if immigrants had a background like his but not interested in anybody else. But he was from a fairly recent immigrant family. I think his grandfather immigrated sometime in the late 1800’s. Wasn’t his family name Drumpf, which is German.”

trump-scowlJordan: “So now we have the president openly expressing distaste for anyone other than white, western European Aryan-like immigrants. Except, the US population was full of all kinds of immigrants who didn’t fit Trump’s profile.”

Matt: “Except the hard-core Trumpsters, who thought they fit his profile and loved his shithole comment. But most of the rest of America was mortified with the comment.”

ComplicatedJordan: “As were our allies, which were doing a lot of head scratching trying to figure out what was really going on. In a normal administration, the allies would turn to the Secretary of State for some guidance. Where was Trump’s esteemed Secretary of State during this period…Mr. ExxonMobil himself? I think he was MIA.”

Matt: “Come to think of it, I can’t recall seeing him in any meetings on immigration. Also, no comment about Trump’s remarks.”

Jordan: “What I thought was even worse than the Secretary of State seeming to hide was the sudden amnesia that overcame two Republican senators in the meeting…not Lindsey Graham. Who were those other guys?”

PinocchioMatt: “You mean senators Perdue and Cotton? Purdue went so far as to wait a few days and then claim his colleague in the senate Dick Durbin was lying. As if someone would hold a press conference and claim the president would use the term ‘shithole countries.’ I mean Purdue seemed to be the one lying.  Besides, how stupid did Purdue think the public was?”

Jordan: “Perdue apparently thought he could lie to the public with no consequences. He was concerned about appealing to Trump’s base in Georgia, which put Perdue in office. Well, at least Graham supposedly scolded Trump in private. Why Graham didn’t do so publicly, I don’t know. Probably didn’t want to offend Trump and his fellow kahuna-less Republicans. I still cannot understand behavior of those Republican senators.”

Matt: “On a broader note, do you think Trump’s shithole comments contributed to the Revenge Revolution?”

Jordan: “Shithole did contribute, but as part of a trend. The longer Trump was in office, the more he acted like a dictator. He played more and more to his white-racist Republican base.”

Matt: “You’re not implying all Republicans are racists, are you?”

howdy-doody-2Jordan: “No. But, I’m also saying Republicans in Congress did nothing to stop Trump. As we talked about earlier, look how senate Republicans, including Graham, acted like Trump’s puppets, trying to block the Mueller investigation. Republicans in Congress were complicit. Fortunately, or unfortunately, Trump got so out of control he was taken out…but no thanks to Republicans in Congress.”

Matt: “When Trump got taken out, the country seemed to start to return to normal…but never quite made it. The damage was too great to the structure of government and to the public’s confidence in Congress.”

fife-drum%201Jordan: “And so, we had the Revenge Revolution…and after the revolution the beginning of a return to normalcy. Thanks goodness.”

Matt: “And unless I get out of here and back to the office I’ll be overthrown in a revolution. Jordan, nice to see you. Enjoyed the chat. And thanks for buying.”

Jordan: “Matt, nice to see you. Let’s do this again soon…and you buy.”

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#277 Twitter Furor by America’s Fuhrer

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations.  Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters (see link at top of page).  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan and Matt (reporter) run into each other at coffee shop near Jordan’s office in Washington, DC.

092615_2031_Characters11.pngMatt:  “Nice to see you Jordan.  Good holidays?”

Jordan:  “Holidays were relaxing.  Nice to see you, too, Matt.  You have time to chat over coffee or need to get to the office?”

Matt:  “Have a few minutes.  I’ll get a table while you pay.”

Jordan:  “Didn’t realize I was buying…but OK.”

Matt (as Jordan sits down):  “I just remembered what today is.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “And that is?”

Matt:  “You don’t remember?”

Jordan:  “No.  What am I forgetting?  Am I having another senior moment?”

Matt:  “The anniversary of your 15 minutes of fame.”

Jordan:  “You mean me being the subject of a flurry of Trump tweets?  That was a few years ago.”

Matt:  “The article you wrote apparently really got under the Donald’s skin.  What an attack on you.  The tweets directed at you were more vicious than most.  I was impressed.”

Jordan:  “The article needed to be written.  The title just seemed incredibly appropriate.  ‘Twitter Furor by America’s Fuhrer.’  Still like it.  And then he tweeted even more after the article.”

Matt:  “Did you think the article might change Trump’s behavior?”

Jordan:  “No, but he wasn’t the target audience.”

Matt:  “Who was?”

Bow DownJordan:  “The Republicans in Congress and some alleged grown-ups in the Trump Administration who put party loyalty over protecting the country.  Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham were two perfect examples of party-loyal senators falling on their hands and knees in front of King Donald.  Nikky Haley, then ambassador to the UN, was an example of an alleged grown-up in the administration who was acting like a child, claiming no one in the White House considered Trump a loose cannon.  What were they all thinking?”

Matt:  “Aren’t you being too partisan?  I mean wasn’t their role to support the president and the Republican Party?”

ConstitutionJordan:  “Support the president, support the Republican Party but endanger the country?  The last time I looked, the oath of office for those in Congress and those in the administration is to uphold and defend the Constitution, not uphold and defend some idiot in the White House, even if a member of your party.”

Matt:  “C’mon, Jordan.  You really think they put party ahead of the Constitution?”

Temper TantrumJordan:  “Let’s start with Republicans ignoring and protecting Trump’s behavior.  Despite the Donald’s repeated claims that he was a genius and mentally stable, he was neither.  How much more obvious could it have been that the guy was thinking and acting like a whiny 3rd grader?  How many presidents throw a tantrum every time they don’t get what they want?  As far as being a genius.  That’s laughable.  Matt, you went to that other school in Cambridge.  Do you think he could have held a candle to any of your classmates at Harvard?”

Matt:  “No.  And he was not as smart as your classmates at that other school in Cambridge.  Smarter than you maybe, but not smarter than your classmates.”

Jordan:  “Gee, thanks for the compliment.”

Matt:  “You know what I meant.  But why label Trump as America’s Fuhrer?  That title seems so incendiary.”

FartJordan:  “Incendiary by design.  At the time the head-in-the-sand…maybe head up someplace else…senators Gassy, I mean Grassley and Graham were making every effort to divert attention away from Mueller’s investigation and possible collusion with the Russians.  The two of them made a claim that some statements to some committee about the dossier could have, maybe, or in southern terms, might could have been just a bit misleading.  No evidence to support their claim, just conjecture.  All this noise while ignoring a legitimate investigation of actions by Trump, family and some in the administration that could have been treasonous.  So why the diversion?  What was in it for Grassley and Graham?”

Matt:  “I don’t know what was in it for them.  But what I take away is you’re thinking the efforts by the senators and others in the Congress and the Administration to protect Trump were in many ways no different from some of the German generals trying to protect Hitler.  Am I way off base?”

Jordan:  “You’re right on.”

Matt:  “I understand your point but don’t you think you went too far with the comparison to Hitler?”

swastikaJordan:  “Go back and think about when the article was published.  Trump’s one year into office and hell-bent on destroying institutions that are the bedrock of America’s democracy and hell-bent on destroying America’s relationship with key allies.  Remember all of what happened in just one year.  On top of all that the guy is clearly mentally unstable.”

Matt:  “So you thought the country shouldn’t wait…really couldn’t wait for the next presidential election.  Trump had to be taken out quickly or the situation was going to get much worse.”

Trump KingJordan:  “Just as Germany’s situation grew worse and worse.  I haven’t done a line-by-line comparison but I’ll bet in the first 12 months in office King Donald did as much damage to America…if not more damage…than Hitler did to Germany within his first 12 months in office.”

Matt:  “Wow.  I need to think about that.  Let me get a refill.”

(To be continued)     

#276 The 2017 Year-End Sense Check: Is a Revenge Revolution Still Possible?

Since starting publishing this blog in late 2013, I’ve periodically conducted a “sense-check” to determine if the premise of the blog is still relevant.  Admittedly it is hard to be objective about what one writes.  What I have tried to do, however, is support the claims with empirical evidence or strong anecdotal evidence.  While I’m certain there are readers who disagree with some or even many of the observations, readers should at least be comforted that the opinions and comments are not created out of thin air.

In addition, my attempt in the blog to have a “balanced approach” for assessing events or behavior does not mean that “both sides” get an equal amount of ink.  Spurious, unsubstantiated claims – alternative facts and “real” fake news – do not deserve equal time.  Just because someone makes a statement does not make the statement credible, including statements made by the president, the WH press secretary and/or officials of the administration…and some talking heads on cable channels.

With that introduction, do events in 2017 reinforce or diminish the premise of this blog – the US will experience a 5th revolution, aka the Revenge Revolution sometime after 2020?  Unfortunately, the premise seems more appropriate than ever.  The list is long of statements and/or actions by the president, the administration and/or Congress that would seem to contribute to a potential revolution.  The list continued to grow throughout the year.  Some examples include:

Repeated Lying by Trump.  While during a presidential campaign candidates can be given some license on the truth, once in office a president is expected to be honest when speaking to American citizens and other countries, especially to critical allies.  Trump seems to have overlooked the transition from campaign to governing.  The lying continued from day one.  Whereas the first major lie did not affect national security or another critical issue, it did set the tone for the presidency.  The lie demonstrated the Trump Administration was prepared to insult the intelligence of the public on even the most basic items.  Despite clear evidence to the contrary, Trump claimed the crowd at the inaugural was the largest in history.  C’mon, Donald, please, don’t waste your credibility on such meaningless matters, especially when the evidence is overwhelmingly against you.

The lying continued throughout the year.  Several real media outlets counted the lies and estimated that Trump lied in public statements at least five (5) times per day.  The lies were often repeated by the WH press secretary and/or administration officials.  The list of lies?

Trump is not the first president to misstate facts.  However, other than Nixon, lies from  modern-day presidents have been limited and often associated with such critical issues as national security.

The result of these lies?  Fewer and fewer people believe what Trump says.  If the consequences of the lying weren’t so significant, the lies by Trump and the then lies repeated by press secretary Sarah Huckabee would make great comedy.

Insulting Allies.  Bullies eventually learn, in an often painful way, that at some point, they need other people.  Trump’s behavior of continued bullying and insulting leaders of key American allies has tarnished long-standing working relationships.  Trump has made the insults worse by openly courting a long-standing enemy, Russia.

During the inevitable next international crisis that requires multi-nation support, as long as Trump is president…and possibly for many years thereafter…the US might find the list of nations willing to help to be very short.  A present day example is North Korea.  China has been unwillingness to halt shipments of oil and other critical items to North Korea.

Claiming Emperor’s Powers.  OK, we’ll cut Trump some slack.  All presidents grow in the job.  Plus, Trump has never held an elected office.  Think about when your own career included a major job change.  Virtually all of us made some mistakes early on in the new job.

But, Trump is now 11+ months into the job and does not yet seem to grasp the fundamentals.  He should at least have an 8th grader’s understanding of how government works.  Based on his comments, one wonders if he’s ever read the Constitution, let alone try to understand it.  If Trump does understand the Constitution, why in late 2017 he proclaimed in an interview with The New York Times, “I have [the] absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department.”   Pardon me Donald, the president gets to nominate a candidate to head DOJ but the Senate must approve.  Plus, in case you don’t understand, the president does not control investigations conducted by DOJ.  Trying to do so is called “obstruction of justice”…and grounds for impeachment.  If there are any questions, at least watch “All the President’s Men.”

Trump’s claim about controlling DOJ implies that he views the job as president to be no different from running a family business.  In the family business, the Donald can state, “You do what I say or you’re fired.”  In the Trump family business no one dares challenge the emperor.

I make the emperor analogy based on experience.  My career has included working directly for or very closely with: (i) several CEO’s of what was the world’s largest company; (ii) former CEO of a very large international company.  The CEO was considered worldwide to be one of the best CEO’s of the 20th Century; (iii) CEO of a moderately large family-owned manufacturing and distribution business.

The impact on the organization of the CEO’s behavior was stark and consistent.  The culture of the organization was influenced greatly by the behavior of the CEO, even the culture of the very largest organization.  When the CEO was open, honest and encouraged objective assessments, the organization flourished and endured crises effectively.  When the CEO was more dictatorial and closed to criticism, the staff of the organization became disheartened, less cooperative and within a few years at most the organization began suffering financially.

Critics of my claims about the impact of behavior can rightfully argue the sample size is small.  Agreed.  But the phenomenon I experienced exists not only in organizations, but in personal relationships.  Ask yourself, who are you more willing to be around – someone who is open, honest and willing to listen…or someone who is dictatorial, lies and unwilling to share?  Not a very hard choice, huh?

Disdain for Education, Science and the (Real) Media.  Possibly what I find most disturbing about Trump and his ilk and what could become the tipping point for the Revenge Revolution is disdain for pillars that help sustain a democracy: (i) an educated public; (ii) recognition of the value of science; (iii) healthy independent media.  Without these pillars, a vibrant democracy can slide into a sham democracy.  I find the disdain by Trump and his supporters for these pillars so insulting that I can think of only one word that properly describes them – I’ll be polite and not print it.

The lack of appreciation for the value of education directly affects many other views held by Trumpsters.  One is denial of the sciences.  What is startling is claiming that global warming is a hoax and the earth’s warming has not been accelerated by the industrial revolution.  Another is continuing to promote economic policies that have been disproven repeatedly and for which there is strong empirical evidence indicating the policies do not work.  A perfect example is the so-call tax reform act passed in late 2017.  There is no empirical evidence supporting the benefits made by Republicans — plus, weren’t Trump and Republicans opposed to deficits during the Obama Administration?  There are many other examples.

The right-wing of the Republican Party, with support from Trump, has made an effort to discount the value of education.  According to Trumpsters, we as a society need to reduce the influence of people from “elite institutions,” whether those people work in government, in academia, on Wall Street or in certain private organizations.  Trumpsters claim the “elite” colleges and universities are too liberal — in fact, most academic institutions are too liberal.  The only solution to this “education problem,” therefore, is to privatize education, especially primary and secondary education.  In addition, achieving an advanced education should be more difficult.  Translated that means dumbing down society at a time when the world is attempting to provide more education to its citizens.

Look, I understand all organizations need to be tweaked periodically.  But the approach of the Trump Administration, whether toward education, health care, seeming all government functions except the military (which needs the most fixing), is to break the organization, not try to fix it, with special emphasis on privatizing.  In case Trump supporters haven’t considered the following, they should.  The primary allegiance of a for-profit educational institution is not to the students – your children or grandchildren – but to the shareholders.  The same allegiance formula holds true for companies involved in health care and any other function currently performed by the government.

While people who continue to support Trump do not seem to understand reality, fortunately the percentage of the population supporting Trump is shrinking.  As of this writing, Trump has a major accomplishment — the lowest approval rating…by far…of any president at this stage in his term – 35%.

Bizarre Behavior.  Allow me one more item that seems to make the Revenge Revolution likely – Trump’s mental state.   An increasing number of professional (as opposed to political) psychiatrists is expressing concern about Trump’s mental state.  As is the case with many issues for Trump supporters, the counter to any claim implicating Trump is “You’re speculating.  Show me the data to prove it.”   (Gee, if that same standard only applied to claims by Trump supporters as justification for the 2017 tax plan or as justification for investigating Clinton.)

Well Trump supporters, consider the value of predictions versus only acting when you have hard data.  Next time you’re driving and someone cuts in front of you or runs a red light, don’t brake or swerve.  Since predictions are not worth considering, maintain your speed and course.  When you crash into the other car, then you will have the data you want.  An extreme example?  Maybe so but I hope the point is clear.

To say Trump’s statements are coherent or consistent truly stretches the imagination.  Forget Trump’s narcissism.  Unfortunately and tragically, the Trump family has a history of mental disorders.   Don’t believe me?  Read the obituaries of his father, Fred Trump, and his brother.

Wrap Up.  OK, I agree this sense check is too lengthy. However, events in 2017 reinforced the premise that a Revenge Revolution in the US is possible…sometime after 2020.  If you disagree, please let me know and why.  As far as 2018, I am hopeful that we as a nation can reduce the likelihood of the Revenge Revolution.  As I’ve said periodically in this blog, I hope the prediction about a Revenge Revolution is wrong.  So far, I’m not optimistic.  Thanks for your time.

#275 They’re Coming to America. Well, They Used to.

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations.  Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters (see link at top of page).  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s Office, Washington, DC.  Typical morning with Jordan and assistant, Gelly.   

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly:  “Good morning, Jordan.  Have a nice visit yesterday with Greenie and JC?”

Jordan:  “Morning Gelly.  The visit was fantastic.  Lots of good information for Greenie’s articles about the Revenge Revolution.  Anything new with you today?”

Gelly:  “Nothing earth shattering.  On the way in I did hear an old song that made me stop and think about how the US used to be.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Not sure what you mean.  Used to be like what?”

Gelly:  “Like a place that welcomed immigrants.  A place where people from all over the world wanted to come.  Well, wanted to come BT…before Trump.”

Jordan:  “What song sparked all this?”

Gelly:  “Remember in the 1980’s Neil Diamond wrote a song called ‘America’?”

Jordan:  “Yes.  Really liked the song.  But, haven’t heard it in a while.”

Gelly:  “Neither had I.  When I heard it this morning, it seemed different.  Not the music, the words.  The words seemed much more powerful than what I remember.  In fact, I got all teary-eyed.”

Jordan:  “C’mon, Gelly.  Really?  Why so emotional?”

Statue of LibertyGelly:  “Because, for the first time…and I don’t know why now rather than when I heard it years ago…for the first time I could picture my relatives on the boat coming to America.”

Jordan:  “You’re getting teary-eyed again.”

Gelly:  “Can’t help it.  My father came to America from Europe when he was 13 years old.  Travelled all alone.  Just think about that, Jordan.  You’re 13 years old, on a boat for the first time and heading to a new country where you don’t speak the language.  Some of your relatives must have done the same thing.”

Jordan:  “Mine came earlier…late 1800’s so not many stories about the ‘old country’.  The family seemed more concerned with assimilating.  Can’t blame them but a lot of history was lost.”

mortar-boardGelly:  “That’s too bad.  What really bothers me is how the US went from a country where people wanted to come to a country where it was nearly impossible to immigrate unless you had a bunch of money or some special high-tech skill.  My father had no money and no special skill.  He worked his whole life as a laborer.  My mother could barely speak English.  Yet look at the family now.”

Jordan:  “In one generation you moved from parents with very limited education to all the siblings being college grads.  Your kids are all college grads.”

Gelly:  “That’s what’s so frustrating.  Why did the country turn against immigration?”

Trump KingJordan:  “You know why.  King Trump.”

Gelly:  “King Trump who would never admit his family name was changed to be more Anglicized.  Maybe the Revenge Revolution will help turn around attitudes toward immigration.  I hope so.  Otherwise, people like me…and you too Jordan…will never be part of America.”

Jordan:  “Gelly, excuse me just a minute.  I’m going to get a cup of coffee.”

Gelly:  “While you do, I’m going to download the words to Diamond’s ‘America’.  I’ll also get a link to YouTube so you can hear it.  After you get your coffee, do me a favor and, spend a few minutes listening to the song and studying the words.  And think about your relatives who made that journey.”

“America”, written and sung by Neil Diamond

Far,
We’ve been traveling far
Without a home
But not without a star

Free,
Only want to be free
We huddle close
Hang on to a dream

On the boats and on the planes
They’re coming to America
Never looking back again,
They’re coming to America

Home
Don’t it seem so far away
Oh, we’re traveling light today
In the eye of the storm
In the eye of the storm

Home
To a new and a shiny place
Make our bed and we’ll say our grace
Freedom’s light burning warm
Freedom’s light burning warm

Everywhere around the world
They’re coming to America
Every time that flag’s unfurled
They’re coming to America

Got a dream to take them there
They’re coming to America
Got a dream they’ve come to share
They’re coming to America

They’re coming to America
They’re coming to America
They’re coming to America
They’re coming to America
Today, Today,Today,
Today, Today

My country ’tis of thee (today)
Sweet land of liberty (today)
Of thee I sing (today)
Of thee I sing.

Songwriters: NEIL DIAMOND, © Universal Music Publishing Group

 

 

 

 

 

#274 US Melting Pot. Discussion: Should We Rethink Assimilation? (Part 10 of 10)

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations.  Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters (see link at top of page).  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Coffee shop near Jordan’s office Washington, DC.  JC, Greenie and Jordan continuing conversation from previous day.  Series starts Entry #265.  This entry is a bit longer because the topic is a bit more complex.

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJC: “So we all agree…as did most of the public except the one percenters and Republicans inside the Beltway…that the Trump so-called tax reform act was not tax reform. It was a giveaway to the rich. The tax bill also gave extra special help, of course, to the downtrodden Trump family. Bless their little hearts.”

Greenie: “My, my, Miss Daisy, aren’t we cynical today?”

JC: “There’s no cynicism. The GOP, aka Gutless Old Politicians, took out their souls and donated them to King Donald. Then the King proceeded to humiliate his very supporters whenever his Twitter brain took control.”

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie: “Alright, alright, let’s ratchet back to why we started this conversation. And what I’m trying to write about.”

Jordan: “You mean, as ethnic groups assimilated over time, did political parties become defacto ethnic groups, substituting for the ethnic tribes?”

JC: “And shouldn’t we also ask if one or both political parties forced assimilation…or at least accelerated assimilation?”

IndianGreenie: “Interesting question — to what extent was assimilation forced? We know from Wolf Man Native Americans were forced to give up native culture. What’s worse is even though much of the culture is gone today, many native tribes never assimilated. The culture disappeared and the Indians have nothing to show for it. Not a good combination.”

JC: “What about forced assimilation of other ethnic groups? Did Democrats or Republicans or both parties effectively force assimilation? Jordan, you’ve been quiet so far. Whadda you think?”

1960s Equal RightsJordan: “I’d say yes, the parties did force assimilation. Let’s start with recent history. The fourth US Revolution, aka Cultural Revolution, took place in 1960’s, early 1970’s. During that period Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, and some other anti-discrimination laws. Plus, the courts started to force compliance with Brown vs. Board of Education. The question for Greenie’s articles, ‘did those laws somehow force assimilation’?”

Greenie: “If I remember history correctly, the votes for most of the civil-rights-related legislation were along philosophical lines and not party lines, correct?”

confederate-flag-steev-stamfordJordan: “Correct. The legislation had strong support among Republicans and Democrats…but only Republicans and Democrats from northern and western states. Southern Democrats and the then rare Southern Republicans were nearly unanimously opposed.”

Greenie: “So, if we look at the political ramifications of the civil-rights legislation, Southern Democrats who opposed the legislation migrated in mass to the Republican Party. During the migration, most of the southern Republicans who one might consider moderate were replaced. Some replaced by a Democrat and the balance by conservative Republicans.”

Dictionary2Jordan: “Parallel with the migration of southern Democrats to Republicans was creation of new a new definition for the word ‘conservative’. So-called conservative Republicans were not really conservatives, either by the dictionary definition or by the traditional political definition.”

JC: “If not conservative, then how would you label them?”

Jordan: “Radical, as in Radical Republicans. The approach the Republicans took during the Obama Administration, then with Trump and right up to the Revenge Revolution…was the antithesis of what was defined as conservative governance. The Radical Republicans disregarded conserving the environment, disregarded conserving citizens’ 50_cal_rifle_by_bebop953rights, except of course, the right for even the mentally ill to own a 50-calibre assault weapon, and disregarded fiscal conservatism.  Reagan, Bush 43 and Trump all proposed legislation that resulted in huge deficits.”

Greenie: “I’m going to turn the tables about who’s calling the kettle black. Aren’t you being a bit radical? Many of us didn’t like the Republicans’ policies but why do you think they were radical?”

US Debt Percent GDPJordan: “We can go through the details if you  want.  I think one of the best indicators why I labeled Republicans radical is debt as a percent of GDP.  I carry this chart around to remind my Republican colleagues that Reagan and Bush were not really fiscal conservatives.”

JC: “I thought Trump was even worse.”

Jordan: ” He was and I need to update this chart for the Trump tax giveaway.  Just look at the line turn up under Reagan and again under Bush 43. And, oops, the line comes down under Clinton. This chart disputes Republicans claims about trickle-down economics…really voodoo economics.”

PoliceGreenie: “Don’t you think just as important was how Republicans behaved? During the Obama Administration, Republicans bragged about blocking every effort by Obama to govern, no matter what the issue. The net effect of Republicans was a negative effect on growing societal wealth, not positive.”

JC: “Under Trump the GOP rightfully earned a reputation for selling their souls. The Trump craziness, which the Republicans enabled, was to try to break everything that worked. If something needed fixing, smash it rather than trying to repair it. Throw what worked out regardless of the consequences.”

Trump KingGreenie: “Maybe the baby got thrown out with the bath water because Republicans either didn’t understand what they were doing…gee, that seems rhetorical…or had no kahunas to stand up to King Donald…or both. But how did actions by Trump and the kahuna-less Republicans affect assimilation? Was assimilation affected positively or negatively?”

Jordan: “Trump’s focus on targeting immigrants from non-Western European countries forced many immigrants, even those who’d been in the US a long time legally or were citizens, either to assimilate quickly or hide. So, I’d say Trump’s actions accelerated forced assimilation.”

JC: “Least we not forget Trumps’ endorsement of hate groups. Nothing like the president supporting actions by the alt-right. I really appreciated the resurgence anti-Semitism. Thanks a lot Donald.”

Swastika Ballantyne 2017


Jordan: “A neighbor of ours had a swastika painted on their garage door. Look, I agree that Trump’s behavior was way over the top. But Trump didn’t start this behavior. Trump was a product of the post-Reagan Republican party.”

Greenie: “If we go back and analyze the effects of the anti-discrimination laws passed in the 1960’s, these laws seemed to reduce discrimination. Let me correct myself, these laws seemed to reduce overt discrimination…for a while anyway. Then along came Reagan and his claim of some Reaganwelfare queen driving a new Cadillac…unproven, of course…and his constant harping that government was the problem and not the solution. Dear Ronnie’s rhetoric caused an uptick in discrimination. Discrimination seemed to bounce along until Trump opened the floodgates. I still shake my head over his remarks about Charlottesville.”

Jordan: “Another change was enforcement of Federal anti-discrimination laws. When Department of Justice was a real enforcement agency, the states complied with the laws. At the same time certain states became experts in a new kind of discrimination…gerrymandering. Gerrymandering was designed to give one political party control of state legislatures.”

JC: “Jordan, you know Republicans will counter and claim by stating the state reps were elected fairly. C’mon, now be nice.”

1 1 3Greenie: “If the elections were fair, then why were there states, including Jordan’s home state of NC, where somehow the total number of votes favored Democrats…and sometimes overwhelmingly…yet the Republicans managed to control the state House and Senate, occasionally with veto-proof margins. That math doesn’t work, unless of course, districts are gerrymandered.”

TurtleneckJordan: “Please, my home state is not North Carolina.”

Greenie: “I know, but I like to pick on you.”

JC: “Those ‘gerrymandered’ legislators then enacted all kinds of restrictions on voting. For many southern states, the restrictions became a modern-day poll tax. All the restrictions were implemented under the guise of preventing voter fraud…even though no valid evidence of fraud was ever presented.”

Supreme CourtGreenie: “While we’re talking about legal discrimination, let’s not forget the Supreme Court agreeing to hear the case about the wedding cake. A bakery owner in Colorado claimed religious rights allowed him to discriminate against gays…and I suppose anyone else he didn’t like. Just by taking the case, SCOTUS showed how far the hard right had infiltrated every branch of government – Executive, Legislative and Judicial. I must hand it to Republicans, they did a masterful job of implementing a hard-right, white Christian agenda. Anyone who didn’t fit their profile was SOL. The approach worked until Trump got too out of control. At that point, many people who thought they were in the Republican circle found themselves on the outside…and screwed.”

ScrewedJC: “You mean outside on who really got the tax breaks. Outside when Trump stated that voters in Alabama should support a pedophile so Trump could be assured of a majority in the Senate? You mean outside when they realized Republicans in Congress were going to pay for the tax giveaway to the wealthy by cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits of everyone else? You mean when Trump supporters realized Trump gave oil-and-gas companies and mining companies carte blanche approval to basically destroy public land and keep all the profits? You want me to keep going?”

Greenie: “I’ve got more than enough info for the articles. If we address the basic question, then yes as ethnic groups assimilated, political parties became defacto tribes, replacing ethnic groups. What also got left behind in the assimilation was the core identity of the ethnic groups. What also seemed to occur is forced assimilation accelerated under Reagan and reach a pinnacle around Trump, when covert actions of the Federal government strongly discouraged maintaining separate cultural identity.”

Greektown DTWJordan: “I’m hopeful that the Revenge Revolution ends the Trump vision and encourages members of ethnic groups to…what would you call that…dis-assimilate. Whatever the right term, I hope ethnic groups begin clustering again. Remember places that used to be known by their cultural heritage – Little Italy, Chinatown, Greektown? Somehow we’ve got to keep working to reduce discrimination and to encourage people to display their cultural heritage. Am I crazy to suggest that?”

Greenie: “No crazier than usual.  Now we need to get out of here so I can start writing.”

 

#273 Unintended Consequence of the Pinocchio Tax Plan (Part 9 of Series about US Melting Pot and Ethnic Groups)

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations.  Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters (see link at top of page).  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Coffee shop near Jordan’s office Washington, DC.  JC, Greenie and Jordan continuing conversation from previous day.  Series starts Entry #265.

Jordan:  “Just before the break, we were discussing how members of political parties seem to be brainwashed.”

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “Let me add something.  Before the Revenge Revolution, I think many elected representatives were brainwashed.”

JC:  “You talking about state and local elected reps?  Some of those guys have always been off in the weeds.  Or you talking about reps to the Federal House and Senate…or both?”

Greenie:  “Both but especially the national reps.  The House had….and maybe still has some…a bunch of wackos from both parties.  And at times the behavior of these wackos is very strange.”

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJC:  “Like during the Obama Administration, the Republican-led House voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act what 50-60 times?  It was some ridiculous number I remember that.”

Greenie:  “Exactly my point.  But to me what really went haywire was the Senate…at least before the Revenge Revolution.”

JC:  “You think many of the Senators were brainwashed?”

Greenie:  “Unfortunately, yes.  What still sticks in my mind is how the Senate drafted the so-called tax reform legislation.  Virtually every major claim the Republicans made about the plan was a bold-faced lie.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Greenie, did you smoke some funny weed when we were on break?  All lies….well, almost all lies?”

Greenie:  “You know I’m right Jordan.  Hey, you’ve studied this stuff a lot more than I have.”

Jordan:  “OK, what’s on your list of lies?”

Greenie:  “First, the idea that corporations would pass along money saved on taxes to employees was laughable.  What an absolutely sick joke.  The second big lie was that corporations would expand their businesses and hire more people because of the tax cut.  That’s the trickle-down economics BS theory.”

voodoo-2015958Jordan:  “You’re right and so was George Bush senior.  It really is voodoo economics.  Read my lips, there is no, zero, nada empirical evidence supporting the trickle-down theory.  In fact, the empirical evidence indicates what actually happens when trickle-down plans are implemented is exactly the opposite of what the Republicans claimed.

Greenie:  “It seems so simple to understand.  If you’re a business owner, the only time you spend money to expand the business and hire more employees is when you expect demand to increase.  The tax cut might increase demand for Tiffany’s jewelry but companies selling to the average Joe, what part of the tax plan was going to give them more money?  If workers don’t get much extra cash, where’s the demand going to come from?  Duh, folks.  This is not rocket science.”

Assembly LineJC:  “You know who did understand…and more than 100 years ago?  Henry Ford.  One of America’s greatest industrialists and a one-tenth of one percenter if there ever were one.  He understood more about what creates demand than the Republican clowns in Congress who passed the give-to-the-wealthy act disguised as a tax reform.  Ford increased wages to $5/day for two reasons: (i) stabilize the work force; (ii) increase worker take-home pay so they could afford to buy his cars.  Did he benefit?  Yep.  He made even more money.  I agree with you Greenie, what is so hard to understand about basic economics?”

Jordan:  “Greenie, what about taxes for individuals?  Weren’t the tax rates for middle class wage earners lowered?”

092615_2031_Characters12.gifGreenie:  “Technically, yes, some taxes for individuals were scheduled to go down for a couple of years.  But then lower-wage earners got the finger.  Cuts for individuals were temporary…unlike the cuts for corporations which were permanent.  You want me to continue with the list of lies?  It’s a very long list.”

Jordan:  “I know we could be here all day.  Just a couple more.”

HorseGreenie:  “The claim that the tax revenue associated with the additional growth in GDP would offset the deficit caused by the wealthy welfare program.  Another big, fat horse-pucky lie.”

Jordan:  “I know you’re on a roll but just one more on your list of lies and then I have an idea.”

Greenie:  “What do I think was the biggest lie of all?”

JC:  “You mean aside from Trump claiming he would be hurt by the so-called tax plan and actually pay more taxes?”

Greenie:  “Wasn’t that another crock of you know what.  The biggest lie of all was the real reason for the tax give away to the wealthy.”

Jordan:  “You don’t expect politicians to be truthful, do you?  I mean, c’mon.”

pants-on-fire Greenie:  “I do expect people, and especially those in the Senate, to at least have some moral character.  The biggest pants-on-fire lie was the intent to not offset the added deficit…even the Tooth Fairy knew the deficit was going to happen…to not offset the deficits with reductions to Social Security and Medicare.”

JC:  “You’re painting a picture that the Republicans knew all along the tax plan would screw the people who voted for Trump…and in many cases the very people that could least afford the cuts in support.”

Jordan:  “What Republicans overlooked with their goal of cutting so-called entitlements was one very big and unintended consequence…the Revenge Revolution.  The Republican leadership, especially Pinocchio…I mean Mitch McConnell, was so beholden to key supporters…Koch brothers, Adelson and the boys…that he and the other Republiocan senators forgot a fundamental rule.”

fat-personGreenie:  “You mean, if you’re going to steal from the masses, make sure the peon’s bellies are full before you start stealing?  Otherwise they get pissed.  And they did get pissed.”

Jordan:  “What also struck me about Republican’s arrogance when drafting the tax bill was how contrary their actions were to fundamental religious principles.  I’m not naïve enough to think these guys were all religious zealots, despite some of their claims.  But just look at what the tax bill did.”

JC:  “You mean like the Republicans forgot about some basics…like don’t steal, don’t lie, and care for the disadvantaged?  Where were all the evangelicals?  Why weren’t they up in arms?  I don’t recall any kind of protest from so-called religious-right senators.”

abraham_lincoln_clip_art_15515Jordan:  “And then these same a-hole Senators claimed to be members of the party of Lincoln.  Party of Lincoln, my ass.  Lincoln Republicans were a whole lot more ethical than McConnell’s crop of Republican bandits.”

Greenie:  “Gee, Jordan, you still seem to be a bit upset.  That fiasco was not too many years ago…but still.  Anyway, in the end it worked out.  The greedy Republican Senators were too blind or too stupid to see it coming.  As much as disruption as it caused, I thought the Revenge Revolution was the perfect retort to the self-centered SOB’s.  Now, I’m upset.  Let’s break.”

 

 

#272 What’s Supposed to Melt in the US Melting Pot? Discussion: Role of Political Parties (Part 8)

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations.  Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters (see link at top of page).  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Coffee shop near Jordan’s office Washington, DC.  JC, Greenie and Jordan continuing conversation from previous day.  Series starts Entry #265.

Jordan:  “Alright, guys, have my coffee refilled so let’s get back to the topic at hand.”

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “Well, Jordan, you have two friends…maybe more…who pledged loyalty to Trump regardless of the situation.  They stuck with him even after he was taken out.  Are these two the norm or outliers?”

JC:  “My guess is they’re not outliers.  Maybe outliers for Jordan’s friends but not among Republicans.”

Jordan:  “What makes you believe that?”

JC:  “How many Republicans supported your idol, Judge Roy Moore?”

Greenie:  “Hardly Jordan’s idol.  But what group makes you think these guys were not outliers?”

JC:092615_2031_Characters1.jpg  “Evangelicals.  Moore was a pedophile and…”

Jordan:  “…Pardon me, an alleged pedophile at the time of the special election…”

JC:  “…alleged, smedged, the guy was a pedophile, which is about the worst behavior possible whether you’re an evangelical or not.  So what do evangelicals do?”

Greenie:  “Support Moore, and so did Trump.”

JC:  “Why would evangelicals make such a bizarre choice?”

Trump KingGreenie:  “Because they pledged the Trump-is-king fraternity/sorority.  Do whatever Trump wanted.  And, with Moore, Trump wanted a sure vote for his tax cut for the rich…and more importantly, a tax gift for himself.  The tax proposal failed in the end but so did a lot of Trump’s programs.”

Jordan:  “Maybe there’s a different angle.  What about the evangelical’s concern over Roe v. Wade?  Didn’t evangelicals want Moore for the senate seat to ensure a conservative judge for SCOTUS?”

Supreme CourtGreenie:  “Here’s the flaw in that argument.  The decision in Roe v. Wade has never forced any woman to get an abortion, period.   If you cut through all the phony arguments about Roe v. Wade, the only conclusion is that evangelicals want to cram their religious beliefs down everyone’s throat.  The same is true for most of their other constitutional claims.”

Jordan:  “Whoa, Bubbette, aren’t you being a bit harsh?  Forcing their beliefs down everyone’s throat?”

Greenie:  “No, I’m not being harsh.  Evangelicals captured a substantial portion of the Republican Party.  Just analyze actions by Republicans during Trump.  I admit I still can’t understand why evangelicals supported Trump in the first place.”

PreachJordan:  “You mean supporting him despite all the facts about lying, cheating and the abuse of women.”

JC:  “Hardly stuff that evangelical’s support.  But evangelicals seemed to rationalize supporting Trump because, in their eyes, Bill Clinton was worse than Trump.”

Greenie:  “So, tell me old wise one, was Bill Clinton running against Trump…or was Hillary Clinton the opponent?”

fox-news-logo bJC:  “Greenie, now, now.  To be a good evangelical you must believe in alternative facts.  What you read in the New York Times and Washington Post – all lies.  You must believe in the only righteous network – Fox News…and believe, of course, in Breitbart.”

Jordan:  “C’mon guys, aren’t we getting off track?  Back to the discussion whether political parties became a defacto tribe for people, replacing tribes based on ethnic groups or culture.”

U TurnGreenie:  “Jordan, with all due respect, I think you’re wrong and we are on track.  For example, the personal behavior of Trump and Moore was the polar opposite of evangelical values.  It’s as if evangelicals did a U-turn.  Yet the vast majority of evangelicals appeared to continue to support Trump.”

JC:  “At least white evangelicals.  Fair to say more black evangelicals voted for Democrats than Republicans.”

Greenie:  “Point well taken.  Why was religion the overriding issue with white evangelicals and not with black evangelicals?”

ComplicatedJordan:  “This might sound stupid, but is there a difference in religious beliefs between black and white evangelicals?”

JC:  “There must be something different.  Or, if there is no difference in beliefs, then the argument is stronger that political parties have become a tribe for many people.”

Greenie:  “Tell you what would be an interesting test.  Give the same list of religious-based questions to a group of evangelicals, both white and black.  The questions would be answered anonymously with the only coding being whether the respondent was white or black.  Then compare the responses.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “And what do you think the differences would be?”

Greenie:  “If it were truly a blind test, the answers probably would be about the same.  However, if the questions were asked in a public forum, the answers likely would be different.”

JC:  “You’re supposing pressure from within the tribe…the tribe being the political party…would influences responses?”

Greenie:  “Think so.  Remember what Wolf Man said why so many Native Americans had a difficult time becoming successful?”

CrabJC:  “The crab-barrel effect?”

Greenie:  “Exactly.  Every time one of the members of the Indian tribe tried to become more successful, the other members pulled him or her back in the crab barrel.”

Jordan:  “What I’m hearing is when one makes a political party one’s defacto tribe, then one is subject to the crab barrel effect.  Follow the wishes of the tribal leader.  Not everyone joining a political party is subject to the crab effect, obviously, but a very large percentage of party members seems to be.”

Greenie:  “Members who join the political-party tribe go along with the party leadership rather than thinking for themselves.  Joining the party provides camaraderie and takes away the pressure to think for one’s self.”

BrainwashedJordan:  “Political party leaders seem to understand that party members are subject to…in the most polite terms…brainwashing.  And the leaders exploit that opportunity.”

JC:  “The brainwashing is effective until one day a bunch of brainwashees realize how bad they’ve been screwed…and voila, we have a revolution, like our very own Revenge Revolution.  Now I need a break, please.”

#271 What’s Supposed to Melt in the US Melting Pot? Discussion: Role of Political Parties (Part 7)

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations.  Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters (see link at top of page).  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Coffee shop near Jordan’s office Washington, DC.  JC, Greenie and Jordan continuing conversation from previous day.  Series starts Entry #262.

Greenie and JC in unison: “Good morning, Jordan.”

Jordan:  “Morning guys.  Have a fun evening?”

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJC:  “Fun not being around you.”

Greenie:  “JC, let’s not start so early.  Give Little Jordan a break.  Can’t hurt his feelings at this hour.”

Jordan:  “You guys never let up.”

JC:  “But you love it.”

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “Yes, we did have a good time last night.  Ordered in and had some wine.”

JC:  “We also had an idea we’d like to discuss.  First, did you talk to Rock Man after we left the office?”

Jordan:  “No.  I’ll poke him later today.”

JC:  “OK, then we’d like to discuss another aspect of how much a culture or ethnic group should melt in the US melting pot.  That’s a mouthful.”

Greenie:  “Here’s the question.  As cultures or ethnic groups assimilate and lose identity as a tribe, do the members seek to identify with another tribe?”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Give me an example, please.”

JC:  “Take what was at one time a strong ethnic group, or a tribe.  Let’s say Italian Americans.  We can pick most any group but stick with Italian Americans for the moment.”

Greenie:  “So as the Italian-Americans began to lose identity as a group, did they seek another tribe for identity?”

Jordan:  “Well, if they sought another tribe we know Italian-Americans can’t become Polish or Chinese or Koreans.  So what tribe do you think they joined?  What are you thinking about?”

JC:  “Thinking like, ah, a political party.”

Tin Can PhoneGreenie:  “People like to belong to a group or groups because it helps them with their identity.  By joining you can be ‘this’ or ‘that’ rather than just some individual.  Plus, belonging to a group and just talking to other group members can make life easier to understand…at least some of the members think it can.  Group think can take away much of the pressure to think as an individual.”

Jordan:  “Mmm, your idea or question is whether political parties have become defacto tribes?”

JC:  “Yes, and have the political parties replaced the cultural heritage tribe for many people?”

122913_1337_14BringingU2.pngGreenie:  “The conclusion seems logical but this idea was birthed last night after a couple of glasses of wine.  We’ve done no research.”

Jordan:  “On the surface, the conclusion seems logical.  Did you guys try at all to test the hypothesis?”

JC:  “We asked ourselves why in the last 20-30 years many Democrats and Republicans seem so loyal to an idea…even if the idea is contrary to their own best interests.”

ScrewedGreenie:  “Go Back to Trump’s proposals.  His hard-core supporters were going to get screwed if the Affordable Care Act was cancelled.  They were going to get screwed even more under the proposed so-called plan to reform taxes.”

JC:  “Did they rebel?  No, they stuck with the Donald, then complained about senators who frankly saved their ass…pardon my French.”

Jordan:  “What about people who have been hard-core Republicans or Democrats forever?  Think about the yellow-dog Democrats.”

Greenie:  “True, but we think…and we think the data will support us…that a greater percentage of the population puts a higher priority on party affiliation than any time since WWII and probably longer.”

Number ListJC:  “One issue we have to address…and it shouldn’t be that difficult to determine…is whether the rank-order of affiliations has changed over time.”

Greenie:  “For example, 100 years ago Italian-Americans might have placed being of Italian decent higher on the list, and therefore more important, than say being a Democrat or Republican.  Now Italian-Americans might place a political party higher on the affiliation list than their cultural identity.”

Trump KingJordan:  “The phenomenon might apply to more than just ethnic groups.  People seem to crave some type of affiliation.  I still shake my head over a college fraternity brother.  At some point in life he pledged another fraternity…the Trump-is-king fraternity.  Once he joined, he supported his fraternity brother no matter how bizarre King Trump’s behavior or decision.  He stuck with Trump when Trump denied campaign cooperation with the Russians; when he denied any hanky-panky with beauty contestants; and when he denied illegal financial transactions.  Whatever King Donald claimed or did he supported.”

Greenie:  “Even after Mueller’s report?  Really?”

Jordan:  “Stuck with King Trump to the bitter end.  Even after Trump was taken out, he was a supporter.”

Temper TantrumJC:  “Jordan, what about your buddy…I think he was a former high-school history teacher…who called you a liar for asking for data to support some outlandish claim he made.  At some point he pledged the Trump fraternity.  Some friend.”

Jordan:  “Former friend, please.  The incident of calling me a liar when I asked for data was the last time we ever met.  Those are two good examples of party loyalty no matter the circumstance.  But let’s be real — two data points don’t make a trend or prove a hypothesis…”

JC:  “…except in Washington.”

Jordan:  “True.  Really, you two might be on to something.  Let’s explore this idea more…after I get a refill.”

 

#270 What’s Supposed to Melt in the US Melting Pot? Discussion: Regional Cultures (Part 6)

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations.  Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters (see link at top of page).  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office, Washington, DC.  Conversation about “culture” starts Entry #262

JC:  “We ready to start the discussion again?”

Jordan:  “Yes, but still waiting to hear back from Rock Man about his perspective on black culture.”

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “OK, in the meantime, I’ve got a culture we might want to explore…or at least I think it qualifies as a culture.”

Jordan:  “And that is?”

Greenie:  “Well, we’ve talked about how much of a culture should blend into US melting pot and how much should not.  Most of the subjects so far could be defined either as an ‘ethic group’ or an organization…the military.  But what about non-ethnic group cultures?  Say regional cultures in the US?”

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJC:  “You mean how much should regional cultures sorta blend in versus how much should these regional cultures should stay specific to the geographic area?”

Greenie:  “Yes, but more importantly, how much did regional cultures contribute to the Revenge Revolution?”

Jordan:  “Do you really think regional differences might have been a contributing factor?”

JC:  “Do I think so?  Yes.  And Jordan, sometimes I wonder what world you live in.  You, of all people, should know about regional cultures.”

Greenie:  “JC’s right.  Think about it, Jordan.  You’ve lived all over the country – East Coast, Midwest and both nations of California…Northern and Southern.  Plus, haven’t you spent time in just about every state?”

JC:  “So now what’s your take on regional cultures, Mr. Expert?”

TurtleneckJordan:  “I’m hardly an expert.  My take is there are marked differences in cultures among East, Midwest and West and even differences within a region – the Northeast is a good example.  As for Hawaii and Alaska…different still.  But to me these differences seem more cosmetic than substantive.  Yes, some areas are more liberal or more conservative than others but the differences don’t seem to alter the fundamental principles in how the region or the country should be governed.”

Greenie:  “Okay…but one region was conspicuously absent.  What about the South?”

US Map Civil WarJordan:  “The South is a different animal.”

JC:  “In what way?”

Jordan:  “Underneath all the phony niceties is deep resentment.”

Greenie:  “JC, meet Mr. Diplomat, himself.  Resentment of what or about what?”

Jordan:  “Having lost the Civil War…excuse me the War of Northern Aggression…and having the economy being dominated by outsiders…excuse me carpetbaggers.”

JC:  “C’mon.  I know you’ve got a cynical streak but do really think there’s that much resentment?  The Civil War was over 150 years ago.”

Clark GableJordan:  “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn what you think.  Actually, the resentment is probably much greater and deeper than any of us can understand.”

Greenie:  “If I get your take on the South…not everyone, of course…there is some percentage still reeling over the Civil War?  I’m with JC.  That seems like ancient history”

Jordan:  “When we first moved to Charlotte, which like most of Florida is not considered the real south by the hard-core, I viewed as jesting the snide remarks about being a Yankee and being the wrong religion.”

JC:  “Then something or someone changed your mind?”

Greenie:  “Let me guess what changed it.  The election of the Donald.”

trump-scowlJordan:  “Spot on, Greenie.  His election and his rhetoric as president made perfectly acceptable any type of public display of resentment or even hatred of ‘non-true Southerners’.  Look back at Trump’s public support of hate groups in Charlottesville.”

JC:  “Then he claimed statues of Confederate generals were part of American heritage.  Excuse me Donald, in case you didn’t know it, General Robert E. Lee fought against the Union.  Like he was a traitor.  Not a stock trader like you might think but one of those ‘t-r-a-i-t-o-r-s’.  Remember when you claimed all the Muslims in the US were traitors?  Robert E Lee was one of those kind of traitors.”

blameGreenie:  “You know what I find ironic about ironic about the hard-core Southerners supporting the Donald?  Many in the South still blame the North for lots of problems…and they really dislike people from New York.  So who do they support?  The Donald who was born and raised in NY.  The Donald who dodged the draft, claiming bone spurs.  The Donald who proposed policies as president that hurt rather than helped his supporters.  The guy should have been despised by the people in the south.  But no, they adored him.”

RE LeeJC:  “To the hard-core Southerner, he must have been considered a born-again Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee rolled into one.  His supporters believed he was going to overthrow the very establishment that the hard-core blamed for destroying the Old South.”

Greenie:  “Maybe even more ironic – the Donald was the ultimate carpetbagger.  He took campaign donations from his supporters and then managed to enrich himself at the expense of his supporters.”

JC:  “Until he got taken out.”

Greenie:  “So why didn’t the South finally turn against him when all the shenanigans came to light?  Forget the financial stuff.  The dealings with Russia were like treason.”

Jordan:  “The hard-core Southerners stuck with him for the same reason they still refuse to acknowledge the facts of the Civil War.  Hard-core Southerners still blame Lincoln when they should be thankful he was nice to them.  Lincoln could have tried for treason and then executed each southern general.”

abraham_lincoln_clip_art_15515JC:  “Lincoln tried to set the stage for the country to heal.  He might have been too accommodating.  The hard-core Southerners still don’t understand and still can’t get out of the blame stage.”

Greenie:  “So now, I guess the next question is ‘Now that we’re past the Revenge Revolution, will the south continue to deny reality and blame the north…or finally join the rest of the country?’”

Jordan: “Listen, I need to call it a day.  Could we continue this conversation over coffee tomorrow morning, please?”

Greenie: “Of course.  JC and I are outta here.”

 

#269 What’s Supposed to Melt in the US Melting Pot? Discussion: US Military (Part 5)

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations.  Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters (see link at top of page).  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office, Washington, DC.  Conversation about “culture” starts Entry #262

Gelly:  “Jordan, during the break, JC called.  She’d like to stop by.”

Jordan:  “She must have called from downstairs.  Look who’s here.”

JC:  “Hi guys.  Thanks for letting me join you.”

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly:  “JC, I’ll get you some coffee, then I need to get back and work on a project.”

JC:  “Thanks.  Gelly said you’ve been talking about cultures in America.  Something about how much a particular culture should blend into the US melting pot…and how much should not blend.  Is that about right?”

Greenie:  “Yes.  We’ve talked to Wolf Man about culture of Native Americans.  And no I didn’t slip and call him Two Dogs.  Jordan also called Rock Man to discuss African-American culture but he hasn’t called back.”

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJC:  “Greenie, is this info for your articles about the causes of the Revenge Revolution?”

Greenie:  “Yep.”

JC:  “I know I just walked in the door…and really have no idea what all’s been discussed…”

Jordan:  “…So what else is new?  That was too easy to let pass.”

JC:  “As I was saying, a culture that rarely seems to get talked about other than on the surface is the US military.”

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “Mmm, you thinking the military culture is that much different?

Jordan, you were in the military, right?  Does it have a separate culture?”

Jordan:  “I was in a long time ago.  But I think JC’s question is a good one.”

Greenie:  “What prompted you to mention the military?  That’s unlike you.”

JC:  “I keep hearing people still talking about how they thought the military culture got out of whack before the Revenge Revolution.  Trump was enamored with the military.  In his eyes, the generals could do no wrong.  According to the Trumpsters, the generals were somehow super warriors.”

Military GeneralGreenie:  “What still gnaws at me is the behavior of John Kelly when he was chief of staff for Trump.”

JC:  “You mean his lying about the Congresswoman from Florida and supporting Trump’s lies about her?  What was her name?”

Greenie:  “You mean what is her name…she’s still around you know.  And her name is Representative Frederika Wilson.”

JC:  “That’s who I mean.  How stupid could Kelly have been?  He lied about the contents of a press conference that he knew was on tape.  Did he think he could just state her commenbts were “fake news” and everyone would salute the general and say ‘Yes, sir.’”

bossy-motherGreenie:  “What galls me even more is Trump’s press secretary Ms. Congeniality Susan Huckabee told the press they should not challenge a 4-star Marine general.  BS Sarah.”

Jordan:  “Kelly also made some babbling remarks that the military being some kind of elite organization that was superior to the rest of the population.  Hitler said that about the SS troops and we know what happened there.”

JC:  “Kelly’s remarks and this constant murmuring are why I asked if you’d considered looking the influence of the military culture.”

Greenie:  “Actually I haven’t considered it but maybe I should.  But is there any difference in the military culture today than say 25, or even 50 years ago?  If the culture hasn’t changed, then why would the influence have changed?”

Jordan:  “From my perspective there’s been a major change in the military culture.”

JC:  “You were a major?  Army or Marines?  Just some payback, Jordan.”

Uncle SamJordan:  “OK, we’re even.  I think the military culture started to change with the elimination of the draft.”

Greenie:  “From what I understand the military became much more professional when everyone volunteered compared to when people were drafted.  That claim seems to counter your argument.”

Jordan:  “’More professional’ in my opinion is PR hype.  Eliminating the draft resulted in a military with more professional thugs.”

Greenie:  “That seems awfully harsh.  Why do you say more professional thugs?”

Chicken HawkJordan:  “With the draft there was a reasonably good cross-section of ethnic groups, backgrounds and education.  Yes, some wealthier guys chickened out of the draft and bought off doctors to get an exemption…”

JC:  “…You mean like ‘bone-spur Trump’?  Mr. Chicken Hawk himself?”

Jordan:  “Good example.  But a lot of the draftees were highly educated.  Case in point – the battalion in my advanced infantry training unit had a median education of…wanna guess?”

college degreeGreenie:  “I’ll go with 13 years…finished one year college.”

JC:  “I’ll go with 15 years…finished three years college.”

Jordan:  “You’re both low.  The median education in that battalion was 15.5 years.  Not bad, huh?”

Greenie:  “Were these guys all…whadda call them, officer-candidate something or others?”

military-clip-art--military-clipart-8Jordan:  “Nope.  Just regular guys like me.  I don’t recall many of us being really gung-ho, rah-rah types.  We were in the Army doing our time.”

Greenie:  “What’s the difference in the military now?”

Jordan:  “The all-volunteer military has resulted in a mix of enlistees heavily weighted toward the rah-rah types.  Some of the enlistees are truly dedicated and feel obligated to serve their country…”

JC:  “…and the other enlistees like guns and want to do crazy stuff?”

Jordan:  “That’s a good description for many people in today’s infantry – whether Army or Marines.”

SealsGreenie:  “What about the SEALS and those Special Forces guys?  Aren’t they really professional?”

Jordan:  “They are extremely well trained…to kill.  But whether they’re the right people for the military is an open question.”

JC:  “Seriously?  The SEALS and the special-forces guys seem so patriotic.”

Jordan:  “A lot of them are patriotic.  But let me tell you my experience the last few years with some members of the military.  Of the three SEALS I know, one was a convicted felon – for running drugs, and not just a few drugs.  The other two SEALS were brothers, who then became lawyers post military, and who then became extortionists.”

bully-clip-artGreenie:  “Yikes.  Not good.  Know anyone else?”

Jordan:  “The Special Forces guy stole hardware and very expensive software from a company I was consulting for…and had, what I surmise based on his comments, an illegal stash of firearms.”

JC:  “Any other friends we should know about?”

Jordan:  “Friends, hardly.  A guy I helped fund for a business was a colonel in the Army Reserve.  He got called up and low and behold sometime later I saw an article in the NY Times about a colonel in the Army being convicted of stealing at least $600,000 cash and shaking down military suppliers for cars and other goodies.  Guess who it was?”

FighterGreenie:  “Your pal?  Well, your something or other.  But let’s be fair.  You know some other guys in the military, right?  I mean your top-gun buddy and some other guys in the group that designed those jet fighters.”

Jordan:  “Yes, all those guys were top-notch and highly ethical.  But my point is with an all-volunteer military there is a disproportionately high percentage of people who frankly should not be in the military.  Without a draft, military recruiters find it difficult to fill quotas.  As a result, the military accepts recruits that often are less than ideal.”

Bow DownGreenie:  “So the quality of recruits is so-so.  Let’s go back and talk about the big-dog generals…specifically General John Kelly.  When chief of staff for Trump, Kelly claimed that military personnel were superior and the general population should, in effect, bow down to them.”

JC:  “And, Jordan, you don’t buy that argument…if nothing else based on your own experience.”

Jordan:  “You got it.”

Scales BalancedGreenie:  “So do you think to make the culture of the military more like the US population as a whole, we should reinstitute conscription?”

Jordan:  “Yes.  Bring back the draft to help balance the military.  Not a popular idea, I know, but necessary to avoid another Revenge Revolution.  And now I feel conscripted to get another coffee.”