#268 What’s Supposed to Melt in the US Melting Pot? Discussion: Native Americans (Part 4)

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 starts Entry #265.

Gelly:  “I’m not sure I really understood what Wolf Man was talking about.”

CrabGreenie:  “You mean about the crab barrel?”

Gelly:  “Yes.  Why would anyone have that kind of attitude?  Why wouldn’t you want someone else from your tribe to succeed?  I mean, if one of the tribal members succeeds, doesn’t that eventually help everyone…or at least give everyone hope?”

Greenie:  “I don’t understand that kind of attitude either.  The crab-barrel attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy…for failure.”

Jordan:  “Agreed.  So what went wrong along the way with the attitudes of the tribes?  Think about it, the tribes never could have survived for all these centuries with a crab-barrel attitude?  What caused the crab-barrel to happen?”

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “Your question might be the answer?”

Jordan:  “Whadda mean?”

Gelly:  “Let me try.  Before losing the wars to the white man, the tribes were…well, tribes.  A collection of people working together.”

Greenie:  “After the white man, the tribes became a collection of individuals.  Really, no longer tribes.”

Jordan:  “So, you guys are saying the culture of the tribes…in effect, the essence of the tribes…melted away when the tribes were moved to the reservations?”

IndianGelly:  “The tribes experienced more than just moving.  If I understood Wolf Man correctly, he said the tribes on the reservations…apparently for many years…were prohibited from practicing many of the customs and ceremonies central to the respective tribes.”

Jordan:  “But couldn’t they just start building a new culture?  Why not?”

Greenie:  “Jordan, Jordan, Jordan.  Build a new culture?  How?”

Jordan:  “Why not?”

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly:  “If they built a new culture, would they still have a tribe?”

Greenie:  “Let me ask you something, Jordan?  Are you a member of a tribe?”

Jordan:  “Not an Indian tribe but you know I am.  Where are you headed with this?”

Greenie:  “Where I’m headed is that tribes remain tribes when key parts of the culture remain intact.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “And you have an example?”

Greenie:  “The old axiom, ‘More than Jews have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jews.’”

Jordan:  “I’ll buy that.”

Gelly:  “What that says to me is even when Jews left the old country, by keeping Shabbat and all the traditions, or at least many of the traditions of Shabbat, they kept the essence of their culture.  Keeping Shabbat became the glue that held the Jews together as a tribe.”

GlueJordan:  “But why didn’t Indians keep their traditions…the glue…that held them together.”

Gelly:  “Wolf Man said they couldn’t keep the traditions.  His understanding is his ancestors and other Native Americans on the reservations were prohibited, sometimes forcibly, from keeping the traditions.”

Jordan:  “C’mon, that was what 140-150 years ago?  I think Native Americans need to ask, ‘What’s stopping our different tribes from re-initiating at least part of their traditional culture?  Why can’t the tribes regroup, as it were?”

Gelly:  “Maybe some of them are.  But now is their base-point really a new culture?  Is the new culture more of dependency rather than independency?  By the way, is ‘independency’ a real word?”

ScreamGreenie:  “Yes, independency is a real word.   And your point is well taken.  Have we…the victors in the Indian Wars…so restricted the tribes that the original culture has been lost?  By our own actions, have we destroyed one culture and replaced it with a culture of dependency?  That’s a depressing thought.”

Jordan:  “Even if the white man tried to destroy the culture, don’t you think it’s up to the various tribes to decide if they want to recapture the culture?”

Gelly:  “How are they going to recapture their culture when the world around them has changed so much?”

Greenie:  “Good question.  If I may, let me try to phrase it a bit differently.  ‘What about the old Indian culture can be recaptured for, or will work in today’s environment?’  The question is phrased a bit awkwardly but you get what I mean.”

Jordan:  “It’s a great question to ask Wolf Man about Native Americans…and a great question to ask Rock Man about blacks.”

ScaleGreenie: “Not finding the right balance between what part of a culture should melt in the US melting pot and what part of a culture should not melt might have larger impact on the cause of the Revenge Revolution than I first thought.”

Jordan: “Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to how much of a culture should melt.  We know it’s not the same for every culture.  And we also know a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work.”   (Continued)


#267 What’s Supposed to Melt in the US Melting Pot? Discussion: Native Americans (Part 3)

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 starts Entry #265.

(Phone rings.  Jordan answers)

Jordan:  “Jordan Abel.  May I help you?”

Caller:  “Jordan, this is Wolf Man.  You left a voice mail and I’m available to chat if you have time.”

Jordan:  “I’ve got time.  Gelly is in the office.  And I think you met Greenie some time along the way.”

IndianWolf Man:  “Met Gelly.  Chatted with Greenie but never met her.”

Jordan:  “As I mentioned in the voice mail, Greenie’s writing some articles about possible causes of the Revenge Revolution.  She’s exploring the effect of long-term culture on current behavior.  We’d like to talk about how changes in culture over time might have affected Native Americas.  Ok if they sit in on the call?”

Wolf Man:  “Of course.”

Jordan:  “Wolf Man you’re on the speaker.”

Wolf Man:  “Hi Gelly and Greenie.”

Gelly and Greenie (in unison):  “Hello Wolf Man.”

Jordan:  “Wolf Man, how are you and where are you?”

Wolf Man:  “On my way to see another client.  Give me some more details about what you want to discuss?”

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “One of the first steps is trying to understand how much of a particular culture has melted into the US melting pot…and also understand how much should not have melted.  We’d like your perspective on how much culture of Native Americans has melted into the US melting pot.”

Wolf Man:  “The short answer is virtually all of the culture of Native Americans has melted.  How much of the culture should have melted?  Not much.”

Jordan:  “Why do you say virtually all melted?  I mean Native Americas still have lots of land and seems as if lots of freedom to do want they want, right?”

Wolf Man:  “If I didn’t know you so well, I’d think you were a dumb-ass white man.  Pardon me guys but that type comment is so typical.  But, I know you guys are sincere and I’ll tell you more.”

Greenie:  “We’ll try to be more understanding.  Tell us more, please, Wolf Man.”

Wolf Man:  “The best way I can describe the difference in cultures between Native Americas and the white man is to compare how each looks at land.”

Greenie:  “What’s the difference in perspective?”

Wolf Man:  “Indian culture, and I think this applies to every tribe, is built around being ‘of the land.’  The land itself is an integral part of the culture…as are all the parts of the land —  animals, water, vegetation.  Native Americans are part of the land ecosysten and not separate from that ecosystem.”

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly:  “And what different about the white man’s perspective?”

Wolf Man:  “The white man wants to separate himself from the land.  He wants to own the land.  As an owner, the white man believes that everything on the land and all rights to whatever is on the land go with ownership.”

Greenie:  “Interesting and insightful comparison.  One culture seems very ‘group focused’ and the other culture seems very ‘self focused’.  Never really thought about it that way.  What has that difference in perspective meant for Indians?”

Trail of TearsWolf Man:  “Simple. The white man took the best land from the natives and then created reservations for natives on crappy land.  The reservations had few resources, lots of bad water and created an environment of marginal subsistence.”

Jordan:  “C’mon.  Aren’t you exaggerating?  Is it really that bad?”

Wolf Man:  “Actually, life on the reservation is a lot worse than you think.  Because natives can no longer be ‘of the land’ and survive, the tribes have become dependent on the Federal government handouts to survive.”

Money-clip-artJordan:  “So we, societal we, basically turned the tribes from being self-sustaining to being a welfare state, save a few tribes with highly profitable casinos.  That analysis seems like such an exaggeration.”

Wolf Man:  “It is not.  In fact, it’s an understatement.  I don’t of a tribe whose culture has not been decimated…and especially the ones with casinos.”

Greenie:  “Wasn’t a change in the culture inevitable?  As more and more people settled in the US, some dislocation was inevitable.”

Wolf Man:  “Look, I understand to the victors go the spoils.  But, in my view, the white man went overboard in screwing the natives.  In my most cynical moments, I sometimes think the tribes would have better off being wiped out than subject to current conditions.”

U TurnJordan:  “That’s a bold statement.  Is there any way to turn this around?  Might be a long process but surely something can be done.”

Greenie:  “Wolf Man, from what Jordan’s told me, you’ve been very successful.  What’s your secret?”

Wolf Man:  “My secret?  A key part of my success – I wasn’t raised on the reservation.”

Gelly:  “What’s so different about not being raised off the reservation?  You had the same parents on or off?  What’s the difference?”

CrabWolf Man:  “No crab barrels off the reservation.”

Jordan:  “Crab barrels?  What are you talking about?”

Wolf Man:  “Imagine there’s a barrel with a bunch of crabs.  Every time one of the crabs tries to crawl out of the barrel and escape, the other crabs pull him back in the barrel.”

Greenie:  “Are you saying when someone on the reservation starts to be successful, other tribal members hinder that effort?  That seems so counter productive.”

Wolf Man:  “Yep, you got it.  The person gets pulled back in…or at least the others try to pull him back in”

TurtleneckJordan:  “I’m shaking my head.  Wow, what a problem.  Is there anything that can be done to change this attitude?”

Wolf Man:  “Good question.  Let me get back.  Just arrived at my clients.”

Greenie:  “The crab barrel is so opposite of how we were raised.  Everyone pushed to improve their lot and your lot in life.  I just have a hard time understanding the crab-barrel mentality.”

Gelly:  “I can’t understand it either.  The inability to understand a polar-opposite perspective…not necessarily the lack of desire to understand the other perspective but the inability to understand…might be a bigger contributor to the Revenge Revolution than we thought.”

Greenie:  “Point well taken, Gelly.  I need a break.”


#266 What’s Supposed to Melt in the US Melting Pot? (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 #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 starts Entry #265.

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie: “Jordan, while Gelly and I were getting coffee did you get ahold of Rock Man and Two Dogs?”

Jordan: “Left messages for both of them. I’ll talk to them later. Let’s get started.”

Gelly: “May I stay for the conversation, please? Sounds as if it could be interesting.”

Jordan: “Of course. I assumed you were going to stay. Your perspective is always valuable. And, as if you need a reminder, feel free to jump in the conversation any time.”

Greenie: “OK, so now we need to figure out…or at least discuss…if there is any validity to the assumption that long-term culture could affect current behavior of different nationalities or ethnic groups?  And, if so, how and to what degree?  Right, so far?”

Jordan:  “Right so far.  Keep going.”

Greenie:  “Then we asked, ‘For any ethnic group or nationality in the US, how much of the culture should melt in the US melting pot and how much of the culture should remain…un-melted as it were?’ Getting some idea of how much should melt might help us understand what affect long-term culture might have had on the Revenge Revolution…and how US society might address culture-related issues in the future.”092615_2031_Characters7.gif

Jordan:  “You got it.”

Gelly: “Before the coffee break youse guys decided to do a quick study on three groups…blacks, Native Americans and Jews, and starting with Jews.”

Jordan: “Your mimicking of ‘youse guys’ was pretty good. Yes, we agreed to start the analysis with Jews, which somehow seems appropriate since we just finished the High Holidays.”

Gelly: “Seems to me a specific question or two might help get the conversation started. So, here goes.  An issue that often comes up when talking about Jews, ‘What is it about the culture of Jews that seems to push for so much education? Why does it seem the vast majority of Jews have college degrees…and a very high percentage have advanced degrees? What about the culture would make that happen?”

Greenie: “Good way to get started, Gelly. I think the answer involves two factors. The first is Judaism promotes education throughout life. And some pretty intense education starts at an early age.  By the time you’re a 12-13 year-old, you’re learning all kinds of things preparing for a bar or bat mitzvah. And these kids are required to lead part of the Shabbat service, including reading a bunch of Hebrew…which is not major language these days outside of Israel.”

TurtleneckJordan: “Point well taken, Greenie. Lots of pressure at an early age to learn something that’s very difficult for many. The experience begins to build a foundation for a willingness to try to learn difficult subjects through one’s formal education…and for many, a lifetime of learning.”

Gelly: “What was the second reason?”

Greenie: “Jewish immigrants realized that education was a way out of the ghetto. With an education, you didn’t have to be involved in some type of manual labor. And, education was a way to improve socio-economic status.”

092615_2031_Characters10.gifJordan: “Gelly, here’s a story that illustrates the point. The scene: the inauguration of the first Jewish president. A lady turns to the president-elect’s mother and says, ‘The first Jewish president.  You must be very proud of your son.’ The mother turns and says, ‘Yes, I’m very proud of him…but you should meet his brother, the doctor.’”

Gelly: “That’s a good story. Now, help me understand the link between those examples and how long-term culture might affect current behavior? In the Torah there are lots of examples of Jews as shepherds and some examples as skilled trades. Where’s the link from those old-culture jobs to the attitude today of life-long education?”

GraduationGreenie: “To me, the link is an understanding by many rabbis and many Jewish families that education has been and continues to be a way to break from the past. Much like leaving Egypt was a way for Jews to break away from physical slavery, education has been a way to break away from economic slavery.”

Jordan: “In virtually every service at the temple, there is a reminder to congregants that Jews were once slaves in Egypt. While not discussed in services, just a few generations ago, whether Jews were in the ‘old country’ or in the US as immigrants, many were slaves to lower-paying jobs.”

Balancing actGelly: “That’s interesting. So, if I interpret you correctly, understanding how to break away from adverse circumstances without completely throwing out the old culture is a key lesson.  In a way the lesson is a balancing act — in the US understanding what part of the culture should melt into the melting pot and what should not melt. Being able to create such a balance might be a key lesson for other groups – blacks, Native Americans, etc.”

Jordan: “Let’s hold that thought and match it against what information comes out of the conversations with Rock Man and, as you guys keep saying, Two Dogs.”

BeginningGreenie: When you talk to them, could you please remind each of them we are only in the data-gathering phase?  Let them know we are trying to determine if our assumption has any validity.  If it does, we’ll need more guidance from them and help from some of their contacts.  I just don’t want them to think the call is the end of the study.  It’s just the beginning.”

Jordan:  “Yes, I’ll be very clear with them.  Thanks for the reminder.”


#265 What’s Supposed to Melt in the US Melting Pot?

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.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office, Washington, DC

Gelly:  “Jordan, Greenie just called.  She’d like to stop by later this morning, OK?”

Jordan:  “What’s she want to talk about?”

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly:  “Some background for articles she writing about the Revenge Revolution.  She said no preparation necessary…at least for now.”

Jordan:  “I can see where this headed.  My calendar is clean for a while, right?”

Gelly:  “You’re good through early afternoon.”

Jordan:  “OK, please tell her anytime this morning.”

(Greenie arrives)

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “Hello, Gelly…and you, too, Jordan.”

Jordan:  “Why am I always the second fiddle around here?”

Greenie:  “You should be the third fiddle but we’re nice to you.  Hello, Jordan.”

Jordan:  “Nice to see you Greenie.  What’s on your mind?”

Greenie:  “Gelly, if you’re not too busy, you might want to stay for this discussion.”

Gelly:  “I’m good for a while.  Thanks, I’ll stay.”

Confused Clip ArtGreenie:  “As I’ve been working on articles about the causes of the Revenge Revolution, one idea keeps rattling around in my head.”

Jordan:  “And the idea is…?”

Greenie:  “Probably more of a question than an idea.  I wonder how much long-term cultural heritage affects behavior in the present day.”

Jordan:  “Are you talking behavior any place in the world or just the US?”

Greenie:  “The focus is the United States but the answer probably applies to any number of other countries.”

BookGelly:  “Has anyone studied this before?  Seems like an ideal topic for a graduate thesis or a book.”

Greenie:  “I’m sure there have been a number of studies but my specific concern is how long-term cultures might affect behavior in the 21st Century US…and if such behavior had any influence on the Revenge Revolution?”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Interesting.  If I may, let me try to reframe the question.  ‘If the United States is to be a melting pot of different cultures, do some parts of the cultures not melt?’…or something like that.”

Gelly:  “Hmmm.  Greenie, do you have any particular cultures in mind?”

Greenie:  “There’s no particular logic to my order of cultures…as far as I can tell.  I started out thinking about blacks, then American Indians.  Then added Western Europeans, Asians, Jews, Muslims…and the list got long very quickly.  Like I said, I don’t think there’s any particular order, at least for now.”

Gelly:  “Now, may I try to frame the question?”

Greenie:  “Please.”

Melting Pot Lady LibertyGelly:  “In the US, for a particular culture, what part of the culture melts in the pot and what part doesn’t melt?”

Jordan:  “One more try at phrasing, ‘What part of the culture should melt in the US pot and what part of the culture shouldn’t melt?”

Greenie:  “Now I think we are making progress.  For some people, the answer to the question would be ‘all citizens of the US should have the same characteristics…like homogenized milk.’”

MilkGelly:  “And for those who want homogenized milk, their measurement yardstick is ‘if you don’t think like me and/or have the same values as me, then you’re not a real member of the American tribe.’”

Jordan:  “Alright, so Greenie, tell me, please, how the question about what part of culture should melt or shouldn’t melt links back to causes of the Revenge Revolution?”

Greenie:  “The Revenge Revolution was, in many respects, a rebellion against tribal mentality.  The populous rebelled against the ‘I’m-1.0%-and-therefore better-than-you’ tribe, against the arrogance of the ‘I’m-a-member-of-the-legislature’ tribe, against the ‘guns-for-everyone’ tribe, and against a bunch of other self-centered groups.”

Gelly:  “Do you really think those tribes were formed by cultures or for some other reason?”

Greenie:  “Both.  What I’m trying to determine…or understand…is which tribes were primarily the result of long-term culture…and then within those tribes what factors might have influenced participation in the Revenge Revolution.”

AnalysisJordan:  “Seems to me we should take a few examples of tribes and test the theory, at least to determine if there might be any link between long-term culture, the tribes as you describe them and the Revenge Revolution.”

Gelly:  “OK, where do you want to start…I mean, which tribes?”

Greenie:  “There’s several ways to define tribes.  And I’m not sure of the best approach.  But let’s start with a tribe we should understand, at least in part.  Let’s look in the mirror first…and take a look at Jews.”

PhoneJordan:  “I’ll buy that idea.  Before we start, let me call Rock Man and see when he’s available to provide his insight on blacks.”

Gelly:  “What about your native American buddy…you know, Two Dogs.  I know his name is not really Two Dogs, but you know who I mean.”

Jordan:  “Yes, I know who you mean.  And I won’t tell him you called him Two Dogs, although I’m sure he would find that funny.”

Greenie:  “While you’re calling your buddies, Gelly and I are going downstairs and get some good coffee.  Want some?”

 (To be continued)

#264 People Begin to Regain Control after Tiring of Trumpong and Mythomania (Part 3 of 3)

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.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Coffee shop near Jordan’s office, Washington, DC.  Series starts Entry #262.

Matt:  “You know what else I think caused people to say, ‘enough of Trump’?”

Jordan:  “What’s that?”

092615_2031_Characters11.pngMatt:  “Actually two things…and both are fundamental to building long-term relationships with friends, business colleagues, constituents…in fact, building a relationship with anyone.”

Jordan:  “Consistency is one fundamental for sure.”

Matt:  “You’re right.  And Trump was consistently inconsistent.”

Jordan:  “His base might have found being consistently inconsistent as a positive attribute but few others did.”

RelationshipMatt:  “Rhetorical question, I know, ‘How do you develop a relationship with someone who’s all over the map?’  One day left, one day right, one day up, one day down…I mean, how do you work with such a person?”

Jordan:  “Answer to your rhetorical question, ‘You can’t work with them.  You can’t work with them because you don’t know where they’re going and sometimes even where they’ve been.’   Congress, White House Staff, agencies, business leaders, international leaders, and the public all got tired of ‘Trumpong.’”

Matt:  “What did you call it, Trumpthong or Trumpong?”

Ping PongJordan:  “That’s funny, Trumpthong.  I don’t even want to think about that.  Anyway, the word is Trumpong, which is what I call Trump’s version of strategic ping-pong.  The never-ending back-and-forth.  Change your position day-to-day, sometimes even during the same day.  Then bounce back to the original position.  Back-and-forth just like ping-pong.”

Matt:  “I like that word, Trumpong.  What do you think was the second reason for people starting to take back control?”

Jordan:  “What I found annoying personally…and apparently so did a whole bunch of other people left and right…was Trump’s severe case of mythomania.”

DictionaryMatt:  “Mythomania?  Is that yet another made-up word?”

Jordan:  “No, mythomania is a real word.  I learned about it from a great website, www.wordsmith.org.  The site has a word of the day.  Some words you’ve hear of, some words you haven’t.  The site also includes the etymology of the word, which I always find interesting.  Mythomania was a featured word fairly early in the Trump Administration…maybe late summer 2017.  Anyway, if I recall correctly, the word has been around since the early 1900’s…long before the Donald.”

Matt:  “Exactly what does it mean?  Just what you think it should mean?”

PinocchioJordan:  “Yep, an abnormal tendency to exaggerate or lie.”

Matt:  “Great word, mythomania.  I need to remember that.”

Jordan:  “Well, am I close to what you were thinking about as the second reason for what triggered people to start taking back control?”

Matt:  “I like your reason better than mine.  I was focused more on events than a pattern of behavior.   Your idea that the constant Trumpong mythomania apparently just started to wear out people.”

ScreamJordan:  “Not all at once, of course.  Over time more and more people felt like the model for one of Evard Munch’s paintings.  They just couldn’t take it anymore and wanted to scream.”

Matt:  “So after the screaming, people decided to vote differently…in the 2018 mid-term elections Republicans lost more House and Senate seats than usual for mid-terms.”

Jordan:  “And, behind the scenes, the long-time professionals in the federal agencies began to regain control.  The professionals prevented a lot of potential damage that Trump appointees wanted to inflict.”

Matt:  “Wasn’t that why Trump got elected?  Change Washington, and especially some of the agencies?”

Jordan:  “Until the Revenge Revolution, a lot of the public never understood fully the extent to which the professionals protected the role of the agencies.  The professionals were the guardian of the public interests.”

Matt:  “Hard-core Trumpsters might look at their behavior differently.”

BrainwashedJordan:  “True, but hard-core Trumpsters aren’t running the show any more.  They got thrown out by the Revenge Revolution.  I’m still convinced many of the hard-core Trumpsters were brainwashed.  Their support of Trump’s policies was often contrary to their own best interests.  The hard-core never seemed to understand the consequences of the proposed policies.”

Matt:  “So over time…and actually it wasn’t that long…more and more people tire of Trump’s severe case of mythomania, there’s a larger than normal turnover of House and Senate seats, Trump gets taken out of office…and then we have the Revenge Revolution.”

Jordan:  “I think we’ve created an abridged version of why people started to take back control…and then what happened as a result.”

professor4Matt:  “Each one of the sections could be a worth a couple of books…and 1-2 semester class or even a public lecture series.”

Jordan:  “There you go, Matt.  Writing and lecturing about the Revenge Revolution should keep you busy for the next 10-15 years, maybe longer.”

Matt:  “What about the Revenge Revolution articles Greenie is writing.  She seems to be trying to address some of the same issues?”

TurtleneckJordan:  “So, why don’t you two work together, already?”

Matt:  “Good idea, Jordan.  Thanks.  I’ll get in contact with her.  Now, I’ve got to run.”

Jordan:  “Enjoyed it Matt, as always.  Keep me posted on progress with the book.  Come by any time.”


#263 How Normal Citizens Started to Regain Control (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.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Coffee shop near Jordan’s office, Washington, DC

(End of last entry) Matt:  “And we know Trump never, ever admitted a mistake.”

man-fallingJordan: “Never admitting a mistake was really his downfall.”

Matt: “In what way?”

Jordan: “All the investigations – collusion with Russia, money laundering, violating the emoluments clause, fraudulent tax returns – all of those investigations could have been avoided…well probably avoided…if he’d have come clean after he won the election and said…”

Matt: “…Let me guess. ‘I want there to be no question about the integrity of my business dealings or my taxes. I want to set the example. Let’s do an audit and I will fix any problems.”

Jordan: “Matt, you’re spot on. He could have been up to his eyeballs in shady deals. However, by offering to fix any problems he would have avoided the investigations.”

Matt: “Even better, by agreeing to an audit he would have looked like a hero to many Democrats.”

ConfessionJordan: “What a great way to start a presidency. Go to confession and beg for forgiveness.”

Matt: “But no, Donald being the Donald, he doubled down efforts to obfuscate all the shady deals. What happened?”

Jordan: “His agenda went nowhere, Republicans lost all kinds of seats in 2018, and eventually he got taken out.”

Matt: “Then we got the Revenge Revolution.”

Jordan: “In fairness to Trump…did I just say that?…in fairness to Trump, he didn’t cause the Revenge Revolution. However, he can take credit for speeding it up.”

Matt: “Sort of a perverse view, I suppose. Trump winning the presidency was a favor to the country since he accelerated the Revenge Revolution.”

Jordan: “I promise I’ll never tell anyone you said that.”

Matt: “Really, Jordan, think about it. Trump was so bad and so inept that he encouraged the populous to revolt and implement significant reform. Unfortunately, Trump and many hard-core supporters, probably think that only the Donald could force the country into taking such action.”

Mt RushmoreJordan: “I know what you’re saying. Since Trump did the country such a favor, maybe we should put his face on Mount Rushmore.”

Matt: “Or maybe erect statues of him to replace the Confederate generals that were put in storage.”

Jordan: “Enough tongue-in-cheek comments, already. Can you think of any other Trump actions that really sent the public sideways? Not just Democrats but lots of Republicans, too. Anything come to mind?”

Matt: “Yes, the proclamation about DACA kids (Deferred Action for Child Arrivals).”

Jordan: “Why so?”

Obama Exec OrderMatt: “First of all, if Trump really cared about these kids…actually many were young adults…he could have let Obama’s Executive Order continue or issued another one. What was so pressing?”

Jordan: “Well, he gave Congress six months to solve the problem. Wasn’t that a reasonable amount of time?”

Matt: “Might have been reasonable time if he had a good relationship with his own party and there weren’t a bunch of other pressing issues to get done. Just let Obama’s EO stand and work on the other issues.”

Jordan: “But something about the way he handled the issue really upset people. Whadda think it was?”

StealingMatt: “Trump’s rationale wasn’t really about whether these children had legal standing. Trump’s argument was ‘those illegals’ were stealing jobs that Trump claimed rightfully belonged to Trump supporters. In reality the DACA kids were creating jobs and likely qualified for higher-tech jobs…jobs that many Trump supporters weren’t qualified for.”

Jordan: “Agreed. I think a wide swatch of the public understood the legal arguments and economic arguments were, as they used to say on ‘Car Talk’, ‘booooogus.’ Having Attorney General Jeff Sessions make the Administration’s announcement on DACA and then try to justify the decision based on economics would have been funny if the consequences hadn’t been so tragic.”

DetourMatt: “The DACA Detour, as I call it, was an effort to steer away from the every widening Russia investigation. Many in the public realized the terrible precedent that DACA set. DACA finally got evangelicals off their butt and they started saying no to Trump.”

Jordan: “Fortunately DACA eventually got resolved. Anything else?”

Matt: “Least we not forget within a few days after the DACA Detour, Trump cut a budget deal with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. And how does he announce the deal? On camera without having told Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan ahead of time.”

092615_2031_Characters12.gifJordan: “The question is what did the deal accomplish? The Republicans would have passed legislation for the debt ceiling to keep the government operating, even if it took having Democrats join them. But Trump’s ego needed a fix, like right now, so he gave McConnell and Ryan the finger on camera and proceeded to play footsie with Pelosi.”

Matt: “And what happens? Rather than demonstrating how to work both sides of the aisle, Trump managed to continue his loose-cannon approach to strategy and ended up Nail in Coffinalienating virtually everyone in Congress and much of the public.”

Jordan: “Still amazes me how one guy could put so many nails in his own coffin.”


#262 How Normal Citizens Started to Regain Control

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.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Coffee shop near Jordan’s office, Washington, DC

092615_2031_Characters11.pngMatt:  “Jordan, thanks for taking time to meet.  Gelly said you were busy trying to catch up after taking last week off.”

Jordan:  “Yeah, I needed a break from Washington.  What’s up?”

Matt:  “I’m writing another chapter in the book about the Revenge Revolution.  The focus is how normal citizens began to take back control of the government.”

Jordan:  “Take back control before or after the Revenge Revolution?”

Matt:  “They clearly regained control after.  What I’m trying to explain is actions by citizens that may have accelerated the Revenge Revolution.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “That’s interesting.  So your premise, if I can call it such, is that actions of ordinary citizens might have accelerated the Revenge Revolution.  How will you support the idea?”

Matt:  “I picked a timeframe to review and measure actions.  To help establish a baseline, I looked back at the media reports, print articles – newspapers and web, radio and broadcast for what I thought were three key periods – (i) first 6-12 months of the first Obama Administration; (ii) first 6-12 months following Obama’s re-election and (iii) early part of the Trump Administration.”

Jordan:  “So, what, if anything, stood out?”

drone-manMatt:  “At the beginning of the Obama Administration there was lots of frustration with Congress.  Really frustration with Congress and the Executive branch.  Despite the frustration, the discourse was reasonably civil.”

Jordan:  “But weren’t there were some fairly public hate groups?   Seems like a lot of guys were vocal about not wanting a black president.”

Matt:  “For sure hate groups were there.  And some were vocal.  But, aside from some websites, there wasn’t a major public platform for them.”

fox-news-logo bJordan:  “C’mon, Matt.  You don’t think Fox News was an outlet for these guys?”

Matt:  “Not as much as you might think…at least at the beginning of Obama’s presidency.  Until I did the research, I’d forgotten how much farther right and more outlandish O’Reilly’s and Hannity’s commentaries became each year Obama was in office.”

Jordan:  “Least we not forget commentaries from the paragon of truth and objectivity, Rushman.”

Matt:  “For those three guys and a few others it was a race to see who could stretch the truth the most.”

three-stoogesJordan:  “Despite Larry, Moe and Curly, I mean O’Reilly, Hannity and Rushman, the Republican presidential candidates seemed to keep a reasonable lid on things.  McCain and Romney were both professional, save a few slips here and there.  Palin was another story…she’s still looking for Russia or some polar bear.”

Matt:  “Then post Romney, the Republican party starts to fracture and in walks Trump.”

Jordan:  “You know, if you look back at Trump’s remarks in the late 1990’s and even up to pre-Obama, he was much more mainstream…even rational.”

Matt:  “Who knows what started eating at his brain.  Whatever it was he became more and more outrageous with his remarks.  But more importantly…”

Jordan:  “…more importantly Trump provided a public platform for the fringe groups.”

Matt:  “Then he got elected.  Well, elected by a majority of the Electoral College.  OK, elected.”

Jordan:  “Then what?”

Trump KingMatt:  “You know what.  The king kept throwing red meat to fringe-group supporters in order to feed his fragile ego.”

Jordan:  “Here’s an issue for you to explore.  As he became more and more deranged, why did mainstream Republicans get lockjaw?  Why didn’t Republicans in Congress publically try to stop him?”

Matt:  “Apparently no kahunas and focus on themselves rather than constituents.  Other than a few equally delusional rabid-right House members, everyone else knew his behavior was bad for the country.”

Jordan:  “So why did Republican House reps and most Republican senators do nothing of substance.  Why?”

Matt:  “Fear of losing a re-election I suppose.”

Bums OutJordan:  “Ironically, that’s exactly what happened.  Voters said, ‘Throw the bums out.’”

Matt:  “And that takes us to 2018.  Based on my analysis, the 2018 election was a pivot point when people began taking back control.  Not a complete control but a start.”

Jordan:  “Do you think the 2018 election laid the groundwork for the Revenge Revolution.”

Matt:  “Pivot point, yes.  But the causes of the Revenge Revolution started to build years earlier.”

Jordan:  “What about all the Republican Trump supporters that were voted out of office in 2018?”

Matt:  “Jordan, you and I both know that the party of the president historically has lost seats in mid-term elections.  Not as many as 2018 but Republicans losing seats was not unexpected.”

Jordan:  “You don’t think anything changed politically in 2018?”

Matt:  “To me the real change in 2018 was more and more individuals began to take action to make change in society.”

newspaper_bwJordan:  “When you mentioned individuals taking action, I recall an editorial written by the rabbi emeritus at our temple.  The content was personal but also laid out a call to action.  Hard to ignore.”

Matt:  “Tell me more.”

Jordan:  “Part of her father’s family was lost in the Holocaust.  One of her points was we…citizen we…need to recognize that such events could occur in the US if we don’t stop hate groups.”

politicsMatt:  “Was she OK with free speech?”

Jordan:  “Free speech was not an issue.  But there’s a distinct difference between free speech and actions taken by hate groups to thwart rights of others.  Free speech and oppressive actions are clearly different and should not be confused.”

Matt:  “The editorial reminds of something else I need to explore.”

Jordan:  “That is?”

ChurchMatt:  “Evangelicals.  Why did do many support Trump?  Obviously, not all evangelicals supported Trump but a very high percentage did…even after he’d been in office for 6-7 months.  For evangelicals, all of Trump’s unethical behavior before the election which continued after the election…yet they continued to support him.”

Jordan:  “What’s even stranger to me is the percentage of Jews that continued to support him.  Granted the absolute numbers were not high but what were they thinking?”

Matt:  “Any ideas on why seemingly religious people would continue to support Trump, whose behavior was so contrary to their beliefs?”

torahClipJordan:  “No logical reason.  I think the fundamentalists forgot their scripture.  Someplace in Torah…probably Leviticus but I’m not sure…there’s a section that talks about when leaders are humble and admit mistakes, the populous will also be more humble and caring.”

Matt:  “And what happens to the populous if leaders deny mistakes?”

Jordan:  “People will begin acting the same way as their leader.”

Matt:  “And we know Trump never, ever admitted a mistake.”


#261 Sense Check: Is Revenge Revolution Still Plausible?

First-time 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 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.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

This entry is a bit different.  A couple of times each year I step back for a “sense check” whether a Revenge Revolution in the United States sometime after 2020 is still plausible or am I blowing smoke you know where?

If there were any doubt about plausibility of a Revenge Revolution, events this past week should have erased them. The Revenge Revolution seems not only plausible, but likely. While one could make a credible argument that Revenge Revolution will begin before 2020…and may have begun already, let’s do some more analysis.

Abbott CostelloWhat’s confusing, at least for me, is trying to determine “who’s on first?” in Washington.  Is it Abbott or Costello? The political leadership in Washington and the some of the populous seem to be wandering…aimlessly. President Trump has been displaying classic symptoms of what I call “water-bug” management. Like a water bug, he operates in shallow water and darts back-and-forth, changing positions constantly but never really progressing. Describing his behavior as inconsistent and his non-scripted remarks as incoherent would be a compliment.

The lack of leadership from the president has left Congress with no clear direction. The lack of leadership has also confused the general population, creating even more splinter groups. When I first started writing this “sense check,” I assumed the splinter groups, or clusters, were based on traditional political descriptions – far right Republicans, far-left Democrats, etc. But those cluster definitions just did not seem to fit today’s situation. After some head scratching, I decided clusters described around behavior were more appropriate than political affiliations.

The clusters also seemed to beg for more descriptive names. So, here are names of clusters I thought were evolving – in no particular order of importance or influence: (i) Brainwashed; (ii) Know-Nothings; (iii) Independent Thinkers; (iv) Chicken Hawks; (v) Me Firsts. My rule is to try to limit a blog entry to no more than 1,500 words, so for this entry, write-ups about the clusters are relatively brief. In my best imitation southern vocabulary, I “might could” expand these write-ups in coming entries.

Cluster #1: “Brainwashed” – the most dominant portion of Brainwashed seems to be the Alt-right, which is promoting an America of international isolation as well as domestic racial, ethnic and religious separation. Based on purely anecdotal evidence, the cluster seems to include a surprising large percentage of college graduates. I have friends from Brainwashedmy undergraduate and graduate days who seem to have put aside all learning and become brainwashed.

The term “brainwashed” occurred to me when having breakfast with a former high-school history teacher…and a fellow Jew no less, which I mention because of the anti-Semitism of the Alt-right.  For the past 4-5 years we’ve met for breakfast every 6-8 weeks. For the past couple years, with each succeeding breakfast my colleague became more vocal about alleged problems with the Obama Administration. During the 2016 presidential campaign he started repeating false claims from Breitbart, Fox News and other sources. Refuting the claims with data had no impact on his position.

The final straw in the relationship was after I asked for a source of data supporting what I thought was a wildly outlandish claim, he jumped up, pointed a finger and accused me of calling him a liar. A liar because I asked for a data source? His behavior and behavior of some other college-educated friends could only be explained, I concluded, by some type of brainwashing. Ok, it might be a stretch…but how else do you explain it?

Cluster #2: “Know-Nothings” – there are many voters on the right and left who are not brainwashed, but, for some reason, do not seem to understand or think through Know Nothingsconsequences of their positions. Many Trump supporters fall in this category. Why else would someone vote for a candidate whose campaign platform, if implemented, would result in legislation against one’s economic best interest? Either you don’t understand what you’re voting for and/or you’ve been hoodwinked by a slick real-estate developer.

Whichever the case you have displayed that either you know nothing or chose not to think. As with the Brainwashed cluster, there seem to be a surprising number of reasonably well-educated people in this cluster. What happened to critical thinking?

Many Know-Nothings in the Republican Party, even those in Congress, seem to be intimidated by the Alt-right. Trump’s bizarre and incorrect statements following the demonstrations In Charlottesville, VA were a perfect opportunity for Republican members in this cluster to reestablish credibility. Other than a few senators – Graham, McCain, Corker, e.g. – prominent Republicans remained silent, or like Congressional leaders McConnell and Ryan, issued wishy-washy statements not directly critical of Trump. So much for leadership.

While not surprising, Know-Nothings also did not address what I consider the elephant-in-the room – the meaning of statues of Confederate soldiers, mostly generals. Folks, like it or not, those who fought with the Confederacy were traitors. Yes, I’ll say that one more time, traitors.

The southern states were not forced out of the Union but chose to leave voluntarily. The southern states betrayed the Union. Well, guess what? The traitors lost. So why should the country honor traitors with statues? And forget the false equivalency to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson being slave owners. Unlike traitors Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis, both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson fought for the creation of the United States.

The Know-Nothing cluster, whether right or left, will likely remain ineffectual, even after the Alt-right is marginalized following the Revenge Revolution. Maybe this cluster should join Dorothy, travel to the Land of Oz and ask the Wizard for a brain.

Cluster #3: “Independent Thinkers” – by definition members have no strong ties to the left or right. The group includes more moderate Republicans and more moderate Independent ThinkersDemocrats. The cluster has no clear agenda and no obvious spokesperson, other than possibly Bernie Sanders. Since the election, and especially since the events in Charlottesville, more Congressional reps and voters seem to be shifting toward the center, recognizing that the country needs some well thought-out policies. (Article written by former Trump supporter, 17 08 20 Voted for Trump and Sorely Regret It.  Source, NYT.)

At one time, this cluster included Lincoln/Dirksen/Javits Republicans and moderate Democrats. Following the Revenge Revolution, this cluster should emerge as the driving force.

Cluster #4: “Chicken Hawks” – A potentially dangerous cluster. Bush #43 suffered as Chicken Hawks Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz pushed military involvement, despite Chicken Hawknever having served any time themselves. Trump might be Chicken Hawk supreme. Lots of bluster and bullying but no time in the military – and no, military prep school does not count. Trump seems to have no comprehension of how a military operates and the possible consequences of taking military action.

Again, without supporting data, my guess is most neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other Alt-right supporters could be classified as Chicken Hawks. With any luck, the real military people in the Administration will take control should chief Chicken Hawk give some dangerous order.

Cluster #5: “Me First” – cluster includes people with a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds and education. The primary focus for “members” of the group is me, me, Me Firstme…to the exclusion of everyone else, or at least until I’m satisfied. “Team,” “country” and similar such words are not part of their vocabulary.

The most visible members, but not the largest number, are the “1.0%’ers” and many wanna-be 1.0%’ers. For the 1.0%’ers the primary solution to all economic and many other issues is “more tax cuts.” These cuts, of course, benefit the wealthy the most but are often disguised in percentage terms to mollify the “Know Nothings.” In fairness, not all 1.0%’ers fall in this category. Some high-profile super-rich have been extremely generous sharing their wealth and have not supported additional tax breaks.

The cluster includes those opposed to most government regulation, unless the regulation favors them, of course. Few in the group seem to understand or acknowledge that their personal freedoms and other rights are the result of a…yikes, strong Federal government.

Also included in the “Me First” cluster are those seeking government handouts, whether through tax breaks or direct payments. Many supporting tax cuts are opposed to any kind of cash payments to people with lower incomes. Somehow tax breaks do not constitute real cash?

This cluster exists in part because of a mix-mash of laws and regulations. While the “Me First” cluster will continue to exist after the Revenge Revolution, the Revenge Revolution should provide the impetus to simplify the Byzantine regulations that affect taxes and various subsidy payments.

Summary: Back to the question at hand – Is a Revenge Revolution plausible sometime after 2020? Has the Revenge Revolution already begun? Based on activities during and actions by the Trump Administration, let’s stick with the answer, “yes, still plausible after 2020.” In fact, Trump and supporters have likely accelerated the timetable for the Revenge Revolution.

070715_2218_141SenseChe1.gifIronically for Trump and supporters, the outcome of the Revenge Revolution could be exactly the opposite of what they intended to accomplish. The Revenge Revolution could result in a stronger Federal government with laws that are more equitable and more regulations, especially protecting the environment. So there, Trump et al. Happy now?

#260 Going after the Donald. Collusion? Illusion? Follow the Money. (And thanks Donald.) (Part 3 of 3)

First-time readers, the dialogue in 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 Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment if Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s Washington office following meeting with Greenie and JC.  Series with JC and Greenie starts Entry #244 and ends Entry #257. This conversation starts #258.

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly:  “Whew, I feel better.  A break and a coffee refill.  Now, where were we?”

Jordan:  “You were asking why Mueller and the other Congressional investigations didn’t start following the money earlier.  Actually, I think they did but tried to keep quiet about it.”

Gelly:  “By keeping quiet, you think they reduced the likelihood that Trump would try to fire Mueller?  Had Trump really known where the investigation was headed, he might have tried to fire Mueller right away.”

Jordan:  “Probably.  But one thing about all the investigations baffles me.”

Gelly:  “Only one?  And that is?”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Trump’s behavior.    I mean he had to know one or more of the investigations, especially Mueller’s, would lead to his finances.  How could you think otherwise?”

Gelly:  “I agree.  Somehow…and we’ll never know for sure…Trump seemed naïve enough to believe that he could hide all the illicit financial deals…”

Jordan:  “…and even more naïve believing his taxes never would be disclosed.  What was the guy thinking?”

Trump KingGelly:  “He thought he was king.  The Donald lived in his own goofy ‘I’m-above-it-all’ world.  Surely the rest of the family von Trump had some common sense.”

Jordan:  “For a while I thought Kushner might be OK.  However, in short order he proved to be the caricature of a developer – shady and untrustworthy.”

Gelly:  “I must admit feeling sorry for Ivanka’s and Jared’s kids when he got into so much trouble.  But, hey, he was a big boy and should have known better.”

jailJordan:  “Another example of the apple not falling far from the tree.”

Gelly:  “You mean old-man Kushner, I mean Jared’s father, being convicted of tax evasion and witness tampering…and then spending time in jail?”

Jordan:  “Yes.  OK, so the key players in Trump family were stinko.  What’s even worse to me is the family seemed to be able to drag seemingly respectable people into the Trump gutter…and do it quickly.”

amateur hourGelly:  “I have some friends who were part of the White House staff early on in the Trump Administration.  Most had worked for the Obama Administration and a few also had worked for the Bush Administration.  All…and I mean every single person…was shocked at the lack of professionalism among Trump’s key staff members.  They said calling it ‘amateur hour’ would be a compliment.”

Jordan:  “What’s equally shocking to me is how quickly some of the cabinet appointees started to take on Trump’s demeanor.  I understand cabinet heads conveying the message but taking on Trump’s a-hole demeanor was frankly shocking.”

Mean DogGelly:  “In more polite terms, you mean like dogs who take on their master’s behavioral characteristics?”

Jordan:  “Never thought about it in those terms but yes.  Good analogy, Gelly.”

Gelly:  “Look, it’s cathartic to beat up on the Trump family and their lackeys.  As I look back, what bothers me the most .was how Trump and his Alt-right crowd attempted to corrupt the democracy and destroy the US.  And for what purpose?  Money?”

PutinJordan:  “For Trump, money for sure.  And Trump had to try to hide the Russian connection.  Because of all the earlier shady financial dealings Putin had Donnie boy by the short hairs.”

Gelly:  “Jordan, I know what you mean but could you use a different expression, please?”

Jordan:  “Alright.  In addition to greed, what seemed to drive the Donald was an insatiable appetite for respect.   He was the quintessential wanna be.”

Gelly:  “Apparently what he never understood was money, wealth and fame don’t buy you respect.  It might buy respect with people who voted for him but not with people who really matter and get things done.”

Jordan:  “That’s a rather elitist statement.  Actually, I think I know what you mean but those words wouldn’t play well with a lot of people.”

RespectGelly:  “There’s probably a better way to phrase it.  But just step back and think about it.  Who in your life do you respect?  If you made a list, I’ll bet many on the list don’t have much money…and certainly aren’t famous.”

Jordan:  “You’re right.  And you know what?  Not a single person that comes to mind sought public recognition.  Even if they were rich, they just made things happen…sometimes big things and sometimes small things but always unassuming and humble.”

Gelly:  “OK, so there you go.  Contrary to people on your list, little Donnie acted like a bully and thought people should respect him.  Even after he became president, he tried to bully everyone.  And what happened?  Did he earn anyone’s respect?”

Jordan:  “No, he lost it for himself and the US, other than with the bunch of other wanna be’s who continued to support him.  Little Donnie the bully became the laughing-stock of serious people worldwide.”

Gelly:  “Well, there is one thing we can thank him for.”

070715_2218_141SenseChe1.gifJordan:  “There is?  What’s that?”

Gelly:  “He hastened the Revenge Revolution.  The country was on track for a Revenge Revolution sometime in the next decade or so…but his behavior caused it to occur 5 years, maybe 10 years early.  I guess we should thank him for that, right?”

Jordan:  “I guess so.  It’s about the only thing we can thank him for.”

Gelly:  “Thanks Donnie for hastening the Revenge Revolution and getting America back on track…not your track but the right track.”

Jordan:  “With that point want to call this a wrap for the day?”

Gelly:  “Good idea.  Let’s get out of here.”

#259 Going after the Donald. Collusion? Illusion. Follow the Money. (Part 2)

First-time readers, the dialogue in 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 Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment if Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s Washington office following meeting with Greenie and JC.  Series with JC and Greenie starts Entry #244 and ends Entry #257. This conversation starts #258.

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly:  “Ok, you’ve had your break.  Now tell me, if Trump was such a bad financial risk, why would the Russians…or anyone for that matter…lend him money?”

Jordan:  “Simple.  Lenders wanted to park money in a safe place.”

Gelly:  “I don’t get what you mean.  Trump’s a financial risk and investors want to park money in a safe place.  The two ideas are just the opposite.  Why not a bank?  What am I missing?”

Jordan:  “Put yourself in the shoes of say a Russian oligarch.”

Gelly:  “You mean like one of Putin’s cronies?”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Your term, not mine…but yes, like one of Putin’s cronies.  And Putin allowed you to run a ‘private’ company in Russia.”

Gelly:  “By ‘private’ you mean one of the companies that used to be run by the state.  Like some aluminum mining company?”

Jordan:  “Great example.  Your company’s product, aluminum, can be sold worldwide.”

Gelly:  “So the Russian company sold aluminum…and I assume for a profit.  Didn’t that profit automatically flow back to the company?”

Jordan:  “A portion of the profit, and maybe in some cases all the profit could have gone back to the company.  More likely a portion of the profit was skimmed off the top and distributed to Putin and his cronies.”

Money-clip-artGelly:  “Then what did they do with the money?  Kind of hard to hide if it all the money is inside Russia.  How’d they get the money out of the country?”

Jordan:  “Let’s say the aluminum was sold to a company in Brazil.  To pay for the aluminum, the Brazilian buyer told its bank to wire funds to the Russian company’s account at some international bank.  The international bank split the funds, depositing a portion to the Russian aluminum company and a portion to a different account.”

Gelly:  “The other account being for the benefit of Putin and cronies.  That’s legal?”

Jordan:  “Not if the bank knows what’s going on.  The account for Putin and cronies was probably under some corporate name.  Call it Russian Trading Company, LLC.”

Gelly:  “So the international bank justified transferring the money to the account for Putin and cronies because the Russian Trading Company supposedly earned some type of commission, or whatever…right?”

Jordan:  “You’re catching on fast.”

gangster-cartoon-clip-art-540pxGelly:  “This skimming goes on for a while and, voila, the Russian Trading Company has this big pile of money.  To protect themselves against a regime change and a new gang of thieves, I mean officials, Putin and company want to hide the money someplace.”

Jordan:  “If you had a pile of cash in a bank and wanted to park in a safe location, what would you invest in?”

Gelly:  “I suppose buy real estate in some safe country, like England or the US.  I’d buy real estate in maybe London, New York, Florida…maybe Washington.”

Jordan:  “And say in the last 15-20 years you’re a foreign national looking to buy real estate, what name might come to mind?  Who might be able to offer you property that you could purchase?”

Trump Tower SignGelly:  “Gee, let me think hard about that one.  None other than ‘Mr. Straight-Shooter Real-Estate-Developer’ himself, the Donald.”

Jordan:  “Bingo.”

Gelly:  “I understand the idea of buying real estate…but what about the risk?  Trump’s financial track record in real estate was marginal at best.”

Skimming MoneyJordan:  “If you obtain money illegally…like skimming it off the top…then you realize some portion might be lost as you try to make the illegal money appear legitimate.  Let’s just say that when dealing with Trump, Putin and cronies knew they might lose some of their ill-gotten gains.”

Gelly:  “So even if half the money was lost, they’d still end up with hundreds of millions…probably billions of dollars.”

Jordan:  “Remember that famous Trump real estate deal in Palm Beach?”

Duck with MoneyGelly:  “You mean that place he bought for about $40 million and sold not long after for $95-$100 million?  That one?”

Jordan:  “Yes.  And who was they buyer?”

Gelly:  “I don’t remember his name but some Russian oligarch.  The Russian paid Trump way too much money.  However, even if the buyer sold the property for what Trump paid for it, the oligarch has $40 million of illegal money stashed in the US.  At the same time, the Donald made a $60 million profit for doing nothing…well, turning a blind eye.”

Jordan:  “The Donald had to know what was happening with that deal.  Nobody would pay $100 million for a $40 million piece of property.  Now, for the Russians and the Donald, multiply that deal many time over.”

Golf FlagGelly:  “So that’s why, at least according to Donald Junior, the Russians were a major source of capital when Trump bought all those golf courses…like the one in Scotland…and Charlotte…and Mar-a-Lago…and Bedminster, NJ…and the list goes on and on.”

Jordan:  “And had the Donald and/or Junior kept their mouth shut, all would have likely been OK.  No one really started to probe the source of financing…at least until he became a presidential candidate.  Why no probe?  Because the funding ‘partner’ on the documents was some innocuous-sounding LLC.  Plus with the multi-layered corporate structures it was very hard to trace lenders and ownership.”

Gelly:  “I can’t believe I’m going to say this about Trump, but foreign financing of golf courses was not illegal per se was it?”

Jordan:  “No.  And you know what.  Had Trump not become president, it’s highly unlikely many of the financial shenanigans would have come to light.  But when he became president…and when he kept denying any association with Russia, he opened his kimono.”

Gelly:  “I understand that part.  Go back to the banks for a minute.  Surely they knew it was illegal to divert money from these Russian companies. C’mon.”

Jordan:  “I agree and most banks stayed away from those kinds of deals.”

Gelly:  “But apparently some banks were on the take…just like Putin and cronies?  Which banks?”

Jordan:  “In Trump’s case, two banks stood out.  Deutsche Bank and Bank of Cyprus.”

Cypress BankGelly:  “That Bank of Cyprus name rings a bell.  Wasn’t one of Trump’s cabinet members connected with that bank?”

Jordan:  “Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross was a major investor and vice-chairman of the Board.”

Gelly:  “Talk about blatant disregard for ethics and the law.  Trump flaunted his relationship with the Russians and then appointed what could have been his chief money-laundry guy to a cabinet post.”

Jordan:  “Don’t be so hard on Wilbur Ross.  His supporters claimed he cleaned house at Bank of Cyprus by getting rid of the Russians.”

Gelly:  “Maybe so, but given all the other misinformation that came out of the Trump White House, claims like that are hard to believe.  In any case, I want to understand what took so long to get Trump out of office.”

Money TrailJordan:  “You mean why didn’t the investigations just start by following the money trail rather than spend time on all the other issues?”

Gelly:  “Yes, seems like the best way to the truth is just follow the money trail.  Now, I need a break.”