November 2015

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it.” ― Henry Ford

The hate and fear of the Republican primary voter have thrust Donald Trump to the top of the GOP primary field. The candidate with the most substantive record, John Kasich, languishes in ninth place. Suspicion renders substance irrelevant.

Trump isn’t the only candidate who plays to the basest fears of the base – but he’s the best at it. Which raises the question: What is his perverse genius?

The obvious part of his appeal lies in his consistency. He won’t ever say he’s wrong. He never apologises. He’ll double, triple, quadruple down on the most absurd positions and claims. He’s the man that will take on the establishment. The guy that will bully or negotiate greatness for America.

The less obvious part of his appeal lies in his speechifying. He speaks at a level comprehensible to a 4th grader. His words are short. His message direct. He uses a narrower vocabulary than any other candidate. He is constantly on the attack. And knows how to get under the other guy’s skin.

Consider his accusation of Jeb Bush as being ‘low-energy’. A simple slur. But wounding. On the other hand consider a Bush criticism of Trump

“I have great doubts about Donald Trump’s ability to be commander in chief. If you listen to him talk, it’s kind of scary to be honest with you, because he’s not a serious candidate.”

Could it be more wishy-washy? How about, “Trump is too dumb to be commander in chief. It would be a joke.”

Donald trump's lily-white lovers.

Donald trump’s lily-white lovers.

Trump’s supporters are white, less educated and scared. They believe that the America of their halcyon days of youth has been taken away. And to a degree it has. But not by the people who they think took it. In their imagined America, minorities suckling at the federal teat are bankrupting the country. Undocumented aliens are taking their jobs. Faceless bureaucrats issue regulations that stifle their initiative. Obama makes their healthcare more expensive. Democrats welcome terrorists in the guise of refugees.

A tyrannical administration is going to grab their guns and strip away their religious freedoms. Schools are corrupting their children. Universities are emasculating their young. And gays …… don’t get me started on the gays.

They live in an America where their moral foundation is undermined – perhaps irreparably – because people say “Happy Holidays”.

But their economic distress is is not due to darker people. Middle and working class incomes are stagnant because business and its political poodles have waged a war on wages. Under the Orwellian named ‘right to work’ campaign, unions are crippled and collective bargaining  – the workers’ only source of power – is cast away. A falling tide lowers all wages.

As for guns and religion – no one is messing with either the first or the second amendments. And schools don’t have any agenda except to teach kids. And gays are not recruiting.

Regardless, Trump feels their fear – and in feeling it, feeds it. The technique? Identify scary things and then tell the timid you’ll protect them. Roosevelt admonished that ‘all we have to fear is fear itself’. Trump’s mantra is ‘be afraid, be terrified’. He plays to their paranoia, their racism, their xenophobia.

Then Trump sweeps in as their white knight – promising that everything will be as it once was. He promises America will win – so much that Americans will get tired of winning. He’ll make America great again. He’ll use the best people to make the best deals. A wall will solve the illegal alien problem. The 11 million ‘illegals’ already here will be rounded up and repatriated. But beyond the platitudes, there is no substance, no detail.

The Chinese will be cowed. Putin will be put in his place. Terrorists will be kicked in the ass. Jobs will come flooding back. And everyone will get a pet unicorn.

He tells the congregation to trust him and trust him they do.


Strange Religion.

November 28, 2015

In Pythagoras’ religion, eating beans was forbidden as they were considered the resting place of human souls post-mortem.  Mormons wear ritual underwear aka ‘Temple Garments’ to ward off evil. Catholic belief holds that in transubstantiation the wine and wafer of the Eucharist are changed into the literal blood and flesh of Christ. In Tidong weddings, […]

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Happy Thanksgiving.

November 26, 2015

(This post was first published in 2011) Today is Thanksgiving and there are many things that I am thankful for and other things that I am not. I am thankful for all the dedicated doctors, nurses and medical technicians. I am not thankful for the medical system and insurance mess. I am thankful for all the dedicated teachers. […]

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Donald Trump, the GOP’s 21st Century Joe McCarthy.

November 24, 2015

“No one man can terrorize a whole nation unless we are all his accomplices.” ― Edward R. Murrow In the early 1950s, Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) enthralled the country with lurid tales of communists in the State Department – throwing in gay allusions. For spice. He broadened his attacks to include the Army in the […]

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Really? – 11.23.15 – Carly lies; Chris blusters; Donald bullies; the RNC fades to irrelevance.

November 22, 2015

“The best lies to tell are the ones people want to believe.” ― Jasper Fforde Politicians lie. Some more than others. It’s usually a cynical vote-getting measure. Carly Fiorina, on the other hand, seems addicted to it. Her whoppers are documented. Her latest is an assertion that, “The vast majority of (Syrian) refugees are young, able-bodied […]

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Fallacy: Ben Carson Must Be Intelligent, He’s a Surgeon.

November 19, 2015

“Doctors?” said Ron, looking startled. “Those Muggle nutters that cut people up?” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Ben Carson’s supporters point to his stellar career as a surgeon as evidence he must be a powerfully intelligent man. They further claim his medical education makes him a scientist. Carson himself […]

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The Politics of Paranoia. How Conservatives Use Fear to Win Votes.

November 17, 2015

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” ― Plato The hysterical right is all over the media, warning us of the apocalyptic danger of ISIS. Obama holds the door open to Islamofascists. Liberals molly-coddle Satan’s stormtroopers. We […]

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ISIS Strikes Paris. Conservatives Pile On.

November 14, 2015

The ISIS attacks on Paris have brought predictable reactions. The rabid right has used yet another tragedy to excoriate the President, promote promiscuous gun ownership and lobby for more, direct, American involvement in the Middle East. Let’s dismiss the criticism of the President. It is hackneyed, partisan and boring. Altogether unhelpful. Then there the ‘more […]

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Really? – 11.11.15 What’s in a name?; Celebrating sobriety with a drink; Fleecing the flock

November 11, 2015

While the Christians in the Middle East are being displaced, injured and killed because of their religion, two childcare workers in Texas are crying that their ‘religious freedoms’ are being trampled. Why? Because Akesha Wyatt and Madeline Kirksey were fired from the Children’s Lighthouse Learning Center in Katy, Texas for refusing to call a transgender student by […]

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