What Would Joseph Campbell Say About Donald Trump?

Source: AlterNet

Author: Joan Konner/billmoyers.com

Emphasis Mine

Like so many others, I’ve been puzzling over the Trump phenomenon for months. It seems like every journalist, pundit, psychiatrist, psychologist and armchair psychologist has something to say about the man. Understandably, they are trying to figure out what kind of person he is and why he is so popular with millions of Americans, including nearly half of the Republican Party. 

My own interest is undergirded by the work and ideas of the late Joseph Campbell, a foremost interpreter of world mythologies and author of The Hero With a Thousand Faces. It was said of Campbell that “he could make the bones of folklore and anthropology live,” as millions of viewers would learn in watching the classic PBS series Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth. [Disclosure: I knew Campbell from my alma mater, Sarah Lawrence College, where he taught for 35-plus years. Many years later I served as executive producer of the Campbell-Moyers series.]

Campbell’s gift was to interpret the themes and forces underlying myths, stories and legends and how they play out in our lives. He illuminated the interior pathways of the mind which guide human behavior and action — a psychological roadmap within each of us which is nonetheless dark and mysterious to most of us.

One of the dominant highways on that inner map is the Hero’s Journey. The hero appears as a universal character in all cultures, everywhere, throughout human history, in myths and legends. It is so universal a theme that Campbell, along with other scholars and psychologists, called it an “archetype.”

According to Campbell, the hero emerges from humble beginnings to undertake a journey fraught with trials and suffering. He or she survives those ordeals and returns to the community bearing a gift — a “boon,” as Campbell called it — in the form of a message from which people can learn and benefit. So, properly, the hero is an exceptional person who gives his life over to a purpose larger than himself and for the benefit of others. Campbell had often lamented our failure as human beings “to admit within ourselves the carnivorous, lecherous fever” that seems endemic to our species. “By overcoming the dark passions,” he told Moyers, “the hero symbolizes our ability to control the irrational savage within us.”

Drawn to Campbell’s work, George Lucas invited him to Skywalker Ranch to share his insights into Star Wars. The two became friends, and it was at Skywalker in the mid-1980s that we taped most of the conversation that became the six-part PBS series. Campbell grew animated as he talked about how Lucas “has put the newest and most powerful spin” to the classic story of the hero: “It’s what Goethe said in Faust but which Lucas has dressed in modern idiom — the message that technology is not going to save us. Our computers, our tools, our machines are not enough… We have to rely on our intuition, our true being.” He admired Luke Skywalker for finding within himself “the resources of character to meet his destiny.” Furthermore, Campbell said:

I think that Star Wars is a valid mythological perspective, and the problem of it is that the system and the state are the machines. Is the machine going to crush humanity or serve humanity? Humanity comes not from the machine, but from the heart.

Darth Vader is an expression of the state and the system. [Darth Vader] isn’t thinking or living in terms of humanity. He is living in terms of the system [the dark side — which Carl Jung, the psychologist, would call “the shadow”].

This is a threat to our life. We all face it. We all operate in our society in relation to a system. Now, is this system going to eat you up and relieve you of your humanity, or are you going to be able to use the system for human purposes? …. Luke Skywalker is the hero, living as a human being within the system.

You see, this thing up here [he points to his brain], this consciousness thinks it’s running the shop. It’s a secondary organ. It’s a secondary organ of a total human being, and it must not put itself in control. It must submit and serve the humanity of the body.

A myth is a metaphor, explaining one thing in terms of another. In this case, our politics and politicians are “the government, the state, the system, the machine.” Our leaders in Washington are “the elites” who have long thought they are running the show. But our leaders have not been listening to the whole body, the body politic, the heart and soul of America.

Framing this campaign in the Campbell construct, Trump casts himself as Luke Skywalker fighting the inhumane system. He says he wants to  destroy it and  replace it with whatever he alone envisions — again and again he says, in effect, “I Am The Man.” His supporters and followers get it. They project the hero image in their own psyche onto Trump.

But does this make Trump a hero? Hardly. There is nothing he has said or done that suggests he wants to use the system for human purposes.

Let’s look at his own narrative, as he sees it:

Donald was a humble boy, not born in great luxury. He was not rich, or at least not the richest in his own eyes. His father was a success but only in Queens, the poor relative of Manhattan — and Trump sets out to conquer it.

He meets obstacles on the way, but prevails. Donald Trump — always a winner. To accomplish this, he has sacrificedas he sees it, a sacrifice as great as losing a son in war. His sacrifice has been to make billions from building a business. So what if his successful father staked him in the beginning with capital to help make his journey easier and more comfortable? The elder’s sacrifice doesn’t count in the Trump version of his narrative, as it does in Star Wars.

Now Trump says he wants serve a higher purpose, to give his life to something bigger than himself — to the country, to history — by winning the presidency. If he prevails, he will show his country how to be great again by also winning. The message he brings back to his people: Everyone in Washington is stupid or corrupt. America should be like me, like Donald Trump.

No doubt many of Trump’s followers hate the system he’s fighting, one in which technology and trade have beaten them down, have made them losers. In their eyes Trump is a winner. He presents his own successes as a gift that others could enjoy if they elect him: his third wife, the fairest of them all — a virtual mannequin on which to hang his manhood; his children, who appear to be constructed by highly paid artists to make them seem perfect and who are following in their father’s own perfect footsteps, starting at the top; and, finally, his buildings all over the world — the most gilded (if not always the tallest), and bearing his name in capital letters.

(N.B.: it must be noted that many of Trumps supporters – perhaps the majority – are attracted by racism, xenophobia, and misogyny.)

But the truth is there is no hero there. Trump is the very personification of the system that enabled him to win — a white, wealthy, powerful male who dominates everything in his orbit, the white supremacist writ large who would make America over in his own violent image.

So the question arises: Is Trump, then, Darth Vader? It’s tempting to answer yes. Campbell said that “when the mask of Darth Vader is removed, you see an unformed man, one who has not developed as a human individual. What you see is a strange and pitiful sort of undifferentiated face.” When we look at Trump, we have to ask: Where is the humanity?

But Donald Trump is not Darth Vader. He may actually be worse. Darth Vader knows better than to want to destroy the system and set out instead to harness it to his purpose. Trump is on no hero’s journey. His is a journey of self-destruction, hate and cruelty. Unlike the hero who serves humanity, Trump is simultaneously serving his own self-destructive “dark side” while calling forth America’s dark side — bullies obsessed with money, power and materialistic success, absorbed with their own hubris and empire. Instead of trying to improve the system and make it better for all, he is trying to blow it up. The alternative he offers would be chaos.

Despite all of its flaws and failings, our democratic system has produced some of the best expressions of positive human effort and ideals so far in history. Most Americans want our government to work and we want to make it work better — but not by destroying it. We want to win over the dysfunctions of the system. We want to get our country back in order to get it going again — in the right direction, serving most of the people, most of the time. If only “the elites” — Republicans and Democrats and independents — would hear what the majority of Americans on all sides are saying, Trump would suddenly be irrelevant, exposed as Darth Vader was in the final scenes of Star Wars — a puny and pathetic farce.

As this campaign makes abundantly clear, no hero is going to swoop in to save us. We have to be our own heroes.

Joan Konner is Dean Emerita of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. A long-time producer of documentaries, she was executive producer of the popular PBS series, Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth.

See:http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/what-would-joseph-campbell-say-about-donald-trump?akid=14560.123424.pQJ0HM&rd=1&src=newsletter1062392&t=8

What Hillary Clinton Should Say about Islam and the “War on Terror”

Source and Author: Sam Harris

Emphasis Mine

The following is part of a speech that I think Hillary Clinton should deliver between now and November. Its purpose is to prevent a swing toward Trump by voters who find Clinton’s political correctness on the topic of Islam and jihadism a cause for concern, especially in the aftermath of any future terrorist attacks in the U.S. or Europe.—SH

Today, I want to talk about one of the most important and divisive issues of our time—the link between the religion of Islam and terrorism. I want you to know how I view it and how I will think about it as President. I also want you to understand the difference between how I approach this topic and how my opponent in this presidential race does.

The underlying issue—and really the most important issue of this or any time—is human cooperation. What prevents it, and what makes it possible? In November, you will be electing a president, not an emperor of the world. The job of the president of the United States, even with all the power at her or his disposal, is to get people, both at home and abroad, to cooperate to solve a wide range of complex problems. Your job is to pick the person who seems most capable of doing that.

In the past, I’ve said that groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda have nothing to do with Islam. And President Obama has said the same. This way of speaking has been guided by the belief that if we said anything that could be spun as confirming the narrative of groups like ISIS—suggesting that the West is hostile to the religion of Islam, if only to its most radical strands—we would drive more Muslims into the arms of the jihadists and the theocrats, preventing the very cooperation we need to win a war of ideas against radical Islam. I now see this situation differently. I now believe that we have been selling most Muslims short. And I think we are all paying an unacceptable price for not speaking clearly about the link between specific religious ideas and the sectarian hatred that is dividing the Muslim world.

All of us, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, must oppose the specific ideas within the Islamic tradition that inspire groups like ISIS and the so-called “lone-wolf” attacks we’ve now seen in dozens of countries, as well as the social attitudes that are at odds with our fundamental values—values like human rights, and women’s rights, and gay rights, and freedom of speech. These values are non-negotiable.

But I want to be very clear about something: Bigotry against Muslims, or any other group of people, is unacceptable. It is contrary to the values that have made our society a beacon of freedom and tolerance for the rest of the world. It is also totally counterproductive from a security point of view. However, talking about the consequences of ideas is not bigotry. Muslims are people—and most of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims simply want to live in peace like the rest of us. Islam, however, is a set of ideas. And all ideas are fit to be discussed and criticized in the 21st century.

Every religious community must interpret its scripture and adjust its traditions to conform to the modern world. Western Christians used to murder people they believed were witches. They did this for centuries. It’s hard to exaggerate the depths of moral and intellectual confusion this history represents. But it is also true that we have largely outgrown such confusion in the West. The texts themselves haven’t changed. The Bible still suggests that witchcraft is real. It isn’t. And we now know that a belief in witches was the product of ancient ignorance and fear. Criticizing a belief in witchcraft, and noticing its connection to specific atrocities—atrocities that are still committed by certain groups of Christians in Africa—isn’t a form of bigotry against Christians. It’s the only basis for moral and political progress.

One thing is undeniable: Islam today is in desperate need of reform. We live in a world where little girls are shot in the head or have acid thrown in their faces for the crime of learning to read. We live in a world where a mere rumor that a book has been defaced can start riots in a dozen countries. We live in a world in which people reliably get murdered over cartoons, and blog posts, and beauty pageants—even the mere naming of a teddy bear. I’m now convinced that we have to talk about this with less hesitancy and more candor than we’ve shown in the past. Muslims everywhere who love freedom must honestly grapple with the challenges that a politicized strand of their religion poses to free societies. And we must support them in doing so. Otherwise, our silence will only further empower bigots and xenophobes. That is dangerous. We are already seeing the rise of the far right in Europe. And we are witnessing the coalescence of everything that’s still wrong with America in the candidacy of Donald Trump.

Now, it is true that this politicized strain of Islam is a source of much of the world’s chaos and intolerance at this moment. But it is also true that no one suffers more from this chaos and intolerance than Muslims themselves. Most victims of terrorism are Muslim; the women who are forced to wear burkhas or are murdered in so-called “honor killings” are Muslim; the men who are thrown from rooftops for being born gay are Muslim. Most of the people the world over who can’t even dream of speaking or writing freely are Muslim. And modern, reform-minded Muslims, most of all, want to uproot the causes of this needless misery and conflict.

In response to terrorist atrocities of the sort that we witnessed in Paris, Nice, and Orlando, we need to honestly acknowledge that we are fighting not generic terrorism but a global jihadist insurgency. The first line of defense against this evil is and always will be members of the Muslim community who refuse to put up with it. We need to empower them in every way we can. Only cooperation between Muslims and non-Muslims can solve these problems. If you are concerned about terrorism, if you are concerned about homeland security, if you are concerned about not fighting unnecessary wars and winning necessary ones, if you are concerned about human rights globally, in November you must elect a president who can get people in a hundred countries to cooperate to solve an extraordinarily difficult and polarizing problem—the spread of Islamic extremism. This is not a job that a president can do on Twitter.

I want to say a few words on the topics of immigration and the resettlement of refugees: The idea of keeping all Muslims out of the United States, which my opponent has been proposing for months, is both impractical and unwise. It’s one of those simple ideas—like building a wall and deporting 11 million undocumented workers—that doesn’t survive even a moment’s scrutiny. More important, if you think about this purely from the point of view of American security, you realize that we want Muslims in our society who are committed to our values. Muslims like Captain Humayun Khan, who died protecting his fellow American soldiers from a suicide bomber in Iraq. Or his father, Khizr Khan, who spoke so eloquently in defense of American values at the Democratic National Convention. Muslims who share our values are, and always will be, the best defense against Islamists and jihadists who do not.

That’s one reason why the United States is faring so much better than Europe is. We have done a much better job of integrating our Muslim community and honoring its religious life. Muslims in America are disproportionately productive and prosperous members of our society. They love this country—with good reason. Very few of them have any sympathy for the ideology of our enemies. We want secular, enlightened, liberal Muslims in America. They are as much a part of the fabric of this society as anyone else. And given the challenges we now face, they are an indispensable part.

Despite the counsel of fear you hear from my opponent, security isn’t our only concern. We also have an obligation to maintain our way of life and our core values, even in the face of threats. One of our values is to help people in need. And few people on earth are in greater need at this moment than those who are fleeing the cauldron of violence in Iraq and Syria—where, through no fault of their own, they have had to watch their societies be destroyed by sectarian hatred. Women and girls by the tens of thousands have been raped, in a systematic campaign of sexual violence and slavery. Parents have seen their children crucified. The suffering of these people is unimaginable, and we should help them—whether they are Yazidi, or Christian, or Muslim. But here is my pledge to you: No one will be brought into this country without proper screening. No one will be brought in who seems unlikely to embrace the values of freedom and tolerance that we hold dear.  Is any screening process perfect? Of course not. But I can tell you that the only way to actually win the war on terror will be to empower the people who most need our help in the Muslim world.

The irony is that my opponent in this race, who imagines that he is talking tough about terrorism and ISIS and Islam, has done nothing but voice inflammatory and incoherent ideas that, if uttered by a U.S. president, would immediately make the world a more dangerous place. Being “politically incorrect” isn’t the same as being right, or informed, or even sane. It isn’t a substitute for actually caring about other people or about the consequences of one’s actions in the world. It isn’t a policy. And it isn’t a strategy for winning the war against jihadism, or a war of ideas against radical Islam…

see:www.samharris.org

Nobel Prize-Winning Economist Stiglitz Tells Us Why ‘Neoliberalism Is Dead’

Source: Portsider

Author: Will Martin, Business Insider

Emphasis Mine

Speaking with Business Insider after the launch of his latest book, “The Euro: How A Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe”which argues that the fundamental flaws with the euro and the broader European economy are causing huge problems for the continent and risk leading to its downfall — Stiglitz argued that neoliberalism, the dominant school of economic thinking in the West for the past 30 years or so, is on its last legs.
Since the late 1980s and the so-called Washington Consensus, neoliberalism — essentially the idea that free trade, open markets, privatisation, deregulation, and reductions in government spending designed to increase the role of the private sector are the best ways to boost growth — has dominated the thinking of the world’s biggest economies and international organisations like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
The policies of Ronald Reagan and Clinton in the US and Margaret Thatcher in the UK are often held up as the gold standard of neoliberalism at work, while in recent years in Britain George Osborne and David Cameron’s economic policies continued the neoliberal tradition.
Since the 2008 financial crisis, however, there has been a groundswell of opinion in both economic and political circles to suggest that the neoliberal consensus may not be the right way forward for the world. In the past few years, with growth low and inequality rampant, that groundswell has gained traction.
Stiglitz, who won a Nobel Memorial Prize in economics in 2001 for his work on information asymmetry, has been one of neoliberalism’s biggest critics in recent years, and he says the “neoliberal euphoria” that has gripped the world since the 1980s is now gone.
 
Asked by Business Insider whether he thought the economic consensus surrounding neoliberalism was coming to an end, Stiglitz argued: “I can talk about this from the point of view of academia or even in policy circles. In academia, I think it has pretty well become rejected.
“The young students are not interested in establishing that neoliberalism works — they’re trying to understand where markets fail and what to do about it, with an understanding that the failures are pervasive. That’s true of both micro and macroeconomics. I wouldn’t say it’s everywhere, but I’d say that it’s dominant.
“In policymaking circles I think it’s the same thing. Of course, there are people, say on the right in the United States who don’t recognise this. But even many of the people on the right would say markets don’t work very well, but their problem is governments are unable to correct it.”
Stiglitz went on to argue that one of the central tenets of the neoliberal ideology — the idea that markets function best when left alone and that an unregulated market is the best way to increase economic growth — has now been pretty much disproved.
“We’ve gone from a neoliberal euphoria that ‘markets work well almost all the time’ and all we need to do is keep governments on course, to ‘markets don’t work’ and the debate is now about how we get governments to function in ways that can alleviate this,” he said.
In other words, Stiglitz says: “Neoliberalism is dead in both developing and developed countries.”
Stiglitz is not alone in his belief that neoliberalism has its problems, though his argument that the consensus is “dead” is somewhat more forthright than those of many others. In a blog post in May, three economists from the IMF — long one of the greatest champions of the neoliberal consensus — questioned the efficacy of some aspects of it, particularly when it comes to the creation of inequality.
The increase in inequality engendered by financial openness and austerity might itself undercut growth, the very thing that the neoliberal agenda is intent on boosting,” Jonathan Ostry, Prakash Loungani, and Davide Furceri argued. “There is now strong evidence that inequality can significantly lower both the level and the durability of growth.”
“There are a lot of people thinking the same thing at this point, that basically some aspects of the neoliberal agenda probably need a rethink,” Ostry told the Financial Times on the day the blog was published, adding: “The crisis said: ‘The way we’ve been thinking can’t be right.'”
The decline of neoliberalism
The decline of neoliberalism is also evident in the UK, where austerity has reigned since the accession of the Conservative Party to government in 2010. Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne presided over a period of record fiscal-deficit reduction created through a six-year programme of austerity.
But since Cameron resigned following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, fiscal stimulus in the UK has started to gain traction once again as a viable means of stimulating growth. It is widely expected that Philip Hammond, the new chancellor under newly installed Prime Minister Theresa May, will announce some form of fiscal easing at the Autumn Statement — which will come at some point before the end of the year (last year’s was in late November). As Business Insider’s Oscar Williams-Grut argued in mid-July, “Britain’s age of austerity could be over.”
Across the Atlantic, both US presidential nominees, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, both favouring expanded government borrowing to fund infrastructure projects. As Randall W. Forsyth argued in Barron’s magazine last week:
“We are all Keynesians now, President Richard Nixon famously declared after his New Economic Plan was unveiled in 1971. The notion seems to be echoing now, with the two major parties’ presidential candidates calling for increased government spending, notably for infrastructure projects.”
Neoliberalism may not be completely dead, as Stiglitz argues, but it is certainly being challenged from many angles.

 

See: http://portside.org/2016-08-20/nobel-prize-winning-economist-stiglitz-tells-us-why-neoliberalism-dead

Donald Trump Is a Terrible Politician

Source: newrepublic.com

Author: Brian Beutler

Emphasis Mine

Back when Donald Trump was winning primaries, Mark Halperin, the famously well-compensated political journalist at Bloomberg, went on TV and said Trump is a terrific politician.

“He is one of the two most talented presidential candidates any of us have covered,” Halperin opined. “He just is.”

Trump’s skill, he explained, exceeds Barack Obama’s because, unlike Trump, Obama “had David Axelrod and David Plouffe and a squadron of people around him who knew what they were doing.” Trump flies solo, ergo every supporter he counts, every stadium he packs, is somehow more rightfully his.

Halperin has also defended Trump from accusations of racism on the grounds that “Mexico isn’t a race,” and posed for this notorious picture, so unspoken affinities may be affecting his analysis. But to this day, as Trump is losing to Hillary Clinton in every poll, it is still commonly suggested that Trump has mysterious political powers. No matter what he says, his supporters love it! If he’s losing, it might be because he’s “deliberately trying to avoid winning.”

I would like to propose an alternate hypothesis: Donald Trump is bad at politics. He won the Republican primary because he is a bad politician, he is losing today because he is a bad politician, and part of what makes him a bad politician is only doing the kinds of things his supporters love, which can appear to be good politics to incurious journalists, but is actually not.


Case in point: On Wednesday night, Trump returned in characteristically Freudian fashion to Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News and announced he would forcibly remove not just immigrants, but citizens from the U.S. if they’re found to have extremist views. “Whether it’s racial profiling or politically correct, we better get smart,” he said.

Trump isn’t exactly winging it. Some Americans are scared, authoritarian, and racist. In a big country such as ours, there might even be millions and millions of them. Fear, authoritarianism, and racism are also strong sentiments, so it stands to reason that the people who exhibit them would be loyal Trump supporters, and unusually inclined to attend his rallies, where the themes are frequently fear, authority, and racism.

This appeal was sufficient to win Trump the primary not because he demonstrated raw talent, but because the Republican Party is broken to the point where demagoguery is a more valuable currency than governing experience, donor networks, “ground game” and other attributes. If Trump exhibited any talent at all, it was recognizing just how vulnerable the GOP was to being overtaken by its own Id.

When the primary was all over, Trump had an extremely loyal core of support. By dint of being the nominee of a major party, millions more reflexive or reluctant or low-information voters accreted around that core, leaving Trump with the support of perhaps 40 percent of likely voters, and nowhere to go but down.

Saying things like we should exile U.S. citizens will help Trump fill arenas, but it also underlines how, contra Halperin, Trump is an almost comically untalented politician.

Kicking citizens out of the United States for having extreme ideological views is unconstitutional. Not unconstitutional in the way that conservatives imagine the only policy regimes allowed under the Constitution are ones they like, but unconstitutional in a clearly delineated way.

This was, in essence, the point Khizr Khan was making at the Democratic convention three weeks ago when he asked Trump, “Have you even read the United States Constitution?”

Trump’s decision to respond by attacking the Khan family was, in itself, open-shut evidence of his near total lack of political talent, but Trump and his surrogates justified his decision to defend himself on the grounds that Khan had attacked him unfairly—i.e. that it’s wrong to suggest Trump has never read the Constitution.

Based on a number of things Trump has said—including that the Constitution has (at least) twelve articles (it has seven)—Khan was on solid ground thinking maybe Trump never read the thing. But from the moment Khan’s speech captured the country’s imagination, and Trump responded as if he’d been slandered, that question—have you even read the Constitution?—made the metaphysic transformation from rhetorical to literal. Nearly a month has passed, and Trump has done nothing to address this glaring deficiency. He continues to propose unconstitutional ideas on a weekly basis, and it is a safe bet that when he and Clinton meet for their first debate next month, he will be confronted with some trivial question about the Constitution and have no clue how to answer.

Trump created this liability for himself over the course of a year, so sitting down and reading the Constitution—all 4,453 words of it, or less than a half hour of reading time—would only be the first step toward assuring skeptics and critics that he’s intent on safeguarding the country’s laws and traditions. But whether it’s because he’s irremediably lazy, or that he believes this kind of ignorance allows him to pander to scared, authoritarian racists without a filter, he is unwilling to do it. He would rather keep his crowds big and his polls bad. Even if it means allowing Hillary Clinton to shove him into a buzzsaw in front of a huge TV audience a few weeks from now.

This isn’t ultimately a question of instinct or strategy, because in a sense it’s both. But in a more important sense it doesn’t matter. Talented candidates will bridle their instincts long enough to ensure they’re making good strategic decisions that help them win elections. Donald Trump isn’t doing that, because he’s a bad politician. Most well-compensated journalists get that.

See:https://newrepublic.com/article/136153/donald-trump-terrible-politician?utm_source=New+Republic&utm_campaign=1f4018b171-Daily_Newsletter_8_19_168_19_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c4ad0aba7e-1f4018b171-59481477

And just which chord was struck, Maestro?

Donald, Donald, he’s our man!  If he can’t do it, the Ku Klux Klan!

Multiple time Republican Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum – appearing on Realtime with Bill Maher on August 5th – rather superciliously noted that Donald Trump has ‘struck a cord with voters’.  True that, but the questions to be asked are: which ‘chord’, and what voters?

Santorum – as have many Trump apologists – echoed the GOP wishful thinking that the voters to whom Trump appeals are lower income working class (traditionally Democrat voters),  that the chord which was struck was economic populism, and that Trump recognizes their plight and will address their concerns if elected.

In fact Trump supporters have a higher median income than the national average –  see http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-mythology-of-trumps-working-class-support/  – which means his supporters are not lower income.  Which ‘chord’?

The ‘chord’ which has been struck is in fact not economic populism but rather racism, and its bedfellows misogyny and xenophobia: the deportment of his supporters at rallies confirm that these are their primary concerns.

“At the end of the day”, elections are won with voter turnout, and to defeat him, then,  we must register and turnout people of color, women, and those citizens who were born in ( and whose parents were born in) another country.  Despite his nodding toward working Americans, he has a historically anti-labor record, and labor must get out the vote as well.

N.B.: Trump read an economic speech in Detroit on August 8, and in summary: “I don’t know if Trump has tiny hands or not. But when it comes to the economy, he definitely has tiny plans. We were promised a bold new vision. What we got instead was, with one or two notable exceptions, a warmed-over version of the House Republicans’ standard-issue voodoo economics.”   Richard Eskow – http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/trump-small-economic-vision?akid=14525.123424.w6yQX4&rd=1&src=newsletter1061756&t=18

N.B.:The first Presidential election in which I voted was 1964, and an unpopular person at the top of the GOP ticket  helped facilitate a Democratic landside: let’s do that again!  That candidate was Barry Goldwater: he carried his home state of Arizona, and the five states of the original Confederacy.

Donald, Donald, he’s our man!  If he can’t do it, the Ku Klux Klan!

(In 1964 it was Barry, Barry…)

 

 

Trump Offers Huge Favors to Billionaires, and Calls It a Big Economic Speech

Source: AlterNet

Author: Adele M. Stan

Emphasis Mine

If it came out of the mouth of any other politician, the speech delivered Monday by the Republican presidential candidate at the Detroit Economic Club would have been stunning in its mendacity. But issuing forth from the pie-hole of Donald J. Trump, it was, sadly, to be expected.

The lies were almost too many to count: Point to a sentence, find a lie. There was the lie about his opponent’s policy on taxing the middle class; Hillary Clinton clearly said she wouldn’t, and Trump is using her dropping of a consonant on a single word to say she did. (Just to be sure, PolitiFact had academics run audio of Clinton’s tax statement through a machine that analyzes such things.)

He claimed “the terrible Obama-Clinton judgment” destroyed Detroit’s manufacturing sector, when the Obama administration twisted Republican arms to get the funding to save the American auto industry

There were also lies of omission. The U.S., he said, has the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world, without mentioning the fact that many of the nation’s largest corporations pay no taxes at all. In fact, some, such as Verizon and General Electric, actually pay a negative tax rate, meaning they actually get rebates back from the Treasury.

I could go on and on, but “Trump lies” is pretty much a dog-bites-human story. Yawn.

More telling is who Trump named to his economic team—the very sort of people who stand to gain from his Main Street-looting economic policies. For starters, they are 13 rich white men. But they’re rich white men whose riches were mostly gained by preying on the weak. And most, Politico’s Shane Goldmacher reports, are major donors to the Trump campaign.

Take John Paulson, whose Paulson & Co. hedge fund, according to Forbes, “is famed for betting against subprime mortgages at the peak of the 2007 credit bubble.” Paulson, the magazine reports, is worth $9.8 billion.

Then here’s Harold Hamm, founder of the oil firm Continental Resources, who is known to frequent the big donor confabs convened by the Koch brothers (but who is now at odds with the scions of Koch Industries over the brothers’ refusal to back Trump). Hamm is a backer of the climate-science deniers in Congress, according to the Energy and Policy Institute, and is said to be shaping Trump’s energy policy. If you don’t see climate-science deniers as preying on the weak, think about the people who got hurt in Hurricane Katrina. Think about the people who can’t sell their homes in Norfolk, Virginia because of sea-level rise.

And let’s not forget Steve Feinberg, the CEO of something called Ceberus Capital Management, which Evan Popp and Josh Israel of Think Progress describe as “a private investment firm which specializes in ‘distressed investing.’” Among the “distressed” properties acquired by Ceberus is Remington, the manufacturer of the AR-15-style rifle—the kind that was used in the Sandy Hook massacre and other mass shootings.

My personal favorite among the men at Trump’s economic table is probably the least wealthy but perhaps the most disingenuous: Stephen Moore, former member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board and late of the Heritage Foundation. Known for his insanely inaccurate economic predictions, Moore has been the toady of billionaires for decades, allowing him to fall ever-upward.

In 2011, while reporting for AlterNet and the Investigative Fund on the Koch brothers’ fomenting of the Tea Party movement, I found Moore wrapped up in a for-profit scheme apparently designed to scare the employees of companies hired by him into voting for Republicans. The scheme was called Prosperity 101 and was helmed by Mark Bloch, then the state chairman of the Wisconsin chapter of the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity political astroturf group. Moore was often a paid speaker at the ostensibly voluntary seminars employees at firms in the Koch network were invited to attend. He was also often a paid speaker at Americans for Prosperity events, even as he sat on the editorial board of one of the nation’s major newspapers.

Moore’s contribution to the seminar textbook was illustrative of his willingness to simply make stuff up. From AlterNet’s 2011 report:

In “The Keys to Prosperity,” Moore’s chapter in the Prosperity 101 textbook, he offers up a series of charts, some of them indecipherable, including a pie chart called “Where Your Federal Tax Dollar Goes.” (Apparently derived from an earlier presentation Moore made at an AFP Foundation event, the same charts can be found here; scroll to slide no. 16 for this one.) Citing such official sources as the Internal Revenue Service, the Government Accountability Office and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it features eight slices labeled “Flushed Down a Toilet, “Pissed Away,” “Down a Rat Hole,” “Sleaze,” “Corruption,” “Given to ‘Supporters,'” “Tossed Down the Drain,” and “Postage Stamps.” (The latter, Moore baselessly contends, accounts for 6 percent of your tax dollars—which is, incidentally, six times the allotment for non-military foreign aid). 

In psychology, there’s a concept known as projection, the term for when a patient ascribes to his nemesis the very motive or behavior that animates the patient. 

In his nearly hour-long speech at the Detroit Economic Club, Donald Trump accused his opponent of being “bought, controlled and paid for by her donors and special interests.” 

Look at the men on Trump’s own economic team, and you’ll get a very clear idea of just who his policies aim to benefit.

 Adele M. Stan is AlterNet’s senior Washington editor. Follow her on Twitter @addiestan.

See:http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/election-2016-0?akid=14516.123424.kDqD-C&rd=1&src=newsletter1061540&t=2

Republicans Are Realizing They’ve Made a Huge Mistake

Source: New Republic

Author:Eric Sasson

Emphasis Mine

Yesterday, President Obama took the unprecedented step of calling the opposing party’s nominee to replace him “unfit” for the office and asking for Republican leaders to rescind their endorsements of his candidacy. “There has to come a point at which you say, enough,” the president said. Meanwhile, three Republicans—Representative Richard Hanna, former gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, and former Chris Christie adviser Maria Comella—announced they would support Hillary Clinton in November. And in the face of a growing rebellion over his ongoing feud with the Muslim family of a slain U.S. soldier, Donald Trump announced he was not ready to support the re-election bids of three high-profile members of the GOP: John McCain, Paul Ryan, and Kelly Ayotte.

The events of the last week have led many to wonder why Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are still attempting to thread what has become an increasingly narrow needle. Both leaders have condemned Trump’s comments several times already, only to remain behind his candidacy. In the face of Trump’s remarks against the Khan family, their loyalty is beginning to seem foolhardy.

Of course, it’s one thing for Obama to call upon Republican leadership to denounce Trump, and quite another for them to follow through. Trump overwhelmingly won the Republican primaries. Indeed, he garnered more votes than any other Republican in history (although he also got the most votes against him too). Make no mistake, Ryan and McConnell, and senators like McCain, are relying heavily on these voters to turn out in the general election and vote for down-ticket Republicans. To pull their endorsements would be to effectively denounce these voters as well, falling into exactly the trap that Trump has often spoken of: that of an elite establishment that thinks it knows better than the voting public. Alienating these voters is, in their minds, simply not an option, with control of the Senate clearly up for grabs. If Trump voters stay home, the argument goes, then Democrats win. Which explains the precarious balancing act Ryan and Co. are attempting: criticize Trump just enough to distance the party from Trump, but never outright condemn him and scare away his voters.

One has to wonder, however, if we’ve reached a turning point with the Khan story. Trump’s refusal to walk back his attacks on the Khans has dominated the headlines for days and presents a nearly existential conundrum for a party that prides itself on being a champion of the military. The cost-benefit analysis that these Republican leaders are engaging in may be shifting. Is holding on to the Senate really worth the irreparable harm that Trump is doing to the Republican brand?

Furthermore, there is little chance that the Khan controversy will be the last of Trump’s PR disasters. With future offenses seemingly inevitable, Republicans will time and again have to offer their mealy-mouthed condemnations, while Democrats, the press, and moderate conservatives will keep demanding that more forceful steps be taken. Standing by idly while Trump runs their party into the ground seems to be the very definition of spinelessness.

And when does Trump flip from being the party’s buoy to an anchor around its neck? The fear of turning away Trump voters rests on the assumption that he will attract more voters than he drives away. And yet, after a short period in which Trump was riding a post-convention high, it took only a few days for Clinton’s lead to magically reappear in the polls. There is the real threat that Trump’s accumulated offenses may inspire a massive turnout against him, not just by those he has offended, but also by people who suddenly feel the Republican Party no longer speaks for them. Already many are talking about how Republicans are losing college-educated white voters in droves. Certainly the fiscal conservatives and the neo-cons aren’t on board with Trump’s agenda, with several of them already saying they will never vote for him. What will happen to the GOP’s down-ticket candidates then?

At this late date, it seems unlikely that the GOP can save itself. Forcing Trump off the ticket, if such a thing were possible, would spark a massive rebellion, dooming any Republican who would dare to try to replace him. Running a split-ticket strategy—vote for Clinton and your Republican congressman—would be a highly complex undertaking that would similarly turn off Trump’s voters.

At every opportunity, Republican leaders have chosen the path of least resistance to Trump. Like deer trapped in headlights, they are paralyzed by their helplessness and indecision. And yet it seems like the riskiest choice of all may be to do nothing.

See:https://newrepublic.com/article/135791/republicans-realizing-theyve-made-huge-mistake?utm_source=New+Republic&utm_campaign=38d09b8d16-Daily_Newsletter_8_3_168_3_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c4ad0aba7e-38d09b8d16-59481477

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