It becomes very hard to write political blogs as they are so egregiously without real political effect by people hitherto thought powerful. So what of mine? Each week I try to share good essays or articles, blog and interviews or books you may have overlooked; this week I begin a line of thinking derived from the strong voice of Elena Ferrante in her Frantumaglia (Fragments); move on to a informative good book on drones and end on an interview with a Syrian dissident from the original Arab Spring.
Obscenity may be defined as indecency, immorality, impropriety (from Webster's American Dictionary). I was going to write that the Rockets forced by contract or fear of not being rehired to dance in super-sexy outfits in this super-controlled way before a man who has repulsively boasted of his sexual predation, laughed at women who grieved over the trauma as women not tempting enough for him (thus liars), and shut a number of rape charges (including one from his first wife) by litigation, suit, bribery, forced to dance this way was an act of obscenity since they have made it plain to their manager as well as their union a majority of them regard this as degrading and debasing their art or status as professional women. The whole thing seemed to me reminiscent of how black concubine slaves could not escape their white master's demands.
But Ferrante's forceful exposure of why far from no one opposing fascism coming to power, but majorities voting for this derives from how a large swath of society rejoices in fascistic cultural norms -- which are deeply sex-drenched from a hegemonic aggressive heterosexual male perspective. The anthropology of male-female relationships in her imagined Naples is analogous to the way the Rockettes dress themselves, maintain their figure (as the body is called). Her heroines empower themselves through obedience. She goes beyond sexuality to how this culture believes a grand entrepreneur (she is thinking of Berlusconi) who grew wealthy, powerful, connected by his bad television and other empires can "fix" the problems of a nation, manage democratic institutions meant to answer the needs of all citizens. She says we should keep our eyes on the illusions of his target audience and constructions of his politician and corporate peers.
What is so hard to demonstrate is how this depends on controlling and demolishing women's rights as women. Trump has asked his appointees to various departments to make a list of all programs meant to promote gender equality. He's after that. He has the treacherous snake lady, Kellyanne Conway: nothing too vile nothing too crude, too low for her to defend. Defunding all of Planned Parenthood is in his first 100 day plan. Ferrante's Frantumaglia by discussing how she came to write her first three novels, Troubled Love, Days of Abandonment, The Lost Daughter, the thinking behind them brings these connections out visibly, concretely. makes these connections visible.
(She is obsessed with how people want to pay attention to her book if it is made into a film. I'm struck by how if a press person gets in touch with her, instead of say being glad of the distribution or briefly referring to the irony of why he or she is getting in touch, Ferrante goes on to berate the press person or reviewer. She tells the person only if she will say something about herself only then does she receive compliments or recognition from the press.. She insists on this and then ends the letter. Like Trollope In the Way We Live Now, she connects the corruption of the political and economic world with the corruption of the literary one.
I also have concluded that the anonymity was to protect herself from personal attacks far more ferocious than Rachel Cusk received because Ferrante's novels are far more intimately and centrally subversive.)
And how pathetically out of it Hillary Clinton becomes in this new context: she defined herself perpetually as a grandmother: now she walks in woods as one:
I admit how much better I like her withoutall that make-up, without her power suit: it's said that she wore a metal sheath to protect her from assassination -- Trump is still rallying his followers with "lock her up," only the phrase has wider application (or will) now.
The second topic I found something worth while to think about is the abuse of power through principle Obama used in his drone program. Amy Goodman interview of Jameel Jaffer, author of the Drone Memos: Targeted Killings, Secrecy and the Law
I quote Jaffer:
Not only does the government not have to go to a court beforehand to justify the use of legal force, but there’s no requirement that the administration go to a court after the fact to justify the use of legal force. When the Obama administration fought to keep the courts from evaluating the lawfulness of its policies, it was fighting not just for power that it would exercise, but for power that the next administration and the administration after that would exercise, as well. The Obama administration worked for this.
This was an abuse of power on the part of the Obama administration. He ends on how the new national security advisor, Michael Flynn, wants to define 1.7 billion people as Islamists infected by “a vicious cancer” which has to be “excised.” This is horrible. 1.7 billion people include so many different ethnicities, versions of Islam, it's absurd, blind, ugly. This connects back because the drone program began as a tool against ISIS and Al-Quaedo. Obama's administration sought to punish and imprison "whistleblowers:" people (Snowden was the most spectacular) seeking to bring before the American people how much data which can be used against them by such courts is being collected.
I'll add congressional committees have time and time again had before them people from the Middle East demonsrating how much hatred and fear the US brings on itself by these drones.
And if you've time, listen to this Syrian dissident, Yassin al-Haj Salen tell how a revolution to overthrow a dictator and achieve a social democracy has ended in the destruction of a people, and the installation of ruthless colonial powers in alliance with that dictator. His wife, Samira Khalil disappeared three years ago along with a human rights attorney, Razan Zaitouneh; they were abducted and what happened to them is unknown to all but those who too and probably killed them. Saleh lives very quietly as an exile in Turkey.
It may be I am stating the obvious and this is "old hat" to many people who have thought about what has been happening in US politics since the 1970s. This blog is about what to watch for, what to pay attention to. People who are watching Trump and his appointees are paying attention to the trees may be missing what this forest is.
Before Nov 8th, we were told we were watching the break-up of the Republican party. Turns out we were watching the break-down and destruction of the democratic one as having any effective power.
We have recently been told we are watching an attempted transformation of the democratic party into a progressive party. North Carolina's legislature coup to deprive an elected democrat to the governorship from having any power lets the genie out of the bottle. The republican party is now openly anti-democratic and fascist.
This is also one of my many blogs where I link in a good essay and then summarize and infer and extrapolate from it. I read many perceptive articles in The Nation, Naked Capitalism and elsewhere. But these are well-known sites and publications. You could hav missed Mabel Berezin in a publication called The Conversation. She argues that there is a crucial difference between the European populists, demagogues, and even fascists who have taken power recently around the globe (from the Philippines to :Poland) and who are campaigning to take power (France and Austria where they lost the election but not by much), between the choice of Brexit by the UK voter and the anti-immigration, anti-NATO, anti-TPP and other non-cooperative stances of Trump (except in the case of Putin where he seems to want to forge an alliance). Most of these other people running for or taking public office are seasoned politicians (not simply millionaires -- we don't know that Trump had a billion though when he leaves office he will probably have many many), and they have programs where they want to use their state's institutions to start reactionary policies of all sorts. Trump questions the legitimacy of US institutions and in fact behaves in ways that ignore all tradition, custom (like meeting with the press in public). He wants to subvert and bypass and undermine our political institutions, free press, and and electoral sytstem.
From this I ask, what is the purpose of this wrecking. He tweets that millions of people fraudulently voted for Hillary Clinton (without any evidence), that our elections are rigged (they are but in the direction of repressing all minorities, the poor, the disconnected); he hires people who on record hate the purpose of their agency or want to destroy it. When it suits him, undermines judges, union rights, suggests policies that are probably illegal (registries for Muslims, he wants lists of people in university who have worked for environmental reform); asks for lists of people active in promoting gender equality in another agency. He is not alone: the Republicans in North Carolina have brazenly exposed their hand. After having gerrymander the state so that the representative majority represents a minority of actual voters in order to get a Republican pro-white, anti-labor, anti liberal human rights, when the people of the state fight hard and get a democratic man elected governor, they strip him of all powers before going out of session. They are paving the way, exemplifying what they hope other republican state gov'ts will do.
The purpose of all of this is seen in the results around the country: the setting up of a permanent gov't of a minority of wealthy people with people motivated by systemic racism, backed by military force.
By these laws and gerrymandering and court decisions (including Citizens United whose funds have directed and enabled all these Republican wins) you pull a red gov't out of a blue majority.
Watch what Trump says he is for. He wants to pass a rigid law punishing anyone who attacks the US flag: the flag has long been a symbol of "what makes America great:" US power which his constituency who are themselves personally deprived can feel triumphant about. That means more to them or as much as getting a good job. It's associated with a hard line pro-police, and punitive prison system.
You can demand impossible IDs for many: two picture IDs: I have two pictures ID only because beyond my driver's licence, I have a passport. Passports cost and they take time and trouble to obtain. You have to go through a process and I can forsee putting obstacles in that process. The regulations put in the way of thousands of voters this time (2016) is enough to account for Trump's narrow victory. He & his party will now consolidate the means that brought him and his party to power. They are lawless. They refused to even consider Obama's nomination for the supreme court. The senate is not supposed to refuse the president's choice, they are to advise and consent and refuse only after considerable evidence justifying that.
Fake news helps destroy democratic institutions. Also poor education and Trump has picked someone to run a department which covers education who is against public education. She has never attended a public school, taught, sent her children to one. Private schools are for profit, and it won't be long before they start charging substantial sums, especially if education remains underfunded.
Who is to be excluded: black people, minorities, immigrants, low paid workers who move about. Given the open disdain for women's rights (health care, abortion, against violence) and mockery of rightful accusations of sexual assault, what women need and want is to be excluded too. Just about all his appointees are on record as against LRGT rights. It's important to see this so that as we see people begin to re-vamp the democratic party (now a shell) and try to create new grassroots organizations or make them effective, they have to know what they are fighting against, what is aimed at them.
It's often said that central to the original foundation of the US was slavery -- making huge sums of money off the free incessant labor of African people, working them to death, trading them, making concubines and breeding animals of African women-- so treating black lives as not mattering, as fodder; now this re-construction of a violent vicious order is dependent on overtly treating black lives as not mattering to make the poor whites feel good and have superiority control, and make money off blacks -- Ta Nehisi Coates's article on reparations in the Atlantic showed how whites have fleeced blacks since the later 19th century, with impunity taking from huge numbers of them any opportunity to build savings or ownership -- jobs as prison guards (who are overwhelmingly white). No mainstream US newspaper even reported on the recent prison strikes: conditions in prisons have returned to the worst of the pre-1960s era. Those who assembled, protested peacefully have been harshly punished.
Friends and readers,
Something is about to happen which is not a bad dream: a man is about to take enormous power in the US as the president, Trump by name, and he erupts periodically in 141 characters utterance on the Internet where in spiteful moronic sometimes mispelled ungrammatical utterances he insults other people. If they are people living inside the US and on TV or theater or in a newspaper, he menaces them with a implied threat he will shut them down. He conducts diplomacy with govt's who have nuclear bombs through this medium and in this way. He uses perverse (unexpected to those who would never vote for him) logic which he knows will delight his followers because it brings out into the open their deep resentments and lies: for example, believing the CIA lies is like believing women who claim to be sexually assaulted (I suggest one of his family members vetted that for grammar). (He does in fact sue anyone he can to shut them up when possible and silences all those he hurts by money.)
He backs this up by going around the US holding rallies where he continues the rhetoric of his rallies which incited anger and violence. He tells them they were "nasty mean and vicious" and now people say "you are mellow. Wrong!" and he proceeds to whip them up again.
The one bright spot of good news is in North Carolina Rev Wm Barber and friends, associates, workers groups each Monday had as mass a demonstration as they could manage, out of that worked together to nominate, get people back their right to vote (if say they had no voter ID), got people who needed help to the limited polling times, they elected a democratic governor. Now the Republican state legislature is seeking to strip the governorship of most of its powers before they go out of office (a coup). Update: 12/19/2016: The brazen stripping of the governor's powers in North Carolina in the last days of legislature has taken my breath away. By not even waiting until they return to a session, they aggressively make it known they intend to end democracy. Eliminating voting rights and nullifying all elections openly is their strategy.
How is Barber going to continue to fight back. Carry on demonstrating, organizing, helping people to vote, fighting in the courts, supporting civil rights organizations, getting candidates on the ballot who are for peoples' needs and liberty and rights. Read on.
A friend on one of the listservs I moderate wrote this history of the democratic party -- I do not agree with it all, I do not think Trump can have any kind of success by freeing up US capital utterly (except for those who have a lot of it); supply side economics is voodoo economics:
There are no rules about the rise and fall of political parties. Their appearance and disappearance, their move from the margins to a more central role reflects big political changes, themselves the result of deep shifts in a society's contending social forces. In the US, presidents have been elected from the Federalists, the Democratic Republicans (later the Democrats), the Whigs, and the Republicans. In the UK, the Whigs have been replaced by the Liberals and Labour. In Canada, something similar has happened. In Europe and elsewhere, new parties come into existence fairly often and sometimes win power, as has happened most clearly in Israel.
Now there are millions of intelligent people who value their lives, liberties, property, monetary arrangements (pensions), health care, education (for most that means public education), who have a good grasp of science, do not live corrupt lives bankrupting, de-frauding, and suing other people. With the demise of the democratic party in office, they are all waiting for this tweeting man to take a powerful office where he can wage horrific wars, make and break treaties with powerful other gov'ts, put people in charge of agencies which affect lives of millions (and he has chosen people who loathe the agency they are in charge of, want to destroy it). Some of these appointees remind me of 19th century people who were indifferent as to whether a majority of people died. He appointed a woman to head public education who hates public education, never spent a day in a public school, has worked very hard to destroy them. 90% of US people go to public schools and every time there is a vote about them, the majority support public schools over charters. One his appointees says he prefers to have robots in his fast food places to people as they never get sick, never take vacations, never complain, can be made to smile all day -- like slaves. If the behavior of those people in charge of some gov'ts that bomb and kill thousands and thousands of people in and outside their country is any indication, they would prefer most people dead: they need only enough other people to get the wealth out of the ground and only enough people with money to sell it too. Everyone else is superfluous. Another doesn't believe (he says) in evolution: he is at the head of heath, education and human services. He is against any public help in gaining housing. Four generals, one whose nickname is "mad dog," another involved in atrocities. The people in congress are salivating to privatize social security; they claim falsely it's in trouble. It is paid for by the people who are to live off these pensions theyve built up by weekly payments over a lifetime. It does not hurt these Republicans at all; it's the principle of the to them. They cannot bear that a huge amount of working people can be secure late in life. That makes these older people strong against any need to work at hard jobs for minimum wages to pay their rent or buy food. I call this wanton cruelty.
Newspapers have supported this new (and continuing) establishment by not televising or offering videos to show happened in North Dakota when the Standing Rock native Americans just now successfully stopped a pipeline going through lands where the pipeline will threaten the water supply. They gave Trump fantastic amounts of air time for nothing. If someone goes to video or report, they are accused of sympathizing with the native people not being neutral . It is the job of newspaper to report both or all sides of a conflict. The courts in North Dakota have issued warrants for arrest of reporters and one was charged with a felony which had a very long prison sentence. Newspapers are normalizing him and saying that he is and will be the 45th president. They are important agents of what happens as well as information, true and distorted both.
Yesterday on CNN the usual wrong explanation was given for why millions of jobs have been lost in the US and shipped abroad: so the explanation given to the head of the United Steelworkers that the ships were being shipped to Mexico was "technology." The technology was doing this. But if you look, you find this is false. In fact the same technologies are used abroad. The jobs are shipped because workers work for so much less money, in bad conditions with no benefits. In Germany jobs stay because the laws and tax is set up to discourage exports of job and keep jobs in Germany; further financial marketeers cannot strip a company's assets, sell it off as bankrupt and then buy it back. This kind of misinformation from CNN is repeated to the point that (as Orwell says) it becomes the accept trut.
Is anyone doing anything effective to control this worse than unfit person once he takes office? or the majority in congress who support him?
A photo take the day Rev Barber succeeded in stopping three forms of voter suppression bills - some of these people are part of the "moral majority" who demonstrate every Monday in North Carolina
The progressive wing of the democratic party -- Keith Ellison at their head, Elizabeth Warren and others, are taking steps to put pressure on congress when the congress meets not to enact the worst of their wanton cruelties on what Romney when he was running for public office called the 47%: those people who receive some form of gov't help, by which he also meant anyone who worked in a gov't job. They say they will be building a "grassroots" movement to once again hold public office so as to stop the republicans from privatizing social security, abolishing medicare, funneling huge amounts of money through tax breaks to the very wealthy and corporations. They have lost because huge amounts of money were funded into Republican campaigns over the country to take state congresses, state governorships and when they did that they immediately gerrymander the areas they controlled so that they could nullify the effect of millions of votes. This never was a country where one person got one equal vote to others, but now the whole system is worked to make sure minority people and the poor in cities get less representatives than rural and white people. A problem here is centrist democrats have voted for mild and other versions of Republican policies, like austerity. Hillary Clinton campaigned on pro-austerity platform.
There have been demonstrations, mass demonstrations around the US since the election results were announced November 8th since majority vote was for Hillary Clinton. A huge demonstration is planned for January 21st. When you have no other tools as a people, if you have the right of peaceful assembly (which it is said US people still do -- though arguably they do not), this what is left.
A Trump is not my president demonstration in the US in the days after the election (NYC outside a Trump building)
Another -- from Reuters
People have been giving money to organizations who fight for civil rights, human rights, women's health, public education, and I have too: southern poverty law center, ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Democracynow.org. There are reports that contributions have gone way up for the moment.
One man says he has been working effectively and is beginning to have success: Rev Wm Barber of North Carolina; he was interviewed by Amy Goodman on DemocracyNow.org last night. If you click on the link you can watch the interview or read the transcript. It's worth reading: When the republicans took over North Carolina, it was the most liberal state in the south. They reversed all legislation they could, they gerrymandered the state to stay in power. They cut all legislation to keep minimum wages, refused to allow Obamacare to do its effective job in the state; have decimated worker benefits, gov't jobs; the state is right to work and everything has been done to minimize voter participation among blacks and poorer people in North Carolina.
Barber and his friends and associates worked hard in their weekly demonstrations and meetings; they canvassed people, got a democratic candidate who was for their interests and worked hard to get people voter registration that was accepted and to vote, ahd the democratic man one. The response of these people is to hold an emergency meeting to pass legislation to take power from this office: to demand the man have approval of the congress for any of his appointees, to strip him of power to help put back the clock to start improving wages, health care, education. They are conducting a coup. It might seem Barber is losing but he says no; they are gradually winning. After all they got this man elected. Barber says if only the majority of people who voted for Hillary Clinton worked the way he has across the country, they can start to take back the power they have seded. The first step is to win offices with power and hold onto it.
Barber's thinking is important too. What he says is behind the near majority of voters to vote for Trump. While a segment of these people are impoverished who have lost their manufacturing or good jobs, many many are not: in my small acquaintance I know of about 8 people who told me they voted for Trump: all of them are doing well, and all of them are white. At the Oscher Institute of Lifelong Learning where I teach at George Mason I know of people who voted for Trump: very well heeled, white. Trump can win again more easily in 4 years because the very wealthy and newspapers who backed Hillary Clinton out of fear he would be a populist or help the working class are now much relieved. It's gov't by billionaires for billonaires, pro-fossil fuel industry whatever they want. They will vote for him and support him. Police will. The military -- a huge segment of the US polity. I've read 52% of white women above some age like 40 voted for Trump.
What unites them: they are just about all white. Rev Barber calls the glue that holds the things together, that unites this constituency systemic racism If we want to fight this group, we must fight systemic racism. I know this is very hard as the people who are racists will appear indignant and angry if you call them that (some of them all the while knowing better); but the other day some Ku Klux Klan type asserted if we all have a right to our opinions, he has a right to his. But if you ignore it or pretend it's not there, you cannot make any inroads. I think through education that is integrated you can begin, but as we know over the last few decades education has returned to being segregated through income which means also race and ethnicity.
I quote from the ending of his talk:
"they keep talking about just an economic fix, or we just need to talk to white working poor people. But if you do not factor in race and how, as Nell Painter said at Princeton, the—you would not have a Trump without an Obama, that President Obama’s election represented a kind of inversion of a hierarchy in this country. And so, what we have to wrestle with is what caused, for instance, many whites to vote for a candidate that actually says—and there are 8 million more white people that are poor than black, but they vote for a candidate that’s against living wages. What causes many whites to vote for a candidate who says, "I’m going to cut your healthcare," when 80 percent of the people who will lose their healthcare are persons that do not have a college degree, and 56 percent of them are white?"
Tthe "fusion" coalition he speaks of is Jesse Jackson's idea of a rainbow coalition. It's not mullticultural, but people standing alongside one another for their own interests. He says it's Ryan and McConnell are the important racists, not so much the KKK or David Dukes or calling somebody the N-word. It’s policy. It’s systemic racism.
Then talking about the conviction of Dylann Roof,the young white man in South Carolina who murdered 9 black people who welcomed him into their church Bible reading group and was planning this as an uprising to murder more minority people, he ends:
"the irony of it is we’ve come through this campaign, this Trumpism, with all of this overt racism and othering, you know, this—at the same time we’re convicting Dylann Roof. We have a candidate, you know, who is now president-elect, who began his movement on birtherism and demeaning and denouncing the very birthright of our president. We have policies being proposed. We’ve got Jeff Sessions, who attempted to prosecute civil rights leaders for participating in registering people to vote, who is against voting rights and civil rights, who now will be possibly the attorney general. We have alt-right, or I call it alt-wrong, and Steve Bannon and white supremacists in the heart of the Oval Office. We haven’t seen that, at least that blatantly, since 1915, when Birth of a Nation was played in the Oval Office by Woodrow Wilson. And by the way, Dylann Roof was captured in Shelby, which is the hometown of the playwright who wrote the movie and the script for Birth of a Nation. And now we have this alt-wrong in the Oval Office, 100 years later, exact almost to the date. We’ve gone from Birth of a Nation in the Oval Office to alt-right in the Oval Office."
"We have a rise in white supremacy, but we also have a rise in systemic policy. We have people being put in place that are going to do what Icall destruction from the inside. Price over HHS, Health and Human Services, who I believe will do great damage to the Health and Human Services, will hurt many black people—and many white people. And we’ve come through this election where people have been divided by race and fear. You know, Donald Trump is not the first white man who has used racial division to be elected. This is not the first time America has dealt with a racist president. But what we should be surprised about is the ease at which he was able to use it in the 21st century and the way in which people bought the con and bought this racism and othering that we have seen now."
I remember a joke that was made just before Obama won for the first time. We see a white working class man drinking beer and watching football; his wife with an apron on her skirt goes to the door. It's a canvasser; she yells. He yells back, "Tell him we're voting for the nigger." The joke is that the man has not overcome his racism but has rather made an exception for Obama.
So what you have to start with is to have a candidate these people will make an exception for. Berne Sanders thinks that his programs will so favor working and all people, middle class, that he can get the bigoted people (he's Jewish, was a socialist) to vote for him. He will shore up social security, genuinely support all sorts of social programs and initiatives that do create jobs, support a higher minimum, improve public education. He almost beat Hillary Clinton in the primaries. He does get people to vote for him from different constituencies and was at the head of a movement when he stopped campaigning. Can he resurrect this? Had he been the democratic candidate all the republican establishment and newspaper people who supported her would have attacked him ferociously. He has dared to object to US foreign policy where we fight against genuine people's movements and support dictators (back them in their wars by not stopping funding them).
To be honest, I don't know that he would attract these people. That they would make an exception for him. But that is what you have to do it seems. When enough candidates get into office and improve lives for these people (the billionares who are taking power are a tiny minority of them), you have to hope they will be grateful and carry on voting for better lives. While there, if they ever get back, the democrats have to make a supreme court which will over turn Citizens United, for that is where the avalanche of republican victories came from.
Right now it looks hopeless by peaceful means, and so, to return to my opening, that is why millions are sitting doing nothing or blogging or tweeting or writing messages on face-book, listservs or other social media or publishing on and off line in newspapers, journals, on websites against it.
It is to be feared that the science of over-reaching is too closely-connected with lucrative commerce. There are clases of men who do little less than profess it, and who are scarcefly ashamed, when they are detected in imposture -- again Johnson
Friends and readers,
Ordinary people and the earth itself, its natural resources, have had a victory, which, even if temporary (the Trump administration could reverse), must be celebrated. We have had some progress during the years of the Obama presidency, but much may be overturned as well as the basis of FDR's new deal (social security) and LFJ's life-saving Medicare. I assure whoever reads this I am not into false celebrations.
Cannon Ball, North Dakota -- let's remember it's now very cold in North Dakota
The Standing Rock tribe has won. The US Army corps of engineers denied an easement that would allow the pipline to cross beneath Lake Oahe, threatening the water supply of the Standing Rock reservation just downstream. For months of the Standing Rock people, multiple native American tribes, and many other groups, now reinforced by a Veterans' group, put their bodies on the line -- and they have faced attack dogs, pepper spraying, hosing, rubber and real bullets; arrests, warants out for felonies which are a modern way of nullifying our right to assemble and protest peacefully. This kind of courage emerges from desperation and having no other recourse to stop this wholescale violation. A group of US Veterans had just joined them, saying they would encircle the Native Americans to protect them.
The Standing Rock Sioux are determined to prevent 1) the possible and even probably pollution of the Missouri River, central source of water for millions of people; and 2) the destruction of the Standing Rock people's burial sites, which by treaty, is land belonging to them, and part of the religious aspect of their community life. See Amy Goodman's full interview of the people involved yesterday: DemocracyNow.org
As a good friend on a small Yahoo list I moderate (focused on Anthony Trollope and 19th century literature and culture) wrote:
The victory today may be only temporary, but this would not have happened without the courage, determination and solidarity of the various tribes, environment groups, veterans groups, and people like us. That petition we signed was a very small contribution, but it helped build the climate of opposition.
A clear description of what this is about: for now it's halted. I've read the company that has fought so aggressively (gotten on its side major agencies, newspapers) to build this pipeland has said the court's decision does not stop them from going ahead. i've read that Trump has interests in companies that stand to gain profit from this pipeline and will give the "green light" to this and all other pipelines..
The inference: we must fight for say social security and medicare, decent treatment to enable disabled people to live fulfilled independent lives. We can sometimes win.
More widely; the important of keeping up the struggle not to allow wanton polluing of our atmosphere and food (causing cancer pandemonics). Year ago now Izzy and I saw an important film where a private corporation attempted to privatize the water supply in Bolivia and cut off a group of Indians from any water unless they pay for it: Even the Rain. The people's protests managed to stop this wholescale theft of necessity of life but their city is ruined, and we see the cost to individuals is high. Gasland is another movie about this problem of theft of natural resources of the earth people depend upon suddenly privatized and then polluted.
A still from Even the Rain
More recently we've seen how the waters of Flint, Michigan were polluted to "save" tax money. I've been in communities where the local water is not drinkable and people are forced to buy water in great plastic jugs.
More years ago than I like to (or can) remember I read with several classes of students over a few years John McPhee's The Control of Nature: the course was Advanced Composition in the Natural Sciences and Technology and read McPhee's book. It contains a long section on aquifers that large cities depend upon for their water supply, and how easy it is to destroy them. This and other books by McPhee seems apolitical because he concentrates on explaining how natural phenomena in a given region have emerged over centuries, and problems people have today in managing the resources that come with the phenomena. He usually develops a story out of a semi-ironic problem local people are having controlling something that is interfering with their middle class way of life. But the inferences taken away enable a reader to understand what these various struggles with multinational corporations out to be a huge profit for the investors and company members are about.
From the latest edition of McPhee's Pine Barrens: a favorite for me for summer reading with science students.
A friend (not me, honest) wrote to a listserv I'm on with him:
At breakfast this morning ... I explained to [my daughter] why Fidel was the most admirable political figure of my lifetime. I spoke of his incorruptibility, what he had brought to Cuba -- universal literacy, advanced and very low cost health care for everyone, low unemployment, proper recognition and compensation for teachers, solidarity with Africa (especially South Africa during apartheid), a refusal to accommodate US imperialism, impressive advances in medical technology and pharmaceuticals (made available at low cost), and so much more.
I told her that Fidel was widely vilified in the US and among the privileged classes around the world. And that not many Americans admired him as I do. A minute later, our waiter, a young man of college age, said he overheard our conversation and was it true that Fidel had died? I always liked him, he said."
I put this on my blog because I strongly agree and couldn't have said it as well. Another person came onto our listserv to agree. Cuba alone of all the Latin American countries has no drug problem, no ceaseless violence, health care, education and jobs for all. No one else appeared to have a view.
Fidel Casto interviewed by Robert MacNeil of PBS in the 1980s
I wrote in reply what I remembered most:
Fidel was an extraordinary man and that he made his revolution stick, held out against this horrendous enormous power to the north of him is astonishing. I for one do not know enough about the obvious pact Kennedy must have made with Krushchev after Kennedy brought us to the brink of WW3, nuclear weapons and all. As I think about it, that night comes back so vividly. My father was worried sick because he had received a notice to go somewhere as a "warden," and I remember his appalled horror as elected official after elected official came on TV to support Kennedyin this dire threatening of the whole world because the US would not tolerate a small communist country nearby nor any defensive weaponry: this was after the invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, several other assassination attempts and of meanwhile the US lines the borders of Russia and many other places still with nuckear warheads.
I think of that now when I see all these Republicans and business men from around the world, TV stations falling into place behind Trump. There is noth ing most individuals won't do or support when it comes to facing power and wanting money -- the great god profit is now in place.
So deeply anti-social and inhumane: someone put in charge of the department of education who is a billionaire, has never been in a public school, is known for wanting to destroy the teachers' union while 9% of all US children go to public school -- for the excellent reason they don't have the money to pay for charter school. Ib ut the first actually willing to go to conflagration or saying they are. A lesson for us all when we think of what's to come once Trump is president. I fear that people put in charge of areas they know little about will provide a spectacle of give-aways (corruption) to corporations, loot the public treasury in effect. How would such people react to any crisis but consult their own narrow interests and ideology.
Today Castro was hailed and praised by the leaders of social democracy gov'ts in South America.
My friend wrote:
The repression in Cuba was often ugly, but it was made necessary by how determined the US was to overthrow the revolution, reintroduce deep inequality, undo all the reforms the Cubans achieved, and make Cuba a sad US colony once again.
Had there been a Cuban-style repression following the US Civil War, those who undid the good intentions of Reconstruction would've been stopped, saving us from the horrors of Jim Crow, continuing racism today, and perhaps those, like Trump, who use racist appeals today.
The question arises, Why did Fidel succeed? In France in the 1790s, the terror was the direct result of the invasion of the allied monarchies' armies into France and the counter-revolutions occurring in the countryside, not to omit the return of emigres either to their own areas or to join up with allied armies. (Charlotte Smith damatizes this in her novel The Banished Man). Napoleon's regime was undermined from its groundwork. Was it the lack of a socialist ideal; the return to militarism, empire, hierarchyl? I know from reading that the killing and suppression of another revolution in France in 1870 and 1871 after that uprising was successful in the sense that huge numbers were slaughtered (figures higher than in 1792-3) and the rebellion put down utterly thoroughly. After the Russian civil war of the 1920s, ruthless repress was the route the communist party took to keep their socialist revolution in place.
Castro brought to the Cuban people services and self-respect they never had before. Good health care, pensions, schools, jobs (however low paid). The embargo was what prevented any growth - as the cold war hurt the Soviet Union and eastern Europe. Still Castro and his gov't destroyed the colonialist capitalism in the island much hated from the Batista regime. Was Cuba simply small enough too? The people in general loved and revered him: they liked and were comfortable with, felt secure with the egalitarian socialist ideals. As have been many other peoples and groups of voters and nations around the world.
A friend has suggested to me that the ability to make fun of someone in public, to play cat and mouse with them and make them look bad is a trait of dictators. She instanced Nero and Caligula.
So Trump against the Hamilton players: he sets them up by sending his henchman, Pence, to see the show, accompanied by a host of paramilitarized police so that the people on the street will know Pence is there. The police were none too polite; the feel was intimidation around the theater playing the opera out of War and Peace: Pierre and Natasha and the Great comet of 1812. They can't resist making a semi-pleading courteous address to Pence while he stalks out of the audience, back to them. This was the prompt for Trump's tweets accusing them of rudeness, saying how unfair and biased this show is, and of course Saturday Night Live which some years ago made fun of Trump. He never forgets an insult himself and gets back. I'm told this played well with his followers (as they are called). Score 1 for Trump.
Then he exposes the press. He has not had any news conference, and now invites them to come to his lair as long as there are no cameras. They are astonished he spends the time berating and insulting them, refusing to answer questions, shameless. One reporter (off record of course) said "it was fucking outrageous." Trump ejects them and then tweets about how unfair, biased coverage of him has been. I'm told this too played well with his followers. Score another for Trump.
The New York Times alone held out; Trump at first cancelled a meeting he said he would have with them; when they said, okay, he reversed himself and did meet with them and had to face a few reasonable questions, which in his usual way he deflected.
I'm told he tweeted Teresa May as to who she should appoint ambassador: naturally the lying Farage, just his thing. This was to embarrass her.
When I told another friend of my first friend's insight, she reminded me about the caricatures of Japanese during World War Two when they were interned: they had done nothing wrong, many lives were destroyed, they lost property, jobs, endured lasting stigmas. But oh how funny were these caricatures.
Down south here the reactionary local gov't bodies used to get quite a kick out of naming all black schools (before 1954 when a couple of decades of attempts at de-segregation were imposed, and the worst of these schools closed because they were in such poor repair, such eye-sores) after confederate generals who were particularly sociopathic towards blacks and ex-slaves. A FB friend reported: "the black school in my little southern town was named after Frederick Douglass. And the Houston ISD just decided to rename a predominantly black middle school that was originally named after that noted Confederate general, Sidney Lanier. The did it on the cheap, renaming it after former mayor Bob Lanier. La plus ca change.
I remember during the campaign Trump had himself photographed in the cafeteria of Trump tower eating an hispanic dinner: he smirked and tweeted: see how I love hispanics. I saw that as loathesome because of the low salaries of the very employees forced to serve him, but now realize that was not the reaction of his followers. Maybe they found his burlesque parodies of disabled people hilarious. So Hillary Clinton's commercials showing him doing this may also have back-fired.
Sophisticated analyses of satire point out how hatred and the writer's own seething ego are part of what fuels satire -- it claims to be moral and often does use humor to expose the immoral, the cruel, the vain, absurd follies.I like and enjoy satire myself when its aim is ethical not cruel. Did the press deserve that put-down? They put him in power; CNN and FOX news gave Bernie Sanders 1/16th the coverage of Trump. On Big Tuesday, Sanders's speech was not aired anywhere but on DemocracyNow.org, and he had done pretty well against Clinton. The TV news reported false stories, kept his picture before us; I remember one reporter (from the Washington Post before it was banned) suddenly asking Trump, "Is this what it's going to be whe you are President." And Trump said "yes," gloatingly.
But what drives the writer to write in this peculiar vein. An enjoyment of ridicule, of cruelty, of scatology frequently. Those of Trump followers not in a position to pull this off may revel in his humor now. He has this uncanny social cunning (in the 18th century it was called "low cunning"). Is this the sort of thing he did in his ever popular Apprentice show? I had (I now gather) the mistaken impression it was just another "reality" show -- platforms for humiliating who are willing to submit to this for the publicity, money, hope for another "gig." Modern freak shows.
Well now it's the dominant news. I must congratulate his followers for providing such material for us all. So much humor ahead. Am I to give thanks for all this?
It's no use to say we used to root for Tweety as the underdog:
It was set up and arranged by at least three unions: Nurses (who endorsed Sanders to the end), ATU (American transit union?), CWU (post office and other communication workers); the pretense was they were there to celebrate the TPP dying and they insisted it was not Trump which killed it but this mass movement of several different groups. The inference or argument from this insisted-upon success was: we can fight back, if we stay together we can win other fights
This was the first rally or public meeting of this kind of thing that I participated in since say 1968 -- when I had left in disgust at the frivolity of the people I was surrounded by. This group were there for serious reasons and the tone of the crowd was serious at the same time amiable to one another. There were apparently two Trump supporters in the crowd with these hideous signs: Love Trump's Hate (why do they not say hatred). But people were magnimous to these silent presences. It was not a march, but gathering around a dias in a park next to a senate office building. There were around 9 (!) speakers before Sanders but it seemed to me there would have been no crowd but for the promise of Sanders and his presence heads the stories about this rally.
I thought at least 1000 people were there, maybe more. We seemed to fill out the small part. People from the same union with the same t-shirts or some sign; people with children, all races, all types, old, young. I saw one elderly lady with no teeth (I notice that kind of thing nowadays as I wear almost complete dentures). Some were friendly. Everyone close together, no pushing, a sense of cooperation. They chanted back when they were given words to call. For me the only one moving was "Keep hope alive."
It seemed to me the letters TTP ignited no one, even if it was an important moment in preventing so much momentum in the destruction of unions and good jobs for workers. Some of these 9 were all congratulating one another -- which while to me in somewhat bad taste was understandable. What makes people work on? As the speeches and small talk around me went on, a few union people -- men, not the women, made genuine contact with the larger crowd by referring to other issues people cared about. For the first time I witnessed how weak an issue for a group is health care. You might say it's a "down" subject. but the last three men talked about what is happening or about to happen in this Trump administration, a powerful speaker from the CWU, from the AFL/CIO and from an official of the democratic party -- himself a Muslim immigrant with dark skin. They all said all the gains of the last half century and more were at risk, but persisted in this positive: we can fight and we can win. Sanders told the most truth. He did say the democratic party had picked a candidate who was known to be unpopular and would not budge from that. The party has to change. He talked of despair in the US -- and described conditions of misery and said this is why Trump won but Trump will not deliver to these people at all.
I was bothered because little of what was said came near the unfolding horror of Trump's appointments today. So all this was educational for me. My friend who fears intensely losing the health care she has had since Obamacare was dismayed. She persists in calling the democratic headquarters. I was interviewed by the Guardian reporter who wrote the above story but she didn't report my replies. She asked why I was there: I said to help protect social security, medicare, the internet for all. She asked me how I felt when I got up the morning after the election. I said deep distress. She asked why? because I foresee what shreds of democracy are left will be cast aside. She asked me if I thought Sanders might have won. I said I didn't know but that newspapers had colluded in helping Trump to win and marginalizing Sanders. I said I also feared a nuclear war because if Trump didn't start it, others might pitch a first strike out of nervousness if he bullied them
Read Elizabeth Warren's open letter to Trump on his "transition team." Racist goons (one from the Net, the other with Klan ties, four of his children (!). He is thinking of adding Giuiliani as attorney general -- that is a signal that black lives don't matter. For foreign policy he will follow Putin. He will take the US out of all trade agreements, NATO. He will not have reporters about him but communicate to the American people through lying tweets. . He will let Ryan shred all social programs and let Mitchell stack the supreme court with reactionaries. He will let lobbyists loose on all things they can feed off of. Among these a lobbyist for Verizon to take a major position in the FCC. Goodbye Net Neutrality the Net as we have known it as a place for ordinary people to communicate with one another. Is this enough for them: Are the elected officials in congress and the house going to just sit there and let all this happen
I find Obama's normalizing stance mind-boggling. While there I remembered why I suddenly thought to myself this morning why many didn't vote. I caught a moment from Hillary Clinton's latest speech where she seemed to be (as it were) lecturing to some peculiarly tiresome tedious children they must support "our" president. Like Obama, she seems not to be aware that peaceful protest and assembly is as part of a democracy as this electoral college election. Her tone was one of someone whose patience has been tried. Well all her learning, she is not truly clever. Why didn't she campaign in the middle states? She followed algorithms? no, she stayed away. She is a version of Lady Russell that's who she is: can take in large issues, come to general understanding, but what takes real subtlety to see she not only lacks but turns away from because it does not suit her
At any rate, the Republicans and Trump will now do all they can to suppress votes of "minorities," they will deport as many hispanic people as they can, jail as many dissendents and poor and black as they can, be a ruthless bully in the world, cut all social programs possible, privatize wherever posssible. Gerrymander some more. Make it very difficult for democrats to get into office. Stocks are way up (especially private prison companies). The wealthy and Wall Street are seeing they will be okay and now grow richer and freer to do as they please to make their profits as high as possible. As to military matters, I refer the reader to Trump's promises; he will enlarge Guantanemo, waterboarding is fine, what are nuclear weapons for if not to use, and so on.
The revivifying wine we had on offer much earlier this year and was stopped up must now be poured into the bottle called the democratic party. One by one (each race) fought to be won on real issues concerning ordinary people, and a new direction set forward.
Don't let anyone try to delude or sooth you into thinking what is about to happen will be okay. Chomsky on the most dangerous organization on the earth today. Kerry has presided over a build-up at the Crimea border which ought to worry people. Putin and Trump are just chummying up. Trump has said he wants to register all Muslims (whatever he means by that) in the USA
Rev William Barber of the North Caroline NAACP, leader of each week's Moral Monday:
Sunday evening in a special post-election service entitled "Revival and Resiliency After Rejection."
Speaking to hundreds gathered at the Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., Barber said that the nation "must be honest about the depth of racism and the psychic sickness of our country," and said "it is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than profound anxiety and revulsion."
"This moment in America is ultimately not about Trump and [Hillary] Clinton. But it really is about the rejection of some things much deeper," he said.
Trump's win, he argues, "shows that we have rejected in some ways moral statesmanship for buffoonery and gamesmanship." For some, it also "reveals a rejection of answers to real issues" and a rejection of "some very serious principles." The president-elect, he said, "articulated fears rooted in racism and classism. He offered no answers but merely said, 'You are right to be afraid, very afraid.'"
"To elect a president whose disdain for women and minorities, civil liberties and scientific fact—to say nothing of simple decency"—shows "that we are rejecting something much deeper, which is why Trump is vulgarity unbounded."
His "election strikes fear into the hearts of the vulnerable, the weak, and above all the many varieties of 'other' whom he has so deeply insulted. The African American 'other.' The Hispanic 'other.' The female 'other.' The Jewish 'other.' And the Muslim 'other.'"
In January, a "man of integrity" will leave the White House, he said, "and then we will witness the inauguration of a con."
"How sad it is that somewhere around his inauguration, the band will begin to play 'America, America, God shed His grace on thee' and then we will inaugurate a president that does not want to give grace to immigrants—of which he is one, from his family."
"We must challenge this nation until the day comes that we are one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all," he concluded
What we must also change: the damage bloated, greedy, amoral political consultants have wrought on the system.
We had Sanders who "came surprisingly close, and the nature of his unscripted challenge—saying whatever radical thing he wanted, drawing around him a deeply loyal phalanx of individuals concerned about fundamental issues of how we are now to make our living, and unwilling to be put off any longer by the glib reassurances of the establishment ...
and Donald Trump ... —sleeplessly padding the floors of his Tower condo high above the teeming crowds, ensconced alone in the early-morning Mar-a-Lago darkness with just his Twitter account for company" won
This will be my last blog on the election itself and my last photo of Hillary Clinton.
Waking this morning and again not sleeping until dawn, it came to me not only were the newspapers clueless about the election, they had the wrong party: it was said the Republican party was self-destructing; it appears it's the democratic party which is self-destructed -- the democrats have lost congress, many judges and more to come, many governorships, and then state legislatures. They refuse to offer an alternative vision: Obama sent drones; Trump says he will carpet bomb (kill thousands instead of say 23 at a time). Roosevelt did in 1932 with his New Deal. Now what's left will be destroyed, defunded totally or whatever they have to do.. Yesterday was a case in point: Obama at no point recognized that our democracy includes the right of people to be out there and protest peacefully, only emitting sterm scolding pious precepts about peaceful transitions. Police were out in the streets, in some cases arresting people. On North Dakota early last week Obama talked as if both sides were equal and had not come to the point of moving that pipeline. Now of course the people's water supply will be very threatened, probably compromised. Democrats offered Republican-policies with amelioration or "lite."
The analogy with the Brits is correct: labor is dying because its leaders will not answer the constituency who clearly want Jeremy Corbyn, but the leaders will not work with a true socialist or old labor type -- it's not old, it's what's wanted. The Democratic party sidelined a man who did in numbers show a good chance to beat Trump: Sanders. There is this poll tonight; I admit it's a counterfactual. They persisted in insisting on Hillary Clinton who came with much baggage, is weak as a campaigner, does not know how to emotionally connect. They would not give Sanders a chance. Now they are in deeper disarray from which they may not be able to come back as the republicans when they get into power change the rules to keep them out -- as in North Carolina. Harry Reid and Bernie Sanders gave responses which took into account what Trump is prepared to do and how they will vigorously fight
Tonight on PBS both Brooke and Shields refused to recognize reality -- as the pollsters failed to get any grasp on what was happening during the campaign between Trump and Clinton. Brooke went on about how the voters were marginalized, left out people. Some were, but many were not: wealthy, middle class went for Trump. What united them were they were all or almost all white. Shields waxed indignant at those who say racism is central: he wants to know how "we" can work with these people if we demonize them. Trump supporters demonize swatches of democratic voters. They will not work with you on a "nice" basis at all. PBS is determined to keep to a script which is falsifying in order to normalize the reasons for Trump's election. He has never deigned to be on their show. He has treated them with utter contempt and they parade his program as if it were reasonable and potentially good. Moore doesn't, he persists in the fantasy it's about being left out, impoverished
All that is there for the people are mass demonstrations - and these meet riot police, arrests, and worse: tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper-spray. The democratic party is still refusing to move and will continue to dissolve away. A friend thinks a new party will arise from these ashes -- history says no. Yes a British labor party arose but not from such a conflagration as this. In Europe they were crushed when they tried after 1848.
When I opened my Washington Post today I couldn't forget how all i've read in the past months got it all wrong -- especially on black people. They did not come out in the numbers needed for Hillary -- so Trump got 51% of North Carolina. I've talked about how puzzled I was at the assertion she had the blacks (yes the ones on stage) when he and she began mass incarceration, ended welfare, made it possible for banks to do what they wish to people's hard earned houses. For myself I never for a moment forget she supported ending welfare. It just rankles. I was overlooking it and her record as a military hawk (she never mentions the Palestinians embargoed on their prison strip still) as she has far more on her record that is good and I was voting against Trump. Juan Gonzalez does show that the latinoes came out for Clinton 80-90%
Trump says he will put back torture, protect carrying loaded unconcealed gums, will expand Guantanamo,,is willing to use nuclear weapons and repress the press --- last night Tump said the protests around the US are incited by the media (Obama as I say refused to recognize them in speech). He has now broken with tradition and is not permitting the press to travel with him.
His supporters were all white and older whites came out heavily for him in the white population in the industrial and ex-industrial states came out for him. It's cruel (Trump was cruelty personified in the way he treated disabled people, racist (why promise to rescind every executive order Obama ever signed? Trump threw black people out of his rallies unceremoniously). .
Today the Ku Klux Clan group in North Caroline has announced a large public rally, celebrating the election of Donald Trump:
Seeking power first, not cooperation, overtly Christian (which is not the same as morally Christian), isolation or Nativist (but it does not include Native Americans). Stocks of private prisons have risen quickly; also all those industries serving the Pentagon war machine. The prison sentences fit in here. If you see it, everything falls into place. Even women voting for him, especially a women who worked as a nude model (and the way to get jobs there is through sex): she stands for being successful through making her body beautiful and selling it
The rhetoric which is reported in most places as real or true (Fan-sided managed a sceptical note) is delusional and filled with hatred. Trump's plan for the next 100 days by the way includes his determination to sue the women who accused him of sexual harrasment, groping or rape. Women in my classes said this loss of Clinton, and the election of Trump who openly boasts of sexual assault and whose wife made her living selling her puts women back 40 years.
All the above said, personally and as a woman, I would have loved to see Hillary Clinton photographed as a fourth woman in charge --- she worked so hard, she has been so brave.
I end on the statements of two women in power in response to the election of Trump
A friend on the Wwtta listserv I moderated put this on: Merkel’s statement upon Trump’s election; here Theresa May’s more sycophantic one:
Keep in mind that Hillary Clinton did take a majority of the actual votes 54% -- in the wrong places, where they did her not enough good as the US is so gerrymandered and the electoral college a left-over from a racist colonialist republic. Yes the electoral college stands for the continued refusal of the US as a gov't and country really to have a one-person one vote system.
She is a good, gracious, intelligent, well-meaning, experienced statesman, and Kaine is a kind and generous spirited man. A sizable proportion of the US population accounts these qualities unimportant. If you think as I do that Bush was total disaster (it began with his war on Iraq and his putting down the percentage of taxes on the rich), you ain't seen nuthin' yet when it comes to Trump and a Republican dominated congress.
What follows is an elaboration of the above.
From Bondarchuk's 1966 film adaptation of War and Peace: the 1812 battlefield (a still)
The polls put me in mind of an incident years ago. A black man ran for Mayor in LA (was it?). A huge majority of those polled showed he was going to win. He lost badly. Conclusion: those asked lied. Polls are like sex surveys -- where most people lie, and are presenting an image of themselves they want the pollster to take away. We might bring the two polling topics together: A man who boasts of sexual assault, who when accused of rape replies, look at her, implying no one (man) could possibly want her (sexually) has won the US election.
I thought about the Renaissance playwright Christopher Marlowe's ironic comment in his fiercely anti-semitic play on Barabas: how Barabas goes about "kicking cripples under wells" and poisoning wells." The last day of the campaign Trump had a man with cerebral palsy physically kicked out of his rally for peaceful protest with a sign. He then mocked him, and when President Obama in public respected the man's purpose and commiserated with him over his treatment, Trump mocked that. Trump says there is no such thing as global warming and I've not doubt his FBI will ruthlessly do all it can to facilitate the fossil fuel industries fracking wherever they please.
Here is the man's plan rightly described by John Nichols: a plan to inflict gradual and immediate pain and immiseration on 98% of the US population
While in Cornwall I did hear and listen to ordinary British people around me and came to the conclusion the Brexit vote was not a no to neoliberalism but the product of fear and dislike of immigrants. At least that was the way I heard it talked about: in terms of other countries stealing and undermining English jobs and industries. I heard people talk in a way that suggested they didn't identify with Scots people. I heard someone defend the attacks on Polish people the couple of days after the Brexit vote. The neoliberal policies of the EU are bad too and as in the US this is part of why a majority voted to leave Europe.
There is no excuse for this choice in the sense that the condition of the average person in the US is the result of similar choices for public officials for decades. Each time starting in the later 1940s the US population was given a choice they regularly chose people who fleeced them and enriched themselves and few groups in society, and went to war to do it, killing, maiming, destroying other people's social revolutions around the world. The average person's immiseration today comes from decades of the same kind of choice they made yesterday. From the formation of a strongly conservative set of courts, privatized prison system, loss of public lawyers and use of plea bargaining with huge sentences as the threat so the person doesn't go to court but to jail for a shorter time (not short). So now a near majority of US people chose a crook, ignorant, serial liar, rapist, racist who has promised to extend torture, willingness to use nuclear weapons, no sense of anything but narrow national interest as if all peoples are not in the world together, and a TV right-wing radio host with extreme religious views (he is for inflicting conversion therapy on GLBT people) and ceaselessly anti-labor.
It is an even worse nightmare than the elections of Nixon, Reagan, Bush senior (Reagan 2) and Bush junior. None of them openly professed to ignore law and the constitution. The last day of his campaign Trump had kicked out of a rally physically a man with cerebral palsy who was peacefully protesting with a sign. He then mocked the man. He then mocked Obama for publiclly supporting this man's right to protest the derision he aims at the disabled. The man showed real courage to go to such a rally and act on his own behalf and those of his fellow Americans.