While the immigration executive order signed by Trump on Friday is less than the sum of fears imagined by rating machine DJT on the campaign trail and the leftists shaken by his Twitter, it still amounts to an attack on the American character. The media outlets have profiled many of the afflicted. Many generous attorneys and translators have descended on the airports to assist them.
We are birthed or for immigrants baptized by the ideals of an empire’s dissents. While many asylum seekers from the seven banned countries are low skill, their souls call them to an higher moral order: The United States. To shed the traditions of the old for the new. That calling shouldn’t be dismissed. I may especially disagree with temporary worker visas for low skill positions; I would never support immigration reform that bans all low skill immigration. Even Reagan called to welcome the Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees
as Americans. He was the original Immigration hardliner.
It is no surprise that Steve Bannon is the mind behind the poorly written order. In his ascension this weekend to permanent member of Trump’s National Security Council which downgraded the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, he has become the most powerful non elected man in America. Besides the immigration order, he told the NYtimes in an interview that the press should be silent. Imagine his reaction if Axelrod told him that during his time at Breitbart. With his naval assistant experience and dreams of infrastructure, he lives as a twisted Roosevelt. Unelectable and impulsive, he opens the gates of Hell.
The False Dimitris, Time of Troubles, Making the Apolitical Political
It’s Monday and with Monday comes a new hot liberal article that E.C. Fiori and myself have been inundated with questions about. It pertains to a possible trial run of a coup at the highest levels of government by Trump’s inner circle.
I knew that in the days after the inauguration the left would be ripe for conspiracy theories, and lo and behold, here comes one after the first truly brutal act from Trump’s cabal.
How much evidence is there for this plot? Not as much as I would like to be honest. Are the purges in the state department and manic consolidation of power real? They are, but point me to a single kleptocracy that hasn’t done the exact same thing. I thought the voting public was clear on what Trump would be doing when he got behind the Roosevelt desk.
This, perhaps, is where both the left AND the right got Donald Trump wrong. The left took him literally, but not seriously. The news cycle would begin and end with mocking his ideas as foolish and impossible. The right took him seriously, but not literally. Among millennials, the large majority of votes in his favor were the fabled “culture” vote, where the empowerment of a candidate makes no policy sense, but has a desired effect in the wider popular culture. The idea was that he is serious about change, and will say anything to get the elite liberal media oppressors enraged. Let’s sit back and watch the show. But the show goes on, and now we increasingly live in Trump’s world.
So where is all of this going? First, people will believe almost anything in times of fear and uncertainty. This includes people on the left and it includes conspiracy theories.
Second, what is a radical centrist to do in this climate? Catalogue the actual crimes of the new administration, starting with the worst. And no, it is not the Muslim ban, idiotically unhelpful and un-American as it certainly is.
No. It is the making of the apolitical, political. Steve Bannon getting a permanent seat on the National Security Council is so incredibly dangerous, that I can’t help but wonder if the “Muslim ban” was designed to fail as a cover for this outrageous power grab
. The reason aids to the president are almost never allowed to participate in such meetings (or often attend) is because the security of our nation should never even hint of a political leaning
. This is something new.
It is up to us now to take Trump literally and seriously. We’re 10 days in.
The Serpent’s Tongue: In Praise of Kellyanne Conway
It is currently the favorite pastime of over half the nation’s voting population to condemn, scorn, laugh, and generally degrade a single woman: Kellyanne Conway. This excludes the amount of joy her many media appearances and statements have given non-U.S. citizens, but for the sake of brevity, let’s put the number at 62.5 million people.
But have we, the scornful masses, ever taken a step back and asked how she does her job? She was given the impossible task of successfully running a presidential campaign, and even worse, consistently deal with gaping logic flaws, insane scandals, and indefensible political positions. Yet she has handled her lot in life with an amazing amount of grace.
She attends not only Fox and Friends, but some of the hardest, most blatant left leaning shows, like Bill Maher. He assembles a panel with the sole directive of nuclear annihilation, and yet time and time again she returns.
That is because she is someone who does not gain satisfaction from the ideological debate, or from the foisting of a candidate she believes in. She is the kind of political operative that adores the pageantry of it all, the performance, the “pivot”.
It is these psychotic adrenaline junkies that Trump has surrounded himself with: people cut from the same orange cloth as he. Once Sean Spicer gets the boot the press will have to find a way to starve her of the thrills she seeks. The clock is ticking.
Fear based actions that will be struck down were past yesterday. Still no economic salvation.
Progressives are a peculiar sort of humans. Take this NPR piece about Canadian immigration vs. our immigration.
They can’t say the Canadian system works better because they rank them by skill and education thus take much less impoverished and low skill immigrants. They list all the evidence but rather omit concluding that our system is flawed because who we accept. That would be to admit the failure of the American system as designed by our corporate overlords to push wages down. In 2014 we accepted 1.3 new immigrants compared to the 300,000 to the north that four times as many. It’s ridiculous to say Canada is a more welcoming country outside of politicians statements. They have one border that with the world’s only superpower and the greatest country who has spent 70 years ensuring global stability. They come just behind the US for largest total land area but their total population is 11% of ours.
Progressives believe anyone who doesn’t share their views are intellectually inferior. They believe fellow Americans can’t read the data. They brush aside any math that doesn’t compute because the emotions of the cause outweigh the reality.
Ultimately it ends with discussion being forbidden as the dogma must be honored above truth. It opens the door to Trump, the honest bullshitter who lets his followers in on the joke that all media is shadows in the cave.
The link above is a 2007 debate between Christopher Hitchens and Christopher Hedges. The whole thing is worth listening to but the end in particular caught my eye when Jack Delaney shared it with me this evening. Hedges saw today long before I think most did.
Trump follows not the playbook of mad man Nixon but the madness of North Korea. From naming his inauguration “National Day of Patriotic Devotion” to promoting “Alternative Facts” called lies in the press room, the leader cult grows.
The battle being waged is for the soul of America. The institutions we believe threatened were hollowed over thirty years of greed. From leftist teachings in the classroom to far right sermons in the pews, the notion of American and America eroded for the notion of me and I. People often claim Trump is the source of the current destruction of norms but that gives him too much credit.
We the people have been chipping away at them for years by always exempting ourselves. We say “no problem” rather than “you’re welcome”. As our newspeak developed our thinking shrunk, our hyperboles grew. We turned inward, shedding the work of community building. Legality became morality in life and business distancing us from responsibility. Twitter and Facebook became news and entertainment just as our personal and professional began to shrink. Trump is the natural end. Civil and personal society needs to be rebuilt and framed around Constitution and outside the law true absolute values must be reinstated. We must recreate respect itself.
Only 1 in 4 people want Obamacare repealed as reported by Fox News
Only 52% of Republicans want repeal.
I argue that most supporters and critics don’t understand ACA and all its effects. The amount of spin on both sides and dearth of education for most citizens. To be fair it is a complicated law with many aspects that almost everyone benefits in some way. No one wants to return to the previous system.
First let’s talk personal responsibility, the conservative boilerplate. Politically the term is never connected to self reflection. It is a charge to be leveled not at any real living citizen but the straw men of the world. People who are cared for by doing nothing. Never the disabled neighbor hurt on site or the family using snap while wearing their walmart uniform but even if the lazy cannot be found they exist for the good Speaker tells me so. I don’t think the feeling of the undeserving receiver is irrational rather I think it stems from a world run by elites who don’t understand the cost of living which is not just comparing median wages and average rents. It is the experience of making a life and always having to find new cuts to make even after a small raise. It is the fickleness of red tape and the pains that come from reckoning with self-worth. Poor people usually don’t chose poverty and the work needed for opportunities is not equal even if it is all hard work. Also to complain about personal responsibility when you as an uninsured citizen cause higher costs is hypocritical.
Second the repeal and replace movement which turns seven this year still hasn’t a plan. The closest is the Senate announced making participation a state issue. This is a cowardly way of saying I don’t want my re-election to depend on actually resolving the problems of big healthcare.
Third is the change in medicine in the past hundred years. We all remember Dr. Salks for choosing the public good over profit but research has changed. Now the patent isn’t up to the doctors who cure but their corporate masters who charge administrators in the medical industrial complex. In between are the insurers and us. Three of the five have profit as their only motive. No wonder care costs more.
How do you fix that system I’m not sure myself but I know ACA was a step forward worth saving and building on to achieve lower premiums and deductibles to save lives.
Trump opens his presidency stating a lie that his inauguration was the most attended ever. I think the photo comparing 2009 to 2017 was an unflattering angle but 2009 had a bigger crowd. There’s no shame in saying Trump supporters are usually found far from Washington. This morning we were given “alternative facts” by Kellyanne Conway on “Meet the Press”. This is Trumpland. When it comes to debriefing the people it will be strictly agitprop.
In the opposition, chaos reigns. Organizers and public officials have different numbers on the attendees of the event. Just taking the lower estimate totals still amounts to the largest presidential protest in America. But what were they protesting everything. Some protested Jimmy Fallon as the source of Trump’s win. Demanding he cover their medical bills. I assume in this age they were satirical in nature but that is truly worse. 2.5 million people isn’t close to a percent of the nation. A protest of everything in the sense that yesterday’s gathering amounts to a beginning at best.
I’ve seen today people call for attendees to call their senators and reps. It is a next step. But with such an unending list all considered equal there is no agenda. Just the ever emerging demographic majority. This isn’t to say protests are useless and that the organizers aren’t building on the momentum. In my opinion the first is to save ACA along with the necessary reforms. Especially stopping the now discussed conversion of Medicaid to block state grants. I’m glad to see Charlie Baker the Republican Governor of Massachusetts writing against the notion of cutting back funding. Reach out to people outside the bubble and ask them about their grandparents benefits that they earned through hard work. The pressure must spread.
The global elite love to say immigrants take jobs no one else wants. This statement is idiotic on quite a few levels.
First, it shows the disconnect between the elite and the people. Elites work for self worth, they are investing their energy in legacy. People work for survival, each paycheck keeps them treading at best. The wage stagnation and in many cases shrinking wages of the past thirty years means not smaller houses and less exotic vacations but homelessness and skipped meals at best.
Second it ignores that the global elite imports low skill workers to disrupt the labor markets in question (service, construction, and increasingly healthcare). By flooding the applicant pool, the corporate overlords can dismiss employee complaints as there are ten people who will work for worse conditions.
Third Brexit and Trump victories are a loud and clear statement that people want these jobs and they want them to pay livable wages. They are owed dignity by their fellow citizens. Paying someone an unlivable wage because that’s what you feel the work is valued at while knowing your competitors will do the same is shameful.