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Thread: Politics Donald Trump:

  1. #1
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    Oct 2008

    Politics Donald Trump:

    Last edited by pywong; 12th November 2016 at 02:44 AM.

  2. #2
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    Oct 2008
    President-elect website


    The day after:

    Trump policies:
    "Building That Wall", End "War On Coal", Repeal Obamacare, Dismantle Dodd-Frank

    • overhaul in immigration policies,
    • promoting a strong, robust military force
    • dismantling and replacing of the Dodd-Frank Act financial-sector law
    • changing the tax code
    • addressing the millions of American jobs that have been lost over the last decade
    • fixing education
    • restructuring US energy policies including ending the "war on coal"
    • "Repeal Obamacare"
    • protect Americans' constitutional rights

  3. #3
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    Oct 2008

    Greenfield: American Uprising

    Everything is about to change.

    Daniel Greenfield

    This wasn’t an election. It was a revolution.

    It’s midnight in America. The day before fifty million Americans got up and stood in front of the great iron wheel that had been grinding them down. They stood there even though the media told them it was useless. They took their stand even while all the chattering classes laughed and taunted them.

    They were fathers who couldn’t feed their families anymore. They were mothers who couldn’t afford health care. They were workers whose jobs had been sold off to foreign countries. They were sons who didn’t see a future for themselves.

    They were daughters afraid of being murdered by the “unaccompanied minors” flooding into their towns. They took a deep breath and they stood.

    They held up their hands and the great iron wheel stopped.

    The Great Blue Wall crumbled. The impossible states fell one by one. Ohio. Wisconsin. Pennsylvania. Iowa. The white working class that had been overlooked and trampled on for so long got to its feet. It rose up against its oppressors and the rest of the nation, from coast to coast, rose up with it.

    They fought back against their jobs being shipped overseas while their towns filled with migrants that got everything while they got nothing. They fought back against a system in which they could go to jail for a trifle while the elites could violate the law and still stroll through a presidential election. They fought back against being told that they had to watch what they say. They fought back against being held in contempt because they wanted to work for a living and take care of their families.

    They fought and they won.

    This wasn’t a vote. It was an uprising. Like the ordinary men chipping away at the Berlin Wall, they tore down an unnatural thing that had towered over them. And as they watched it fall, they marveled at how weak and fragile it had always been. And how much stronger they were than they had ever known.

    Who were these people? They were leftovers and flyover country. They didn’t have bachelor degrees and had never set foot in a Starbucks. They were the white working class. They didn’t talk right or think right. They had the wrong ideas, the wrong clothes and the ridiculous idea that they still mattered.

    They were wrong about everything. Illegal immigration? Everyone knew it was here to stay. Black Lives Matter? The new civil rights movement. Manufacturing? As dead as the dodo. Banning Muslims? What kind of bigot even thinks that way? Love wins. Marriage loses. The future belongs to the urban metrosexual and his dot com, not the guy who used to have a good job before it went to China or Mexico.

    They couldn’t change anything. A thousand politicians and pundits had talked of getting them to adapt to the inevitable future. Instead they got in their pickup trucks and drove out to vote.

    And they changed everything.

    Barack Hussein Obama boasted that he had changed America. A billion regulations, a million immigrants, a hundred thousand lies and it was no longer your America. It was his.

    He was JFK and FDR rolled into one. He told us that his version of history was right and inevitable.

    And they voted and left him in the dust. They walked past him and they didn’t listen. He had come to campaign to where they still cling to their guns and their bibles. He came to plead for his legacy.

    And America said, “No.”

    Fifty millions Americans repudiated him. They repudiated the Obamas and the Clintons. They ignored the celebrities. They paid no attention to the media. They voted because they believed in the impossible. And their dedication made the impossible happen.

    Americans were told that walls couldn’t be built and factories couldn’t be opened. That treaties couldn’t be unsigned and wars couldn’t be won. It was impossible to ban Muslim terrorists from coming to America or to deport the illegal aliens turning towns and cities into gangland territories.

    It was all impossible. And fifty million Americans did the impossible. They turned the world upside down.

    It’s midnight in America. CNN is weeping. MSNBC is wailing. ABC calls it a tantrum. NBC damns it. It wasn’t supposed to happen. The same machine that crushed the American people for two straight terms, the mass of government, corporations and non-profits that ran the country, was set to win.

    Instead the people stood in front of the machine. They blocked it with their bodies. They went to vote even though the polls told them it was useless. They mailed in their absentee ballots even while Hillary Clinton was planning her fireworks victory celebration. They looked at the empty factories and barren farms. They drove through the early cold. They waited in line. They came home to their children to tell them that they had done their best for their future. They bet on America.

    And they won.

    They won improbably. And they won amazingly.

    They were tired of ObamaCare. They were tired of unemployment. They were tired of being lied to. They were tired of watching their sons come back in coffins to protect some Muslim country. They were tired of being called racists and homophobes. They were tired of seeing their America disappear.

    And they stood up and fought back. This was their last hope. Their last chance to be heard.

    Watch this video. See ten ways John Oliver destroyed Donald Trump. Here’s three ways Samantha Bee broke the internet by taunting Trump supporters. These three minutes of Stephen Colbert talking about how stupid Trump is owns the internet. Watch Madonna curse out Trump supporters. Watch Katy Perry. Watch Miley Cyrus. Watch Robert Downey Jr. Watch Beyonce campaign with Hillary. Watch. Click.

    Watch fifty million Americans take back their country.

    The media had the election wrong all along. This wasn’t about personalities. It was about the impersonal. It was about fifty million people whose names no one except a server will ever know fighting back. It was about the homeless woman guarding Trump’s star. It was about the lost Democrats searching for someone to represent them in Ohio and Pennsylvania. It was about the union men who nodded along when the organizers told them how to vote, but who refused to sell out their futures.

    No one will ever interview all those men and women. We will never see all their faces. But they are us and we are them. They came to the aid of a nation in peril. They did what real Americans have always done. They did the impossible.

    America is a nation of impossibilities. We exist because our forefathers did not take no for an answer. Not from kings or tyrants. Not from the elites who told them that it couldn’t be done.

    The day when we stop being able to pull off the impossible is the day that America will cease to exist.

    Today is not that day. Today fifty million Americans did the impossible.

    Midnight has passed. A new day has come. And everything is about to change.

    Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.

    Last edited by pywong; 13th November 2016 at 08:48 AM.

  4. #4
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    Oct 2008
    Understanding Trump

    Understanding Trump
    By George Lakoff

    There is a lot being written and spoken about Trump by intelligent and articulate commentators whose insights I respect. But as a longtime researcher in cognitive science and linguistics, I bring a perspective from these sciences to an understanding of the Trump phenomenon. This perspective is hardly unknown. More than half a million people have read my books, and Google Scholar reports that scholars writing in scholarly journals have cited my works well over 100,000 times.

    Yet you will probably not read what I have to say in the NY Times, nor hear it from your favorite political commentators. You will also not hear it from Democratic candidates or party strategists. There are reasons, and we will discuss them later I this piece. I am writing it because I think it is right and it is needed, even though it comes from the cognitive and brain sciences, not from the normal political sources. I think it is imperative to bring these considerations into public political discourse. But it cannot be done in a 650-word op-ed. My apologies. It is untweetable.

    I will begin with an updated version of an earlier piece on who is supporting Trump and why — and why policy details are irrelevant to them. I then move to a section on how Trump uses your brain against you. I finish up discussing how Democratic campaigns could do better, and why they need to do better if we are to avert a Trump presidency.

    Who Supports Trump and Why

    Donald J. Trump has managed to become the Republican nominee for president, Why? How? There are various theories: People are angry and he speaks to their anger. People don’t think much of Congress and want a non-politician. Both may be true. But why? What are the details? And Why Trump?

    He seems to have come out of nowhere. His positions on issues don’t fit a common mold.

    He has said nice things about LGBTQ folks, which is not standard Republican talk. Republicans hate eminent domain (the taking of private property by the government) and support corporate outsourcing for the sake of profit, but he has the opposite views on both. He is not religious and scorns religious practices, yet the Evangelicals (that is, the white Evangelicals) love him. He thinks health insurance and pharmaceutical companies, as well as military contractors, are making too much profit and wants to change that. He insults major voting groups, e.g., Latinos, when most Republicans are trying to court them. He wants to deport 11 million immigrants without papers and thinks he can. He wants to stop Muslims from entering the country. What is going on?

    The answer requires a bit of background.

    In the 1900’s, as part of my research in the cognitive and brain sciences, I undertook to answer a question in my field: How do the various policy positions of conservatives and progressives hang together? Take conservatism: What does being against abortion have to do with being for owning guns? What does owning guns have to do with denying the reality of global warming? How does being anti-government fit with wanting a stronger military? How can you be pro-life and for the death penalty? Progressives have the opposite views. How do their views hang together?

    The answer came from a realization that we tend to understand the nation metaphorically in family terms: We have founding fathers. We send our sons and daughters to war. We have homeland security. The conservative and progressive worldviews dividing our country can most readily be understood in terms of moral worldviews that are encapsulated in two very different common forms of family life: The Nurturant Parent family (progressive) and the Strict Father family (conservative).

    What do social issues and the politics have to do with the family? We are first governed in our families, and so we grow up understanding governing institutions in terms of the governing systems of families.

    In the strict father family, father knows best. He knows right from wrong and has the ultimate authority to make sure his children and his spouse do what he says, which is taken to be what is right. Many conservative spouses accept this worldview, uphold the father’s authority, and are strict in those realms of family life that they are in charge of. When his children disobey, it is his moral duty to punish them painfully enough so that, to avoid punishment, they will obey him (do what is right) and not just do what feels good. Through physical discipline they are supposed to become disciplined, internally strong, and able to prosper in the external world. What if they don’t prosper? That means they are not disciplined, and therefore cannot be moral, and so deserve their poverty. This reasoning shows up in conservative politics in which the poor are seen as lazy and undeserving, and the rich as deserving their wealth. Responsibility is thus taken to be personal responsibility not social responsibility. What you become is only up to you; society has nothing to do with it. You are responsible for yourself, not for others — who are responsible for themselves.

    Winning and Insulting

    As the legendary Green Bay Packers coach, Vince Lombardi, said,

    “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.” In a world governed by personal responsibility and discipline, those who win deserve to win. Why does Donald Trump publicly insult other candidates and political leaders mercilessly? Quite simply, because he knows he can win an onstage TV insult game. In strict conservative eyes, that makes him a formidable winning candidate who deserves to be a winning candidate. Electoral competition is seen as a battle. Insults that stick are seen as victories — deserved victories.

    Consider Trump’s statement that John McCain is not a war hero. The reasoning: McCain got shot down. Heroes are winners. They defeat big bad guys. They don’t get shot down. People who get shot down, beaten up, and stuck in a cage are losers, not winners.

    The Moral Hierarchy

    The strict father logic extends further. The basic idea is that authority is justified by morality (the strict father version), and that, in a well-ordered world, there should be (and traditionally has been) a moral hierarchy in which those who have traditionally dominated should dominate. The hierarchy is: God above Man, Man above Nature, The Disciplined (Strong) above the Undisciplined (Weak), The Rich above the Poor, Employers above Employees, Adults above Children, Western culture above other cultures, America above other countries. The hierarchy extends to: Men above women, Whites above Nonwhites, Christians above nonChristians, Straights above Gays.

    We see these tendencies in most of the Republican presidential candidates, as well as in Trump, and on the whole, conservative policies flow from the strict father worldview and this hierarchy

    Family-based moral worldviews run deep. Since people want to see themselves as doing right not wrong, moral worldviews tend to be part of self-definition — who you most deeply are. And thus your moral worldview defines for you what the world should be like. When it isn’t that way, one can become frustrated and angry.

    There is a certain amount of wiggle room in the strict father worldview and there are important variations. A major split is among (1) white Evangelical Christians, (2) laissez-fair free market conservatives, and (3) pragmatic conservatives who are not bound by evangelical beliefs.

    White Evangelicals

    Those whites who have a strict father personal worldview and who are religious tend toward Evangelical Christianity, since God, in Evangelical Christianity, is the Ultimate Strict Father: You follow His commandments and you go to heaven; you defy His commandments and you burn in hell for all eternity. If you are a sinner and want to go to heaven, you can be ‘born again” by declaring your fealty by choosing His son, Jesus Christ, as your personal Savior.

    Such a version of religion is natural for those with strict father morality. Evangelical Christians join the church because they are conservative; they are not conservative because they happen to be in an evangelical church, though they may grow up with both together.

    Evangelical Christianity is centered around family life. Hence, there are organizations like Focus on the Family and constant reference to “family values,” which are to take to be evangelical strict father values. In strict father morality, it is the father who controls sexuality and reproduction. Where the church has political control, there are laws that require parental and spousal notification in the case of proposed abortions.

    Evangelicals are highly organized politically and exert control over a great many local political races. Thus Republican candidates mostly have to go along with the evangelicals if they want to be nominated and win local elections.

    Pragmatic Conservatives

    Pragmatic conservatives, on the other hand, may not have a religious orientation at all. Instead, they may care primarily about their own personal authority, not the authority of the church or Christ, or God. They want to be strict fathers in their own domains, with authority primarily over their own lives. Thus, a young, unmarried conservative — male or female —may want to have sex without worrying about marriage. They may need access to contraception, advice about sexually transmitted diseases, information about cervical cancer, and so on. And if a girl or woman becomes pregnant and there is no possibility or desire for marriage, abortion may be necessary.

    Trump is a pragmatic conservative, par excellence. And he knows that there are a lot of Republican voters who are like him in their pragmatism. There is a reason that he likes Planned Parenthood. There are plenty of young, unmarried (or even married) pragmatic conservatives, who may need what Planned Parenthood has to offer — cheaply and confidentially by way of contraception, cervical cancer prevention, and sex ed.

    Similarly, young or middle-aged pragmatic conservatives want to maximize their own wealth. They don’t want to be saddled with the financial burden of caring for their parents. Social Security and Medicare relieve them of most of those responsibilities. That is why Trump wants to keep Social Security and Medicare.

    Laissez-faire Free Marketeers

    Establishment conservative policies have not only been shaped by the political power of white evangelical churches, but also by the political power of those who seek maximally laissez-faire free markets, where wealthy people and corporations set market rules in their favor with minimal government regulation and enforcement. They see taxation not as investment in publicly provided resources for all citizens, but as government taking their earnings (their private property) and giving the money through government programs to those who don’t deserve it. This is the source of establishment Republicans’ anti-tax and shrinking government views. This version of conservatism is quite happy with outsourcing to increase profits by sending manufacturing and many services abroad where labor is cheap, with the consequence that well-paying jobs leave America and wages are driven down here. Since they depend on cheap imports, they would not be in favor of imposing high tariffs.

    But Donald Trump is not in a business that makes products abroad to import here and mark up at a profit. As a developer, he builds hotels, casinos, office buildings, golf courses. He may build them abroad with cheap labor but he doesn’t import them. Moreover, he recognizes that most small business owners in America are more like him — American businesses like dry cleaners, pizzerias, diners, plumbers, hardware stores, gardeners, contractors, car washers, and professionals like architects, lawyers, doctors, and nurses. High tariffs don’t look like a problem.

    Many business people are pragmatic conservatives. They like government power when it works for them. Take eminent domain. Establishment Republicans see it as an abuse by government — government taking of private property. But conservative real estate developers like Trump depend on eminent domain so that homes and small businesses in areas they want to develop can be taken by eminent domain for the sake of their development plans. All they have to do is get local government officials to go along, with campaign contributions and the promise of an increase in local tax dollars helping to acquire eminent domain rights. Trump points to Atlantic City, where he built his casino using eminent domain to get the property.

    If businesses have to pay for their employees’ health care benefits, Trump would want them to have to pay as little as possible to maximize profits for businesses in general. He would therefore want health insurance and pharmaceutical companies to charge as little as possible. To increase competition, he would want insurance companies to offer plans nationally, avoiding the state-run exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. The exchanges are there to maximize citizen health coverage, and help low-income people get coverage, rather than to increase business profits. Trump does however want to keep the mandatory feature of ACA, which establishment conservatives hate since they see it as government overreach, forcing people to buy a product. For Trump, however, the mandatory feature for individuals increases the insurance pool and brings down costs for businesses.

    Direct vs. Systemic Causation

    Direct causation is dealing with a problem via direct action. Systemic causation recognizes that many problems arise from the system they are in and must be dealt with via systemic causation. Systemic causation has four versions: A chain of direct causes. Interacting direct causes (or chains of direct causes). Feedback loops. And probabilistic causes. Systemic causation in global warming explains why global warming over the Pacific can produce huge snowstorms in Washington DC: masses of highly energized water molecules evaporate over the Pacific, blow to the Northeast and over the North Pole and come down in winter over the East coast and parts of the Midwest as masses of snow. Systemic causation has chains of direct causes, interacting causes, feedback loops, and probabilistic causes — often combined.

    Direct causation is easy to understand, and appears to be represented in the grammars of all languages around the world. Systemic causation is more complex and is not represented in the grammar of any language. It just has to be learned.

    Empirical research has shown that conservatives tend to reason with direct causation and that progressives have a much easier time reasoning with systemic causation. The reason is thought to be that, in the strict father model, the father expects the child or spouse to respond directly to an order and that refusal should be punished as swiftly and directly as possible.

    Many of Trump’s policy proposals are framed in terms of direct causation.

    Immigrants are flooding in from Mexico — build a wall to stop them. For all the immigrants who have entered illegally, just deport them — even if there are 11 million of them working throughout the economy and living throughout the country. The cure for gun violence is to have a gun ready to directly shoot the shooter. To stop jobs from going to Asia where labor costs are lower and cheaper goods flood the market here, the solution is direct: put a huge tariff on those goods so they are more expensive than goods made here. To save money on pharmaceuticals, have the largest consumer — the government — take bids for the lowest prices. If Isis is making money on Iraqi oil, send US troops to Iraq to take control of the oil. Threaten Isis leaders by assassinating their family members (even if this is a war crime). To get information from terrorist suspects, use water-boarding, or even worse torture methods. If a few terrorists might be coming with Muslim refugees, just stop allowing all Muslims into the country. All this makes sense to direct causation thinkers, but not those who see the immense difficulties and dire consequences of such actions due to the complexities of systemic causation.

    Political Correctness

    There are at least tens of millions of conservatives in America who share strict father morality and its moral hierarchy. Many of them are poor or middle class and many are white men who see themselves as superior to immigrants, nonwhites, women, nonChristians, gays — and people who rely on public assistance. In other words, they are what liberals would call “bigots.” For many years, such bigotry has not been publicly acceptable, especially as more immigrants have arrived, as the country has become less white, as more women have become educated and moved into the workplace, and as gays have become more visible and gay marriage acceptable. As liberal anti-bigotry organizations have loudly pointed out and made a public issue of the unAmerican nature of such bigotry, those conservatives have felt more and more oppressed by what they call “political correctness” — public pressure against their views and against what they see as “free speech.” This has become exaggerated since 911, when anti-Muslim feelings became strong. The election of President Barack Hussein Obama created outrage among those conservatives, and they refused to see him as a legitimate American (as in the birther movement), much less as a legitimate authority, especially as his liberal views contradicted almost everything else they believe as conservatives.

    Donald Trump expresses out loud everything they feel — with force, aggression, anger, and no shame. All they have to do is support and vote for Trump and they don’t even have to express their ‘politically incorrect’ views, since he does it for them and his victories make those views respectable. He is their champion. He gives them a sense of self-respect, authority, and the possibility of power.

    Whenever you hear the words “political correctness” remember this.


    There is no middle in American politics. There are moderates, but there is no ideology of the moderate, no single ideology that all moderates agree on. A moderate conservative has some progressive positions on issues, though they vary from person to person. Similarly, a moderate progressive has some conservative positions on issues, again varying from person to person. In short, moderates have both political moral worldviews, but mostly use one of them. Those two moral worldviews in general contradict each other. How can they reside in the same brain at the same time?

    Both are characterized in the brain by neural circuitry. They are linked by a commonplace circuit: mutual inhibition. When one is turned on the other is turned off; when one is strengthened, the other is weakened. What turns them on or off? Language that fits that worldview activates that worldview, strengthening it, while turning off the other worldview and weakening it. The more Trump’s views are discussed in the media, the more they are activated and the stronger they get, both in the minds of hardcore conservatives and in the minds of moderate progressives.

    This is true even if you are attacking Trump’s views. The reason is that negating a frame activates that frame, as I pointed out in the book Don’t Think of an Elephant!It doesn’t matter if you are promoting Trump or attacking Trump, you are helping Trump.

    A good example of Trump winning with progressive biconceptuals includes certain unionized workers. Many union members are strict fathers at home or in their private life. They believe in “traditional family values” — a conservative code word — and they may identify with winners.

    Why Has Trump won the Republican nomination? Look at all the conservative groups he appeals to!

    Why His Lack of Policy Detail Doesn’t Matter

    I recently heard a brilliant and articulate Clinton surrogate argue against a group of Trump supporters that Trump has presented no policy plans for increasing jobs, increasing economics growth, improving education, gaining international respect, etc. This is the basic Clinton campaign argument. Hillary has the experience, the policy know-how, she can get things done, it’s all on her website. Trump has none of this. What Hillary’s campaign says is true. And it is irrelevant.

    Trump supporters and other radical Republican extremists could not care less, and for a good reason. Their job is to impose their view of strict father morality in all areas of life. If they have the Congress, and the Presidency and the Supreme Court, they could achieve this. They don’t need to name policies, because the Republicans already have hundreds of policies ready to go. They just need to be in complete power.

    How Trump Uses Your Brain to His Advantage

    Any unscrupulous, effective salesman knows how to use you brain against you, to get you to buy what he is selling. How can someone “use your brain against you?” What does it mean?

    All thought uses neural circuitry. Every idea is constituted by neural circuitry. But we have no conscious access to that circuitry. As a result, most of thought — an estimated 98 percent of thought is unconscious. Conscious thought is the tip of the iceberg.

    Unconscious thought works by certain basic mechanisms. Trump uses them instinctively to turn people’s brains toward what he wants: Absolute authority, money, power, celebrity.

    The mechanisms are:

    1. Repetition. Words are neurally linked to the circuits that determine their meaning. The more a word is heard, the more the circuit is activated and the stronger it gets, and so the easier it is to fire again. Trump repeats. Win. Win, Win. We’re gonna win so much you’ll get tired of winning.

    2. Framing: Crooked Hillary. Framing Hillary as purposely and knowingly committing crimes for her own benefit, which is what a crook does. Repeating makes many people unconsciously think of her that way, even though she has been found to have been honest and legal by thorough studies by the right-wing Bengazi committee (which found nothing) and the FBI (which found nothing to charge her with, except missing the mark ‘(C)’ in the body of 3 out of 110,000 emails). Yet the framing is working.

    There is a common metaphor that Immorality Is Illegality, and that acting against Strict Father Morality (the only kind off morality recognized) is being immoral. Since virtually everything Hillary Clinton has ever done has violated Strict Father Morality, that makes her immoral. The metaphor thus makes her actions immoral, and hence she is a crook. The chant “Lock her up!” activates this whole line of reasoning.

    3. Well-known examples: When a well-publicized disaster happens, the coverage activates the framing of it over and over, strengthening it, and increasing the probability that the framing will occur easily with high probability. Repeating examples of shootings by Muslims, African-Americans, and Latinos raises fears that it could happen to you and your community — despite the miniscule actual probability. Trump uses this to create fear. Fear tends to activate desire for a strong strict father — namely, Trump.

    4. Grammar: Radical Islamic terrorists: “Radical” puts Muslims on a linear scale and “terrorists” imposes a frame on the scale, suggesting that terrorism is built into the religion itself. The grammar suggests that there is something about Islam that has terrorism inherent in it. Imagine calling the Charleston gunman a “radical Republican terrorist.”

    Trump is aware of this to at least some extent. As he said to Tony Schwartz, the ghost-writer who wrote The Art of the Deal for him, “I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration — and it’s a very effective form of promotion.”

    5. Conventional metaphorical thought is inherent in our largely unconscious thought. Such normal modes of metaphorical thinking are not noticed as such.

    Consider Brexit, which used the metaphor of “entering” and “leaving” the EU. There is a universal metaphor that states are locations in space: you can enter a state, be deep in some state, and come out that state. If you enter a café and then leave the café , you will be in the same location as before you entered. But that need not be true of states of being. But that was the metaphor used with Brexit; Britons believed that after leaving the EU, things would be as before when the entered the EU. They were wrong. Things changed radically while they were in the EU. That same metaphor is being used by Trump: Make America Great Again. Make America Safe Again. And so on. As if there was some past ideal state that we can go back to just by electing Trump.

    6. There is also a metaphor that A Country Is a Person and a metonymy of the President Standing For the Country. Thus, Obama, via both metaphor and metonymy, can stand conceptually for America. Therefore, by saying that Obama is weak and not respected, it is communicated that America, with Obama as president, is weak and disrespected. The inference is that it is because of Obama.

    7. The country as person metaphor and the metaphor that war or conflict between countries is a fistfight between people, leads to the inference that just having a strong president will guarantee that America will win conflicts and wars. Trump will just throw knockout punches. In his acceptance speech at the convention, Trump repeatedly said that he would accomplish things that can only be done by the people acting with their government. After one such statement, there was a chant from the floor, “He will do it.”

    8. The metaphor that The nation Is a Family was used throughout the GOP convention. We heard that strong military sons are produced by strong military fathers and that “defense of country is a family affair.” From Trump’s love of family and commitment to their success, we are to conclude that, as president he will love America’s citizens and be committed to the success of all.

    9. There is a common metaphor that Identifying with Your Family’s National Heritage Makes You a Member of That Nationality. Suppose your grandparents came from Italy and you identify with your Italian ancestors, you may proudly state that you are Italian. The metaphor is natural. Literally, you have been American for two generations. Trump made use of this commonplace metaphor in attacking US District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is American, born and raised in the United States. Trump said he was a Mexican, and therefore would hate him and tend to rule against him in a case brought against Trump University for fraud.

    10. Then there is the metaphor system used in the phrase “to call someone out.” First the word “out.” There is a general metaphor that Knowing Is Seeing as in “I see what you mean.” Things that are hidden inside something cannot be seen and hence not known, while things are not hidden but out in public can be seen and hence known. To “out” someone is to made their private knowledge public. To “call someone out” is to publicly name someone’s hidden misdeeds, thus allowing for public knowledge and appropriate consequences.

    This is the basis for the Trumpian metaphor that Naming is Identifying. Thus naming your enemies will allow you to identify correctly who they are, get to them, and so allow you to defeat them. Hence, just saying “radical Islamic terrorists” allows you to pick them out, get at them, and annihilate them. And conversely, if you don’t say it, you won’t be able to pick them out and annihilate them. Thus a failure to use those words means that you are protecting those enemies — in this case Muslims, that is, potential terrorists because of their religion.

    I’ll stop here, though I could go on. Here are ten uses of people’s unconscious normal brain mechanisms that are manipulated by Trump and his followers for his overriding purpose: to be elected president, to be given absolute authority with a Congress and Supreme Court, and so to have his version of Strict Father Morality govern America into the indefinite future.

    These ten forms of using people’s everyday brain mechanisms for his own purposes have gotten Trump the Republican nomination. But millions more people have seen and heard Trump and company on tv and heard them on the radio. The media pundits have not described those ten mechanisms, or other brain mechanisms, that surreptitiously work on the unconscious minds of the public, even though the result is that Big Lies repeated over and over are being believed by a growing number of people.

    Even if he loses the election, Trump will have changed the brains of millions of Americans, with future consequences. It is vitally important people know the mechanisms used to transmit Big Lies and to stick them into people’s brains without their awareness. It is a form of mind control.

    People in the media have a duty to report it when the see it. But there are constraints on the media.

    Certain things have not been allowed in public political discourse in the media. Reporters and commentators are supposed to stick to what is conscious and with literal meaning. But most real political discourse makes use of unconscious thought, which shapes conscious thought via unconscious framing and commonplace conceptual metaphors. It is crucial, for the history of the country and the world, as well as the planet, that all of this be made public.

    And it is not just the media. Such responsibility rests with ordinary citizens who become aware of unconscious brain mechanisms like the ten we have just discussed. This responsibility also rests with the Democratic Party and their campaigns at all levels.

    Is the use of the public’s brain mechanisms for communication necessarily immoral? Understanding how people really think can be used to communicate truths, not Big Lies or ads for products.

    This knowledge is not just known to cognitive linguists. It is taught in Marketing courses in business schools, and the mechanisms are used in advertising, to get you to buy what advertisers are selling. We have learned to recognize ads; they are set off by themselves. Even manipulative corporate advertising with political intent (like ads for fracking) is not as dangerous as Big Lies leading to authoritarian government determining the future of our country.

    How Can Democrats Do Better?

    First, don’t think of an elephant. Remember not to repeat false conservative claims and then rebut them with the facts. Instead, go positive. Give a positive truthful framing to undermine claims to the contrary. Use the facts to support positively-framed truth. Use repetition.

    Second, start with values, not policies and facts and numbers. Say what you believe, but haven’t been saying. For example, progressive thought is built on empathy, on citizens caring about other citizens and working through our government to provide public resources for all, both businesses and individuals. Use history. That’s how America started. The public resources used by businesses were not only roads and bridges, but public education, a national bank, a patent office, courts for business cases, interstate commerce support, and of course the criminal justice system. From the beginning, the Private Depended on Public Resources, both private lives and private enterprise.

    Over time those resources have included sewers, water and electricity, research universities and research support: computer science (via the NSF), the internet (ARPA), pharmaceuticals and modern medicine (the NIH), satellite communication (NASA and NOA), and GPS systems and cell phones (the Defense Department). Private enterprise and private life utterly depend on public resources. Have you ever said this? Elizabeth Warren has. Almost no other public figures. And stop defending “the government.” Talk about the public, the people, Americans, the American people, public servants, and good government. And take back freedom. Public resources provide for freedom in private enterprise and private life.

    The conservatives are committed to privatizing just about everything and to eliminating funding for most public resources. The contribution of public resources to our freedoms cannot be overstated. Start saying it.

    And don’t forget the police. Effective respectful policing is a public resource. Chief David O. Brown of the Dallas Police got it right. Training, community policing, knowing the people you protect. And don’t ask too much of the police: citizens have a responsibility to provide funding so that police don’t have to do jobs that should be done by others.

    Unions need to go on the offensive. Unions are instruments of freedom — freedom from corporate servitude. Employers call themselves job creators. Working people are profit creators for the employers, and as such they deserve a fair share of the profits and respect and acknowledgement. Say it. Can the public create jobs. Of course. Fixing infrastructure will create jobs by providing more public resources that private lives and businesses depend on. Public resources to create more public resources. Freedom creates opportunity that creates more freedom.

    Third, keep out of nasty exchanges and attacks. Keep out of shouting matches. One can speak powerfully without shouting. Obama sets the pace: Civility, values, positivity, good humor, and real empathy are powerful. Calmness and empathy in the face of fury are powerful. Bill Clinton won because he oozed empathy, with his voice, his eye contact, and his body. It wasn’t his superb ability as a policy wonk, but the empathy he projected and inspired.

    Values come first, facts and policies follow in the service of values. They matter, but they always support values.

    Give up identity politics. No more women’s issues, black issues, Latino issues. Their issues are all real, and need public discussion. But they all fall under freedom issues, human issues. And address poor whites! Appalachian and rust belt whites deserve your attention as much as anyone else. Don’t surrender their fate to Trump, who will just increase their suffering.

    And remember JFK’s immortal, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Empathy, devotion, love, pride in our country’s values, public resources to create freedoms. And adulthood.

    Be prepared. You have to understand Trump to stand calmly up to him and those running with him all over the country.
    George Lakoff is Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics Emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley. His most recent book is The ALL NEW Don’t Think of an Elephant! His previous books on politics and social issues are Moral Politics (1996, 2002), Don’t Think of an Elephant! (2004), Whose Freedom? (200, The Political Mind (200, and The Little Blue Book, with Elisabeth Wehling (2012). The third edition of Moral Politics will be published in September in time for the 2016 election. His website is


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Trump will be the 4th president to win the Electoral College after getting fewer votes than his opponent

    But it may become more and more common, given shifting demographics.

    Updated by Alvin Nov 9, 2016, 9:10am EST

    Donald Trump won the electoral college, but when all the votes are counted, it’s likely he will have received fewer votes from Americans than Hillary Clinton.

    It will take time for the exact numbers to be counted, but the New York Times projects Trump to lose the popular vote by about 1.2 percentage points an updated count by the Cook Political Report shows Trump lost by about 0.3 percentage points. Meanwhile, Trump is most likely to rack up 306 electoral voters — 14 percent more than his opponent.

    Don’t let recent history fool you into thinking this has happened a lot. Sure, we saw this in 2000, when George W. Bush received about 500,000 fewer votes than Al Gore but still won the election. But this is only the fourth times in American history that someone has won the Electoral College, but lost the popular vote — and it might not be the last.

    (John Quincy Adams also lost the popular vote in 1824, but since none of the four candidates received 50 percent of the electoral vote, the House of Representatives decided who would be president.)

    In fact, only one president-elect has lost the popular vote by a wider margin than Trump. (Update: More votes have been counted, and looks like Trump lost the popular vote by about 0.3 percentage points, which is less than the other elections where the popular and electoral votes were split. The chart below is updated to reflect this.) The widest margin was in 1876, when Rutherford B. Hayes won a controversial election that took months to settle, even though he lost the popular vote to Samuel Tilden by 3 percentage points.
    Shifting demographics might make this more common

    This might be historically rare, but shifting demographics means this might become more common. The key here are scenarios that change the popular vote, but don’t change the electoral vote — and there are a handful of them:

    1. Gaining ground in safe Democratic states: Barack Obama won the 2012 election around a coalition of minorities and young voters. An overwhelming percentage of these groups voted for Obama the last time around with strong turnout. But those groups, specifically Latinos and Asians, are concentrated in safe Democratic and safe Republican states like California, Texas, and New York. She gained ground in all those states compared to Obama in 2012, but that doesn’t help with electoral math.
    2. Gaining ground in safe Republican states: The other factor is that Democrats gained ground from 2012 in states that are usually safe Republican states — places like Texas, Georgia, Utah, and Idaho. (Check out this great New York Times map, which shows how the votes shifted from 2012.) It may put these states into play in future elections, but for this one it increased Clinton’s popular vote margin while not helping her with the electoral math.
    3. Losing a little ground with minorities and young people in swing states:Meanwhile, Clinton lost ground in swing states, and early exit poll analysis indicates that turnout among the minorities and young people was lower, and that Clinton won a smaller ratio of those groups than Obama. This is important because, when it comes to the popular vote, these swing states are decided by a few hundred thousand votes — and the Electoral College doesn’t let you make them up with gains in the safe states.

    No matter what the outcomes, the Electoral College is a terrible system

    Of course, this separation between the raw vote totals and the election winner is happening because of a very American system called the Electoral College, which requires presidential candidates to win states rather than voters.

    The US is a democratic republic, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing that it’s not a direct election. Rather, we have one where we elect representatives to vote for us — in this case, the members of the Electoral College. But there are some flaws to the way this system is built.
    First off, it means that if a candidate wins a state in a landslide or in a close race, they get the same number of votes either way. This means in states that are safe Republican or Democrat states, there is little mystery what the results of the election will be, regardless of who you vote for.
    Second, some voters have a lot more power than others. For example, a vote in Wyoming carries about 3.5 times more power than one in Texas, because, no matter how small a state, it is guaranteed at least three electoral votes — two for the senate seat, and at least one for the house seat.
    (Vox’s Andrew Prokop explains more in-depth here why the Electoral College is a bad system.)

    Correction: A previous headline said Trump was the fourth president to get fewer votes than his opponent, but he’s actually the fourth to win the Electoral College but lose the popular vote. John Quincy Adams also lost the popular vote in 1824, but since none of the four candidates received 50 percent of the electoral vote, the House of Representatives decided who would be president.

    Watch: The bad map we see every election

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    Election results 2016: Donald Trump wins the presidency, Republicans control House and Senate


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    David Schectman

    Certainly don't need to tell you that Moore is nuts. The Founders despised democracy. It appears in none of our founding federal or state documents.

    The Electoral College was/is supposed to protect the states so they couldn't be steam-rolled by the federal government. In most elections it hasn't mattered. In some, like this one, it has mattered.

    More importantly on the point, consider:

    Today there are approximately 325,000,000 people in the U.S.

    Nearly 25,000,000 are UNDER 18.

    Another (and this is deplorably shocking) 25,000,000 are FELONS who, for the most part, cannot vote.
    That brings us down to about 275,000,000 who were eligible to vote.

    Of that group, 127,000,000 voted for one of the presidential candidates.

    Of THAT group, 60,000,000 voted for Trump (and about the same for Hillary).

    So (a) those who did not vote who could have, or 148,000,000 (275,000,000 less 127,000,000) is a majority of the voting population-i.e., 54% non-voters.

    Resulting in our president being elected by 22% of eligible U.S. voters. This is NOT a-typical of past presidential elections. Yet the non-voting majority simply accept the results and always have. Certainly the voting minority who lost should do the same.

    The reality is that in a Constitutional Republic (what we're SUPPOSED to be), if the President (as well as the legislative and judicial branches) were truly bound by the rule of law that is the Constitution, it wouldn't matter one iota who was in the office. It is only because those chains have indeed long been broken that people need to worry about who holds the now-relatively unbridled power of the oval office. - Ken

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Obama, Trump's secret weapon.

    NOVEMBER 14, 2016Panic in America: People in Revolt


    Photo by Nathaniel St. Clair

    A “grab them by the pussy,” racist, sexist white man has grabbed the White House, and the polite class is twirling in outrage like dervishes approaching oblivion.

    This insult to the “dignity of the office” and the “nation” is more shocking than the action of the black man who took the Nobel Peace Prize and then proceeded to bomb seven countries.

    Hillary Clinton’s victory was projected as the sole possible outcome of a reasonable, civilized, and progressive society, as the elite see it, which only eight years earlier had voted for the first African American president in its history. Instead—vanity, vanity, all is vanity—the troglodytes won.

    Not so simple. Liberal brains pickled in the formaldehyde of identity politics are unwilling to recognize in the politically incorrect catastrophe of Donald Trump’s victory the blowback to the ferocious economic plunder by the neoliberal order, backed by decades of wanton and unchecked military aggressions.

    The neoliberals’ vaunted “internationalism” (more realistically, American neocolonialism) has created a weak domestic economy which to a degree justifies the nationalist call to look homeward and entrench behind the borders of sovereignty—one of Trump’s rallying cries.

    A Chinese observer, Qiao Liang, author of Unrestricted Warfare(1999), abused in English translation with the inaccurate subtitle, “China’s Master Plan to Destroy America,” recently identified the germ of the country’s general economic disease in the neoliberal shift from productive to financial investment:

    “This financial economy (using money to make money) is much easier than the real (industry-based) economy. Why will it bother with manufacturing industries that have only low value-adding capabilities? Since August 15, 1971, the U.S. has gradually stopped its real economy and moved into a virtual economy. It has become an ‘empty’ economy state. Today’s U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has reached US$18 trillion, but only $5 trillion is from the real economy.”

    People in revolt against the neoliberal order

    For forty-five years, the neoliberal elite ruled the US by the “free hand of the market.” In plain terms, among other abuses of the social contract, they have launched a class war to maximize profits by depressing wages.” The mystical “hand” has been slapping around American workers by moving industry to places where labor is cheaper and unions weak. In turn, the exploited foreign workers have sought relief from desperate wage conditions in their countries by immigrating to the US, embittering the native workforce.

    Nearly 50 million Americans, nearly twenty percent out of 325 million, are poor. The unemployment rate, officially around five percent, is closer to ten percent.

    Twenty years ago Patrick Buchanan’s “pitchfork populism” appealed to only twenty percent of Republicans. After the crash of 2008 and the recession, which rescued the “banksters” and immiserated masses of Americans, public attitudes against the neoliberal global order (“internationalism” in the Establishment’s lingo) solidified and hardened, crossing party lines.

    Buchanan’s political heir, Trump gathered the motley disaffected masses into a surge of revolt against the neoliberal status quo, winning the White House. As a tiny minority of sober voters had predicted in 2008, Obama’s presidency disappointed and enraged the masses of people whose material conditions his administration worsened by continuing and even accelerating the policies that his voters had expected him to reverse. In this sense, Obama’s blithe indifference to domestic poverty is responsible for Trump’s victory. The liberals have no one to blame but themselves.

    Brexit, Trump, Le Pen, Corbyn, Sanders, and even Syriza and Podemos, in a discordant, confused, and unfocused cacophony of warning bells, are ringing the changes of public revolt. With any luck, the deafness of the international elite may in good time force a global social revolution. This is why the left should keep an open mind both about the limitations of these disgruntled popular forces and their potential for radicalization as a result of repeated frustration to effect change.

    The elite are shaken

    As the one percent of ruling elite well understands, Trump’s victory signals the rejection of their policies. This week’s issue of The Economist is devoted to Trump’s “stunning victory” and to what it means for the world economy and corporate America, “now that the old certainties are gone” (emphasis mine).

    Trump’s election reveals, in the first place, the extent of the public’s animosity toward globalization. Though they may not yet understand it as the re-colonization of the world, the people certainly feel its material effects and resent being its losers. The trade pacts, which Trump so cleverly and justifiably denounced, have benefitted no one but the corporations and the [indebted] consumers.

    In the second place, Trump’s election has tapped into the public weariness of the endless wars, though not in the spirit of international solidarity or appeals to pacifism. He is definitely not a socialist. His appeal is nationalist, in the “isolationist” tradition—not an innovative perspective.

    Instead of denouncing militarism (he expressed support for the galactic size of the defense budget), Trump has fueled resentment of allies in military alliances (NATO, specifically) as “free-loaders,” ignoring the fact that these military alliances do not serve any other interests than the interests of the US.

    Nevertheless, to the elite this change of course from intervention to retrenchment presents an unwelcome shake-up, especially since it bodes a foreign policy of detachment, including relinquishing the aggressive face-off with Russia and China.

    In the third place, Trump’s invidious stance on immigration—not different de facto from Obama’s—drives Trump to emphasize “sovereignty” (“got to have a country, people”), a most unwelcome word to the architects of invasions and regime change. It is understood by them that there is only one sovereignty, the sovereignty of international capital in a borderless world. That Trump advocates pulling back from wars and regime change and making the US an isolated national fortress goes against everything they have sought to achieve.

    In sum, Trump’s presidency bodes a return to tariffs and protectionism, a more restrained military posture, and a curb on the movement of labor. Less a political “revolution” than a change of course back to the 1840s’ populism of the unpleasant Andrew Jackson, who was hardly a man of peace or of social justice. Not much in it for left hopefuls except for the significant factor that popular rage has driven the change. Undeniably, Trump’s election is the working class’ payback for the elite’s betrayal and damage during over four decades of undeclared but effective class war.

    It is doubtful that Trump will achieve much of his isolationist agenda, though he will have to make some concessions to the popular expectations of attenuating and even reversing neoliberal choices, as the conservative government of Theresa May is having to do in Britain.
    In the US, as in Europe, the social structure has come under pressure, and the neoliberal regime feels threatened and insecure.

    Regime change and its terrors

    In the first hours and days after Trump’s election, the Western media—just as it did with Brexit—was disguising the elites’ terror at the looming regime change and their horror at the prospect of seeing the “free hand” in handcuffs as a moral revulsion at the arrival in the White House of a tribe of primitive white-trash rude-necks, straight out of the racist “populism” of the 1920s’ Ku Klux Klan, fueling public hysteria with hyperbole and sensationalism.

    The headlines in The Guardian on Thursday morning after the US election read like tabloids from the gutter press.

    “Mourning in America: Will Trump Destroy the Country?’

    “I think he’s a damaged person”

    “A night of shattered dreams”

    “Transgender Americans fear for safety after Trump win: ‘We are traumatized.’”

    “The first black American president will now be succeeded by a man endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan. This, according to Trump and his supporters, male and female, is what the American dream actually looks like.”

    “Misogyny won the US election – let’s stop indulging angry white men.”

    “Forget angry white men – white women pushed Trump to victory”

    Gloria Steinem’s article in the same Guardian blames it all on “white-lash and man-lash,” even though fifty-three percent of white women voted for Trump, but some of these women have no college degree, so they probably don’t count.

    For Steinem, it was the exceptional quality of Clinton’s character that lost her her chance. She was too good, too full of integrity, too devoted to women’s rights, too un-conniving to break through the highest of the glass ceilings.

    She hoped but never expected her to win:

    “If a first female president were someone like, say, Margaret Thatcher, Sarah Palin, or another woman who knew how to play the game and win, I wouldn’t have been surprised. But Hillary Clinton didn’t just play the game; she changed the rules. She insisted that women’s rights are human rights, that women can decide the fate of our own bodies, that workers of all races should get paid the same as white men for the same work.”

    Steinem’s plaintive hagiographic obituary of Clinton’s defeat omits mentioning that Clinton opposed raising the minimum wage of Haitian workers to 62 cents per hour because it would have lowered the profits of American corporations, exploiting the poorest of the poor there.
    It must be difficult for a feminist Democrat to mention Haiti and Clinton Foundation in the same breath, for the racist and sexist profiteering of Bill and Hillary is most nakedly documented there. Its account can be read here.

    As to evaluating character, it’s been a long time apparently since Steinem read Virginia Woolf’s idea of a feminist: “One’s life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion.” (A Room of One’s Own).
    These are not the virtues usually associated with the bellicose, corrupt, and ruthlessly ambitious Clinton, even if one refrains from calling her the Butcher of Libya and the Wrath of Honduras, her legacy as Secretary of State.

    Clinton incarnates the most ferocious interests of international financial capital and of the high-tech industries that feed the military-industrial complex and the global surveillance system.

    So, Gloria, yours is stupid stuff. If feminism is not about the pursuit of peace, it is simply the female version of patriarchal exploitation and opportunism. Weep not that she lost; weep that feminism has sunk so low as to celebrate in her person anti-feminist qualities such as ambition, careerism, competition, imperialism, and warmongering.

    Such feminism has lost the moral ground to accuse anyone of sexism, let alone the people who voted for Trump.

    It is now evident that identity politics, the mantra of race and gender, has been cultivated by the neoliberal order to obscure the category of class, while actually waging class war, and to relegate the working poor to the realm of the unmentionable.

    Under worsening economic conditions, masses of the alienated have perceived their alienation. This is happening all over the neoliberally ravaged world. To side with the elite against the rage of the people is madness. Worse, it is to alienate the people further to the right in a classic social dynamic that, under severe conditions, delivers full-blown fascism

    Join the debate on Facebook

    Luciana Bohne is co-founder of Film Criticism, a journal of cinema studies, and teaches at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania. She can be reached at:

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    How Half Of America Lost Its F**king Mind

    I'm going to explain the Donald Trump phenomenon in three movies. And then some text.

    There's this universal shorthand that epic adventure movies use to tell the good guys from the bad. The good guys are simple folk from the countryside ...
    ... while the bad guys are decadent assholes who live in the city and wear stupid clothes:
    In Star Wars, Luke is a farm boy ...
    ... while the bad guys live in a shiny space station:
    In Braveheart, the main character (Dennis Braveheart) is a simple farmer ...
    ... and the dastardly Prince Shithead lives in a luxurious castle and wears fancy, foppish clothes:
    The theme expresses itself in several ways -- primitive vs. advanced, tough vs. delicate, masculine vs. feminine, poor vs. rich, pure vs. decadent, traditional vs. weird. All of it is code for rural vs. urban. That tense divide between the two doesn't exist because of these movies, obviously. These movies used it as shorthand because the divide already existed.

    We country folk are programmed to hate the prissy elites. That brings us to Trump.


    It's Not About Red And Blue States -- It's About The Country Vs. The City

    I was born and raised in Trump country. My family are Trump people. If I hadn't moved away and gotten this ridiculous job, I'd be voting for him. I know I would.

    See, political types talk about "red states" and "blue states" (where red = Republican/conservative and blue = Democrat/progressive), but forget about states. If you want to understand the Trump phenomenon, dig up the much more detailed county map. Here's how the nation voted county by county in the 2012 election -- again, red is Republican:

    The country is lava.
    Holy cockslaps, that makes it look like Obama's blue party is some kind of fringe political faction that struggles to get 20 percent of the vote. The blue parts, however, are more densely populated -- they're the cities. In the upper left, you see the blue Seattle/Tacoma area, lower down is San Francisco and then L.A. The blue around the dick-shaped Lake Michigan is made of cities like Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and Chicago. In the northeast is, of course, New York and Boston, leading down into Philadelphia, which leads into a blue band which connects a bunch of southern cities like Charlotte and Atlanta.
    Blue islands in an ocean of red. The cities are less than 4 percent of the land mass, but 62 percent of the population and easily 99 percent of the popular culture. Our movies, shows, songs, and news all radiate out from those blue islands.

    And if you live in the red, that fucking sucks.

    See, I'm from a "blue" state -- Illinois -- but the state isn't blue. Freaking Chicago is blue. I'm from a tiny town in one of the blood-red areas:

    Where Oprahs fear to tread.

    As a kid, visiting Chicago was like, well, Katniss visiting the capital. Or like Zoey visiting the city of the future in this ridiculous book. "Their ways are strange."
    And the whole goddamned world revolves around them.

    Every TV show is about LA or New York, maybe with some Chicago or Baltimore thrown in. When they did make a show about us, we were jokes -- either wide-eyed, naive fluffballs (Parks And Recreation, and before that, Newhart) or filthy murderous mutants (True Detective, and before that, Deliverance). You could feel the arrogance from hundreds of miles away.

    You're not allowed to visit a dentist if you live more than 10 miles from the highway, apparently.

    "Nothing that happens outside the city matters!" they say at their cocktail parties, blissfully unaware of where their food is grown. Hey, remember when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans? Kind of weird that a big hurricane hundreds of miles across managed to snipe one specific city and avoid everything else. To watch the news (or the multiple movies and TV shows about it), you'd barely hear about how the storm utterly steamrolled rural Mississippi, killing 238 people and doing an astounding $125 billion in damage.

    No sports team = no fucks given.

    But who cares about those people, right? What's newsworthy about a bunch of toothless hillbillies crying over a flattened trailer? New Orleans is culturally important. It matters.
    To those ignored, suffering people, Donald Trump is a brick chucked through the window of the elites. "Are you assholes listening now?"


    City People Are From A Different Goddamned Planet

    "But isn't this really about race? Aren't Trump supporters just a bunch of racists? Don't they hate cities because that's where the brown people live?"
    Look, we're going to get actual Nazis in the comment section of this article. Not "calling them Nazis for argument points" Nazis, but actual "Swastikas in their avatars, rooted against Indiana Jones" Nazis. Those people exist.

    But what I can say, from personal experience, is that the racism of my youth was always one step removed. I never saw a family member, friend, or classmate be mean to the actual black people we had in town. We worked with them, played video games with them, waved to them when they passed. What I did hear was several million comments about how if you ever ventured into the city, winding up in the "wrong neighborhood" meant you'd get dragged from your car, raped, and burned alive. Looking back, I think the idea was that the local minorities were fine ... as long as they acted exactly like us.

    Our mental image of every single Chicago street corner, regardless of location or time of day.

    If you'd asked me at the time, I'd have said the fear and hatred wasn't of people with brown skin, but of that specific tribe they have in Chicago -- you know, the guys with the weird slang, music and clothes, the dope fiends who murder everyone they see. It was all part of the bizarro nature of the cities, as perceived from afar -- a combination of hyper-aggressive savages and frivolous white elites. Their ways are strange. And it wasn't like pop culture was trying to talk me out of it:

    "... And Into Some Nightmares"

    It's not just perception, either -- the stats back up the fact that these are parallel universes. People living in the countryside are twice as likely to own a gun and will probably get married younger. People in the urban "blue" areas talk faster and walk faster. They are more likely to be drug abusers but less likely to be alcoholics. The blues are less likely to own land and, most importantly, they're less likely to be Evangelical Christians.

    Church: A day without hellfire and brimstone is like a day without sunshine.

    In the small towns, this often gets expressed as "They don't share our values!" and my progressive friends love to scoff at that. "What, like illiteracy and homophobia?!?!"
    Nope. Everything.


    Trends Always Start In The Cities -- And Not All Of Them Are Good

    The cities are always living in the future. I remember when our little town got our first Chinese restaurant and, 20 years later, its first fancy coffee shop. All of this stuff had turned up in movies (set in L.A., of course) decades earlier. I remember watching '80s movies and mocking the "Valley Girl" stereotypes -- young girls from, like, California who would, like, say, "like" in between every third word. Twenty years later, you can hear me doing the same in every Cracked podcast. The cancer started in L.A. and spread to the rest of America.

    Well, the perception back then was that those city folks were all turning atheist, abandoning church for their bisexual sex parties. That, we were told, was literally a sign of the Apocalypse. Not just due to the spiritual consequences (which were dire), but the devastation that would come to the culture. I couldn't imagine any rebuttal. In that place, at that time, the church was everything. Don't take my word for it -- listen to the experts:

    Church was where you made friends, met girls, networked for jobs, got social support. The poor could get food and clothes there, couples could get advice on their marriages, addicts could try to get clean. But now we're seeing a startling decline in Christianity among the general population, the godless disease having spread alongside Valley Girl talk. So according to Fox News, what's the result of those decadent, atheist, amoral snobs in the cities having turned their noses up at God?

    The fabric has broken down, they say, just as predicted. And what rural Americans see on the news today is a sneak peek at their tomorrow.

    The savages are coming.

    Blacks riot, Muslims set bombs, gays spread AIDS, Mexican cartels behead children, atheists tear down Christmas trees. Meanwhile, those liberal Lena Dunhams in their $5,000-a-month apartments sip wine and say, "But those white Christians are the real problem!" Terror victims scream in the street next to their own severed limbs, and the response from the elites is to cry about how men should be allowed to use women's restrooms and how it's cruel to keep chickens in cages.

    Both sides agree with that slogan, but with completely different intentions.

    Madness. Their heads are so far up their asses that they can't tell up from down. Basic, obvious truths that have gone unquestioned for thousands of years now get laughed at and shouted down -- the fact that hard work is better than dependence on government, that children do better with both parents in the picture, that peace is better than rioting, that a strict moral code is better than blithe hedonism, that humans tend to value things they've earned more than what they get for free, that not getting exploded by a bomb is better than getting exploded by a bomb.

    Or as they say out in the country, "Don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining."

    The foundation upon which America was undeniably built -- family, faith, and hard work -- had been deemed unfashionable and small-minded. Those snooty elites up in their ivory tower laughed as they kicked away that foundation, and then wrote 10,000-word thinkpieces blaming the builders for the ensuing collapse.


    The Rural Areas Have Been Beaten To Shit

    Don't message me saying all those things I listed are wrong. I know they're wrong. Or rather, I think they're wrong, because I now live in a blue county and work for a blue industry. I know the Good Old Days of the past were built on slavery and segregation, I know that entire categories of humanity experienced religion only as a boot on their neck. I know that those "traditional families" involved millions of women trapped in kitchens and bad marriages. I know gays lived in fear and abortions were back-alley affairs.

    I know the changes were for the best.

    Try telling that to anybody who lives in Trump country.

    Hard to be thrilled about Clinton when your Trump sign is the most valuable thing you own.

    They're getting the shit kicked out of them. I know, I was there. Step outside of the city, and the suicide rate among young people fucking doubles. The recession pounded rural communities, but all the recovery went to the cities. The rate of new businesses opening in rural areas has utterly collapsed.

    They could all move to Vegas, but then there's that whole "decadence and apocalypse" thing.

    See, rural jobs used to be based around one big local business -- a factory, a coal mine, etc. When it dies, the town dies. Where I grew up, it was an oil refinery closing that did us in. I was raised in the hollowed-out shell of what the town had once been. The roof of our high school leaked when it rained. Cities can make up for the loss of manufacturing jobs with service jobs -- small towns cannot. That model doesn't work below a certain population density.

    If you don't live in one of these small towns, you can't understand the hopelessness. The vast majority of possible careers involve moving to the city, and around every city is now a hundred-foot wall called "Cost of Living." Let's say you're a smart kid making $8 an hour at Walgreen's and aspire to greater things. Fine, get ready to move yourself and your new baby into a 700-square-foot apartment for $1,200 a month, and to then pay double what you're paying now for utilities, groceries, and babysitters. Unless, of course, you're planning to move to one of "those" neighborhoods (hope you like being set on fire!).

    That is, if they don't replace the only room you can afford with a $3,300-per-month high-rise.

    In a city, you can plausibly aspire to start a band, or become an actor, or get a medical degree. You can actually have dreams. In a small town, there may be no venues for performing arts aside from country music bars and churches. There may only be two doctors in town -- aspiring to that job means waiting for one of them to retire or die. You open the classifieds and all of the job listings will be for fast food or convenience stores. The "downtown" is just the corpses of mom and pop stores left shattered in Walmart's blast crater, the "suburbs" are trailer parks. There are parts of these towns that look post-apocalyptic.

    I'm telling you, the hopelessness eats you alive.

    And if you dare complain, some liberal elite will pull out their iPad and type up a rant about your racist white privilege. Already, someone has replied to this with a comment saying, "You should try living in a ghetto as a minority!" Exactly. To them, it seems like the plight of poor minorities is only used as a club to bat away white cries for help. Meanwhile, the rate of rural white suicides and overdoses skyrockets. Shit, at least politicians act like they care about the inner cities.

    Continue Reading Below


    Everyone Lashes Out When They Don't Have A Voice

    It really does feel like the worst of both worlds: all the ravages of poverty, but none of the sympathy. "Blacks burn police cars, and those liberal elites say it's not their fault because they're poor. My son gets jailed and fired over a baggie of meth, and those same elites make jokes about his missing teeth!" You're everyone's punching bag, one of society's last remaining safe comedy targets.

    Just because you can afford the big bottle of Pepsi doesn't mean people are punching up when roasting you.

    They take it hard. These are people who come from a long line of folks who took pride in looking after themselves. Where I'm from, you weren't a real man unless you could repair a car, patch a roof, hunt your own meat, and defend your home from an intruder. It was a source of shame to be dependent on anyone -- especially the government. You mowed your own lawn and fixed your own pipes when they leaked, you hauled your own firewood in your own pickup truck. (Mine was a 1994 Ford Ranger! The current owner says it still runs!)

    Not like those hipsters in their tiny apartments, or "those people" in their public housing projects, waiting for the landlord any time something breaks, knowing if things get too bad they can just pick up and move. When you don't own anything, it's all somebody else's problem. "They probably don't pay taxes, either! Just treating America itself as a subsidized apartment they can trash!"

    "Oh dear me, the water pressure appears to be off. Time to burn it all down and then sue for a bigger house."

    The rural folk with the Trump signs in their yards say their way of life is dying, and you smirk and say what they really mean is that blacks and gays are finally getting equal rights and they hate it. But I'm telling you, they say their way of life is dying because their way of life is dying. It's not their imagination. No movie about the future portrays it as being full of traditional families, hunters, and coal mines. Well, except for Hunger Games, and that was depicted as an apocalypse.

    Internet startup companies weren't suffering under President Snow for a very good reason.

    So yes, they vote for the guy promising to put things back the way they were, the guy who'd be a wake-up call to the blue islands. They voted for the brick through the window.
    It was a vote of desperation.


    Assholes Are Heroes

    "But Trump is objectively a piece of shit!" you say. "He insults people, he objectifies women, and cheats whenever possible! And he's not an everyman; he's a smarmy, arrogant billionaire!"
    Wait, are you talking about Donald Trump, or this guy:

    Make The Avengers Assemble Again.

    You've never rooted for somebody like that? Someone powerful who gives your enemies the insults they deserve? Somebody with big fun appetites who screws up just enough to make them relatable? Like Dr. House or Walter White? Or any of the several million renegade cop characters who can break all the rules because they get shit done? Who only get shit done because they don't care about the rules?
    "But those are fictional characters!" Okay, what about all those millionaire left-leaning talk show hosts? You think they keep their insults classy? Tune into any bit about Chris Christie and start counting down the seconds until the fat joke. Google David Letterman's sex scandals. But it's okay, because they're on our side, and everybody wants an asshole on their team -- a spiked bat to smash their enemies with. That's all Trump is. The howls of elite outrage are like the sounds of bombs landing on the enemy's fortress. The louder the better.

    And when cameras record said elites BFFing with their supposed enemy, even better.

    Already some of you have gotten angry, feeling this gut-level revulsion at any attempt to excuse or even understand these people. After all, they're hardly people, right? Aren't they just a mass of ignorant, rageful, crude, cursing, spitting subhumans?

    Gee, I hope not. I have to hug a bunch of them at Thanksgiving. And when I do, it will be with the knowledge that if I hadn't moved away, I'd be on the other side of the fence, leaving nasty comments on this article the alternate universe version of me wrote.

    And not just because I reminded Rural Me of Billy Joel's worst song ever.

    It feels good to dismiss people, to mock them, to write them off as deplorables. But you might as well take time to try to understand them, because I'm telling you, they'll still be around long after Trump is gone.

    David Wong is the Executive Editor of Cracked, his most recent novel is now in development as a TV series and just came out in paperback. Robert Evans googled like a motherfucker for this article. You should buy his book.

    The discussion doesn't end here. David talks about this article on this week's episode of the Cracked podcast.

    For more from David Wong, check out The Baffling Stories Behind Our Epidemic Of Mass Killers and Why Anxiety Is The Plague Of The Modern World .

    Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and check out What Trump Does With His Mouth When He's Not Speaking, and other videos you won't see on the site!

    Follow us on Facebook, and give us a big hug, please.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Get Ready... Change Is Upon Us

    The 'economic peace' we've enjoyed for decades is over

    by Chris Martenson
    Friday, November 11, 2016, 8:05 PM

    Tags:debt, Donald Trump, economy, election, hillary clinton, John Maynard Keynes, oil

    “After four years of warfare that tore the world apart like never before, a peace was finally reached. But it was a peace which one man in particular vociferously condemned — and that man was John Maynard Keynes.

    In just two months, Keynes wrote the book that would make him a household name around the world — The Economic Consequences of the Peace.

    In the book, Keynes was highly critical of the deal struck at Versailles, which he felt sure would lead to further conflict in Europe — describing the agreement as a “Carthaginian peace” — and with the passing of a surprisingly short period of time, he would be proven correct.”

    ~ Grant Williams in The Economic Consequences of Peace
    After WWI, a particularly noxious set of treaties and economic reparations agreements were put in place that all but guaranteed a future WWII. Mr. Keynes sniffed that out and, sadly, was proven correct.

    The lesson from this is that, at certain times, it’s really not that hard to predict "what" is going to happen next after disastrously short-sighted and self-interested policies are enacted. Predicting the "when", with precision, is much trickier. But obvious misguided economic policies are destined to have a limited period of apparent (but false) prosperity, after which they end with a nasty Bang!.

    We have entered just such a time. This isn't a Trump vs. Clinton thing; I'd make this claim regardless of who won this week's presidential election -- as our plight is much bigger than a single Administration. And my observation is that neither political party had much interest beyond some temporary election year lip-service to the economic plight of the middle class.
    And by “middle class” I mean anybody not in the top 5% economic bracket. For those doing the math at home, that leaves the remaining 95% of us stuck in the meat grinder.

    WTF Happened?

    I know a lot of people who are suffering very raw emotional wounds from the harsh negativity and divisiveness of the seemingly never-ending election we just went through. There will be a period of healing and adjustment for many, and I can fully empathize with how they feel.

    For the Clinton supporters stunned that she didn't experience the victory so many predicted, here's a “what went wrong” post-mortem given by the brilliant British comedian Jonathan Pie that I think hits close to the mark (caution: it's a pretty heated rant):

    Pie asks some very important questions, chief among them: Have we lost the ability to entertain alternative points of view? Are we ready to begin finally talking to each other again?
    The Left has a lot of soul searching to do. As does the Right. Because let’s be clear: Trump wasn’t the Republican’s preferred choice either. They fought him tooth and nail. In terms of the traditional Left vs Right rivalry, both sides lost this time.

    If we're to heal and progress from here, it's critical that we take the time to understand why.

    The conversation has to begin here, I believe, with this excellent article that I ran across in Cracked – yes, the comedy alt-everything online outfit – explaining how it's the rural vs urban divide more than anything else that's pulling our society apart at the moment.

    For those desperately seeking answers to Trump's surprise win, this article, of which I have reproduced only a small part, provides essential context. It's explanation has done wonders for everyone I have shared it with who was struggling:

    How Half Of America Lost Its F**king Mind
    Oct 12, 2016

    [Note: please go to the article to read reasons #6 through #3 as they are very important for understanding the two I have snipped out below]
    Reason #2: Everyone Lashes Out When They Don't Have A Voice

    [To a rural person] it really does feel like the worst of both worlds: all the ravages of poverty, but none of the sympathy. "Blacks burn police cars, and those liberal elites say it's not their fault because they're poor. My son gets jailed and fired over a baggie of meth, and those same elites make jokes about his missing teeth!" You're everyone's punching bag, one of society's last remaining safe comedy targets.

    They take it hard. These are people who come from a long line of folks who took pride in looking after themselves. Where I'm from, you weren't a real man unless you could repair a car, patch a roof, hunt your own meat, and defend your home from an intruder. It was a source of shame to be dependent on anyone -- especially the government. You mowed your own lawn and fixed your own pipes when they leaked, you hauled your own firewood in your own pickup truck. (Mine was a 1994 Ford Ranger! The current owner says it still runs!)

    Not like those hipsters in their tiny apartments, or "those people" in their public housing projects, waiting for the landlord any time something breaks, knowing if things get too bad they can just pick up and move. When you don't own anything, it's all somebody else's problem. "They probably don't pay taxes, either! Just treating America itself as a subsidized apartment they can trash!"

    The rural folk with the Trump signs in their yards say their way of life is dying, and you smirk and say what they really mean is that blacks and gays are finally getting equal rights and they hate it. But I'm telling you, they say their way of life is dying because their way of life is dying. It's not their imagination. No movie about the future portrays it as being full of traditional families, hunters, and coal mines. Well, except for Hunger Games, and that was depicted as an apocalypse.

    So yes, they vote for the guy promising to put things back the way they were, the guy who'd be a wake-up call to the blue islands. They voted for the brick through the window.
    It was a vote of desperation.

    #1. Assholes Are Heroes

    But Trump is objectively a piece of shit!" you say. "He insults people, he objectifies women, and cheats whenever possible! And he's not an everyman; he's a smarmy, arrogant billionaire!"

    Wait, are you talking about Donald Trump, or this guy:
    Marvel Studios
    You've never rooted for somebody like that? Someone powerful who gives your enemies the insults they deserve? Somebody with big fun appetites who screws up just enough to make them relatable? Like Dr. House or Walter White? Or any of the several million renegade cop characters who can break all the rules because they get shit done? Who only get shit done because they don't care about the rules?

    "But those are fictional characters!" Okay, what about all those millionaire left-leaning talk show hosts? You think they keep their insults classy? Tune into any bit about Chris Christie and start counting down the seconds until the fat joke. Google David Letterman's sex scandals. But it's okay, because they're on our side, and everybody wants an asshole on their team -- a spiked bat to smash their enemies with. That's all Trump is. The howls of elite outrage are like the sounds of bombs landing on the enemy's fortress. The louder the better.

    Already some of you have gotten angry, feeling this gut-level revulsion at any attempt to excuse or even understand these people. After all, they're hardly people, right? Aren't they just a mass of ignorant, rageful, crude, cursing, spitting subhumans?

    Gee, I hope not. I have to hug a bunch of them at Thanksgiving. And when I do, it will be with the knowledge that if I hadn't moved away, I'd be on the other side of the fence, leaving nasty comments on this article.
    The essential context is simply that rural residents are drowning under chronic economic blight. And when they dare to complain about it, they're castigated and humiliated by the dominant city culture that has no awareness of or sympathy for their troubles.

    We've NAFTA'd away millions of manufacturing jobs (and those that served manufacturing communities) without providing the displaced labor a path to reskill and apply itself. Instead, we've left a patchwork of bomb crater communities across the heartland, where there are no employers and no prospects. To these rural folks, being cast as racist, misogynist, ignorant, or uneducated buffoons for being angry about their plight just adds kerosene to the fire that's been smoldering within theem. A fire which just conflagrated during this week's election.
    So to reiterate: the cultural divide that's really in play here is not between the 'enlightened/progressive' people and their supposed opposites. Rather, it's Urban vs Rural.

    And as the rural dwellers have increasingly felt marginalized, demonized and otherwise unfairly treated, they are now angry enough at the perceived injustice to lash out against the status quo and roll the dice with an outsider who promises to shake things up. It's not surprising, really -- as I've written about before, we humans are wired to reject unfairness. This next short video is a favorite of mine, because it perfectly demonstrates how it's in our genes to become enraged when we perceive we're being unjustly treated:

    To put in in monkey terms: since surbanites set the rules because they happen to outvote the rural people, and those same urbanites don't have to live with the consequences of their decisions, then it's cucumbers for rural people and grapes for the urban folks.

    Adding to this understanding is today's article by our good friend Charles Hughes Smith, who validates the rage the downtrodden are feeling these days:

    The Source of our Rage: The Ruling Elite Is Protected from the Consequences of its Dominance

    There are many sources of rage: injustice, the destruction of truth, powerlessness.

    But if we had to identify the one key source of non-elite rage that cuts across all age, ethnicity, gender and regional boundaries, it is this: The Ruling Elite is protected from the destructive consequences of its predatory dominance.

    We see this reality across the entire political, social and economic landscape. If I had to pick one chart that illustrates the widening divide between the Ruling Elite and the non-elites, it is this chart of wages as a share of the nation's output (GDP): 46 years of relentless decline, interrupted by gushing fountains of credit and asset bubbles that enriched the few while leaving the economic landscape of the many in ruins.

    The Ruling Elite once had an obligation to uphold the social contract as a responsibility that came with their vast privilege, power and wealth (i.e. noblesse oblige).
    America's Ruling Elite has transmogrified into an incestuous self-serving few unapologetically plundering the many. In their hubris-soaked arrogance, their right to rule is unquestioningly based on their moral and intellectual superiority to "the little people" they loot with abandon.

    Rather than feel a responsibility to the nation, America's Elite views the status quo as a free pass to self-aggrandizement. Much has changed in America in the past 46 years. Not only have wages and salaries declined as a share of "economic growth," but the wealth that has been generated has flowed to the top of the wealth/power pyramid (see chart below).

    Social mobility has also declined drastically: Restoring America’s Economic Mobility, as has trust in government and key institutions.

    As Frank Buckley, the author of The Way Back: Restoring the Promise of America observed: "In a corrupt country, trust is a rare commodity. That’s America today. Only 19 percent of Americans say they trust the government most of the time, down from 73 percent in 1958 according to the Pew Research Center."

    The top .01% has seen its share of the household wealth triple from 7% to 22% in the past four decades, while the share of the nation's wealth owned by the bottom 90% has plummeted from 36% to 23%.

    Look at that. The share of the national wealth has been steadily, if not increasingly, siphoned away from the 95% and towards the 5%. In reality, it's almost entirely gone towards the 0.1%.
    The economic “peace” we’ve seemingly enjoyed over the past number of decades turned out to be no peace at all. It was the same sort of peace that existed between the Treaty of Versailles and the outbreak of WWII -- a crippling arrangement that overwhelmingly favored one side over the other. Germany eventually had no choice but to rebel.

    Similarly, by failing to protect anyone but their cloistered and wealthy friends, the elites of both current US political parties has laid the fuel for the fire that now burns.
    Bernie Sanders’ post-election statement had this to say about the economics that drove the result:

    "Donald Trump tapped into the anger of a declining middle class that is sick and tired of establishment economics, establishment politics and the establishment media. People are tired of working longer hours for lower wages, of seeing decent paying jobs go to China and other low-wage countries, of billionaires not paying any federal income taxes and of not being able to afford a college education for their kids — all while the very rich become much richer.”
    Bernie would have easily bested Trump in my opinion. It was a huge twin set of mistakes by the DNC to first hamper his primary efforts, and then fail to at least make him Clinton's running mate.

    Redistribution of money and power seem to happen peacefully only rarely among humans and virtually never in America. Labor rights? Fought and died over. Women’s right to vote? Fought and died over. Environmental rights? Brought kicking and screaming across the moats. Racial rights? Only partially achieved after the greatest amount of violence and bloodshed of all these causes.

    Can we do better? Absolutely, in theory. But so far we don’t a lot of better examples to point to inside the US.

    So this battle is just getting started and will far outlive Trump and everybody reading this. Decades of ill-advised growth and financial squandering cannot be wished away -- we, and our children (and likely our grandchildren, too), will be cleaning up the messes of our profligacy for a long time.

    And just as one can easily peer at Charles Hughes Smith's charts and conclude that eventually a rebellion of sorts is inevitable, there’s an even more startling chart you need to see. If you can truly internalize it, you'll understand why the new era of status quo rejection is just getting underway.

    Promises That Can’t Be Kept

    There's a lot of data I can provide here, but I’ll go with a single -- but critically important -- chart from Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates, one of the largest money management firms out there.

    I’m sorry that you have to squint a little to see this, but here’s all you need to know: when you add up both the debts and the liabilities of the US, those are more than 1,000% of current GDP:
    One thousand one hundred percent?!?!? As in eleven times GDP?? You might as well say eleventy gajillionbecause there’s no sense in any of these numbers.

    Yep. No country has ever dug out from under such a load. None have even come close. The “prediction,” which is so simple it’s not really a prediction at all, that flows from the above chart is this: Somebody is going to have to eat the losses.

    Massive, fabulously enormous losses.

    Trillions and trillions of losses in current dollars. Even if the economic elites don’t try to force all of those losses on the ‘little people’, the pain is still going to be so extraordinary that serious political and social crises will erupt.

    You can count on it.

    You can already see that larger future predicament playing out painfully around us. One example is how pensions are cutting back benefits, lowering expectations, demanding higher funding payments by taxpayers, and otherwise displaying signs of distress.

    And this is with equity markets perched at all-time highs (at the moment of this writing, the Dow is at a new record).

    So our recent decades of economic peace must end, given the thousand percent indebtedness predicament revealed by the chart above.

    We got into that thousand percent predicament the exact same way the DNC lost to Trump: by failing to address things that plainly needed to be dealt with. We proved to ourselves, yet again, that pretending something uncomfortable doesn’t exist doesn’t make it go away.

    “Well, we might just grow out from under those debts and obligations” some might be tempted to say. My response is to ask you to go back and look at that chart again and note that it has grown from 700% to 1,100% since 2001. If GDP had been growing at the same pace, the ratio value wouldn't have budged. It would have remained at 700%.

    But it grew to 1,100%, which means the debts and obligations were growing much faster than GDP.

    So for the past 15 years the “grow out of it” mantra -- which has been echoed ad nauseum -- has been a complete train wreck of a failure. How many more years before we can all just admit the obvious?

    Just as both the RNC and DNC opted to ignore the extreme damage their policies had been inflicting on the upper, middle and lower classes, sparing only the very tippy-top elites (but hand-feeding those elites peeled grapes it should be noted, because their lot improved wildly over the past decades), everybody in power has been steadfastly ignoring our massive debt and liability problems, too.

    Those are going to shape the future, and that future is going to be plenty painful. The longer we wait, the more painful it will be. This has been our steady message at Peak Prosperity for a very long time, and we are actually hopeful that now, finally, we can speak about the unspeakable to those who had no willing ear for it just a short week ago.


    The political upheaval of Donald Trump is best understood through the lens of economic erosion suffered by the vast majority of people. If a democracy is measured in how well it serves the interests of the majority, the United States is not a democracy at all.

    Of course, nearly everyone already knows this. But it's been all but unspeakable in polite circles to say so.

    Now, it is finally becoming okay to voice.

    Which is, admittedly, a breath of fresh air for us at Peak Prosperity. Because not only are massive, obvious economic issues going to unavoidably visit the US in the not-too-distant future, but they'll be doing so at a time when many critical resources will be in decline.

    Chief among those? Oil, of course.

    To skirt the impact of a future oil supply crunch, we'll need an incredible effort of joined forces and strict prioritization to assure that whatever transition we can effect will be a smooth as possible. Even then, we’ll be lucky to evade painful disruption.

    But if we don't begin to view our future with clear eyes and a united sense of what the predicaments are, if we instead turn to another version of four more years of preservation of the status quo, then we will face a future of disruption so painful it will make the worst of post-election Wednesday for the most ardent liberal seem like a minor inconvenience (by comparison, I mean, of course).

    It will take an enormous amount of effort simply to stem the tide of economic erosion that now besets the land. And that’s just as true for the US as it is for Japan, Europe and the UK. The same forces are at play in all of these centers.

    It will take another massive bowlful of effort to begin to address the debts and liabilities issues. And yet another cauldron of effort to revamp our energy infrastructure in parallel with all the other challenges. Put it all together and you can begin to understand why, if we're going to deplore something from the recent election, it should be the running of an intentionally divisive set of campaigns that have driven as large a wedge between people in the US as has existed in a very long time.

    We need to be working together on the common predicaments that care not if we are liberal or conservative, religious or not, male or female, or which race or sexual persuasion best applies to us. Declining global net energy per capita. Our massive fiscal over-indebtedness. The collapse of too many ecosystems we depend on for food and drinkable water. The list is sadly long...

    It’s not just time to heal; it’s imperative that we do. So that we stand united to deal with these predicaments as they arrive in full force.

    There’s really not a moment to spare.

    And for those looking to get a jump on what's coming, we need to better understand the implications of what just happened this week. The Trump upset has changed all of the probabilities that we track.

    I've been keeping a running update of the developing situation in Part 2: OK, Here's What We Think Is In Store After Trump's Win. We'll be continuing to update this important assessment as new information filters in over the next few days.

    Click here to access Part 2 (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)

    ~ Chris Martenson

    Last edited by pywong; 17th November 2016 at 08:10 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Part 2 requires enrollment into Chris Martenson's site.

    OK, Here's What We Think Is In Store After Last Night

    All the probabilities just shifted

    by Chris Martenson
    Wednesday, November 9, 2016, 2:08 PM

    For enrolled members only. Enroll or Sign in to read the full article.

    Tags:Clinton, election, Trump

    Hopefully the wake-up call has been sent to the elites on both sides of the aisle. It’s time to pay attention to everyone again, not just your cloistered circle of buddies.

    An important point needs to be raised here. Whether it happened now, or later, the basic fact remains that the future was always going to come to the moment when a tiny elite could not take and more from a shrinking pie without creating a backlash.

    The only open question was when that was going to occur.

    Well, it just happened.

    The next question is whether that will be heeded now or, as was done in 2008 by the Fed, utterly ignored for one more chance on the Merry Go Round.

    While a lot depends on Trump’s eventual team and policy priorities, the trajectory of increasing economic hardship for the 95%-ers out there is going to keep trudging along as we wait for additional clarity.

    Those forces of increasing disenchantment will not evaporate for no reason. It took many years for people to finally become disillusioned with Obama. Trump gets no such grace period.

    I’ve yet to meet anybody who likes the man, so he won’t get much in the way of good behavior credits like Obama got.

    So what matters most are..

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