Donald Trump Invokes “Silent Majority” So Listen to Perlstein

Gotta go to Rick Perlstein, author of the essential “Nixonland” and “Invisible Bridge” the continuation of the dementing of the conservative movement and the politics of resentment created by Nixon and made into an art form by Reagan. Perlstein’s ability to unpack and explain the history and tactics of the right wing revolution that has changed us so profoundly is unmatched.

I plead with you, read Down with the Confederate Flag, Up with Donald Trump!

In public a flag came down, but at the same time, privately Republicans across the country were anonymously answering polls saying they like Trump. Perlstein sees the connection.

I’ve never seen anything that lays bare the core lineaments of conservatism so neatly: there is our tribe, which is good, true, and pure; and there are those other tribes, who are existential threats to you and me (Reagan’s favorite phrase), and must be suppressed in order for good to be preserved. “We” all know this, even if “they” don’t allow us to say this. If anything, the lowering of the Confederate flag in South Carolina opens space for this particular new longing to air this other silent truth more freely.

Ta-Nehasi Coates Writes, David Brooks Drools an Unasked For Response

The great Ta-Nehasi Coates has a new book out, maybe you’ve heard of it because it’s burning up like the new James Baldwin novel probably did in the 50s. Coates’s brutal honesty about his black experience in America is and should be a bracing slap in the face of white privilege. Coming as it does in the wake of Ferguson, Garner, SC, etc. that face of white privilege is pretty red and raw.

David Brooks is tired of being smacked around and has an answer that reminds me of Dave Attell’s joke about how a woman who walked into the room with a black eye must not be a good listener.* Brooks is only going to get smacked harder with this response that is just dripping with white privilege and is the kind of tone deaf condescension that even white people will want to smack him.

Brooks’s whole shtick has been to defend the white suburban middle class as the backbone of America and the well manicured lawn, a barbecue and a two SUV garage as the God-given right of the great upstanding moral center of the universe. Coates sets Brooks’s suburban idyll on fire by asserting the really quite uncontroversial idea that white America’s wealth is largely based on the backs of the people the Homeowner’s Association will not allow to purchase in Brooks’s neighborhood.

I think you distort American history. This country, like each person in it, is a mixture of glory and shame. There’s a Lincoln for every Jefferson Davis and a Harlem Children’s Zone for every K.K.K. — and usually vastly more than one. Violence is embedded in America, but it is not close to the totality of America.

Brooks makes it just too easy. And here too.

Capture

A “Lincoln for every Jefferson Davis” shows such a shallow understanding of history you want to smack the NYT around for giving Brooks the space to write it. As if Lincoln was a great defender of the black race rather than the guy who was president when the South finally seceded and threatened the union. Give Lincoln his props but his attitude towards the black race was typical of his time – he may have felt slavery a moral abomination but he didn’t believe for a second the black and white races were in any way equal.

Does the Harlem Children’s Zone really equate the KKK in any way, shape or form. Is Brooks saying, one’s good for black people and one’s bad for black people and that’s balance?

Sheesh!

*Of course abuse is not funny. The joke presupposes we understand that Attell’s understanding of women is quite cro-magnon-like.

House GOP Takes Derp to New Levels on Flag

The confederate flag stuff was actually quite simple when it was just about a flag as a symbol of hate. Leave it to the GOP in our Congress (God bless their hearts) to turn it into a political football.

Long story short, a spending bill to finance the Interior Department was gliding through the House including some amendments passed with no controversy to ban the confederate battle flag on certain federal lands. No muss no fuss, you would think. But the stupid is, as we’ve said many times, strong with these people. The modern Republican Party is largely a Southern sectional party. Soooo…

Members of both parties were shocked, however, when the House GOP leadership made an effort late the next night to reverse those Democratic measures. The backlash was so immediate and intense that Republicans were forced to withdraw the Interior spending bill from the floor.

Out of the blue Southern heritage lovers stepped up to scuttle the spending bill unless the amendments to ban their heritage’s flag were removed.

Not only is the fate of the Interior spending bill now in jeopardy, but Rogers said that the flag debate “could be a problem” for his plans to pass 12 appropriations bills this summer, according to Politico. The appropriations process has been ground to a halt, Politico reported, until GOP leadership decides how to handle the issue.

The great Norm Ornstein explains:

“That leaves Boehner in a very tough position in getting the bills through the House,” Ornstein explained in an interview with TPM, as the speaker must keep on board hardcore Tea Party Republicans who would oppose almost any spending bill that doesn’t entirely demolish domestic programs.

“What it means is he has to accommodate people he would really rather not accommodate. And what happened in this case of course he didn’t have the votes and several southern Republicans basically said, ‘You want our votes? You’re going to have to do something on the Confederate flag.’”

There is nothing that can’t be dysfunctioned to death by these elected village idiots.

Denmark Kicking the Wind’s Ass

Yeah, I don’t know about the headline, but it’s another great milestone for renewable energy that will not be seen by most people. Denmark’s wind farms created enough energy to satisfy the country’s entire electrical needs with some excess picked up by neighboring countries yesterday. These kinds of milestones are happening all the time as the world moves forward from carbon.

Hallelujah!!

wind farm

“It shows that a world powered 100% by renewable energy is no fantasy,” said Oliver Joy, a spokesman for trade body the European Wind Energy Association. “Wind energy and renewables can be a solution to decarbonisation – and also security of supply at times of high demand.”

Could it be ‘Cause GOP is Increasingly Southern? Just Guessin’

Tesler-confedflag3

Democrats increasingly see the confederate flag as a not so benign symbol of hate and Republicans just don’t.

The tragedy of this is that Americans to this day don’t universally see clear enough to see the truth behind this flag of slavery, white supremacy and treason. I’ve written about the South’s propaganda campaign to minimize the meaning of the flag and the reasons and causes for the entire Civil War so as to excuse them like it was just a high spirits, boys-will-be-boys thing.

Clearly, they were very successful for a long time and the spell is still working on the Republican portion of the population, that is, by the way, trending more Southern and rural.

One could look at present ways of thought and think we’ve not been this divided since 1860 and I think one might just be right. It’s even starker now that one region and way of thinking has chosen one political party as their ideological home, while everyone thinking the opposite has chosen the other party wherever they live. (A large group of “pox on both their houses” types have chosen independence, although when you push them most do lean a particular way.)

In 1860 Republicans were almost exclusively a Northern party, but Democrats had powerful constituencies in the North and South that were also increasingly in conflict with each other. The conflict was so profound that it is kind of amazing that the party survived the war and outlived the Confederacy.

Evita Took My Phone!!

I love Patti LuPone. I always will love Patti LuPone. “Theater is not a social event.”

A fed up LuPone took an audience member’s phone away when the silly woman spent the entire play texting.

Besides the rudeness, which I fully expect will just get worse, Broadway tickets are fucking expensive. Even if somebody gave you the ticket and you didn’t spend the money, why would you sit there and text for an entire performance?

We’re fighting for civilization here people!

Taxpayers in UK Handing Over £3,500 a Year to Business

Love to see a study like this for America.

The Guardian’s analysis shows that the corporatists in Cameron’s UK government have a well designed scheme of wealth redistribution going in which every family in the UK is handing over £3,500 annually to big businesses like Amazon, Nissan, Ford, etc. through tax breaks for business, subsidies and grants, or as it is sometimes referred to “corporate welfare.”

My very conservative question is, wouldn’t it be purer capitalism to let those families spend that £3,500 annually how they see fit, and wouldn’t the best businesses receive their share of that money anyway? That is in a nutshell the laissez faire capitalist argument against taxes used against the laissez faire capitalist argument for business givebacks.

When the right talks about crony capitalism, how is this not the primest example of same? The cronies are the legislators on both sides of the ocean who take the campaign funds and then create business friendly legislation handing taxpayer money over to business. Never mind picking winners and losers, it’s picking taxpayer pockets without providing any increase in the value of the commons that the taxpayers own. It’s a vastly different thing to build a bridge that everyone can use versus handing money to (usually) an already profitable business to appease them to create the mythical “good business environment” in which business people get their bottom lines stroked with taxpayer money.

Corporate welfare is part of what David Cameron calls his government’s policy to make the UK “the most open, welcoming, business-friendly country in the world”.

But let’s take the campaign donation system of legal bribery out of it for a second and look at it from another angle. Politicians everywhere arguably act irresponsibly in order to create that “good business environment” by providing tax free zones, rebates and incentives to lure businesses to their jurisdictions. It’s the local government paying for the billionaire team owner’s sports stadium in order to get/keep the team. It’s the tax free zone created to lure businesses that will create jobs. It’s the tax rebates given to the oil industry despite record profits. It’s all defendable, it’s all respectable, it’s all so responsible and upstanding – except that it’s not.

The Guardian’s analysis shows that while the state is giving private companies an increasing amount in direct handouts, the money repaid in corporate taxation is falling almost year upon year.

In the financial year 2012-13, the government spent £58.2bn on subsidies, grants and corporate tax benefits. It took just £41.3bn in corporation tax receipts.

If the government and the taxpayers aren’t profiting by this strategy, and they’re not, then they’re just being taken for a ride. The politicians are willingly getting in the car. The taxpayers are dragged behind it.