Democrats Learned Nothing from the Rise of Trump

Nothing will fundamentally change …

W.J. Astore

The Senate Trial of Donald Trump begins today, though the outcome seems clear: Trump will be exonerated for his alleged role in inciting the Capitol riot.

Democrats will do their best to put all the blame for this riot on Trump. They would be better advised to focus on why Americans stormed the Capitol to begin with, and why 74 million voters chose Trump — despite all his flaws — as their champion back in November.

Trump voters shouldn’t be shoved en masse into a basket of deplorables. Nor should they be dismissed as being beyond redemption, as Hillary Clinton did in 2016. That an incompetent buffoon like Trump could win so many votes says as much about the (lack of) appeal of the Democratic Party as it says about the grifter skills of Trump.

If Democrats want to continue winning elections while actually doing their jobs as public servants, they’d advance policies that would help ordinary Americans. So far, signs that the Democrats understand this are few. Joe Biden has already said the Covid relief package may not advance the policy of a $15 minimum wage. Covid relief checks, promised at $2000 and pronto, are already reduced and delayed until March at the earliest. Medicare for all is dead; so too is a single-payer option. Biden and Pelosi have promised only extra funds for people to buy high-priced private health care coverage in Obamacare markets.

Americans support Medicare for all. Americans support a higher minimum wage. Americans desperately need Covid relief now. And so far Biden and his establishment Democrats are failing on all of these. This isn’t a bug or glitch in the Democratic matrix, it’s a feature. “Nothing will fundamentally change,” Biden said before his election, and that’s the one promise he may well keep.

Joe Bageant knew the score. A self-confessed “Appalachian native who grew up dirt-eating poor,” Bageant explained how he’d “managed to live a couple of decades in the middle class as a news reporter, magazine editor, and publishing executive.” He also knew to keep his eyes and ears open, writing in September 2008 that “the liberal middle class is condescending to working-class redneck culture–which is insulting, but not a crime. The real crime is the way corporate conservatives lie to my people, screw us blind, kill us in wars, and keep us in economic serfdom.”

If you read “corporate conservatives” as Republicans, you’d be only half-right. As a term, “corporate conservatives” includes Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and most of the people around them inside the Washington Beltway. That doesn’t bode well for “redneck culture”–and it most certainly doesn’t bode well for the country.

Americans are tired of being lied to and disrespected and mistreated. They are also in many cases desperate for help. Angry and desperate people do not make for normalcy. Nor are they an obliging audience for the tepid and often phony acts of corporate politicians, whether Democrat or Republican.

Reading an article by historian Dennis Showalter*, a friend and mentor, reminded me of how the Nazis mobilized “the petty spite and everyday resentment” of “frustrated little men and good Germans” of the early 1930s. About these people Showalter wrote: “They wanted help. They wanted to voice grievances. They wanted to be heard. They turned to the Nazis because the Nazis expressed sympathy for their problems and implied the possibility of solutions in the framework of a new order.”

Trump’s appeal, of course, was to an old order (Make America Great Again). But it wasn’t entirely retrograde or racist. Trump succeeded in showing sympathy for ordinary Americans, e.g. their loss of jobs due to trade deals that favored the richest of Americans, and he did promise solutions even as he failed to deliver on them. Even after all his debacles and disasters, 74 million Americans still voted for him instead of the Democrats.

A few days ago, I was watching an interview of Ralph Nader as he described the powerbrokers of the Democratic Party. A few of his choice words about them: arrogant, bureaucratic, decrepit, exclusive, and indentured (to corporations and special interests). I don’t think Nader is wrong here.

So, as the Democratic Party postures and sputters against Trump this week, they’d best remember that the real issue is helping ordinary Americans, including those in “redneck culture.” People want to be heard, and if Democrats are unwilling to hear them, others will.

* Showalter, “Letters to Der Sturmer: The Mobilization of Hostility in the Weimar Republic,” Modern Judaism, 3 (May 1983), 173-87.

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48 thoughts on “Democrats Learned Nothing from the Rise of Trump

  1. What I think 74+ million votes for Trump really shows is how base, venal, and desperate the American people have become. Democrats keep saying “we are better than this” and “this is not who we are” except that we aren’t better than that and it is who we have become.


    1. Desperate — I agree. Venal — I see more and more kleptocracy at the top. Base — Christian teaching suggests to me that motives may be base, but people aren’t. But we sure could use more empathy and compassion in the U.S.

      Again, not all Trump voters love (or loved) him. Some, I think, voted less for Trump and more because they were against the same old thing as offered by the Democrats. To win these voters, we need a different message with policies that truly help the less fortunate.


      1. While I also think the Dems are corporate tools with precious little to offer, I have to respectfully disagree with your characterization of Orange voters, Professor. Biden is a nothing, a placeholder. Voting for him was holding one’s nose and voting for Obama, essentially, in terms of policies. He did make some attractive (on the surface) promises about relief provisions, and he appeared to have a plan to subdue COVID. Voting for him meant eventual disappointment, more or less.

        Voting Orange in 2020, however, was a whole ‘nother story. Casting a ballot for the former President was a proactive move, one that endorsed racism, misogyny, despotism, and many other forms of ignorance. The baby-man had clearly shown, in the starkest, most blatant way, exactly what he was. As for his championing of ordinary Americans, remember that he mocked the handicapped, called military grunts suckers and losers, and sat back and watched 400,000 people die while deriding mask wearers. There’s no rational excuse for continuing to support him. And again, the majority of those marauders at the Capitol were NOT the poor and downtrodden, the desperate ones. I’d go so far as to say that the invaders would actually be as contemptuous of the truly needy as their leader is.

        As [deliberately?] ineffectual as the Dems may be, they’re not on the same plane as the Orange fanatics and their enablers.


      2. Denise: I’m sure what you say is correct about many, perhaps most, Trump voters. I hope it’s not true of nearly all of them.

        For example, how many Trump voters always vote Republican, regardless of the candidate the party nominates?

        Biden’s message, his appeal, was also pedestrian. Basically, “I’m not Trump” was his message. He had no luster. As opposed to Trump, who has fake orange luster. 🙂

        My point is that Biden’s appeal was not as broad and dynamic as it could and should have been. He should have easily defeated Trump. That he didn’t wasn’t just a measure of Trump’s appeal but Biden’s lack of appeal.

        For a “unity” candidate, Biden ran mainly for the status quo, a status quo that is dividing people and discarding them. Some Trump voters, I think, recognize the system is against them, saw Biden as an upholder of that system, and stuck with the Orange grifter out of spite rather than out of deep loyalty and abiding affection.

        Those voters can be had by a candidate like Bernie Sanders …

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I agree completely about Bernie, but we know he never had a chance.

          The straight-ticket “R” voters? Shame on them! My cat would know better.

          As for the rest, I’m not nearly as sanguine as you are. At the absolute best, they’re deluded, which says a lot about their mentality as a group. At worst, they’re Orange disciples. I just don’t buy it that they are poor, harmless, misguided individuals. Anecdotal, I know, but the few Orange partisans I know personally are loud and proud about their Orange support, and they happen to be racists, as well. The sea of T**** 2020 signs I observed on my travels around our state all summer told the story.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I know of an elderly couple, very well off, the man a retired doctor who was head of a department at a hospital. They are devout Catholics who go to church twice a week. They voted for Trump, but are as far from the group we saw at the Capitol Building as I can imagine. I suspect there are quite a few Trump voters who do not make it known and many factors are involved in the decision to vote for him.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. A wealthy, devout couple who voted Orange…. hmmm….what could their motive be? Doesn’t sound as if they’re the types who want to burn it all down. Perhaps he appeals to their sense of entitlement, somehow?


  2. The Democrats are against universal healthcare, against a livable minimum wage (News Flash: $15 per hour is not, repeat NOT, a livable wage), believe Wall Street is a true depiction of the health of the economy (who was it that said the GNP/GDP is not a true reflection of the the state of personal finances/spending/saving power?), and continue to include corporate bail-outs in Covid relief. Their candidates are little better than Republican-Lite.
    Who do they think is going to vote for them in two years? In four years?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. But four years of Trump didn’t give Americans a higher minimum wage, MOA or anything else anyone wants & four more years wouldn’t give any of that, either. & the average Trump voter isn’t interested in that stuff, anyway. Only in keeping it from other people … THOSE people.

    Yeah, the Dems suck but stop blaming the rise of Trump on the Dems. Trump & all his supporters aren’t the way they are because there’s no $15/hr minimum wage. They’re the way they are because, yes, they are deplorable. A lot of these people are my friends … they’re true assholes. They’re only my friends because I’ve known them for years & years. If I met them today, I’d never give them the time of day.

    It’s not about economics. It’s about hating black folks, immigrants, anyone who is remotely different. They hate me, too. “LIBTARD”. I hear it all the time.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. What you say is true of some Trump supporters. 74 million people voted for him, obviously with all kinds of motivations, many of them grim and hateful. But some of these same people voted for Obama in 2008. How do we explain that?

      It’s a mistake to put all the blame on Trump and his followers. One thing I try to do is look with a critical eye at both parties. If I don’t, I’ll just become another partisan hack.


    2. Another thought: maybe they hate you because they ain’t you. I’m not saying that to be funny. They recognize in you something that they lack, and they don’t like it, so they lash out. A form of self-loathing, perhaps. Because how can they hate you when they don’t even know you? They’re “hating” a false image of you they’ve created in their minds.


      1. I hear what you are saying; and my heart says to me, “This is so very very sad. I find it impossible to comprehend how one could be so cruel and operate on thoughts that point out qualities one has failed to master and apply. Do folks really invest in such bitterness?”


  4. A reasonable argument can be made that, beyond miserable policy and administrative ineptitude, Democrats (and others) are actively working against the American people but in favor of the oligarchy. The big picture in the U.S. has always been about the power of capital, or if you prefer, class warfare. Identity politics and blue/red tribalism are merely divide-and-conquer distractions.

    BTW, I usually stop reading as soon as someone cites Nazis. Mere mention distorts one’s thinking beyond recovery because we’re fundamentally more emotional than rational. It’s not that you don’t have a point, only that you can’t cite Nazis to make it.


    1. Yes, the Nazi thing. Godwin’s Law and all that. But Dennis Showalter was an historian of Germany and German military history, and his point in the article I cited does apply more generally.

      Nazi comparisons should be made sparingly — I agree. I think this one passes muster.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You demonstrate my point. My first paragraph is on point; whereas my second paragraph is an aside. To which have you responded? Feeling, um, emotionally triggered?


        1. No. I (silently) agreed with your first paragraph. My 2nd paragraph was to your point about references to Nazism as “distort[ing] one’s thinking beyond recovery.” If this were true, a writer could never refer to Nazism.

          I’ve taught courses on The Holocaust and written books on Paul von Hindenburg and German militarism. Sometimes, references to Nazism are germane. Godwin’s Law is a reminder that online forums often degenerate to unthinking references to Nazism, e.g. in the forms of slur: you disagree with me, therefore you’re a Nazi/fascist. Simple name-calling.

          Quite a few commentators, such as Chris Hedges and Cornel West, have expressed concern about the decline of democracy in America, comparing it to the Weimar Republic in its last weeks as it struggled with the rise of extremist groups, both Nazism and Communism. These historical comparisons are sobering and appropriate and should not be dismissed because any mention of Nazism “distorts one’s thinking beyond recovery.”


          1. I believe I’ve mentioned recently that I just finished a book about the trial of the
            I.G. Farben leadership called The Devils Chemists by Dubois. It was very educational and helped to parse where Germany derived such power. These folks were resourceful, calculating, cunning, and because they were so successful; they were “ given a slap on the wrist, and assimilated into the chemical engineering positions that many post war multi national industries needed filled. I believe people perish for lack of knowledge and much can be gained from dissecting the Nazi carcass. Using the term as a name for someone is way too simplistic and misses how organized the structures were these Farbenites used to implement such horrors. I never was taught this in world history class when we studied WWII. Powerful elites needed Farbens patented technology and they looked the other way as they capitalized on their synthetic creative madnesses once the war was over and the business of profiteering and world domination was up for grabs.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Fair enough. Let me clarify a bit.

            One of the characteristics many bloggers share is a persistent bitchiness about everything wrong in the world. As a result, we often come away rather humorless and joyless (I know I do). I was have a bit of fun above, not quite to the level of trolling, but there’s also a sizeable kernel of truth in what I wrote. I do in fact tire of Nazis being trotted out as the handy example of pure evil on earth, though there are many other examples to consider. However, none are so charismatic in their depiction as the Nazis, snappy uniforms and all, so every weak argument turns to them.

            Parallels between the U.S. in the 2020s and the Weimar Republic (1918-1933) are indeed a rough fit. Still waiting for hyperinflation to drive the final stake through the heart of the American dream. The National Socialist German Workers’ Party (German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei), though active from the 1920s, really became truly notorious as the Nazi Party in the WWII era. This history is well documented, but Americans tend to be extremely sloppy in their understandings. For instance, the first Wonder Woman movie, set during WWI, is easily mistaken as being full of anachronistic Nazis before the party had formed or came to power. Same thing with the first two Indiana Jones movies. Why cite cinema? Because that’s how many get their (received) history, whether through Oliver Stone or Christopher Nolan or Clint Eastwood or others.

            Liked by 2 people

      2. Prof. Astore, I think you are right to mention the resentment factor and the Nazi’s. Hitler was all about venting rage at the indignity visited on Germans and Germany, the outrage of people clearly superior being humiliated by their inferiors, “stabbed in the back” and all that.

        In the awful history of race relations in the U.S., nothing was more sure to cause an uproar by whites than placing a black in even the lowest position of authority over any white person. The qualities/qualification of the black made no difference.

        Emotions trump (pun intended) reason every time and savvy politicians know exactly how to exploit it these days with dog-whistling that Hitler had no need to employ. I don’t think I’d be going too far to say that the bold and unapologetic Nazi experience followed by its repudiation did not put the urges Hitler exploited at bay, it only required the introduction of the euphemisms we swim in today.

        On another aspect of your essay today, regarding the Democratic Party, American politics at the federal level is devoted not to the protection and freedom of the individual as was originally intended, but to the protection and freedom of profit. Thought of this way, the America is a success beyond measure and has more than achieved what it was modified to do in the great philosophical contest that Hamilton won over Jefferson. It explains wide open Big Bank bailouts and the failure of Medicare for all in the face of Big Pharma and Big Insurance. There is no profit in emergency payments to the citizenry so every dollar needs to be fought for. Because Congress and the president serve profit I always say we are a democracy of lobbies, lobbies whose power depends on the money from profit behind them, not the number of people they represent. The Business Roundtable or the Chamber of Commerce will out-lobby Greenpeace or Public Citizen every time.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. Democrat and Republican are fronts for the rich getting richer faster at the top of the Pyramid System we consent to being over us.

    The Leadership of Most Christian America lives the Lifestyle of the rich and famous, with the latest status symbol being luxury private jets so they don’t have to mingle with the sheeple paying for their Lifestyles.

    As much as they all preach we’re in THE LAST DAYS, they’re blind and oblivious to the consequential possibilities as the Masses are becoming increasing aware of the growing Economic Inequality.
    They love the Status Quo so much, they never expound on THE LAST DAYS in the Apostle James Biblical Prophecy.

    Go to now, you rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
    Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth eaten.
    Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire.
    You have heaped treasure together for THE LAST DAYS.

    Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by FRAUD, cries: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord Almighty.

    You have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; you have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.
    You have condemned and killed the just; and he does not resist you.
    Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waits for the precious fruit of the earth, and has long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. […]
    But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest you fall into condemnation.
    James 5

    It has always been thus, or Jesus would never have said so much about the rich the Establishment hardly ever mentions, in the context of what can be seen even more clearly these Days.
    Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say to you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
    And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
    It’s not that Jesus bans them. He knows most of them love and serve money more than they Love and Serve God.

    It’s even more explicit in the Revelation of Jesus Christ
    These things say the Amen, the Faithful and True witness, the Beginning of the Creation of God;
    I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would you were cold or hot.
    So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. (no more sitting on the fence)
    Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
    I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness do not appear; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. […]
    To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

    You can’t get a more level field than that!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Having the honored opportunity to work a union job, I have the experience of knowing what such an outcome will be, after a full career worked. This is why I always look at wealth and power through this paradigm of worker negotiated benefits. Having been denied health insurance from the teachers union insurance salesmen in my state; I looked to the USPS for employment because it would cover my special needs son’s pre existing condition.
    So, if you are one of the fabulously wealthy who ran a business; I will hold up your employees career to the retirement test when judging your success. From the maintenance worker to the heights of upper level management. Your greatness in my eyes will be linked to where each of these employees ended up as they entered retirement age. How well did your enterprise provide for their senior years? What form of programs did you strive to implement so that their devotion to your companies success met their senior needs.
    So…I was never a fan of Trump and generally am no fan of most current politicians; because as far as I have been able to ascertain; they have failed this test that I require them to pass before they get my blessing. In my book; if you show up and give this society a fair days labor, this great nation should craft an economic policy and system that gives your contributions the best of it’s profits a wealthy nation of ours can offer. Anything short of this is greedy robbery. No man’s time is worth more than another’s; yes, I get that some may feel their contributions are to be more lavishly compensated. But in the purer states of mind; care for your brother’s needs are of the highest accomplishments. So be mindful of how far you separate yourself from the pack.
    So how many people has Mr. Trump retired comfortably from his business enterprises? That is what I ask of every one who cast a vote for the big boss man. I have yet to been given a response that has convinced me he was more concerned with the interests of the least in his companies than his own. So, he to me was just another empty fancy suit. He became a pied piper for the disaffected that failed to deliver for the American working class for over 50 years. And I know something about delivery as a very proud member of the
    National Association of Letter Carriers.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jack, reading your comment is like a generic understanding of these similar ideas.

      Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
      And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
      And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which works all in all.
      But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

      For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
      To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
      To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

      But all these work that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
      For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
      For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
      For the body is not one member, but many.

      If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
      And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
      If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
      But now has God set the members every one of them in the body, as it has pleased him.
      And if they were all one member, where were the body?
      But now are they many members, yet but one body.

      And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
      Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
      And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
      For our comely parts have no need: but God has tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
      That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
      And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

      Now you are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
      And God has set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

      Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
      Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
      But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
      1Corinthians 12


        1. I like the 13rh chapter too. Let’s share it with those who haven’t read it if they want to?

          It follows the line Christ established when Peter, the 1st Pope, asked asked him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
          Jesus said to him, I say not to you, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
          And that’s just for 1 person!

          It will be 10 years in June, since I posted an article to my Blog spelling out the Characteristic Qualities of Love Paul describes in chapter 13.
          Bty, newspapers in the Past said I have a “trademark” on 13 because Newspapers in the US in 1976 and CanaDa for many years later because of variations of the jersey I still have.

          The Prelude to the Biblical wording of chapter 13 are these words,

          People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centred; Forgive them anyway.
          If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.
          If you are successful you will win some false friends and true enemies; Succeed anyway.
          If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway.
          What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway.
          If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; Be happy anyway.
          The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway.
          Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
          You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway.


          Liked by 1 person

  7. The problem for Democrats is that America is a fascist country. That is 70% of white people when thinking about politics and social issues are sympathetic up to all in with Umberto Eco’s points on fascism.

    America is not a Conservative country as the old trope has it, it’s a fascist one. As is becoming obvious now. Conservative policies are a loser politically so we had this show since Reagan where Conservatives were useful idiots for fascists.

    Now here we go down again with Mr. Astore the well worn road again droning on about the out of touch Democrats and liberal elites who are not in touch with ‘real Americans. How can one be in touch with them if they won’t use fascist appeals? They can’t. There is no magic rhetorical bullet which will allow classical liberalism to survive fascism. This whole genre of Democrat scolding is based upon a sort of American exceptionalism. That is, in a nutshell. America and Americans are the best. Well, no.


      1. I see now and have seen in the US: “A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.”

        I saw it in 1980 and certainly in 2013 and you don’t see it now? Not that this explanation of fascism is the last word. There is no last word because fascism isn’t an ideology or a proposed system it is a complex of emotions that centers around The Nation which allows adherents to place themselves in the center of some great historic struggle. (Boosted in the US by Protestant’s obsession with Eschatology. Thus the unique American form of fascism, Christian fascism. Fascism in fact is an outgrowth of Christianity so it never really applies to non Christian cultures.(Nazism was fascism which rejected religion. Which is why there are so few American Nazis. ) ) I prefer to go with Eco’s disposition on fascism.

        There are larger forces at work that one might say abet fascism. There is never any one thing that is everything. All those things pertaining to the ascendency of corporations harnessing the tools of digital communications. The financialization of the economic system in order to create stupendous wealth to the few via asset inflation and yada yada yada. And the ascendency of Economics as the driver of all policy and most politics. An absurdity since Economics has nothing to do with people. Little wonder there is alienation.

        It is bizarre that at this late date when antifa, ie. anti fascism, is the go to political epithet that nobody has yet asked an American politician if they are anti fascist and then the inevitable follow up when the answer is no. That being ‘So your fascist?’ You would think one someone would ask some politician this question. It defies all belief but here we are. Since no politician will ever be asked let me ask you Mr. Astore. Are you anti fascist?

        Don’t mistake all this for criticism of main thrust of your work. I sure as hell am not trolling. Just searching for a new common language that doesn’t dwell on Democrat elites.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m anti-everything.

          Remember Marlon Brando here? “Whaddaya got?”

          I see myself as fighting for what little Democracy we have left in America. We need more people who are “for” the right principles and policies and who are willing to fight for them. Like peace. Like fair wages. Like health care for all. Like clean air and safe water.

          We need to take a macro or ecological view and fight for the health of our planet. That’s what I’m for. And I’m against that which destroys life. And fascism is definitely a political system that destroys life.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. [scratch that last entry; accidentally hit “post”]

            “…what little democracy we have left….”

            Aye, and there’s the rub: there’s precious little, if any, left. With the widespread gerrymandering and voter suppression machinations that are rife today, elections aren’t exactly free and fair. The rule of the 90% by the uber-wealthy assures that most of us are just squeaking by on a daily basis (and I do mean, “rule”). The few wins we get, such as Biden’s Keystone executive order, are tenuous at best, and are outstripped by losses on the other side of the scale—the refusal to ban fracking, for instance. And even the minimal baby steps Biden is taking are being lauded as sweeping reforms, almost radical, in fact.

            I do believe in MLK’s arc, and I’ll continue to do what I can to fight the good fight, but deep down, I think it’ll get a lot worse before it gets better.


    1. I enjoyed reading the 14 bullet points on fascism…
      It seems a fascist thinking individual is not the least bit interested in self realization…
      There’s an illusion that the fascist mindset has yet to become aware of; and it almost seems that they are stuck meditating on archaic thought processes; captured in a place that is void of expansive awareness. It makes me think that the quantum physics that Farben’s chemists we’re discovering was causing great consternation in their partnership with fascist ideology. It’s hard to stare into infinity with such limiting thought processes rattling around inside the walls of ones cranium. Somethings gonna blow!


  8. Fantastic, Mr. Astore! Your best post in a long time, and most of them are very good, so this is a special compliment. This one hits all nails right on the head, at just the right moment.


  9. Rapier, you’ve put into words essentially what I was thinking when I read the definition of fascism that Professor Astore included. Certainly, T***p would qualify as the messiah-like dictator Astore mentions. Or at least, he’s a messiah-like wannabe dictator.


  10. America was formed as a racist country, for the rich and powerful, so why do you think it will ever change. The foundation of the building dictates what kind and how long it will stand. Time for america to reap what she sowed. It has a lot to pay for, starting with the native people,(killing them and stealing their land & enslaving people from Kush) Africa is a name given by the invaders from europe.


    1. Racism — true. Despicable, indeed unforgivable, treatment of indigenous peoples — true.

      But I don’t think that should mean we abandon all hope of progress/repair and just stand back as rot at the foundation leads to collapse. For if the whole building comes screaming down around our heads, just about everyone suffers (except for the rich who’ll be in other countries, on their island-sized yachts, and so on).

      Liked by 1 person

  11. February 10, 2021
    Biden: “Boxed-In” by the Military Establishment?

    President Barack Obama got excellent advice from his vice president, Joe Biden, regarding dealing with the Pentagon and the military establishment. Above all, Biden warned, you shouldn’t get “boxed-in” by the military. We’re only several weeks into the Biden administration, and the military is already lobbying for increased funding for questionable reasons. The civilian defense establishment and its collegial think tanks as well as the mainstream media can be counted to support increased spending.

    Senior general officers are lobbying for increased defense spending even before President Biden has expressed his own budget preferences. The Washington Post last week carried an oped by the U.S. Air Force chief of staff and the U.S. Marine Corps commandant, both four-star generals, bemoaning the fact that the “U.S. military no longer enjoyed global primacy” and advocating that it “build a more lethal and modern force.” In order to justify increases for an already bloated defense budget, the generals rewrote the rules for “readiness,” applying readiness to future wars instead of the commonly accepted view of the availability of forces for immediate deployment.

    The mainstream media, particularly the New York Times, is relying on general officers with their worst-case views to justify increased military deployments around the world. Last week, Eric Schmitt, a veteran reporter, quoted the commander of the Central Command, another four-star general, taking credit for deploying additional fire power to the Middle East and the Persian Gulf in order to deter Iran. This provocative “fire power” included sending B-52 strategic bombers on 36-hour round-trip, show of-force missions from North Dakota to the Gulf. An aircraft carrier was kept in the Middle East far beyond its normal rotation. The commander explained that these moves were designed to “tell [Iran] this is not the time to provoke a war.” In actual fact, Tehran for the past several months has been signaling interest in working with the Biden administration to restore the Iran nuclear accord in return for sanctions relief……..

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ike was plenty boxed in. Do the names John Foster and Allen Dulles ring a bell? Read The Devil’s Chessboard by David Talbot, and then see whether you can sleep soundly at night. And why do you think that it was Ike, especially, who warned of the power of the “military-industrial complex”? Biden is pre-boxed. He’ll do whatever the military-industrial complex, the “security” gangs, the Obama-retread neo-cons, Netanyahu, and corporate lobbyists want him to do. (Their agendas are all more or less the same, or at least form a fairly seamless whole.) He’s said so, in fact, just not quite exactly in those words; so he doesn’t really need much looking after by the “boxers-in”. But just let him try moving out of the box (which he won’t), and you’ll see how far he gets. I think that Ike would have been scared to try, even had he wanted do. Biden’s old enough to remember what Kennedy got; but, as I say, he’s a loyal villain, working for the “right” capos.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ike-in-a-box?

        Ike was constrained — true. But Ike could and did say “no” and made it stick. After all, a lot of officers inside the Pentagon had been Ike’s subordinates. He knew when they were lying.

        But, as you say, Ike saw the constraints and warned against them in his 1961 farewell speech. Very few people back then fully recognized what Ike was saying, and how much it was based on a lifetime of wisdom and experience.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Speaking of the parasitic Pentagram “boxing in” each and every President — whether new on the job or late second term — here we go again:

    Changing Commanders in Brief

    The last guy-in-charge said, “Go shopping.”
    This war, he said, wouldn’t last long;
    Our victims, he swore, would repay us
    For plundering them for a song.

    In six months, at most, we’d be winners;
    The enemy vanquished and fled;
    And then, with our mission accomplished,
    We’d leave them to count up their dead.

    Our generals trained for the last war,
    Their learning-curve zero or less.
    In six years they’ll figure out something;
    Just what, will be anyone’s guess.

    They had them a “surge” in their payments
    To “enemies” placed on the dole
    So they wouldn’t shoot us so often
    Because of their land that we stole.

    The new guy took over, saluting,
    A race that had already run
    Its course, ‘cause the bungler before him
    Had exploited all of the fun.

    The new guy got rolled up like sushi.
    He blew his chance early to leave.
    More “surging” has just raised the death count.
    What next does he have up his sleeve?

    It sounded so good while campaigning:
    One little “good” war for one bad;
    Except that the Afghans hate bombings
    As much as Vietnamese had.

    Our generals, though, won’t admit it:
    They’ve taken eight years to do what?
    Yet somehow they think we’ll applaud them
    For not knowing doodley-squat.

    They say they need more stuff and faster
    Yet won’t explain what they would do
    Except to extend their disaster
    By breeding more pooches to screw.

    In common-sense language, the answer
    Replies to their “more, more, more” rant:
    “You would have, of course, if you could have;
    You didn’t, therefore, so you can’t.”

    The new guy Obama, like Dubya,
    Thinks playing Commander-in-Brief
    Means mission-creep “more” and saluting
    The Pentagram treasury thief.

    “A trillion a year?” Oh, who’s counting?
    “And all for what?” Don’t be a bore.
    “And who will pay?” No one, we promise.
    It’s what we call slush-funded “war.”

    Obama won’t ask the right question,
    To wit: “What on earth have we ‘won’?”
    Like Pharaoh, he thinks he can dictate:
    “So let it be written, then done.”

    He cried: “Yes, we can!” while campaigning,
    This slogan he sold and we bought.
    In office, however, he’s changed things:
    Himself. Now he says, “We cannot.”

    Our Wealth Care rules out Single Payer
    Our troops must remain on patrol.
    The votes don’t exist in the Congress
    That Democrats cannot control.

    We gave him majorities, plenty,
    Yet these he seems ready to blow.
    Now Wealth Care and Quagmire have named him:
    Commander of Old Status Quo.

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright 2009


    1. As well as (yawn) . . .

      Another Commander-in-Brief

      The Sacred Symbol Soldiers (or, in other words: “The Troops”)
      Provide a prophylaxis that prevents
      The slightest doubt about our military nincompoops
      Who decorate themselves with vain pretense
      On cue, at each new bungle, after which they mumble: “Oops!”
      (Just don’t touch their career entitlements.)

      Another Brief Commander has intruded on the scene
      To chiefly “toe the line” (by custom, red)
      Announcing his addiction to the vicious and obscene
      Which always seems to end with millions dead.
      Unfortunate, perhaps, but not intentionally mean
      (Just don’t cut the “war” budget — his real dread.)

      His generals, he claims, can do whatever they decide
      About the number of enlisted men
      That they’ll get killed or wounded to assuage their punctured pride
      At having lost another war — again —
      To barely armed “insurgents” who know how to wait and hide
      (Until the GI comes along, and then …)

      So after sixteen years of kicking cans down dreary roads
      With each year looking like the one before
      That old Vietnam Syndrome with its bitter, heavy loads
      Of irony explains the present score:
      The ever-promised “strategy” predictably implodes
      (Then come excuses and demands for more …)

      Hyperbole so hyperbolic that it hurts the ear.
      Superlatives so super that they stink.
      And repetition so repetitive that now we fear
      The paper paid-off pundits stain with ink.
      Exaggeration so erratic that no thing seems clear
      (The PURPOSE, after all: No way to think.)

      Once more the cunning candidate will preach of Peace on Earth
      And voters will make clear their wishes plain:
      To have an end to fighting for the few who from their birth
      Have seen no war from which they couldn’t gain.
      In office and saluting, though, “Commander” sees no dearth
      Of “reasons” to spill blood, inflicting pain.

      So ’round and ’round and ’round and ’round and ’round and ’round it goes:
      The Carousel of Cruelty revolves,
      As each new Brief Commander lifts his chin and strikes a pose,
      Producing problems no one ever solves,
      While Time and Tide continue in their ceaseless ebbs and flows
      Till Life itself surrenders and dissolves.

      Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2018


    2. And still one more riff on the old refrain . . .

      A Commander in Brief
      (From The Triumph of Strife: an homage to Dante Alighieri and Percy Shelley)

      He wished to have a war he could command
      Where none would dare to question what he did
      Against a hapless ruler of some sand

      With soldiers sworn to do the things he bid
      He had no doubts but that he would prevail
      Unlike in Vietnam (from which he hid)

      So in he rushed like “hunters” after quail
      Where wiser ones had counseled thought and choice
      And rashly shot his country in the tail

      He vainly wished to vanquish and rejoice:
      A half-hypnotic hymn to hopes gone wrong
      Yet still the fool heard only his own voice

      A self-seducing scream that sounded strong:
      A sorry solipsistic siren song.

      This hollow creature howling at the wind
      In thrall to “crisp decisions” he has made
      His thoughtless orders he will not rescind

      Despite the needless price his troops have paid
      To shield him from the costs of preening pride
      He lurks within the symbol soldier’s shade

      Neglecting only those who’ve really died
      And those about to die who haven’t yet
      He sees his crazy course as sanctified

      Like gamblers who’ve already lost their bet
      He bit at his own bait till he was hooked
      Then twisted deeper into his own net

      He played with fire until his goose was cooked:
      A reckless rake who leaped before he looked

      Some hirsute Hebrew hindquarters to smooch
      And thus to poach some precious purloined votes
      He launched Crusade but only screwed the pooch

      Creating thus a bloody Bay of Goats
      While Congress uttered not a single peep
      He set some Muslims at each other’s throats

      And mired his legions in a quagmire deep:
      A sand-trap shooting gallery of sorts
      Then once again on watch he fell asleep

      While crony corporations built the forts
      He rode his bike in circles on his ranch
      Which left him out of air and last resorts

      The flow of blood and tears he will not stanch
      So at his monster he can only blanch

      Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright 2006-2010


  13. During the run-up to the 2020 Presidential Election, The Trumpet said repeatedly the only way he could lose was by fraud. Once the unofficial results were tallied and Biden was the winner, The Trump Cult went into high gear, demanding recounts and verification, etc. Concurrent with these efforts law suits were filed by The Trump Cult. Many elected Reactionary Republicans went along with this fantasy even after they repeatedly lost in court.

    Thankfully, we have a recording of The Trumpet’s phone call to Brad Raffensperger, the Republican GA secretary of state, about the presidential election. The Trumpet tries to cajole, bully and intimidate Raffensperger to commit fraud.

    Another ploy was to simply not count Biden’s electoral votes in states he won. The GOP for the most part lined up behind The Trumpet in this regard.

    The Trumpet with diminishing hope that Biden’s win would be nullified then called on his Trump Cult Mob to intervene. Like his call to Raffensperger he wanted the Trump Cult Mob to intervene not with just words this time but with action.

    At this moment The Trumpet became our Julius Caesar wannabe, he crossed the Rubicon. The rule of law be damned, the mob would be The Trumpet’s Legions. January 6th now goes down as another “Day of Infamy”.

    Sadly, even after the mob’s actions many Republicans still attempted Election Nullification. Make no mistake about it these Republicans that voted to nullify Biden’s win were content to see The Trumpet as a modern day Caesar.

    The GOP Senators have a chance to cleanse themselves of The Trumpet by voting to convict him.

    We can only hope The Squad keeps pushing along with Bernie and sometimes Warren.

    Liked by 2 people

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