435 Comments

One of your (many) best. You bring to mind, of course, Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn's gem, "Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a good carpenter to build one."

Expand full comment

And one of the most dangerous acts of destruction is aimed at newspapers in particular and journalism in general. Citizens are flying blind as local newspapers shrink and close (some at the hands of venture capitalists) denying voters the information they need for informed consent.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2021/11/alden-global-capital-killing-americas-newspapers/620171/

Expand full comment

And Sinclair Broadcasting, a propaganda mouthpiece for the Right, has replaced many independent local newspapers in markets that reach more than 40% of American households. This from Deadspin: https://youtu.be/_fHfgU8oMSo

Expand full comment

Thankfully, my former employer, Tribune Company, pulled out of a $3.9 billion merger with Sinclair in 2018. At the time, Tribune owned TV stations in the nation's five largest markets.

Expand full comment

And now, poor Tribune Co. — my hometown paper. As a kid. Got me hooked on news. In those days, my family got 3 papers a day, incl afternoon Daily News, may it rest in peace.

Expand full comment

It's decimated. I spent many days of meetings at Tribune Tower and knew many people there. So much has been lost.

Expand full comment

What a nightmare!

Expand full comment

Why I still take a pissy paper, newspapers still need our support, except Rupert’s New York Post. His WSJ still a crap shoot.

Expand full comment

You nailed it, Diane. Last week, I shared this well-researched and written article with former colleagues at the Orlando Sentinel, a Tribune paper where I worked for 18 years. (I was lucky to have worked there in the heyday of newspapers.) McCay Coppins' piece captures exactly what's happened there and across the country. He vividly portrays a corporate vulture's quest to pick the bones clean. What's happened is among the reasons democracy is teetering.

Expand full comment

Oh, thank you, Diane, for this insight. ( Scary Atlantic article, wasn’t it.)

Expand full comment

Very scary article. Imagine a newsroom with only one reporter in a midsized town.

Expand full comment

Ours in the state capital here in Salem is owned by Gannett and has been a rag for a very long time. Now Gannett owns the Register Guard and the same thing is happening there. We subscribe to the online version of the local rag, so that we can read obits mostly. We also subscribe to an online only local news source which appears twice a day. It has included COVID numbers for our area which is quite helpful.

Expand full comment

Yes, this was a sad story.

Expand full comment

Journalism in specific, almost.

Expand full comment

Loved Sam Rayburn

Expand full comment

Sorry, making a second comment here with a second observation. It would be interesting to look at the parallels between the rise of Destructionist Republicans and the rise of private equity. The MO of private equity is also to break things, sell the pieces for scrap and pocket the profits. It is also the quick and dirty model that doesn’t have the patience or the loyalty to nurture and build. It’s the difference between house flippers and people buying their forever home. The materials they use for improvements are as different as their motivations and priorities.

Expand full comment

I too have thought this for sometime. A principle concern with Mitt Romney was his wealth coming from liquidating rather than creating or strengthening companies his businesses bought in order to sell off assets for profit from the good pieces and then rebrand the remaining failed companies.

Expand full comment

Yes. So that is his mentality, and his vote. Wow. Republicans are liquidating America for their own profits.

Expand full comment

Can see the killer kicker ending to a video political ad: "Republicans: Liquidating America for Their Own Profits."

Expand full comment

I had the thought recently that I'd like to see the tagline for Biden's Build Back Better campaign be "Investing in America." As a way to highlight the money spent will reap gains over time, and blunt the hyperventilating in some quarters over the high price tag.

Expand full comment

Just posted on fb. See if it goes any further.

Expand full comment

Worth a shot! Thanks, I'm not on the social media's.

Expand full comment

Beth M. Yours is an extremely astute observation, which is supported by the determination of many among the "Deconstructionist Republicans" (a nice play on the Reconstruction Republicans), the former guy and his appointees, not least, to use their public offices for their personal private gain, and to subvert public programs, take the federal tax system for starters, in a manner benefiting the the wealthy and privileged, rather than broad segments of the public.

Expand full comment

Is this not Putin’s model aka ‘mafia state’?

Expand full comment

Yes. Blind self-serving exploitation and self-enrichment. Self service instead of public service. Maybe that’s the difference between criminal behavior and moral behavior: are you merely serving yourself and your friends/partners/family/cabal, or are you serving the greater good. Are you tearing down, or are you building up and contributing.

Expand full comment

Excellent observation and analogy . . . and no need to apologize for weighing in a second time.

Expand full comment

Excellent observation. It is hard to watch the destruction caused by economic vultures who are now scooping up housing. I have watched a number of excellent companies be ruined by private equity.

Expand full comment

Remember that the core political strategy Rs have followed for 40 years has been "starve the beast," meaning deprive the fed govnt of the funds required to sustain Social Security, Medicare, and other New Deal and Great Society programs (and now the ACA).

So, massive unfunded tax cuts and military/ homeland security spending aren a two-for Rs: they reward their campaign funders, and they run up the debt, which will eventually make the annual cost of financing the debt (now $29 trillion) so big that it crowds out spending for these, and other, programs.

But seniors are too powerful to allow SS and Medicare to be cut, right? No. The R's long-game strategy is clear:

(1) Undermine SS & M by refusing to reform them, while

(2) convincing millennials and Xers that the programs will be bankrupt by the time they qualify, then

(3) feed resentment against boomers whose retirement millennials and Xers are forced to fund.

And evidence of their success is at hand: The expansion of medicare to include dental and vision is likely to be dropped from Biden's BBB plan. This looked like a no-brainer, but when Manchin and Sinema forced cuts, Medicare expansion lacked the support to survive.

FDR foresaw all this and insisted that SS not be means-tested so that it had the broadest possible political support. That strategy made SS the "third-rail" of American politics for 80+ years. "You touch it, you die". Rs have worked for decades to short that circuit, and they might have succeeded by now except that 20 years of very low interest rates have kept debt financing costs much lower than Rs (or anyone else) expected. But someday that will change, and with the Fed preparing to raise interest rates, that day might be coming soon.

Boomers are naive to think that R's will never come after their SS. Watch for attacks on the "excessive" SS cost of living adjustments that'll accompany the coming budget crunch caused by rising debt financing costs. That will signal the first frontal assault of their campaign.

"Starve the beast" is, in its DNA, a wholly destructive strategy. But it is not nihilistic. It serves a political and economic agenda of oligarchs, ideologues, would-be autocrats, and the opportunists who are their enablers.

Expand full comment

It is bitter irony that this strategy has worked since Saint Reagan led cheers from the WH! R’s stonewall Democratic administration’s policies designed to support the quality of life for ‘the common person’ then get re-elected by campaigning on the slogan ‘government is the problem’! Even PT Barnum would be shocked at how all too many people can be CONNED All the time!

Expand full comment

Phillip, a good reminder of the ongoing long game. Thanks, this is helpful as it help us move a bit off the sound bites of the present and not become gripped by present actions of the Turtle or the resistance to hold Trump accountable. A long-term strategy does underly The GOP actions. What is absent in my (our party) mind is the long-term strategy derivative of the FDR Democrats in today's playing out of this war of ideologies. Am I missing something important or is our Democrats strategy simple to keep writing policies that get no where. After reading your piece I am reminded of so many smalll businesses failing because they lacked not a good product but a real business plan. Sort of an analogy on the present party non-strategy I think.

Expand full comment

All good points Fred. Democrats have played defense since the '84 election, with only short-term strategies and Queensberry tactics, while Atwater, Gingrich, Delay,

Rove, et al, brought a view to the long game, hardball tactics and a commitment to party-building that our leadership never made.

But... the GOP had a deep vein of financial resources we did not and do not have.They used those resources to build a "thought leadership," propaganda, party discipline; electoral leviathan we could not match. We fought a 25-year, rear-guard, asymmetrical war, counting on statesmanship, demographics and the bankruptcy of GOP policies to eventually carry the day. It almost worked, and might still. But our 2016 candidate ran a poor campaign and along came the Black Swans of Trump, Comey, and Russian intervention.

But perhaps it's a pipe dream that we could be anywhere else. Every 80 years or so we come to this place, or something like it. An existential crisis in our democratic experience, and every time it has been a very close thing. Survival was always in doubt.

Expand full comment

Interesting. A swamp was in fact created and the effective gas lighting is to declare it as the problem while gliding along with the other inhabitants of the swamp created as a citiadal from which to sneak out into the night laying waste to those disavowing the swamps, something in fact real, but not the residence of address of Democrats. Ah.

Expand full comment

... fund.

And evidence of their success is at hand: The expansion of medicare to include dental and vision is likely to be dropped from Biden's BBB plan. This looked like a no-brainer, but when Manchin and Sinema forced cuts, Medicare expansion lacked the support to survive.

FDR foresaw all this and insisted that SS not be means-tested so that it had the broadest possible political support. That strategy made SS the "third-rail" of American politics for 80+ years. "You touch it, you die". Rs have worked for decades to short that circuit, and they might have succeeded by now except that 20 years of very low interest rates have kept debt financing costs much lower than Rs (or anyone else) expected. But someday that will change, and with the Fed preparing to raise interest rates, that day might be coming soon.

Boomers are naive to think that R's will never come after their SS. Watch for attacks on the "excessive" SS cost of living adjustments that'll accompany the coming budget crunch caused by rising debt financing costs. That will signal the first frontal assault of their campaign.

"Starve the beast" is, in its DNA, a wholly destructive strategy. But it is not nihilistic. It serves a political and economic agenda of oligarchs, ideologues, would-be autocrats, and the opportunists who are their enablers.

Expand full comment

Do you think we might be "On the Eve of Destruction?"

Expand full comment

Oooooo, nice Barry McGuire reference.

Expand full comment

Again...

Expand full comment

The end of Pretty Woman comes to mind. “We’re going to build something” Big ships I think it was, yay for the military industrial complex, but build nonetheless.

Expand full comment

An interesting link, Beth.

Expand full comment

Excellent explanation. Remember that TFG chose cabinet members to head the departments that they’d argued needed to be abolished. He wanted to deconstruct the federal government.

Expand full comment

Yes, that was his aim from the get go. His destruction of the State Department will take years to rebuild if given the chance.

Expand full comment

Private in-equity has become a ‘4 letter word’ to the average person. Consider , Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. Changed there name to KKR because of some of the disastrous deals they initiated back in the day! Figured they would fool the public with the renaming! Same sleazy rogue capitalism at it’s rawest!

Expand full comment

Exactly

Expand full comment

Don’t you know

Expand full comment

This entire conversation reminds me of the movie Pretty Woman. Remember what Richard Gere’s character ends up doing?

Expand full comment

OHHHHHHHHH! Yes!

Expand full comment

Excellenmt observation. You're right.

Expand full comment

Tonight, I posted my thoughts of the day over at my place, and right after it went up I thought to myself, "It's such a downer they're all going to unsubscribe." But no, my powers of foretelling the future continue to be as useless as always.

They really liked it when I wrote "These people are not deplorable, they're despicable. And each and every one of them is irredeemable."

HCR came along and filled in all the details and facts of that.

What really pisses me off, is we're fighting morons. It's so embarrassing. These are the people I and the people I used to work with - most especially those on the other side of the aisle - used to point to and laugh about, they were such fuckwits.

But go read Hofstadter's "Pseudo-conservative Revolt." They were there, 70 years ago, just like they are now, only now as HCR pointed out, they're the ones running that show over there. It really is Upside-Down World, where the sky is green and the grass is blue.

Trump's little fuckup with his new so-shall mee-dee-ya is nothing more than every other fucking thing he's ever fucked up that he touched. He has the reverse Midas touch. But in Upside-Down World, it's seen as the golden touch.

Just remember, they may be clowns, but as the Bulwark's Editor is always reminding people: clowns with flamethrowers, still have flamethrowers.

Expand full comment

You voiced my anger. And I won’t be unsub’ing. In fact, it’s a relief in these discouraging days to know that someone else - in a better position to know - thinks we’re up against morons. We need a strong leader. Unfortunately, we just have the better choice. ❤️🤍💙

Expand full comment

“Fighting morons” …..exactly! That is why it is doubling frustrating. An alternate universe for sure.

Expand full comment

Cults with flamethrowers. Call them what they are

Expand full comment

Just emphasizes that there ain’t no dumbass vaccine.

Expand full comment

As Sondheim wrote: send in the clowns …

Expand full comment

Great to be reminded of how galling it is to be trampled on by people whose brain cells could not be picked out of a lineup. It’s galling.

Sadly, there is the primal force of one man, the combined votes of 74 million resentful, lonely people, the primal force of trash producers who unfortunately control legislature after legislature, and, (kindly expressed) the peculiarities of the American political system.

Add those together and you have a formidable foe. The Confederacy of Dunces is clearly in the ascendancy.

But they remain dunces. Dunces with power is a mind-bogglingly dangerous combination. When one considers how heavily-armed they are, it becomes the stuff of nightmares.

And I fear that the Left has become a talking shop, tsk-tsking and hand-wringing in dismay. That is why I am almost pathetically grateful to the House Committee on January 6. They appear resolute and determined to uncover the cockroaches under every rock. They give me heart, even if the madly litigious legal system will buy time for the Steve Bannons if this world until there is no more need to buy time.

Nonetheless, perhaps other Democrats with power and imagination will be goaded into taking action that teeters at the margin between lawful aggressiveness and the unknown.

Why should norm busting be the sole province of the Far Right.

Let them feel icy cold rivulets of fear for a change.

Expand full comment

Fighting Morons. This will stick with me.

Expand full comment

TC, well said!

Expand full comment

This. 👏

Expand full comment

Good morning everyone! This, HCR, is a good "Friday" post. As you know (and all of us in academia are familiar with this) bad news tends to get dropped in the late afternoon on Fridays. So having these more constructive (if not entirely positive) reports is helpful when one expects some poo-filled shoe to drop.

In my experience, people who live their lives vilifying others who are creative, hard working, and productive--perhaps one of the most interesting forms of gaslighting--are utter failures when they have to do something creative, productive, or hard. It is why such people have to try to convince others that creativity, hard work, and productivity are for fools and chumps. We endured an administration for 4 long years that embodied these anti-values and promoted anti-ethics: if you can't do something, claim you did it anyway. If you can't figure it out, steal someone else's work and declare it's yours. Isn't that the agenda in China when it comes to technology? Isn't that why they demand trade secrets from tech companies in order to do business there?

Those of us in the Ed Biz--especially in the Humanities, where slow, careful research and extensive analysis and self-criticism are watchwords--are well aware of the ways in which our processes are dismissed and ridiculed. And it is why there is so much crappy writing out there pretending to be "history" and "literature." So I admit that I got a giggle out of the idea that their little social network tumbled within hours of being launched. Now a lot more serious work has to be done to tumble the rest of these um . . . [choose your expletive] into the jail cells where they belong.

Expand full comment

Good morning, Linda! Just waiting for the "poo-filled shoe" of a Friday Night News Dump.

I love your 2nd paragraph. Speaks volumes. The analogy I use is that of playing chess with a pigeon. When they're about to lose, they knock over the pieces, crap on the board, and declare they won.

Expand full comment

Like a bull in a China shop, “ what they don’t break up , they shit on “ !!!

Expand full comment

This seems to be a MO of certain destroyers including those who crapped in the Capitol building. On a more local and much smaller scale, someone on Next Door here locally reported that someone broke into their car and pooped in the back seat.

Expand full comment

Hahahahahahahaha. That is hilarious, Ally. In Florida, we substitute seagull (or sky rat as some refer to this bird) instead of pigeon.

Expand full comment

In this case profoundly” An Elephant “.Very big piles of Crap !

Expand full comment

I am fervently hoping that one of the late Friday "news dumps" is footage of Bannon doing the perp walk. Late enough in the day so that he spends the weekend in jail. Lack of shower facilities should not pose any problem for him.

Expand full comment

You're probably right about the shower but there are other inmates to consider; maybe solitary is the best place for Bannon.

Expand full comment

Barbara, refusing him food also, should not be a problem for him.

Expand full comment

Love your last line re shower facilities. I avert my eyes any time he's shown on screen bcz he almost always looks like a dirty bum. He offends my eyes in the same way TFG does.

Expand full comment

Saw a meme that was a picture of him and said it was the picture of body odor. We were on a plane to South Africa once and a couple of young people got on and probably hadn't showered for a very long time. I was sitting in the middle section at the end of their row and told my husband that I was going to throw up. He traded places with me thankfully and we hoped they would get off in Dakar, but of course, they didn't. We actually had the hotel wash our clothes after we got to Cape Town. I was reminded of this when I saw the meme.

Expand full comment

Just looking at him makes me want a shower.....

Expand full comment

Which is why I avert my eyes when he's shown on screen.

Expand full comment

Agreed. So icky in every way.

Expand full comment

Thank you Linda! Absolutely everything you wrote resonates with me this morning! My short stint in academia left me with a deep appreciation for the slow and careful research and writing of others in all fields. Like Heather pointed out, it’s so easy to destroy and so very very hard to create and build anew.

I too chuckled when I read that the hackers wasted no time in crashing his ridiculous site!

Happy Friday to us all! ☕️

Expand full comment

Linda Mitchell, they could take the place of so many who are in jails in this country and in Guantanamo who have never even been charged. Here is an example of people not doing hard accurate work that I heard on PA NPR this morning. Ballots for the upcoming election in Reading, PA, which are printed on one side in English and the other side in Spanish had the correct date on the English side; but on the Spanish side the incorrect date of two weeks ago! I wonder if this was a careless mistake or done intentionally, since Reading has the largest Spanish speaking population in PA.

Expand full comment

Yeah, it was a "misprint," and nobody caught it because they were too busy making sure all the right people voted.

Expand full comment

Wow. Just wow.

Expand full comment

Let’s go with “intentional,” shall we? Naïveté does not become us.

Expand full comment

Good morning, Linda and everyone. I always look forward to your keen observations. I am a history person, once in the high school ed biz, not universities. I have long endured nonsense about the humanities. I read a lot of history and am not interested in something that someone threw together. I am about to reread Emily Bronte as I need to revisit some classics. And yes, I did laugh when the new death star site was hacked and then crashed.

Expand full comment

“Death Star site”. Hahahahahaha. Empire and Darth Fader try and fail. So many hints in past cinema and the arts. Texas starts the CRT abolition movement in censoring textbooks with a fervor. Teachers for a long time have looked to other mediums for expression and truth.

Expand full comment

Death star donny and the party of death.

Expand full comment

Michele, one of my doctoral students is writing about representations of women artists (painters, mostly) in Victorian culture (including literature) and the Brontës are of course among the group. I personally love Charlotte the most, and Shirley is my favorite of her novels, although Villette is also super interesting. Advising a dissertation in 19th-c British stuff is a wee bit out of my medievalist comfort zone, but I am apparently better read in a lot of the literature and history than most of my colleagues, hence the gig.

Expand full comment

Delighted to know that you are a medievalist. My own interest is Tudor England, not a scholar, just enjoy it. I like medieval England too. I just finished reading a book on female writers going against societal norms.....Mary Shelley, Emily Bronte (Anne and Charlotte as well), George Eliot, Olive Schreiner (new to me and hope i am remembering the name correctly) and Virginia Woolf. So now I have some reading and rereading to do. I used to teach a class called ancient and English history. I know it's strange, but it was designed to go with our English department's college prep sequence. What is thesis of the dissertation if you don't mind my asking.

Expand full comment

Linda, your comments are always on point, reflecting what most of us feel and possibly know to be true but don't have the ability to present it as eloquently as you do. You're the best!

Expand full comment

Awww--Lynell you are totally wonderful. Thank you for making my day.

Expand full comment

I never seem to run out of insulting labels for these, um, people who so richly deserve criminal records and jail time. Call it passion. Call it disgust. That’s why I have no qualms about use of pejorative labels, because they are justified when properly applied to the right people for immoral behavior. Call me integrity Nazi.

Expand full comment

Oooo. This is a great Friday comment post, Linda. I love your “experience stories”.

Cheers!

Expand full comment

The theme of HCR's letter (It's easier to break things than to make things) has been on my mind for a long time. It may have started with Newt Gingrich's House leadership to shut down government. Or it may have begun when Grover Norquist talked about "drowning government in the bathtub". There is an element of violence in destruction. This theme grew with Trump with real destruction and violence. Trump's supporters also latched onto Trump's "I alone can fix this" with their statements "I built this" meaning they alone built their business or prosperity, as if their family support, employees, customers, community, state and nation had nothing to do with it. (Some of these people took government support, subsidies and contracts and positions.)

These people talk and think as if they could have stood on a mountain top all alone and made their fortune out of thin air, perhaps only with God's help.

This state of mind is delusional, narcissistic and in itself destructive.

Expand full comment

The biggest takers are at the top. When government help is to be had, the people first in line are the loudest critics of those same programs. Look what happened when there was the first pandemic help and where it went. After all, God helps those who help themselves to everything they can get by being greedy liars.

I just finished reading an article in the business section of NYT about the economic woes in Britain. Ole' Boris is spinning that like crazy as wages may go up for a few people. But for the majority, it is no gas and empty grocery shelves, partly caused by the lack of eastern European help. But hey, less immigration is good. International companies are now looking to the continent to locate and not Britain. Oops. Yes, tearing down things is easy, but building is difficult.

Expand full comment

Generally speaking they are very shallow minded, like Trump himself!!! As in “they ain’t got brains enough to pour piss out of a boot”………

Expand full comment

That reminds me of the famous line from the movie "The Outlaw Josie Wales:" "Don't piss in my face and tell me it's raining."

Expand full comment

Speaking of "trickle down" economics...

Expand full comment

"...with the directions on the heel" is the way I remember hearing it...supposedly uttered by Lyndon Johnson.

Expand full comment

Ol’ Grover a name from the past! His plans for sinking the government have taken root in today’s opposition party!

Expand full comment

Wonder how those Republicans who voted "no" on Bannon would have felt had Sec. of State Clinton ignored the Congressional subpoena served on her? What a farce...................

Expand full comment

I saw a video clip of Raskin asking Jordan that exact question. Raskin is an absolute gem.

Expand full comment

LOVE RASKIN!!! American Hero!!

Expand full comment

Regarding the vote tally, Ana Navarro quipped:

“Well, I think there’s 202 republican cowards & it’s a miracle of science that they can stand upright because they have no backbone.” abc 'The View' 22 Oct 2021

Expand full comment

Eggzactly! trumpublicans don't understand the concept of logic.

Expand full comment

The hypocrisy is stunning.

Expand full comment

I decided long ago that the complete lack of facts, truth & honesty means that hypocrisy is not possible. That's gotta be how the GOP operates. It's so difficult to fight for what is right when the other team isn't based in reality.

Expand full comment

Yes, it is

Expand full comment

Sally, that's for sure. BTW, given your first word, I must ask "Do you own a chicken farm in Vermont?"

Expand full comment

Cute, Richard. And with that observation, I am putting you on my Christmas card list. 😘

Expand full comment

Did you know that Republican Nancy Mace voted “yes” because she wants to be able to subpoena Biden “after they take over the House and impeach Biden”?

Expand full comment

Remember that the good folks in Nancy Mace's district elected her to Congress. Throughout the country, such voters are a greater danger to our democracy than the 202 Republican puppets in Congress. If Bannon is ever tried, convicted and sentenced to prison for his actions, what will they do? In my opinion, though, It will never come to that because the appeal process will delay that occurance many years to a time when Bannon will no longer be with us, rendering the whole thing moot.

Expand full comment

There shouldn’t be any appeal when it comes to a contempt of Congress.! 😡The rich and powerful can always pay for the legal tools to keep them free. It’s simply another form of injustice.

Expand full comment

Hoping voters wise up to all the lies and Nancy’s wants land in the dustbin

Expand full comment

Then thosr voters will srnd someone much worse.

Expand full comment

If they wise up to the fascist lies, they’ll send someone worse? I have some faith that truth will win at some point. There isn’t much more harmful in my mind than governance solely for the sake of vengance

Expand full comment

Shall I introduce you to the in-laws?

Expand full comment

I gather you think they’ll take their fascist lies with them to their deaths? Sadly I’m sure many will. Just watching grandparents of 5 orphaned children speak about their son saying on his death bed how sorry he was that he didn’t get vaccinated. 💔 Melber talking about how harmful the lies are.

Expand full comment

Didn't know that but I'm not surprised. The Trumpublicans are a mendacious, venal lot. I fully expect Joe Biden to be impeached as soon as the new Congress is sworn in, and I equally expect them to impeach him repeatedly until his term ends.

Expand full comment

Also, expect McConnell to abolish the filibuster the day after Republicans next take control of the Senate.

They will ram through their agenda with a one vote majority. Another win for hypocrisy.

Expand full comment

Exactly what I’ve been predicting.

Expand full comment

Wow

Expand full comment

I read that also, Annette. She wants to be able to subpoena about Afghanistan and immigration/border issues.

Expand full comment

My son and family live in her district. Her voting history is actually more moderate (supports gay rights and abortiion, and preventing oil exploration off South Carolina shores). But she represents hard core t-Rump country. I suspect she is speaking to those donors.

Expand full comment

Perhaps so, but if she does the bidding of the Orange Asscactus and/or his supporters, I have no respect for her.

Expand full comment

I get it. In Charleston, she can tell her more traditonal moderate Republican supporters that she voted to cite Bannon for contempt, but tell her Trump donors that she did it for an ulterior motive, that of impeaching Biden. Walking a tightrope like that is dangerous unless one is very sure-footed, sort of like former SC governor Nikki Haley.

Expand full comment

Saw that.

Expand full comment

In HCR's video chat today (10/21/2021), her message was that the Founders defined democracy as consent of the governed, of self-determination--concepts that were revolutionary in a world of kings, vassals, peasants, with your life determined by birth right and the lords over you. Self-determination and refining democracy are the very "things" of HCR's closing comment, that "Building things takes slow, hard work."

Expand full comment

It was not for nothing that Native American Peoples tended to appoint seperate War Chiefs to lead the warriors in times of conflict. This requires a different set of skills and personality traits from those of the Overall Chiefs who ruled the rest of the time through their vision of what is right and their ability to convince and influence the others. Without success in defending oneself from attack, the steady builders never get a chance to do their necessary hard work. The warrior is an absolutely essential part of the structure's survival in these tempestuous and highly conflictual times.

If the Dems are going to win the argument they have to take the fight to the enemy and not just show what the world without conflict could be like. They have to take up the cudgel and not just the pen. They have to win the battles and drive the enemy's message from the minds of the people. Just negotiating on Infrstructure and adding 2 new prosecutors to the Gaetz imbroglio doesn't quite cut it. The DOJ is doubtless performing miracles behind closed doors....out of sight, out of mind.

Expand full comment

They need to hire Rick Wilson to clap their heads together and point out that bringing cucumber sandwiches to shoot-outs is not recommended.

Expand full comment

Absolutely! Rick and all the others at The Lincoln Project have been loudly giving the Dems the roadmap, but they continue to wander off the road.

Expand full comment

Wilson's brilliant summation of the Democrats' circular firing squad made me want to laugh and cry. Then this week saw Michael Steele sarcastically explaining that Senate Democrats act that Mitch McConnell isn't still the majority leader.

Expand full comment

Politicl Strategist, Race Car Driver or Wrestler Rick Wilson? Hey, All Three!

Expand full comment

You are so right, ditching a great Dem warrior (Franken) was a grave mistake. Will they ever learn.

Expand full comment

It is hard to unseat the warrior chief after the original objective has been attained. Point in context, the rise of the military-industrial empire after WWII.

Expand full comment

I love your comparison to the Indigenous separation of War Chiefs and Overall Chiefs. There are those gifted in governance and those gifted with combat.

Expand full comment

Thanks, Stuart. Please tell me what that defense would consist of. What are the "cudgels" that would beat down and disable the "enemy"? I agree that it's important to drive the enemy's message from people's minds, that's done by the pen, isn't it? How can the Dems be tougher?

Expand full comment

They can start by taking the fight to the people. The Bully Pulpit can go a long way but the current people in power are still hanging back and not calling it by its name...insurrection. They all need to be out there beating the drum and not just assuring us that they are working hard.They are being entirely legalistic in their approach to prosecuting the enemy and not keeping it in front of the camera at every moment. Trump has not been touched and is seen to be "cocking a snoot" at due process and the rules of the game; he is even still pulling in a fortune while doing it confirming his wise-guy, hero status to many.....he is effectively immune and thus above the law. In times of war you do not let a traitor live his life while you struggle to get the proof of his ill deeds. You put him in a place where he can do no more harm NOW. You take out trump and the others will fight amongst themselves for the spoils. The FBI should have been ransacking Bannons and the others homes, offices etc to get what they need to close their circus down.

In the Baby Bush Presidency, Dick Cheney provided the backbone, the malice and the killer instinct. I would have hope that VP Kamala Harris could be the War Chief for the Dem Tribe but she has disappeared into the wild blue yonder leaving the tribal Elder to soldier on on issues for which he hasn't really got what it takes. This is aboutdifferent definitions of freedom, not infrastructure and purchasing power.

Expand full comment

I do not share your view. Civil War II is being fought aggressively, but our war chiefs, like the Native American ones, are savvy, and from behind those black hills, carefully calculating their attacks. When it happens it will be as rapid as machine gun fire (sorry to mix metaphor eras).

Expand full comment

And it will abide by our laws and seek justice for all of us. We do not win by becoming them. Our founders wrote a preamble that has taken us thus far… “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity,” …

Expand full comment

Yes! Pretty sure the way to win includes an element of surprise and lots of planning and preparation out of the line of sight.

Expand full comment

I trust that you are right.

Expand full comment

Yes, where is Kamala Harris?

Expand full comment

Yes, Ellie. Loved her "consent of the governed" concept. We do well to remind ourselves of this.

Expand full comment

Hi Lynell. We remind ourselves but we never forgot. Consent has to be forcibly withdrawn from those of our elected officials and "wannabes"denying its necessity. Thereafter it also has to be recognized that those not voting Democrat seem to consent to the exclusionary form of government that is being proposed by the Non-dems....incompatible concepts of freedom that somehow have to find a negotiated compromise before one side literally starts to impose their views on the other by force.

Expand full comment

Thank you, and Morning, Stuart!! Agree!

Expand full comment

And if one side starts to impose its views on the other by force, how is that freedom? I think that would be the opposite of freedom.

Expand full comment

Cults don’t deprogram themselves, Ike knew that, apparently we don’t

Expand full comment

Absolutely and hence the requirement for an effective compromise meeting both sides needs.

Expand full comment

Refusal to recognize both sides interests drives both towards the extremes and prevents any solution emerging.

Expand full comment

Cults are a different entity. Treating them as a legitimate “side” will destroy us.

Expand full comment

"... all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty together again."

Expand full comment

"all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Trumpty together again"

Expand full comment

And Rupert pushed him off the wall…

Expand full comment

Ellie, after I listened to that chat I realized I need to listen to it again and again. All this will end in one of two ways, both horrifying, and I keep looking for a third way. Women, particularly, will rise up out of oppression. the thought that a lie will be the cause for the Republican Party for generations to come to rally round much as the racist views of the southern states after the Civil War are still here signifies much hard work ahead.

Expand full comment

I am not so pessimistic. The 3rd and 4th (good) ways may not be top news stories, but then building things is not only slow and hard, but rarely newsworthy until the unveiling.

Expand full comment

Signals?

Expand full comment

Reporting on hard work also takes a lot of hard work. Thanks for putting this together.

Expand full comment

I’ll say! HCR has more energy in her little pinkie than most have in their whole being!!!

Expand full comment

Yesterday (10/21), i went to my garden and picked a pint of raspberries. This is very unusual for my little frost-pocket in central NH, where last year the first frost was on 9/6. The climate is changing. None of the real challenges we face (climate change, racism, classism, upward wealth migration, etc.) will be addressed if the Trumpists gain control of either the House or Senate in 2022. The last several decades of American history indicates that they will (much of our electorate seems to have a "throw the bums out" mentality in off-year elections).

Honestly, there is no guarantee that any of the issues mentioned above will be successfully addressed by Democrats and Independents either. At least they seem willing to do the work. Remember, it is basically the same group of Republicans who tried to repeal Obamacare over 40 times with no plan of their own. The Trumpist's attempt to replace Obamacare ended because it was "Just so complicated".

I believe the reason Obama won in '08 and Trump won in '16 was that they were able to bring out Democratic and Republican leaning people who didn't usually vote. True swing voters are actually very few in number. Cutting free community college is a mistake, it is the first issue many of the 20-somethings i work with seemed excited about. Yes, building things is hard work. What are we building? A brighter future and more workable present for all Americans, or just another cage?

Expand full comment

Those 20 somethings might recognize that everything depends on their “hard work of building” by making sure their vote counts if they want nice things like community college and livable wages

Expand full comment

A Dem win in 2022 would speak volumes

Expand full comment

🙏🙏🙏🙏 and it will take steady hard work from all of us to push against the lies that are stealing minds

Expand full comment

Or rather as Christine has eloquently previously stated sneak in thru a window instead of trying to force the door

Expand full comment

You got it, Christy. Paraphrasing Ogden Nash….. Remember, the door of an obstructionist and a bigoted mind opens outward. The pressure of truth and facts upon it only closes it more snugly.

Sneak in through the window. Get into the “inside”. That is what hackers do. That is what activists do. That is what the Light does. Find the cracks.

Expand full comment

I’ll look into Ogden Nash. TY!

I’ve followed and experimented with Steve Hassan’s tool kit for “getting in thru the window”:

“Build rapport and trust. Rebuild your relationship, if it’s broken. If you were the one to break contact, apologize. Reach out and be warm. Remember the good times. Focus on common values and areas you both enjoy (children, pets, music, dancing, fishing, sports). At first, don’t talk about controversial topics or even Trump. Avoid “hot topics.” Just try to connect with the other person and have positive interactions. Build credibility and SUSTAIN positive interaction. Build a long term relationship based upon respect, compassion, and love….

Ask thought-provoking questions while being warm and curious. Be prepared to listen deeply. You will know if you have listened well if you can repeat back to them what they said. Be humble and open to hear what they say.

Keep conversations positive, productive and civil. Never get angry. Stay resourceful. It is better to end the interaction than to say something counter-productive.”

https://freedomofmind.com/the-definitive-guide-to-helping-people-in-the-cult-of-trump/

I get frustrated easily but take time out when needed. Nothing easy or quick about going in thru the window.

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

Spot on Spooky!

Expand full comment

How Not to Let Corporations Kill Biden’s Agenda

By Paul Krugman

I’m not one of those liberals who believe that corporate greed is the root of all evil. It’s the root of only some evil; there are other dark forces, especially white nationalism, stalking the U.S. body politic.

But corporate money is surely the villain behind the latest roadblock to President Biden’s agenda: Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s opposition to any rollback to Donald Trump’s big 2017 corporate tax cut.

After all, Sinema, who was in the House of Representatives at the time, voted against that tax cut. And she attacked the tax cut the next year during her run for the Senate. Given that raising taxes on corporations has overwhelming public support, it’s hard to see any reason for her flip other than the corporate lobbying blitz against Build Back Better.

It’s a distressing story. But here’s what you need to know: While the Trump tax cut was bad and should be reversed, reclaiming the lost revenue isn’t essential right now. If the key elements of the Biden agenda — investing in children and in protecting the planet against climate change — have to be paid for in part by borrowing, that’s OK. It would certainly be better than not making those investments at all.

(That's the gist of the whole piece, the government should do what businesses do everyday, borrow to invest in a better future. In the case of Build Back Better the borrowing will be a blip to the government but a major benefit to the Americans who need paid back for sacrificing so long while the rich went from fat to full blown obese.)

More (You'll need to use one of your 5 monthly freebies, I've used up my 10 gifts): https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/21/opinion/corporate-taxes-deficit-spending.html

Expand full comment

Oh. Krugman has a very good point.

Expand full comment

I’ve posted my supportive comments on Krugman’s article a few minutes ago elsewhere on this Letter.

Expand full comment

I thank you every time you post Krugman. Amazing voice. He’s one of those journalists that is stubbornly realistic but finds the cracks and leads with Light. His writing inspires me to search for other solutions to craggy problems. Solutions that are usually pooed-pooed as ineffective when actually their effectiveness is why dark forces poo-poo them.

Thank you for your work, Christopher.

Expand full comment

"Watching Trump’s flailing attempts to create his own media corporation—this is his second attempt—highlights that since 1980, the project of the Republican faction that is now in control of the party has been to take things apart rather than to build them. They have focused on dismantling the government and stopping legislation. It has been a negative project, rather than a positive one, and breaking things takes little of the hard work and creativity that it takes to build things."

Perfectly put, dear Heather! And I truly appreciate the way you have repeated the theme throughout this letter. Yes, indeed, breaking things is a far easier task as any toddler learns with glee! The GOP's work is that of destruction, subversion, and ruin. Its leadership has the mentality of a two-year old when it comes to wreckage -- an image which, while adorable with a child, is pathetic when it comes to a soulless Grand Old Party with annihilation on its mind!

Expand full comment

Morning, all!! Morning, Dr. R!! Speaking of hard work: https://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/biden-senate-democrats-make-history-judicial-confirmations-n1281970?

Expand full comment

Good morning Lynell! Good stuff being served up. The judicial appointments, Rep Jayamal’s comments in this link, Dept of Justice and Atty General Merrick Garland appearing at committee hearing this week very direct, assertive as to rule of law and also independent of executive influence—something often not seen during former’s failed reign—all positive action. Reflective of HCR’s message.

And also the tone from President Biden during town hall mtg Thursday evening. I chuckled when he joked about telling Jill that “2 yrs of free community college” may be on cutting floor for now from infrastructure bill. And that resulted in him sleeping in one of the many other bedrooms in the White House. It just affirms that building things is hard work and that negotiation is a natural part of the building process….In a democracy. I felt some breathing room after town hall meeting. Not all news has to be at an alarmist level. Pres Biden’s tone was not condescending or dismissive. Even comments regarding the filibuster were promising of a diff direction.

I want more of all of this. Keep up with this speaking to the people. And during prime time.

Expand full comment

Ahh, Christine, your comment is so welcome. Thank you! As to Attorney General Garland,

I firmly believe he is following the law. If we don't like the results, it's up to the lawmakers to change the law. As for our wonderful President Joe Biden, my faith is not shaken.

Expand full comment

One can only hope he wasn’t preaching to the choir. Amazing town hall which should quiet those who question his fitness for office.

Expand full comment

This choir needed to be sung to!! I sang, I hollered, I whooped, I danced, I applauded Joe Biden's superb message and performance!!

Expand full comment

Me too, MaryPat. That grin , and making fun of himself. Of course there were a couple Grandpa Joe moments, but as he said, he “was in the Senate 370 years”…:)))

Expand full comment

❤️❤️❤️

Expand full comment

They won’t. They will pull sound bites to serve their narrative. They are a noisy minority tantrumming and . We. Will. Ignore. And keep on keeping on.

Expand full comment

Christine, you're one of my all-time favs and Joe is a mensch plus I'm with you almost all the way, but I'm so disappointed in his handling of Haitian and other immigrants.

Expand full comment

In a direct question about it, one could see hesitation from the President. I am very glad he clarified the progress in managing the care of the children at the border and that numbers are down from 5000 to 500 approx. This administration has had to “unstack” a lot of detainees. Inhumane treatment has to addressed and turned toward humane solutions. And like building being talked about at the government level, it is not quickly accomplished. I’ve talked with my Haitian acquaintances in Florida about their country of origin and what they are thinking now. You know what they tell me? Paraphrased…. “We will not stop fighting for our people in this country or in Haiti. Where would we be without the United States? President Biden allows us to be Americans as well as not punishing us because we are Haitian born. (The former) hated us.”

Our borders and our new immigrants will be in a completely different perspective as this administration continues on its refreshed, revised, and restored melting pot path. To me, it’s the grandest revolution in our country’s history revisited.

Expand full comment

I hope that you're right. So many planeloads have already been sent back.

Expand full comment

One can dream

Expand full comment

And a top of the morning to you, Lynell!

What a great link, thank you!

Expand full comment

Morning, Lynell! Thanks for this link. My wife is on a news diet (she is way over stressed, and over worked as a psychologist) and I miss my nightly watching.

Expand full comment

Boy, howdy. I can understand that. Sending healing thoughts all across America to your and your good wife's doorstep!

Expand full comment

Do I love this, or what. Go Joe…

Expand full comment

I was so surprised to read this, Jeri. We may yet get a Supreme Court Justice!

Expand full comment

Yay!!! Thanks for the link.

Expand full comment

Thank you for the link:) It's good to hear the media is reporting on the slow but steady process of Building Back Better. Building is slow, hard work!

Expand full comment

“Truth Social” is a few decades late, but, “1984” has arrived. I’m seized with the persistent urge to scream.

Expand full comment

We can only hope 1984 is still required reading in high school!

Expand full comment

You are one among many

I have decided that Republicans are little more than cowardly children

Expand full comment

“It Couldn’t Happen Here”. Prescient in the days before the advent of social media.

Expand full comment

You're not alone.

Expand full comment

My dad had “1984“ on his desk in his office for the last few years before his stroke. He had intended to read it. Having German as his first language, and not being terribly skilled at language anyway, whenever he read a book it was a big deal for him.

Expand full comment

Thanks again for a great letter.

In regards to that Banks guy, shouldn't he be facing some kind of censure for pretending to be on a committee he isn't? I mean isn't that like pretending to be a cop when you're not?

As for it takes time to build stuff, it's what I've been telling people since Biden was sworn in. We need a solid case against everything drumpf related

Speaking of which, I think more people are starting to understand just how corrupt the former guy is. His gold course in upstate NY is now under investigation.

And all you need to remember is Cohen told us that drumpf over inflates his assets for loans and under values them for tax purposes.

I know drumpf will probably never be held personally for all his crimes, but I hope he loses everything.

And I think his oldest daughter and son in law realize that, because they are putting that 10 foot pole between them and the former guy, not realizing that most Americans won't forget how much they abused the White House themselves.

Side note. My husband wants to pee in a jar and have me freeze it so if the former guy dies after he does, I can thaw it out and pour it over the former guys grave.

Expand full comment

I will be your driver for that mission, and even carry the jar.

Expand full comment

It's becoming clear in this country that some people get shot for behaving badly, and others, behaving badly that results in actual harm to many, get nothing.

Expand full comment

Mother Jones, in legend at least, once said to a boy in jail for stealing a loaf of bread, “Your trouble, young man, is that you think small. If you’d stolen a railroad, they would have sent you to the Senate. “

Expand full comment

Beth, my wish in celebration of my 80th birthday this week, I share with your husband (a little gross, maybe): If I outlive TFG, his grave will be a destination and on which I plan to piss my last drop. From my schlong to his ear. And a double spit for good measure. After which I will rest 500 miles from that defiler of my America.

Expand full comment

Love this idea! Wish my late husband had thought of it too! (If you need a parade for this, just ask and count me in. Sounds like fun!)

Expand full comment

'It [the GOP agenda] has been a negative project, rather than a positive one ...'

McConnell's Party of No has transformed itself into Trump's Party of Nihilism. The seeds were planted by Reagan's sowing religious extremism as a wedge issue; they first flowered as GW Bush's Politics of Faith.

The Founders brought in 'the god given rights of all' to bless their revolt against 'the divine rights of kings' - then quickly shut the door on religion and walled it out of government. The idea was not only to prevent imposition of a state religion with its whiff of a deified chief executive. Their nod to ancient Rome may have given us Washington wrapped in a sheet and crowned with laurels, but they didn't want to bequeath us a Caesar. They gave us a Temple of Liberty, not a pantheon of glorified tyrants.

They also wanted to keep the authoritarianism and irrationality of faith out of government deliberations - whether of transferring power through elections, refining the agreed legal framework of the Constitution through amendment, progressing the law through legislation or improving it by overturning judicial decisions.

They wanted the civic law to be upheld and to progress by coming to consensus through reasoned debate of empirical evidence - on the campaign trail, in the chambers, from the bench. In government, the contingent truths of history, the provisional truths of history, and the necessary truths of logic would prevail over the absolute truth of religious creed.

Republicans have turned all this on its head. Before trying to overturn our democratic republic - through the procedural schemes of corrupt officials and the sacking the Capitol by their cohort - they overturned *reason* itself.

Republicans' Leap of Faith has fallen far short of paradise and landed them under the boot heel of a petty tyrant - heaping wreckage upon wreckage and trumpeting Mission Accomplished. But of course in their most Christian of nations, Apocalypse Now is always the coming attraction and 'a consummation devoutly to be desired.'

At this point in our American history, we must wake to do the hard work of restoring reason itself. And this must most immediately take the form of electing Democratic candidates, of securing and enlarging Democratic majorities in Federal and state government. 2022 is closer than it looks.

Expand full comment

I think of the Declaration of Independence as directed towards King George III, a Divine Right King, and his government. Hence the religious language.

I think of the U.S. Constitution as directed toward the American people, and looking toward the future. Hence the secular language.

Expand full comment