Not just any White Power

Dana Milbank is not wrong when he says, Trump’s raison d’etre is white power, but he’s not right either. White power is a part of what’s going on in the world. But here we encounter a huge mismatch, that between Trump at home and Trump abroad. On the one hand at home his adherence to white power is complete, his support of white supremacists since Williamsburg has never wavered.

But, and on the other hand, abroad, what is going on is something else entirely. And compared to which white power is child’s play (quaint?). Here’s what is happening. Our president is paling around with the likes of Saudi Arabia’s MBS, Kim Jong Un, Xi Jinping, Hungary’s Viktor Orban and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. All of them would hardly be mistaken for being white, let alone white supremacists. And yes, his best pal is Putin, who is probably not as white as he would like to be and we find him, Putin, paling around much as Trump, with the likes of “dark skinned” leaders, like Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Egypt, Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and in Turkey Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Trump’s friends abroad are without exception authoritarian leaders, of both the East and the West. He seems to have forgotten the few democracies still out there, still alive if not well, not to mention the few principled democrats within his own, that is our country, who are holding onto for dear life some real and time honored Enlightenment principles, a range of ideas centered on reason as the primary source of knowledge and advanced ideals such as liberty, progress, toleration, fraternity, constitutional government and separation of church and state.

And Trump seems to have forgotten both Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel, two democrats struggling to hold on and who might have been, with someone else in the Oval Office, as earlier were France and Germany, America’s closest allies.

So the raison d’être of our president is probably. not white power, but blatant authoritarianism, of any color. For Trump seems to respect only authority and strength in a leader and constantly attempts to project the same from himself by his often ill considered words and actions.

So what is our president’s raison d’être? Not white power, white elitism, but authoritarianism, white, black, or brown. And in fact Trump has little good to say about the countries of the white European, and socialist North, other than the fact that he would love to have Norwegians and Danes replace those from the Northern Triangle in Central America who are lining up at our southern border seeking asylum. Has our president hidden up until now a preference for the dark skinned peoples of the world, at least for the dark skinned authoritarians, who for now seem to be his great pals?

As the world’s leaders have become more and more authoritarian so have their countries become more and more nationalistic, their countries being made first, much as Trump’s America First, that which he so celebrated in the last State of the Union address. Globalism, and what now seems to be its most important offshoot, global warming, both times when peoples join together and push for something better in the future, are more and more forced to get out of the way (as the native Americans in North Dakota in the way of the Dakota Access pipeline) of the planes, trucks, trains, ships, and pipelines carrying the final tonnage of the world’s fossil fuels to be burned to satisfy, if only for a time, the world’s energy requirements.

Now we are much more onto Trump’s raison d’ëtre. What’s going on in the world today takes us back to the school playground and the toddler bullying the others by throwing sand into their faces. Kind of like what’s going on now. In Trump’s case, however, the bullying child is now the bullying man, country, or corporation.

And of course it didn’t have to be this way. They say we can still if not stop global warming slow it down, but the bullies now occupying the highest posts in most of the world’s countries are not going away. And there seems to be no one strong enough to bully them. They do seem to be in control of our lives. Is this a harbinger of the last century’s totalitarianism coming back to haunt us?

from John Cassidy, in the New Yorker of May 31, 2019:
Based on his experience of the last two years, Trump seems to believe that he can target anybody for his bullying, acting as arbitrarily as he wants, and he still won’t suffer any consequences, because the economy and the stock market will continue to power ahead. This theory is about to be tested.

Recent releases indicate that the economy has already slowed in the second quarter of the year, which leaves it more vulnerable to negative shocks, such as the imposition of more tariffs or a big fall in the stock market. Moreover, this latest Trump power play is so extreme and potentially self-destructive that, according to the Wall Street Journal, even his own hard-line trade adviser, Robert Lighthizer, opposed it.

The New Yorker, May 31, 2019

Dana Milbank: Trump’s raison d’etre is white power

Washington Post of June 1, 2019

I take the first two paragraphs and many of the ideas in what I have written below from Dana Milbank’s op ed piece. Trump’s Raison d’etre is White Power.

“We tend not to realize how much of the president’s appeal is about race. Studies show the primary indicator of support for Trump isn’t economic insecurity but racial resentment. This doesn’t mean Trump supporters are torch-carrying racists; it means they fear losing their place…”

“And this is largely why the daily mayhem of the Trump presidency has no discernible effect on support for Trump: not the petty (the White House ordering John McCain’s name covered on a Navy ship); not the ludicrous (the Energy Department rebranding liquid natural gas “molecules of freedom”); not the insidious (Trump continuing to allege a “Russian hoax” and his own innocence after special counsel Robert Mueller demonstrated otherwise); not the ugly (Trump resisting disaster aid for Puerto Rico for months, and GOP lawmakers this week blocking the legislation); and not the inhuman (migrant children held illegally, and dying, at the border). All of this pales against the existential threat to traditional white America from what it perceives as nonwhite interlopers.”

Yes, that’s right, Trump supporters live in “fear losing their place.” [place meaning white skinned supremacy] And they fear no less, if they’re Senators or Representatives, losing their jobs if Trump’s base were ever to turn from them.

The current brouhaha over the census question is an illustration of what Trump is continuing to do in support of white supremacy, not the same as gerrymandering but much like it in respect to the results. Both would put down the darkskinned immigrant populations. Although they will eventually fail they seem now that they would like to take others down with them in defeat.

Wilbur Ross, Trump’s man and toady at the Commerce Department, is proposing that a citizenship question be placed on the 10 year census questionnaire. Although it’s been tried before it’s never been been done. The constitution wants everyone counted (except the Indians who pay no taxes).

But you may ask what’s wrong with having a citizen question on the census? Why shouldn’t counting us involve counting us as citizens? Well, for one thing (other than the fact that it never has been) a citizens count would mean that millions of us would not be counted (how many, 11-15 million residents who are not yet citizens?).

And why is this important? Well the 10 year annual count does two very important things. It determines the number of representatives there will be to the House for each state. And since the non-citizen residents are mostly dark skinned immigrants their being removed from the census would favor the position of the remaining numbers of white skinned residents.
Then too you might ask, and I’m sure there will be judges on the Supreme Court who will be asking this, why shouldn’t citizenship be all important in the 10 year count? Well as I say it never was, nor was it ever intended to be so. And now if enacted it would definitely be favoring one race over other races. And I don’t think, at least I hope so, that we don’t want to do that. Shouldn’t a president’s only real job, or if you prefer most real job, be to bring us together and a citizenship question on the census would do just the opposite.

How many non citizens live in the United States? Here’s the answer I find on Wikipedia: Approximately 43.3 million foreign-born people live in the United States, that which includes 20.7 million naturalized U.S. citizens and 22.6 million non-citizens as of Apr 20, 2017.

We are told that within a quarter-century, white Americans will no longer be the majority. While this needn’t be a loss for white people — immigration isn’t zero-sum — but Trump’s GOP has convinced his followers it is. Therefore, preserving white power becomes essential, and the citizenship question buys time.

Here’s where we are now: The Supreme Court has just a few weeks left to decide whether to endorse the Trump administration’s proposal to add a citizenship question to the census.

Our land is exceptional. Let’s keep it that way.

And we’ll do that by keeping the country open to the successive waves of immigrants, made up of peoples of all ethnic and racial origins, who have always come here, and who always will if we don’t try to stop them. For our greatness as a country has always depended on people wanting to come here, and our having “open,” not closed borders, no walls.The wall of Robert Frost is the only wall in my own life I’ve ever acknowledged. No, there’s also the wall that keeps my neighbor’s dog off my front yard.

Think about it, what has the Great Wall ever done for China, other than bring on, if only in part, the tourist trade? Did it ever stop the invasion of barbarian peoples from the North that it was intended to do? Do you know? I don’t have any idea myself but I’d say probably not.  In the history books haven’t barbarians always won? If Trump’s wall were ever built it would at best, including the tunnels underneath it, become a tourist attraction. I can see it now, going with friends for a great lunch in Tijuana by the tunnel route.

Isn’t it well known (except by our president and cronies) that the strength of our country has always been based on two factors. The one is the richness of the land, land that was just meant to be settled and worked (and well treated). Other lands, I think of Canada and Australia, that are probably not as rich and welcoming as ours, and have not drawn the numbers of immigrants we have.

The other factor is the wave after wave of immigrants that we have known, beginning with the very oldest Americans who came here some tens of thousands of years ago, and then going right up to the second (or third or fourth) discovery of America) in 1492 which “discovery” was almost immediately followed by the coming here quite illegally of the western Europeans. Actually aren’t the white supremacists mostly descendants of illegal immigrants? In any case these peoples, the Europeans, came here, settled here, and finally turned against, revolted from their countries of origin, and wasted no time in Philadelphia in 1787 drawing up the detailed plans for a new country of their own.

This new country is the one that most of us know as America, where we are now living. What was left out of consideration at the time of its creation, however, at the moment of our Declaration of Independence, were the huge waves of migrants, well not migrants but immigrants, the hundreds of thousands of black Africans, who were brought here by hired help, as it were, held in chains and upon their arrival made up the slave populations of the uncompensated workers of the Americas. Between 1525 and 1866 12.5 million Africans were shipped (the ship’s hold being like a ship’s container boxes, holding in cramped spaces, men and women, not the material goods of China and the United States) to the new world. Of these numbers of men, women, and children some 10.7 million survived the trip, or “Middle Passage,” to get here. A least at that time no one ever told them,  there was no more room. Like now there was plenty of room.

It almost seems there have been three populations of newcomers to America, starting with what I’m calling the second or third discovery of America, in 1492. First were those who came freely, without vetting, without papers of any sort, but usually with white skin, and who when once here took pretty much what they were able to seize for themselves, although with the consent of the authorities, what there were of these at the time, of available land and resources.

These light skinned populations of immigrants are no longer coming here. But it’s not because there’s no more room, no more resources to be expropriated. Maybe at the time of the next European Civil War, which will be World War III, the Europeans  will begin again to come, but for the moment they seemed fixed and content where they are in Europe and even presidential Tweets, wanting Norwegians and other light skinned Northern Europeans, and not wanting the dark skinned peoples from the South, is going to change that.

The second population or wave, contemporaneous with the Europeans and in many instances coming to meet the Europeans’ needs for workers, were the Blacks, whom I’ve already spoken of. The third wave, one that we’re still very much experiencing, in spite of Donald Trump’s clumsy attempts to end it, is that of the Central Americans.

In regard to immigration it’s as if the country has finally realized that it wanted and needed new immigrants, and that these would be easiest to find among the populations of the oppressed, from Ireland, from Eastern Europe, from Southern Europe, again from Africa, from India, from Indochina, from China, and now in great numbers from Central America. These are the populations who want to come here, to live and to work, to have a good life. Nothing wrong with that.

Trump calls them gang members and rapists. Do they look like that to you?


These are the peoples who were not wanted where they were and they chose to leave. And we have become once again as it were the safety valve to all the dangerous and insupportable pressure points of the world. Those who are here, and doing well, and who would turn their back to these peoples, saying such unthinking and unfeeling things as, we need a wall between us, we don’t have any room for them, they’re threatening us,…  how do they who say these things live with themselves? (Perhaps by watching television for hours on end, by eating cheese burger after cheese burger, and drinking diet cokes, (even when visiting Shinzō Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan), by never reading a history book….

For in fact we have plenty of room and we need the peoples who want to come. And we know well from our own experience over centuries that these Central Americans, like those migrants of the past, including the dispossessed Native Americans and the enslaved Africans, will add great wealth to the country. Why ever would we try or even want to stop them with barriers of any kind?


Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.      From Vol 2 of Bob Mueller’s “The Report”</p>

Yes, but can he be elected?


What makes Pete Buttigieg so effective, not his age.

The 2020 Candidates: Mayor Pete Buttigieg

May 24

During an interview in Washington on Thursday, The Post’s Robert Costa tried his best to get Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg to say something negative about fellow candidate Joe Biden. Part of the old guard? Defended credit card companies? Responsible for mass incarceration as a result of the 1994 crime bill?

But each time, Buttigieg calmly sidestepped the invitation to go after the former vice president, while using the opportunity to lay out policy differences (“I have a difference of opinion with anybody who favors credit card companies over consumers”), and demonstrating his wonkish knowledge. “And when you look at the circumstances that lead to violence and other harms, you look at the kind of adverse childhood experiences that can set somebody back in life: exposure to violence is one, exposure to drug use is one, incarceration of a parent is one,” he said in discussing the 1994 crime bill. “So, the mass incarceration that may have felt in a knee-jerk way as a way to be tough on crime in the ’90s is now one generation later being visited upon communities today through the absence of parents.”

The politicians who have spent decades in politics rarely show the sort of poise Buttigieg naturally exhibits. That’s not nothing.

Buttigieg’s bluntness, succinctness and even-keeled delivery help him score TV-memorable points. During the same interview, he went after President Trump’s “bone spurs” excuse to get out of fighting in the Vietnam War: “If you’re a conscientious objector, I’d admire that. But this is somebody who, I think it’s fairly obvious to most of us, took advantage of the fact that he was the child of a multimillionaire to pretend to be disabled so that somebody could go to war in his place.”

Is the president a racist? “If you do racist things and say racist things, the question of whether that makes you a racist is almost academic,” Buttigieg said. “The problem with the president is that he does and says racist things and gives cover to other racists.”

Buttigieg also has begun to use his military service to his advantage. As someone who served in Afghanistan, his response to Trump’s promise to pardon war criminals was a particularly effective. He explained, “If you are convicted by a jury of your military peers of having committed a war crime, the idea that the president is going to overrule that is an affront to the basic idea of good order and discipline, and to the idea of law, the very thing we believe we’re putting our lives on the line to defend.”

In addition, Buttigieg seems comfortable (unlike some of his opponents) in discussing foreign policy. “Tariffs are taxes on Americans — and we talk as if that’s not the case; we forget that Americans are paying them,” he said, sounding like Republicans used to sound before they sold their souls to the devil. In place of tariffs, Buttigieg said we need to deal with China by, among other things, investing in our competitiveness, having a “more orderly disentanglement” of 5G technology and creating “a global framework” where China operates on our terms. (That’s not much detail, but as we know from polling, most voters don’t focus on the topic; they know China is misbehaving, they want someone to solve it in tandem with allies and they like to keep focusing on domestic initiatives that make us stronger.)

When asked what he’d do if Russia again interfered in our elections, Buttigieg said that Russian President Vladimir Putin should expect a “very serious response.” He then explained that “economic, diplomatic and cyber” responses, “both overt and covert,” would be needed.

Without getting into the weeds — which he will not likely be forced to do in a Democratic primary geared toward domestic issues — Buttigieg comes across as calm, informed and disinclined to saber-rattling (which he specifically criticized with regard to Iran).

In sum, Buttigieg stands out because he is remarkably disciplined, can effortlessly show expertise and projects authority on foreign affairs. Most of all, he displays the cool demeanor and wry humor that Democrats admired in President Barack Obama. After Trump’s irrational, loud, insult-driven rhetoric, it’s rather calming listening to Buttigieg.

Buttigieg has a long way to go in fleshing out policy proposals, and in broadening his appeal to minority voters, but …

The politicians who have spent decades in politics rarely show the sort of poise Buttigieg naturally exhibits. That’s not nothing.


Is Democracy Dying?

A few additional thoughts on a second reading of Bret Stephens’ How Trump Wins Next Year

In what he writes Bret Stephens implies that Trump will win in 2020. And his main argument for saying so is the growing number of authoritarian states springing up everywhere, and, even more troubling, the fact that we see this happening to our own allies, and most troubling of all to our own land and country in the person of Donald Trump.

It almost seems that people don’t want to be free. Stephens is not talking about the much older dictatorships in China and Russia, in Cuba and Egypt. He’s talking about the democracies in Italy, Brazil, Hungary, Poland, and the what used to be democracies in Turkey and Israel, lands that are being seriously threatened if not undone by authoritarian heads of state.

Now you may believe as Bret does that the world, and in particular the Western world of which we are a part, is hell bent on establishing authoritarian governments, and that our own authoritarian president, Donald Trump, is hell bent on getting on board this ship of a new state,  and that his reelection in 2020 is now likely, in spite of the fact that he himself is less and less liked.

Why is that? What is the origin of the new authoritarianism? And why is America sticking with Trump, allowing his autocratic tendencies and impulses, if indeed it is as Bret says? For aren’t we all, or most of us, in this country underneath it all real democrats?

In any case we ought to remember that democracy doesn’t have much of a history in the West, nor in the East. Authoritarian governments everywhere have been the rule for most of recorded history, thousands, tens of thousands of years.

What’s the expression, we’re falling back into line, returning to an ancestral type, we’re reverting to the mean. The mean being a dictatorship. Reverting to the mean meaning to go back, as to a former condition, period, or subject, to monarchy, empire or other dictatorship. This perhaps is the real meaning of Trump’s MEGA hat, making America great again, making our president a sovereign.

It’s not that all these good people in all these lands are giving up on democratic governance, it’s rather that true democracies have not yet been established anywhere, and in the process of trying to get there people find themselves in chaotic and insecure circumstances. Authoritarians do bring a kind of security, as in Hitler’s Germany of the 1930s.

Democracies have always been works in progress, admirable at times, as in Philadelphia in 1787, as in the passage of the 14th. amendment to the Constitution, the Rights of Citizenship in 1868. And at other times, the works of democracies have been man made disasters, as in Andrew Jackson’s enforced relocation of tribes of native Americans from their ancestral homes in the South to the West, … as in the Confederate states response to the emancipation of the Blacks, by its Jim Crow laws, a kind of second enslavement of the “colored,” laws not taken off the books until 1965, and still influential and widespread in regard to the myriad racists and white supremacists still with us in the country today.

Bret Stephens: How Trump Wins Next Year

Doesn’t it seem that America is losing it?

Losing the country of the Founding Fathers (of the Constitution and the rule of law), of Abraham Lincoln (all men are created equal), of FDR (it’s the role of government, in addition to keeping all of us secure, extending a helping hand to all those who need help)?

Instead, we seem now to be a country of adolescents, people following the example of the president and thinking of no one but themselves, wanting satisfaction now, not wanting to give up anything even, for a better future for their children, not willing to do the hard work and make the sacrifices necessary to bring about a better future, all this being now out of style.

This is why so many Americans are listening to Donald Trump. He promises them satisfaction now, and asks nothing of them in return. This is why Donald Trump, himself, never went to Vietnam, not understanding then or now what it means to sacrifice for the future.

The same selfishness is why Americans are ignoring the world, ignoring the millions seeking asylum from impossible living conditions, ignoring the threat to the earth itself, at risk of dying from their own more and more abusive, exploitive, and irresponsible actions.

Well Bret Stephens tells us in the piece below that the result of all this, of democracy dying, here and elsewhere, in fact as he tells it, of the whole world turning to authoritarian rather than democratic or self rule, … the result being the probable 2020 reelection of Donald Trump, to a second (or third? for what is to stop him?) term. He doesn’t tell us why, just that this is happening.

If he’s right, what can we do? Other than, “Cry, the Beloved Country”.

Bret Stephens: What’s happened in India and Australia is a warning to the left.


Credit Eric Thayer for The New York Times

President Trump at a rally in Montoursville, Pa., on Monday.

More than 600 million Indians cast their ballots over the past six weeks in the largest democratic election in the world. Donald Trump won.

A week ago, several million Australians went to the polls in another touchstone election. Trump won.

Citizens of European Union member states are voting in elections for the mostly toothless, but symbolically significant, European Parliament. Here, too, Trumpism will mark its territory.

Legislative elections in the Philippines this month, which further cemented the rule of Rodrigo Duterte, were another win for Trumpism. Ditto for Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election in Israel last month, the election of Jair Bolsonaro as president of Brazil last October, and Italy’s elevation of Matteo Salvini several months before that.

If past is prologue, expect the Trumpiest Tory — Boris Johnson — to succeed Theresa May as prime minister of Britain, too.


In 2016, at a campaign rally in Albany, Trump warned: “We’re gonna win so much you may even get tired of winning. And you’ll say, please, please, it’s too much winning, we can’t take it anymore.”

Tell us about it.

Trump’s name, of course, was on none of the ballots in these recent elections. His critics should take no comfort in that fact.

In India, Narendra Modi won his re-election largely on the strength of his appeals to Hindu nationalism and anti-Muslim sentiment. In Australia, incumbent Scott Morrison ran against the high cost of climate action, including in lost jobs, and won a stunning upset. In the U.K., Trump surrogate Nigel Farage looks like he and his Brexit Party will be the runaway victors in the European elections. In Brazil and the Philippines, the political appeal of Bolsonaro and Duterte seems to be inversely correlated to their respect for human rights and the rule of law, to say nothing of modern ethical pieties.

The common thread here isn’t just right-wing populism. It’s contempt for the ideology of them before us: of the immigrant before the native-born; of the global or transnational interest before the national or local one; of racial or ethnic or sexual minorities before the majority; of the transgressive before the normal. It’s a revolt against the people who say: Pay an immediate and visible price for a long-term and invisible good. It’s hatred of those who think they can define that good, while expecting someone else to pay for it.

When protests erupted last year in France over Emmanuel Macron’s attempt to raise gas prices for the sake of the climate, one gilets jaunes slogan captured the core complaint: “Macron is concerned with the end of the world,” it went, while “we are concerned with the end of the month.”

This is a potent form of politics, and it’s why I suspect Trump will be re-elected next year barring an economic meltdown or foreign-policy shock. You may think (as I often do) that the administration is a daily carnival of shame. You may also think that conservatives are even guiltier than liberals and progressives of them-before-us politics: the 1-percenters before the 99 percent; the big corporations before the little guy, and so on.

But the left has the deeper problem. That’s partly because it self-consciously approaches politics as a struggle against selfishness, and partly because it has invested itself so deeply, and increasingly inflexibly, on issues such as climate change or immigration. Whatever else might be said about this, it’s a recipe for nonstop political defeat leavened only by a sensation of moral superiority.

Progressives are now speeding, Thelma and Louise style, toward the same cliff they went over in the 1970s and ’80s. But unlike the ’80s, when conservatives held formidable principles about economic freedom and Western unity, the left is flailing in the face of a new right that is increasingly nativist, illiberal, lawless, and buffoonish. It’s losing to losers.

It needn’t be this way. The most successful left-of-center leaders of the past 30 years were Bill Clinton and Tony Blair. They believed in the benefits of free markets, the importance of law and order, the superiority of Western values, and a healthy respect for the moral reflexes of ordinary people. Within that framework, they were able to achieve important liberal victories.

Political blunders and personal shortcomings? Many. But neither man would ever have been bested by someone like Trump.

Anyone who thinks the most important political task of the next few years is to defeat Trump in the United States and his epigones abroad must give an honest account of their stunning electoral successes. Plenty has been said about the effects of demagoguery and bigotry in driving these Trumpian victories, and the cultural, social, and economic insecurities that fuel populist anxiety. Not so often mentioned is that the secret of success lies also in having opponents who are even less appealing.

In the contest of ugly, the left keeps winning. To repurpose that line from Trump, “Please, please, it’s too much winning.

Paul Ryan may be gone, …

but gerrymandering in Wisconsin lives on.

Screen Shot 2019-05-22 at 11.44.19 AMThe district:
Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District … home to former Speaker Paul Ryan.
How is Wisconsin gerrymandered?
You won’t look at Wisconsin’s districts and see weird shapes. State legislators have used a more sophisticated, subtle form of gerrymandering — but the intentional manipulation is undeniably there. That’s why even though Democrats won 54 percent of the state’s congressional votes in November 2018, they won only 38 percent of the Congressional seats.

What does Paul Ryan have to do with this?
Former Speaker Ryan won election 10 times in WI-1 — and in most of those re-elections, he was never seriously challenged. It’s not like he had broad, popular positions for a swing state like Wisconsin, either. He ran on cutting Medicare and helping rich corporations pay fewer taxes. But here’s the truth: Thanks to gerrymandering, Paul Ryan knew his seat was never in doubt.

Ryan benefited significantly from running in a rigged district — one that got even more rigged in 2011, when Wisconsin Republicans took complete control of the redistricting process and Ryan’s friend, Gov. Scott Walker, signed the new districts into law. Over the years, they shifted WI-1 north into Republican strongholds, removed Democratic-leaning areas … and made sure he’d never have to worry about losing re-election again.

Let’s take it a step further …
It’s pretty simple what happens next. When representatives know they’ll win re-election, they stop listening to voters. They don’t see a need to defend their actions or be held accountable. And they get pushed, gradually, towards the extreme. Paul Ryan? He voted with President Trump 95.5% of the time — and knew he wouldn’t have to answer for it.

All On The Line
The Shape Of Things: WI-1.
“[It’s] geography as destiny”
— Janesville (WI) Gazette, July 2018


John MacDonald on Finality

Cessation. Ending.

A stopping of her. I heard the night sounds of country and city. Yawk of a night bird nearby. Faraway eerie pulsing of siren. Whispering drone of light traffic on University Drive, lights in moving patterns. Grinding whine of trucks moving fast, a mile or so away. Random night wind clattering palm fronds.

This was the world, bustling its way on through its allotted four billion more years of time, carrying its four billion souls gracelessly onward. A lot of them had stopped tonight, some in blood and terror. I tried to comprehend the enormity—the obscenity—of the fact that Gretel Howard had been one of them, just as dead as the teenagers who impacted a tree at a hundred and ten miles an hour near Tulsa, the flying dentist who didn’t see the power lines, the Muslim children dead by fire in Bangladesh, the three hundred elderly in Florida who would not make it through the night in their nursing-home beds.

I could not fit my mind around the realization of finality.

From: The Green Ripper: A Travis McGee Novel

Liberté, Égalité, et Fraternité