Newsletter – March 2016

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THE CENTER FOR THIRD AGE LEADERSHIP NEWSLETTER – MARCH 2016

1.  FATHER WILLIAM’S MUSINGS

2.  THE MEANING OF GOOD FRIDAY

3.  THE MAN THE FOUNDERS FEARED

4.  IT’S THE CHARACTER

5.  TRUMP: A FRIGHTENING WINDOW INTO THE AMERICAN PRESENT

6.  AMERICA CAN’T BE GREAT AGAIN NO MATTER WHO’S ELECTED…

7.  TRUMP OVERWHELMED WITH PRESTIGIOUS ENDORSEMENTS

8.  THIS MONTH’S LINKS

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QUOTES OF THE MONTH – PETER WEHNER & ARISTOTLE

     “There are no filters anymore, no restraints, no cultural guardrails. Now, under the sway of Trumpism, what was once considered shameful asserts itself openly. As we contemplate this, it is worth recalling that the membrane separating what the Scottish novelist John Buchan called ‘the graces of civilization’ from ‘the rawness of barbarism’ is thinner and more fragile than we sometimes imagine…”   16-03 1 Aristotle

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1.  FATHER WILLIAM’S MUSINGS
 
March Greetings, Dear Friends…
 
I recently read Edward Rutherford’s historical novel, Sarum. In it, he brings to life over 10,000 years of human history by telling gripping stories of the descendants of five families from prehistoric times until 1985. While most of the action takes place around Stonehenge and Sarum, worldwide events are also covered as the British Empire expands. The chapter headings give a sense of the history:
 
Old Sarum
      1.  Journey to Sarum (prehistoric Britain)
      2.  The Barrow (the arrival of agriculture in Britain)
      3.  The Henge (the building of Stonehenge)
      4.  Sorviodunum (the arrival of the Romans)
      5.  Twilight (the fall of the Roman Empire/arrival of the Saxons)
      6.  The Two Rivers (arrival of the Vikings/uniting of England)
      7.  The Castle (Norman England)
New Sarum
      8.  The Founding (founding of New Sarum/Salisbury Cathedral)
      9.  The Death (the Black Death)
    10.  The Rose (the Rule of Lancaster)
    11.  A Journey From Sarum
    12.  New World (The Reformation)
    13.  The Unrest (The English Civil War/ the Exclusion Crisis)
    14.  The Calm (the eighteenth century)
    15.  Boney (the Battle of Trafalgar)
    16.  Empire (the British Empire)
    17.  The Henge II (World War I/the selling of Stonehenge)
    18.  The Encampment (World War II)
    19.  The Spire (Salisbury in 1985)
 
If you like to get into a universe and stay there for a while, I highly recommend Sarum to you as a great read, but I bring it to these Musings to share how Rutherford has deepened my understanding of both individual and species evolution.
 
As I near completion of my 78th year, much of my time is spent reflecting on earlier periods of my life. Some of these flashbacks are pleasantly warm, but many are more of the “How could I have thought or believed or done such things?” My guess is this holds true for many who’ve been privileged to live long enough to have such perspective.
 
From this point of view, I could and would do a much more competent and loving job of being decently human than I often did at many earlier times. But all I had to work with in those earlier days was “me then” who was doing the best he could; the accumulated experience and wisdom of “me now” wasn’t yet available.
 
What we hope for and like to believe about evolution is that it helps all species, especially ours, become “better” over time. “Better” can mean so many things (becoming more successful, loving, dominant, peaceful, safe, pure, etc.) that I’ll leave your definition to you. Mine is that somehow my children and their descendants would not make the same mistakes my generation has, and it seems to me they are much more aware and being much “better” than I was at their ages. On this individual level of evolution, I am hopeful.
 
But, on the species level, between reading Sarum and observing the state of this world for almost eight decades, I am not nearly so optimistic. The rise of Donald Trump to likely US Presidential candidate is most disturbing, because it, like the repetitions of “human-caused” disasters in Sarum, is just one more “human-caused” disaster in my lifetime. I’m emphasizing the “human-caused” because, even though these catastrophes are named for leaders, places or organizations like Hitler, Ruwanda or ISIS, their systemic causes are functions of our evolved wisdom as homo sapiens. Reading Sarum shocked me into realizing how little wisdom our species seems to gain from 10,000 years of agonizing experience.
 
In my earlier years I was able to find solace in focusing on changes in degree. I remember in one talk saying, “While our American football is clearly just another version of Rome’s “Bread and Circuses,” it’s certainly an improvement over gladiators killing each other!” Now I wonder if such changes in form help or hinder the process of healthy evolution – “enabling” is a current day term that comes to mind.
 
I bet by now you can guess this newsletter is not going to be playfully uplifting so don’t say you haven’t been warned. Even so, I found the articles included hopeful in that they can be written, published and made immediately available around the world. There are many places where this is still at best very dangerous and at worst not possible.
 
Here’s a quick sample of each:
 
2.  THE MEANING OF GOOD FRIDAY
 
     “Must Thousands be Tortured, Millions Die, in Every Generation — Because Some of Us Lack Imagination?”
 
3.  THE MAN THE FOUNDERS FEARED
 
     “…the Trump phenomenon isn’t just about coarsening and stupidity: His political practices are precisely what the founders feared and Lincoln warned against.”
 
4.  IT’S THE CHARACTER
 
     “A normal, well-adjusted man does not go to great lengths to prove to a random journalist that he has normal-sized fingers.”
 
5.  TRUMP: A FRIGHTENING WINDOW INTO THE AMERICAN PRESENT
 
     “…in America, populism is driven not solely by distress at economic malaise but also by fears inspired by racial progress—and the belief that these two things are synonymous.”
 
6.  AMERICA CAN’T BE GREAT AGAIN NO MATTER WHO’S ELECTED…
 
     “For an American, it takes coming to a place like New Zealand to understand what freedom actually is…”
 
7.  TRUMP OVERWHELMED WITH PRESTIGIOUS ENDORSEMENTS
 
     “The scheduling of Christie’s endorsement just one day after the K.K.K. luminary’s boost was ‘obviously far from ideal,’ Trump aide Harland Dorrinson said.”
 
I offer these writers’ observations in the spirit of Aristotle’s quote:

16-03 1 Aristotle

May we all be paying attention to what is developing – again – in America and the world, and may we all use our highest wisdom to help guide and shape its energies…

Love, FW

www.FatherWilliam.org

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2.  THE MEANING OF GOOD FRIDAY

     BY RABBI ARTHUR WASKOW, THE SHALOM CENTER, MARCH 25, 2016

16-03 2 Joan Burning
Must Thousands be Tortured, Millions Die, in Every Generation — Because Some of Us Lack Imagination?

Last night  — the eve of Good Friday —  Phyllis and I went to see the Quintessence Theater in Philadelphia do George Bernard Shaw’s play Saint Joan. Until we were deep into the play, we did not realize how appropriate it was to be seeing it that evening.

Toward the end of the play, one of the judges who has found Joan, the Maid of Orleans, guilty of heresy and sent her to be burnt actually sees the burning carried out. He is struck with horror at the torture of her death. Standing on the brink of madness, he mourns his own inability to imagine her death ahead of time, and tries to repent of his own complicity.

At that moment, Shaw, a socialist and by then an unchurched transreligious mystic, puts in the mouth of his character this question:

“Must then a Christ perish in torment in every age to save those that have no imagination?”

Indeed.

For me, Shaw’s question leaves intact the various and mostly sacred Christian understandings of the meanings of Good Friday, while beckoning other communities to learn and share their own:

Must Rabbi Akiba’s body be torn by iron rakes in every generation because some of us lack imagination?

Must the Six Million be gassed to death in every generation because some of us lack not imagination of the horror, but compassion for the “Other” who is seen as not really human?

Must 29 Muslims be machine-gunned at prayer in the Tomb of Abraham because some of us are filled with fear, contempt, and hatred?  -– and must their deaths be renewed in every generation, as when  the Dawabsheh family in Palestine were burned alive in their own home?

Must 30 Jews in the midst of celebrating Passover be blown to shreds in every generation because some of us are filled with fear, contempt, and hatred?

Must Martin Luther King and Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman and James Cheney  be murdered in every generation because some of us become addicted to their own power and protect it with their cruelty?

Must Cardinal Romero be murdered as he chanted the Mass and Jean Donovan, Maura Clarke, and four other Catholic lay religious sisters be raped and murdered in every generation because their work for the poor threatened the Salvadoran government?  

Must Emmett Till be lynched and Eric Garner be choked to death in every generation because Black lives don’t matter?

Must thousands die in the most powerful tornado ever recorded because some of us would burn the Earth to make a super-profit – and because some of us lack the imagination to see our planet choking, hear it wailing, “I can’t breathe!”

For those of us who are observing Good Friday today, and for all of us who can remember any of these tortures and these deaths;

For all of us who seek to renew our own imagination –– and awaken it in others —  

May we all remember to resist those Caesars and would-be Caesars of today who get pleasure from calling for the torture of anyone and who gain power from their arson, their burning, of the Earth as their political forebears burned Saint Joan.

For those of us who await with special hope this approaching Easter Sunday, may your day be filled with Joy—

And for you and for us all, may we act to make sure that all that is dead and all that is shattered in our world be redeemed to new life!

https://theshalomcenter.org/meaning-good-friday

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3.  THE MAN THE FOUNDERS FEARED

     BY PETER WEHNER, WWW.NYTIMES.COM, MARCH 19, 2016

16-03 3 Who the Founders Feared            Photo by: Daniel Zender

In 1838, as a 28-year-old state legislator, Abraham Lincoln delivered an address at the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Ill. The speech was given in the aftermath of the lynching of a mixed-race boatman and the burning of a black abolitionist newspaper editor. Lincoln warned that a “mobocratic spirit” and “wild and furious passions” posed a threat to republican institutions. He also alerted people to the danger of individuals — “an Alexander, a Caesar or a Napoleon?” — who, in their search for glory and power, might pose a threat to American self-government.

“Is it unreasonable, then, to expect that some man possessed of the loftiest genius, coupled with ambition sufficient to push it to its utmost stretch, will at some time spring up among us?” Lincoln asked.

The antidote to this threat, Lincoln argued, was to cultivate a “political religion” that emphasized “reverence for the laws.” Passion was our enemy, he warned; it had to be contained. “Reason — cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason — must furnish all the materials for our future support and defense.”

Lincoln was a keen student and great interpreter of the founders, and of course the founders also thought deeply about how a self-governing people could restrain political passions. In his book “Madison’s Metronome,” the scholar Greg Weiner points out that James Madison’s lifelong concern was that majorities would be governed by emotion rather than reason, the “cool” faculty. In Mr. Weiner’s words, Madison “portrayed passion through metaphors that suggested rapid and uncontrolled spread, including those of fires, fevers, pestilence and contagions.”

Before the Constitutional Convention, Madison undertook an extraordinarily thorough study of various forms of government. How might the Constitution protect us from what Aristotle called “the insolence of demagogues”?

Among the defects of ancient and modern republics, Madison wrote, were “popular assemblages, so quickly formed, so susceptible of contagious passions, so exposed to the misguidance of eloquent and ambitious leaders, and so apt to be tempted by the facility of forming interested majorities, into measures unjust and oppressive to the minor parties.”

Which brings us back to Donald Trump. No one would mistake Mr. Trump for eloquent, but he is a highly effective communicator in a political culture that is now almost indistinguishable from the reality TV culture from which he emerged.

But the Trump phenomenon isn’t just about coarsening and stupidity: His political practices are precisely what the founders feared and Lincoln warned against.

When he was asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper about the sucker-punching episode, Mr. Trump responded by saying, “People come with tremendous passion and love for this country, and when they see protest — in some cases — you know, you’re mentioning one case, which I haven’t seen, I heard about it, which I don’t like. But when they see what’s going on in this country, they have anger that’s unbelievable. They have anger. They love this country.” In many respects, he added, “it’s a beautiful thing.”

This is an increasingly familiar refrain. When two brothers beat up a homeless Latino man last summer and cited Mr. Trump’s words as their justification — “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported,” one of the men reportedly told the police — Mr. Trump responded by saying that while this was a shame, “I will say that people who are following me are very passionate.” His supporters, he said, “love this country and they want this country to be great again — they are passionate.”

Note Mr. Trump’s linkage of violence, passion, anger and love of country. After the sucker-punch, Mr. Trump, while himself protesting that he doesn’t condone violence, initially indicated that he might subsidize it. He said that he hoped that he hadn’t done anything to create a tone where violence was encouraged, even though he does just that. Last week, his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was accused of manhandling a reporter and then sought to discredit her on Twitter and elsewhere. Mr. Trump went out of his way to praise Mr. Lewandowski during his victory speech in Florida.

16-03 4 Hitler & Trump
For Mr. Trump, this is all of a piece. His entire campaign, from its very first moments, has been built on stoking anger, grievances and resentment against people of other races, religions and nationalities. Mexicans coming to America are rapists and drug dealers. Muslims hate America and need to be barred from it. Syrian refugees are “Trojan horses.”

Not surprisingly, Mr. Trump’s politics of hate is now metastasizing into violence. He incites people — not all people to be sure, but enough. On social media in particular, one sees how he gives his supporters permission to express dark and ugly sentiments that existed before but were generally kept hidden from view.

Max Boot, a Republican Trump critic who was a foreign policy adviser to Marco Rubio’s campaign, says that he has never experienced as much anti-Semitism as he has since the start of the Trump campaign. There are no filters anymore, no restraints, no cultural guardrails. Now, under the sway of Trumpism, what was once considered shameful asserts itself openly. As we contemplate this, it is worth recalling that the membrane separating what the Scottish novelist John Buchan called “the graces of civilization” from ”the rawness of barbarism” is thinner and more fragile than we sometimes imagine.

The reasons for the rise of Mr. Trump are undoubtedly complicated and will be studied for decades to come. That Mr. Trump’s rise has occurred in the Republican Party is painful for those of us who are Republicans. That more and more Republicans are making their own accommodation with or offering outright support for Mr. Trump — governors like Chris Christie and Rick Scott, the former candidate Ben Carson and the former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich — makes things even worse. Because we can no longer deny what Mr. Trump is and what he represents. The prospect of turning the party apparatus over to such a person is sickening.

The founders, knowing history and human nature, took great care to devise a system that would prevent demagogues and those with authoritarian tendencies from rising up in America. That system has been extraordinarily successful. We have never before faced the prospect of a political strongman becoming president.

Until now.

© 2016 The New York Times Company.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/20/opinion/campaign-stops/the-man-the-founders-feared.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-right-region&region=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region

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4.  IT’S THE CHARACTER

     BY MONA CHAREN, FROM THE RIGHT/POLITICS, MARCH 22, 2016
 
16-03 5 Hitler as Winner

I first became aware of Donald Trump when he chose to make cheating on his first wife front-page news. It was the early ’90s. Donald and Ivana Trump broke up over the course of months. Not that divorce is shocking, mind you; among the glitterati marriage seems more unusual. Nor is infidelity exactly novel. But it requires a particular breed of lowlife to advertise the sexual superiority of one’s mistress over the mother of one’s children. That was Trump’s style. He leaked stories to the New York tabloids about Ivana’s breast implants — they didn’t feel right. Marla Maples, by contrast, suited him better. She, proving her suitability for the man she was eager to steal from his family, told the papers that her encounters with the mogul were “the best sex I’ve ever had.”

It wasn’t just Donald Trump’s betrayal that caught my eye, nor just the tawdriness: It was the cruelty.

That’s the part of the Trump rise that is quite shocking. Most politicians, for as long as I can remember, have been at considerable pains to present themselves as nicer, nobler and more empathetic than they really are. Since many of them (not all) are selfish egotists, this requires some skill. Now comes Trump unblushingly parading his viciousness — by, for example, mocking a handicapped man, toying with white supremacy or encouraging political violence — and still gaining the loyalty of a plurality of Republicans.

One can imagine why voters might tolerate a little nastiness in certain situations. It’s possible that the threat of ISIS-style war crimes makes a would-be leader who vows to commit war crimes of his own seem palatable, or even “strong.” It’s not a total surprise that a regime of stifling political correctness would evoke a reaction.

But voters are venturing way out on a plank with Trump — and I’m not speaking here of the fact that he is overwhelmingly likely to lose to Hillary Clinton if he’s the Republican nominee. No, I’m referring to the copious evidence that if he won, he could cause catastrophic damage to the country.

Donald Trump is not emotionally healthy. No normal man sits up late at night tweeting dozens of insults about Megyn Kelly, or skips a key debate because he’s nursing a grudge against her for asking perfectly ordinary questions, or continues to obsess about her weeks and months after the fact.

A normal, well-adjusted man does not go to great lengths to prove to a random journalist that he has normal-sized fingers.

Some may think it was Rubio who introduced the “small hands” business, but it actually dates back to an encounter Trump had 25 years ago with journalist Graydon Carter. Carter had referred to Trump as a “short-fingered vulgarian” in Spy magazine. Trump could not let it go. Carter told Vanity Fair in 2015:

“To this day, I receive the occasional envelope from Trump. There is always a photo of him — generally a tear sheet from a magazine. On all of them he has circled his hand in gold Sharpie in a valiant effort to highlight the length of his fingers. … The most recent offering arrived earlier this year, before his decision to go after the Republican presidential nomination. Like the other packages, this one included a circled hand and the words, also written in gold Sharpie: ‘See, not so short!'”

Notice he didn’t contest the “vulgarian” part of the insult. And remember that at a presidential debate, for God’s sake, Trump brought it up himself and assured the world that “there is no problem. I guarantee.” I don’t believe that guarantee, and I’m not talking about his genitals.

There is an enormous problem. Trump seems to suffer from narcissistic personality disorder, an insecurity so consuming and crippling that he has devoted his life to self-aggrandizement. This is far beyond the puffery that most salesmen indulge to some degree. It strays well into the bizarre. Asked whom he consults on foreign policy Trump said, “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.” What grown man says things like that and continues to be taken seriously? How can he be leading the race for the Republican nomination?

People with severe ego weakness are to be pitied — but also feared. Everything Trump says and does is a form of self-medication for a damaged soul. His need to disparage others, to glorify himself and to be the “strongman” could lead to disastrous judgments by the man in charge of the nuclear codes.

Mona Charen is a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. Copyright 2016 Creators Syndicate Inc.

http://www.arcamax.com/politics/fromtheright/monacharen/s-1811213

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5.  TRUMP: A FRIGHTENING WINDOW INTO THE AMERICAN PRESENT

     BY JELANI COBB, WWW.NEWYORKER.COM, MARCH 15, 2016
 
16-03 6 Trump's Silent Majority

             Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty

US POPULISM IS DRIVEN NOT SOLELY BY DISTRESS AT ECONOMIC MALAISE BUT ALSO BY FEARS INSPIRED BY RACIAL PROGRESS

The old adage holds that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it, but the candidacy of Donald Trump suggests an alternate possibility—that sometimes we repeat history precisely because we understood it the first time.

Trump’s ascent to the top of the Republican field was initially amusing, then confounding, and has now reached its full flourish as a frightening window into the American present. Trump has not simply emerged suddenly as a representative of populist white anger—the G.O.P. has been tilling those fields for decades—he has stripped the old structure down to the studs and, in its place, offered a garish new architecture, a populism unrestrained by convention or code words. It is honest, or at least frank, in its intent. As Jill Lepore pointed out in The New Yorker, the lines between the crowds drawn to Bernie Sanders and those drawn to Donald Trump tend to blur, each defining themselves against establishment candidates whose positions were cemented by their familial ties to Presidencies past. Those lines became a bit more distinct last week after a multiracial group of protesters disrupted a scheduled Trump rally in Chicago. Believing the unrest was the work of the Sanders’s campaign, Trump tweeted, “Bernie is lying when he says disruptors aren’t told to go to my events. Be careful Bernie, or my supporters will go to yours!” But, in a real sense, we are seeing in the Trump and Sanders phenomena not only the expression of frustrations in which the electorate has been steeped during the Obama years but also the clearest statement of the problems of populism since its inception.

The default presumption about populism holds that its appeal peaks in times of economic crisis, and this is partly true, as suggested by the populist upsurge of the eighteen-nineties, when disgruntled farmers transformed their anger at banks seizing their land into the populist People’s Party, and the insurgent campaign of Ross Perot, a century later. But, in America, populism is driven not solely by distress at economic malaise but also by fears inspired by racial progress—and the belief that these two things are synonymous. This is the reason the Tea Party took hold not amid the economic collapse that occurred during George W. Bush’s tenure but in the midst of Barack Obama’s Presidency, its anger siphoned into conspiracy theories about the President’s Kenyan origins rather than Wall Street cronyism. The populism of the eighteen-nineties flirted with racial liberalism, organizing impoverished black farmers as well as white ones before being consumed by such Negrophobic zeal that Tom Watson, its chief proponent, was implicated in the mass lynching of African-Americans during the 1906 Atlanta race riot. Bigotry has generally been part of the lingua franca of American populism, if in varying degrees, since that point.

16-03 7 Not Enough Angry White Guys

Sixty-eight years ago, the public watched a dynamic similar to the Trump-Sanders moment play out as Harry Truman sought the Presidency, an office he had held since Franklin Roosevelt’s death, in 1945. Truman was pitted against the Republican Thomas Dewey but faced additional challenges from Henry Wallace, whom he had replaced as F.D.R.’s Vice-President, in 1941, and Strom Thurmond, the populist segregationist and South Carolina governor. Both Wallace and Thurmond purported to speak for the common man whose interests had been compromised by the Democratic Party, yet this presumption led them to strikingly different places. Wallace’s Progressive Party campaign denounced big banks, countenanced the support of socialists and communists, and, notably, advocated equal rights for African-Americans and an end to segregation. When the Democratic Party—motivated in part by Wallace’s left-flank candidacy and partly by the Great Migration, which had delivered millions of Republican-leaning African-Americans to Democratic strongholds in the North—adopted a strong civil-rights plank at its convention, Southern segregationists bolted and formed the States’ Rights (Dixiecrat) Party.

In his speech protesting the civil-rights plank, Thurmond stated, “We do not intend that our constitutional rights shall be sacrificed for the selfish and sordid purpose of gaining minority votes.”

It’s worth noting that the 1948 Dixiecrat platform called for two things: segregation of the races and “social and economic justice.” This was not accidental—in the logic of Southern populism, the former was a prerequisite for the latter. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s frequent conflicts with the Southern wing of his party hinged not on the creation of a welfare state but on segregationist demands that only one race be the beneficiary of it.

16-03 8 MLK on Hitler

Faced with the reality of its limited geographic appeal, the Dixiecrat Party sought to leverage its authority by denying both Truman and Dewey a majority in the electoral college, thereby throwing the election in the House of Representatives, where the Dixiecrats could broker a tie-breaking alliance in return for the abandonment of civil-rights enforcement. Instead, Truman won three hundred and three electoral votes, far more than the hundred and eighty-nine captured by the Republican, Thomas Dewey. Still, Wallace and Thurmond each won about a 1.2 million votes, and while Wallace did not win any single state Thurmond won Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina—all states, coincidentally, that Donald Trump has won in this year’s primaries.

Trump is not drawing upon an entirely hallucinatory anxiety—many of the concerns of his voters are real. The difference between Bernie Sanders’s version of populism and Trump’s is simply where you lay the blame for this state of affairs. Bill Clinton once said of Ross Perot that you “can’t be a billionaire populist,” and that objection would seem equally applicable to Trump, a man who made his millions building housing for the monied classes, and casinos and golf courses where they could gamble that money away and then cut deals to make more. But Clinton was relying on an outmoded idea of populism.

Here is a billionaire validating the fears of economically vulnerable white people. Who better than a symbol of wealth to explain how the pathway to similar attainment has been blocked, and who is responsible for it?

Trump’s is not a populism of economics or even religion, as his success with Christian voters, despite his scriptural ineptitude, demonstrates. It is, rather, a populism of identity. In this regard, his wealth doesn’t contradict his ability to function as a populist symbol; it’s exactly the point.  Here is a billionaire validating the fears of economically vulnerable white people. Who better than a symbol of wealth to explain how the pathway to similar attainment has been blocked, and who is responsible for it?  

Trump is not religious, but that has not disqualified him from being an evangelist of his own sort…

16-03 9 The Trump Effect

George Wallace—no relation to Henry—another other Southern populist to whom Trump draws frequent comparisons, blamed his own (relative) racial leniency for his loss in Alabama’s 1958 Democratic gubernatorial primary and reportedly told an aide that he would “never be outniggered again.” He was elected four years later, on a platform of segregation. This is not the United States of 1948 or 1958. The country is both larger and more diverse. It has been transformed by successive movements for a more inclusive society, even if, a black Presidency notwithstanding, political power remains overwhelmingly in the hands of whites. This diversity is commonly heralded as a sign of progress, but it’s also the reason a New York-born one-per-center can appeal to Southern whites in such tremendous numbers.

Trump’s brand of populism is cemented in the ideal that he will not be out-Muslimed, out-Latinoed, or out-baited regarding any other signpost of American change. And it’s selling. They are all Dixiecrats now.

http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/donald-trump-a-frightening-window-into-the-american-present

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7.  AMERICA CAN’T BE GREAT AGAIN NO MATTER WHO’S ELECTED…

     BY DAMIAN DUNN, WWW.STUFF.CO.NZ , MARCH 17, 2016

16-03 10 America Was Never Great

“American can’t be great again, no matter who’s in charge, as it’s never been great.”

This is a letter written by an American living in New Zealand, and it echoes my personal feelings. There are links to two more at the end…

As I read over  Ed Mendez’s story on why Donald Trump would be a great president, and his reasoning behind it, I was a bit shocked at the frame of mind the article was written around.

I, too, am an American living in New Zealand. No real backstory necessary, I don’t think. When you hear my accent I’m sure you’ll draw your own conclusions.

My partner is a Kiwi and my son is a Kiwi. I came here several years ago not because I thought “Gee, New Zealand would be a great place to live”, or because of some annoying fascination with Lord of the Rings scenery, but because the woman I fell in love with lived here.

But there’s also another reason.

I didn’t want my partner to have to suffer America.

I didn’t want her to be forced into a US$7.50 an hour Walmart job just because she isn’t in the correct demographic, or there simply isn’t anything else available. I didn’t want her to be injured and have no recourse for treatment, other than life-crushing debt.

I’m not sure what Ed Mendez is talking about when he calls illegal immigrants a “drain” on Americas social services. What social services is he talking about?

We’re talking about a country where born citizens have to choose between getting an infection treated or going into potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. A country where if your insurance isn’t accepted at the nearest hospital, you’d better hope you’ll make it to the next. If you have insurance at all, that is.

Year after year the United States government, whether it’s led by Republicans or Democrats, does a study on the economic effects of illegal immigrants on the American economy, and year after year, they show time and time again that, well… there is none.

To quote current professor and former Harvard researcher, Aviva Chomsky (daughter of famed philosopher Noam Chomsky):

“Early studies in California and in the Southwest and in the Southeast … have come to the same conclusions. Immigrants, legal and illegal, are more likely to pay taxes than they are to use public services. Illegal immigrants aren’t eligible for most public services and live in fear of revealing themselves to government authorities. Households headed by illegal immigrants use less than half the amount of federal services that households headed by documented immigrants or citizens make use of.”

But I digress, she’s probably being paid by the “liberal media” to contort her economic data to fit some shady narrative. Maybe she’s part of a conspiracy theory? It’s hard to tell.

Sensing my sarcasm here?

So what made America so great in the first place?

Well… nothing actually.

I won’t go into elaborate detail, but America was built on the back of slave labour, thievery, and cut-throat capitalism. For a short time it was good for the common man. Lots of jobs, a big middle class and plenty of room to move.

Now that America is an actor on the global stage forced into global competition it’s average at best. It’ll continue to be average. No one can change that, not even Donald Trump.

American exceptionalism is on its way out the door. Good riddance.

So catching up…

When I got to New Zealand, I suffered culture shock. It’s a real thing, as it turns out.

For an American, it takes coming to a place like New Zealand to understand what freedom actually is. Not the kind that sells American flag bumper stickers, or makes you decorate your house with awesome eagle statues and assault rifles.

For me it was relief. It’s a place where cops are typically friendly and don’t carry a pistol on their hip. It’s a place where if you don’t have, someone will make sure you do, whether it’s your mates or the government.

Most of all, it’s a place where I actually feel at home. It’s a place where I want to raise a son. It’s a place where my contribution helps everyone, not just a few.

I’ve left behind my American life. Maybe I’ll take my son to Disney World one day. Maybe I’ll take him to meet his grandparents.

But I will say this: He won’t grow up thinking that America is the same America that’s portrayed on a movie set in Hollywood, and he certainly won’t grow up thinking it’s an exceptional place full of exceptional people.

Instead he’ll grow up to be an exceptional Kiwi, and hopefully his immigrant dad will be given the opportunity to follow suit.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff-nation/assignments/share-your-news-and-views/14215254/America-can-t-be-great-again-no-matter-whos-elected

You can read letters to the editor from two other Americans living in NZ below:

DONALD TRUMP CAN MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN

DEAR KIWIS, PLEASE STOP ASKING ME ABOUT DONALD TRUMP
 
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7.  TRUMP OVERWHELMED WITH PRESTIGIOUS ENDORSEMENTS

     BY ANDY BOROWITZ, WWW.NEWYORKER.COM, FEBRUARY 26, 2016

16-03 11 Duke & Christie

FORT WORTH, TX (The Borowitz Report)—Aides to the G.O.P. front-runner, Donald Trump, expressed concern on Friday that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s endorsement of their candidate might overshadow equally impressive words of praise that Trump received yesterday from the former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

The scheduling of Christie’s endorsement just one day after the K.K.K. luminary’s boost was “obviously far from ideal,” the Trump aide Harland Dorrinson said.

“In a perfect world, you’d like some daylight between Christie’s endorsement and Duke’s statement of support, so they’d each have maximum impact,” he said. “As major as the Christie news is, we wouldn’t want the Duke thing to get lost in the shuffle.”

The aide said that the events of the past twenty-four hours have been “dizzying.” “When the Christie thing happened, we were still celebrating the David Duke thing,” he said. “It’s been crazy.”

Dorrinson said that the Trump campaign expects an avalanche of endorsements from G.O.P. leaders, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis in the days and weeks ahead. “Sure, that’s going to cause scheduling problems,” he said. “But those are the kinds of problems every campaign would love to have.”
 
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8. THIS MONTH’S LINKS:

     OZ: “THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL MAGAZINE OF THE 60’S…”

http://www.openculture.com/2016/03/download-the-complete-archive-of-oz.html

     GROCERY STORE ITEMS THAT ARE ALMOST NEVER RECYCLABLE…

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/11/these-15-grocery-store-items-are-not-recyclable

     SOMEONE FINALLY MADE A BETTER PAIR OF SCISSORS…

https://getpocket.com/a/read/1203533551

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