THE CENTER FOR THIRD AGE LEADERSHIP NEWSLETTER – SEPTEMBER 2016
1. FATHER WILLIAM’S MUSINGS
2. EMAILS FROM THE YOUNG MAN, THE DONSTER & A FRIEND
3. THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ENDORSEMENT
4. TRUMP’S RISE REFLECTS AMERICA’S DECLINE
5. THIS MONTH’S LINKS
SEPTEMBER QUOTES – RANDY NEWMAN, TYM, AZ REPUBLIC, GEORGE WILL
“The end of an empire
Is messy at best
And this empire’s ending
Like all the rest
Like the Spanish Armada
Adrift on the sea
We’re adrift in the land of the brave
And the home of the free
“Who’s the robot in this election? – Hillary. Who’s the pandering human in this election? – The Donald. …I think the people, and certainly a whole lot of the people, want a human, even at what appears, presently, to be a severe cost.”
“In a nation with an increasingly diverse population, Trump offers a recipe for permanent civil discord.”
“The beginning of conservative wisdom is recognition that there is an end to everything: Nothing lasts. If Trump wins, the GOP ends as a vehicle for conservatism. And a political idea without a political party is an orphan in an indifferent world.”
1. FATHER WILLIAM’S MUSINGS
September Greetings, Dear Friends…
When things are truly falling apart, people, political parties and nations go through “Unformings” — those terrible times when we must let go of obsolete beliefs and unsustainable habits of behavior. This is happening in America with the emergence of Donald Trump as Presidential demagogue.
But this newsletter is not just about American politics. It was stimulated by a gift from ‘The Young Man’ (TYM) that began back with the March newsletter. Things have looked very dark here since then. And after the first 2016 Presidential Debate TYM wrote:
For the record, I didn’t watch it – The Wave is about to be tested, my friend.
It was in that March newsletter he connected Donald Trump’s inexplicable political emergence to the “Unforming” Phase of The Growth Wave. He made early sense out of the baffling chaos of the Republican Primary Debates as well as what could be, and is, happening now. If you haven’t read his work from March, you can find it at www.fatherwilliam.org/blog, and I recommend it. The Young Man is a political and predictive genius. I hope you get as much from his work this fall as I have for fifty years.
But this is a story much bigger than one election in one country. It goes through all of human history. A history too often cruelly controlled and directed by narcisistic demagogues — caesars, emperors, queens, popes and fuhrers. The specter of such horrors has arisen in America in 2016, and it has raised the question of whether, as Bono put it, “the idea of America – the idea that you and I are created equal” could be lost to the world.
This newsletter brings good news for all who believe in the idea that “all are created equal.” Yes, Trump’s success has surprised and frightened us. But in articles #3 and #4 there is evidence that the Unforming occurring will limit not our ideal of equality, but the political forces that sought to undermine it. I thank The Arizona Republic and George Will for their courage and honor…
2. EMAILS FROM THE YOUNG MAN, THE DONSTER & A FRIEND
For the record, I didn’t watch it – The Wave is about to be tested, my friend.
For the same record, I didn’t watch it, either. Looks like Hillary came out on top for this one. But I don’t get what you mean by “The Wave is about to be tested, my friend.” More, please…
I didn’t come to the pairing of the two Randy Newman songs that appear below by myself. On this past Friday, Newman released a 4 LP set of his songs, just voice and piano, and on the last side, side eight, these two songs, which should follow one another, did follow one another. I had remembered the first, but not the second (it never appeared on any album he released until now).
A Few Words in Defense of Our Country (2007)
I’m Dreaming (2012)
I guess what I am raising is what Randy raises in the first song: the end of an empire. I know that doesn’t necessarily mean The Wave breaks down, it does seem to mean that we don’t go forward to a more evolved system. You raised the same notion July 3rd during our Brexit-AI project, when you wrote:
“…I obviously do have concerns about returning to the darkness of plagues, pain and primitive idiocy. The upside is that the frenzy might get slowed down substantially (which would be a hard for the first ten generations), but later ones might get back to a pastoral life for some centuries before going crazy with technology again. Like you, I am conceptually very uncomfortable with this Ikea, Takata, Volkswagen, 2010 Deep Water Horizon world, but I’ve managed to mostly avoid it by living in Vermont and New Zealand…”
Most people seemed to be approaching last night as some sort of fix for their excitement Jones. They wanted fireworks, they wanted a battle. Hillary and Trump were really only the surrogates for these people’s emotional needs at this juncture in our nation’s history. There don’t seem to be actual numbers yet but the preliminary ratings are in. Debate overnight: 46.2/63 across four broadcast and three cable news networks. As a comparison: Super Bowl 50, the most-watched television show this year, received a 46.6 rating and a 72 share. 111 million people watched the Denver Broncos defeat the Carolina Panthers. This is not the way to run a railroad, or a nation for that matter.
It seems the post-1900 European Empires have found ways to move on from the loss of empire that is a positive evolution. Of course the case can be made that without the help of the US-moving-into-empire, that evolution may not have occurred. It wouldn’t have been much fun to have Germany and Japan running the latter half of the 20th century. Still, the Wave seems to function whether we like the results or not.
I think you make an interesting point about the US replacing other empires. This has been an historically frequent occurrence, except for when the Dark Ages hit, at least for the western world and in the Mediterranean (Egypt, Greece, Rome).
What I have been pondering, the past day or so, is the atomization of all this anger and frustration in our country. There are so many fractional groups angry at other fractional groups. There is overlap, in some cases, but for the Wave to work, there has to be, I think, sufficient coalescence around something, some person, some paradigm, for us to exit the Unforming. This, I think is the big challenge for our Nation. We certainly aren’t up to it now, it isn’t clear to me that we will be up to it in the future. There exist too any feedback loops presently that server to reinforce the retention of beliefs, rather than opening people up to new beliefs or changing beliefs.
The next empire, some say, will be China. I guess if they can build an island in the South China Sea, they now have tennis courts on the island ;-), they can build one or two in the Atlantic or Pacific. Who needs Cuba, when you can build one or two yourself ;-).
An addition from The Donster…
“I found this review fascinating in its parallels to today. Very chilling.”
A major new biography—an extraordinary, penetrating study of the man who has become the personification of evil.
“Ullrich reveals Hitler to have been an eminently practical politician—and frighteningly so. Timely… One of the best works on Hitler and the origins of the Third Reich to appear in recent years.” —Kirkus Reviews
“An outstanding study… All the huge, and terrible moments of the early Nazi era are dissected…but the real strength of this book is in disentangling the personal story of man and monster.” —The Guardian (U.K.)
…and another from a Friend…
“Thanks for pointing out this article, Don. Oh my yes: chilling.
“I do think Trump is hugely skilled. So was Palin. Trump is even more skilled. And, much more ambitious. The parallels with Hitler are absolute. And he obviously has practiced Mussolini’s facial expressions.
“I’m saddened by the number of well-known people, flawed (because they are far-right conservatives) who support him. I assume they are the same as those described in this article: people who think their own careers will be advanced. Greedy. Shocking.
“These days of the election season are fascinating and awful. How did we end up with nothing but flawed candidates? Not just Trump but the others too, including their VP choices. (Pence seems especially worrisome.) Somebody recently wrote that a big problem is the ease with which people can be distracted from important things. True. The Brangelina divorce as a primary news item??! Zheesh.
“I am happy to say that our local paper does a pretty good job of avoiding such stuff. Good for them.
“On that tack: I read an article recently which points out the consultants’ “solution” to lagging profits of the big news conglomerates following the big downturn: the article pointed out that consultants — as we know — have been advising cutting the number of reporters and going to canned news, especially so-called news about entertainment and human-interest stories, i.e. crime and deviancy. The headline of this article pointed out that people, actually, want important news. But that’s not what much of the media is doing in their efforts to increase profits. Sigh. Sadly, another version of just Digging a Bigger Hole.
“Back to this election: like so many others, I continue to be puzzled by what is happening. None of the explanations that I read make any sense. Obviously I am isolated from large swaths of people.
“Mark Twain ended his days completely disgusted with humanity. I’m not that grumpy nor discouraged but I am puzzled.”
Thank you, Donster and Friend. We need our “reasonable” politicians to understand how powerful being “unreasonable” can be and learn to better communicate with angry voters. “Basket of Deplorables” is erroneous and stupid and misses the mark in so many ways! “Unreasonable” emotions determine many more votes than “logical” facts.
Actually, this takes us back further than March, in some respects, it takes us back to the election in 2008 and the Don’t Think Of An Elephant thread and the main point of that book. We’re eight years down the road and the Democrats/Progressive can’t counter, or match, the Republicans/Conservatives when it comes to forming persuasive messages. My god, as Krugman pointed out look at the numbers for Libertarian candidate and what his party’s platform represents. Yet, many of the millennials are supporting him rather than Hillary.
Let me share something with you, perhaps you didn’t know this, it’s chilling. Two weekends ago, I was at the East Bank Club and ran into a past Public Defender friend. We were talking about the state of affairs here in Chicago. The gang violence, etc., what to do about it. How clueless Rahm is about the problems and solutions. At one point I said: “ It’s just messed up that these gang members are just killing people— sometimes they are recording the murders with their cellphones and posting it on social media. When we started out in the 1970’s, that wasn’t even on the radar.” He said to me: “It’s not just messed up, it’s completely bizarre.” Badges of honor, however, should be worn. Killing somebody is a badge of honor in the gangs. So, why not boast by posting? Makes perfect sense.
Gil Scott Heron wrote the “Revolution Won’t Be Televised” but it will, Roger Ailes has seen to that. You introduced me to the power and seduction of the screen, it has proven to be more true than I think you imagined back in the 60’s. This was just a TV introduction back then, now, it’s far, far truer, because it isn’t just two screens, as we had back then (movies TVs). It’s every computer screen. Every piece of propaganda, misinformation, etc., that can easily be found on the Internet, including how to make bombs to blow up a marathon race or maybe even Wrigley Field just before the Cubs are about to win the World Series in late October, which will be broadcast on Fox (of course!). What a coup for ISIS that would be. Take out a bunch of Jews in the front rows and send a message about America’s pastime.
Let’s go back for a moment, to the subject of the pervasive under-current of anger and how much it has become a part of most of our lives, in one respect or another. For instance, think of what getting on a commercial flight was like in the 50-70’s. Now look at it. Who wouldn’t have some anger when they actually get on the plane. And what’s the difference? I would argue being treated like a human being versus being treated like a unit to be handled. Now think about the experience when you had a problem with a product or service in the past. You started out with a certain amount of anger, but then you went to the store, or called on the phone, and the people, for the most part, were trained to treat you well and to be helpful. But you were always greeted by a human voice or an actual person. That initial touch of humanity, right at the beginning, is a huge psychological thing, it may ring the mom or dad bell deep down inside. Now, look at what we have? We start out angry and are made even more angry by the literally inhuman treatment we receive before we can possibly get to a human being.
This is repetitively psychologically costly to us as individuals, but here’s the thing, I think, it would be costly to companies to go back to the old system, unless the company is as big and monolithic as Amazon, who has a terrific human call center. But for the most part, I doubt the vast majority of business can actually afford to re-humanize their businesses. Just like it is doubtful newspapers can stop the incursion of AI to write news articles for the papers and add, not subtract reporters (and it won’t be just newspapers, the news services on the Internet will/are adopting similar models).
It goes back to Maslow too. As a culture, and as individuals, we are regressing in meeting nearly every category of Maslow’s needs So, of course we can’t be rational — we’re too hungry for the basic stuff.
So, this is what I missed before in my Brexit/AI essay. I framed Maslow largely in terms of the need to work. But the flip side, or something, is I think we need humans on the other side of a lot of common interactions, that we’ve taken for granted because these tasks have always been done by humans. Supplanting machines for humans will not meet our psychological needs unless, or until, our psychological needs change to accept machines for where humans once were. It’s not the world either of us want for ourselves. Fortunately, we can mostly avoid it, but it will become increasingly difficult to do so as time marches on.
And so….. I had literally put my head on the pillow, turned off the light, and then it hit me, could be wrong, but not all that wrong: Who’s the robot in this election? – Hillary. Who’s the pandering human in this election? – The Donald. Maslow could decide this election. At the very least, to answer Hillary’s question: This is a large part of why she isn’t up by 50 points in this election. For all his flaws, and everything else, and perhaps because of it, Trump is so much more human than Hillary, at least as they are projecting themselves to the electorate. Humans love. Humans hate. Humans say and do all kinds of conflicted, dumb things ALL THE TIME. And humans forgive dumb, stupid, hateful things ALL THE TIME. Hillary did with Bubba. Huma did with Anthony until he just crossed the line too far. I think the people, and certainly a whole lot of the people, want a human, even at what appears, presently, to be a severe cost.
3. THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ENDORSEMENT
BY EDITORIAL BOARD, THE REPUBLIC, AZCENTRAL.COM, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016
Since The Arizona Republic began publication in 1890, we have never endorsed a Democrat over a Republican for president Never. This reflects a deep philosophical appreciation for conservative ideals and Republican principles.
This year is different.
The 2016 Republican candidate is not conservative and he is not qualified.
That’s why, for the first time in our history, The Arizona Republic will support a Democrat for president.
What Clinton has (and Trump doesn’t)
The challenges the United States faces domestically and internationally demand a steady hand, a cool head and the ability to think carefully before acting.
Hillary Clinton understands this. Donald Trump does not.
Clinton has the temperament and experience to be president. Donald Trump does not.
Clinton knows how to compromise and to lead with intelligence, decorum and perspective. She has a record of public service as First Lady, senator and secretary of state.
She has withstood decades of scrutiny so intense it would wither most politicians. The vehemence of some of the anti-Clinton attacks strains credulity.
Trump hasn’t even let the American people scrutinize his tax returns which could help the nation judge his claims of business acumen.
Her flaws pale in comparison
The Arizona Republic never endorsed a Democrat for president from 1892 to 2012. Here’s who the newspaper supported in general-election contests and why: (Research courtesy of author Bob Nelson and state historian Jack August) Photo illustration by The Republic
Make no mistake: Hillary Clinton has flaws. She has made serious missteps.
Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of State was a mistake, as she has acknowledged. Donations to the Clinton Foundation while she was secretary of State raise concerns that donors were hoping to buy access Though there is no evidence of wrongdoing, she should have put up a firewall.
Yet despite her flaws, Clinton is the superior choice.
She does not casually say things that embolden our adversaries and frighten our allies. Her approach to governance is mature, confident and rational.
That cannot be said of her opponent.
Clinton retains her composure under pressure. She’s tough. She doesn’t back down.
Trump responds to criticism with the petulance of verbal spit wads.
That’s beneath our national dignity.
When the president of the United States speaks, the world expects substance. Not a blistering tweet.
Whose hand do you want on the nuclear button?
Hillary Clinton knows the issues, history and facts. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
Clinton has argued America’s case before friendly and unfriendly foreign leaders with tenacity, diplomacy and skill. She earned respect by knowing the issues, the history and the facts.
She is intimately familiar with the challenges we face in our relations with Russia, China, the Middle East, North Korea and elsewhere. She’ll stand by our friends and she’s not afraid to confront our enemies.
Contrast Clinton’s tenacity and professionalism with Trump, who began his campaign with gross generalities about Mexico and Mexicans as criminals and rapists These were careless slaps at a valued trading partner and Arizona’s neighbor. They were thoughtless insults about people whose labor and energy enrich our country.
Trump demonstrated his clumsiness on the world stage by making nice with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto only a few hours before appearing in Phoenix to deliver yet another rant about Mexican immigrants and border walls.
Arizona’s been there on immigration (it doesn’t work)
What’s more, Arizona went down the hardline immigration road Trump travels. It led our state to SB 1070, the 2010 “show me your papers” law that earned Arizona international condemnation and did nothing to resolve real problems with undocumented immigration.
Arizona understands that we don’t need a repeat of that divisive, unproductive fiasco on the national level. A recent poll shows Arizonans oppose both more walls and the mass deportations Trump endorses.
We need a president who can broker solutions.
Clinton calls for comprehensive immigration reform, a goal that business, faith and law enforcement leaders have sought for years. Her support for a pathway to citizenship and her call for compassion for families torn apart by deportation are consistent with her longtime support for human rights.
Clinton’s equality vs. Trump’s lack of respect
Hillary Clinton has made a career fighting for gender
As secretary of state, Clinton made gender equality a priority for U.S. foreign policy. This is an extension of Clinton’s bold “women’s rights are human rights” speech in 1995.
It reflects an understanding that America’s commitment to human rights is a critically needed beacon in today’s troubled world.
Trump’s long history of objectifying women and his demeaning comments about women during the campaign are not just good-old-boy gaffes.
They are evidence of deep character flaws. They are part of a pattern.
Trump mocked a reporter’s physical handicap Picked a fight with a Gold Star family Insulted POWs Suggested a Latino judge can’t be fair because of his heritage. Proposed banning Muslim immigration.
Each of those comments show a stunning lack of human decency, empathy and respect. Taken together they reveal a candidate who doesn’t grasp our national ideals.
A centrist or a wild card?
Many Republicans understand this. But they shudder at the thought of Hillary Clinton naming Supreme Court justices. So they stick with Trump. We get that. But we ask them to see Trump for what he is — and what he is not.
Trump’s conversion to conservatism is recent and unconvincing. There is no guarantee he will name solid conservatives to the Supreme Court.
Hillary Clinton has long been a centrist. Despite her tack left to woo Bernie Sanders supporters, Clinton retains her centrist roots. Her justices might not be in the mold of Antonin Scalia, but they will be accomplished individuals with the experience, education and intelligence to handle the job.
They will be competent. Just as she is competent.
If a candidate can’t control his words
Never in its 126-year history has The Arizona Republic editorial board endorsed a Democratic presidential candidate over a Republican.
Trump’s inability to control himself or be controlled by others represents a real threat to our national security. His recent efforts to stay on script are not reassuring. They are phony.
The president commands our nuclear arsenal. Trump can’t command his own rhetoric.
Were he to become president, his casual remarks — such as saying he wouldn’t defend NATO partners from invasion — could have devastating consequences.
Trump has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin a thug who has made it clear he wants to expand Russia’s international footprint.
Trump suggested Russia engage in espionage against Hillary Clinton — an outrageous statement that he later insisted was meant in jest.
Trump said President Obama and Hillary Clinton were “co-founders” of ISIS then walked that back by saying it was sarcasm.
It was reckless.
Being the leader of the free world requires a sense of propriety that Trump lacks.
Clinton’s opportunity to heal this nation
We understand that Trump’s candidacy tapped a deep discontent among those who feel left behind by a changed economy and shifting demographics.
Their concerns deserve to be discussed with respect.
Ironically, Trump hasn’t done that. He has merely pandered. Instead of offering solutions, he hangs scapegoats like piñatas and invites people to take a swing.
In a nation with an increasingly diverse population, Trump offers a recipe for permanent civil discord.
In a global economy, he offers protectionism and a false promise to bring back jobs that no longer exist.
America needs to look ahead and build a new era of prosperity for the working class.
This is Hillary Clinton’s opportunity. She can reach out to those who feel left behind. She can make it clear that America sees them and will address their concerns.
She can move us beyond rancor and incivility.
The Arizona Republic endorses Hillary Clinton for president.
4. TRUMP’S RISE REFLECTS AMERICA’S DECLINE
BY GEORGE WILL, NEWSMAX, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016
Looking on the bright side, perhaps this election can teach conservatives to look on the dark side. They need a talent for pessimism, recognizing the signs that whatever remains of American exceptionalism does not immunize this nation from decay, to which all regimes are susceptible.
The world’s oldest political party is an exhausted volcano, the intellectual staleness of its recycled candidate unchallenged because a generation of younger Democratic leaders barely exists. The Republican Party’s candidate evidently disdains his credulous supporters who continue to swallow his mendacities. About 90 percent of presidential votes will be cast for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, refuting the theory that this is a center-right country. At the risk of taking Trump’s words more seriously than he does, on some matters he is to Clinton’s left regarding big government powered by an unbridled presidency.
His trade policy is liberalism’s “industrial policy” repackaged for faux conservatives comfortable with presidents dictating what Americans can import and purchase at what prices, and where U.S. corporations can operate. Trump “wouldn’t approve” Ford manufacturing cars in Mexico. He would create a federal police force to deport 450,000 illegal immigrants a month, including 6.4 percent of America’s workforce in two years. Yet the 25 million jobs he promises to create would require more than doubling the current rate of legal immigration to fill them, according to economist Mark Zandi. Of the Supreme Court’s 2005 Kelo decision diluting property rights by vastly expanding government’s powers of eminent domain, Trump says, “I happen to agree with it 100 percent.” Even Bernie Sanders rejects Kelo.
When Trump says “people are not making it on Social Security,” he implies that people should be able to “make it” on Social Security for a third or more of their lives, and that he, like Clinton, is for enriching this entitlement’s benefits. He will “save” the system by eliminating — wait for it — “waste, fraud and abuse.” Trump is as parsimonious with specifics regarding health care (“Plans you don’t even know about will be devised because we’re going to come up with plans — health care plans — that will be so good”) as regarding foreign policy (“I would get China, and I would say, ‘Get in [North Korea], and straighten it out'”).
“Charismatic authority,” wrote Max Weber in 1915, seven years before Mussolini’s march on Rome, causes the governed to submit “because of their belief in the extraordinary quality of the specific person . . . Charismatic rule thus rests upon the belief in magical powers, revelations and hero worship.” A demagogue’s success requires a receptive demos, and Trump’s ascendancy reflects progressivism’s success in changing America’s social norms and national character by de-stigmatizing dependency.
Under his presidency, he says, government will have all the answers: “I am your voice . . . I alone can fix it.” The pronoun has unlimited antecedents: “I will give you everything. I will give you what you’ve been looking for for 50 years. I’m the only one.”
Urban without a trace of urbanity, Trump has surrounded himself with star-struck acolytes (Mike Pence marvels at Trump’s anatomical — “broad-shouldered” — foreign policy) and hysterics (Rudy Giuliani: “There is no next election! This is it!”). When Ferdinand VII regained Spain’s throne in 1813 he vowed to end “the disastrous mania of thinking.” Trump is America’s Ferdinand.
The American project was to construct a constitutional regime whose institutional architecture would guarantee the limited government implied by the Founders’ philosophy: Government is instituted to “secure” (the Declaration of Independence) pre-existing natural rights. Today, however, neither the executive nor legislative branches takes this seriously, the judiciary has forsworn enforcing it, and neither political party represents it because no substantial constituency supports it.
The ease with which Trump has erased Republican conservatism matches the speed with which Republican leaders have normalized him. For the formerly conservative party, the Founders’ principles, although platitudes in the party’s catechism, have become, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, “a kind of civic religion, avowed but not constraining.”
The beginning of conservative wisdom is recognition that there is an end to everything: Nothing lasts. If Trump wins, the GOP ends as a vehicle for conservatism. And a political idea without a political party is an orphan in an indifferent world.
Pessimism need not breed fatalism or passivity. It can define an agenda of regeneration, but only by being clear-eyed about the extent of degeneration, which a charlatan’s successful selling of his fabulousness exemplifies. Conservatism’s recovery from his piratical capture of the conservative party will require facing unflattering facts about a country that currently is indifferent to its founding.
5. THIS MONTH’S LINKS:
A FLYOVER OF APPLE’S SPACESHIP CAMPUS…
KIDS REACT TO CHEERIOS COMMERCIAL…
THE WORLD’S MOST CREATVE STATUES & SCUPLTURES…
WHITE FRAGILITY WORKPLACE TRAINING VIDEO
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