Why Americans believe Trump’s worst conspiracy theories.

“Instead, we have become accustomed to the idea that political debate must be, at least in theory, related to reality. But other nations have not been so lucky. When conspiracy theorists actually run the government, they can do enormous damage, diverting public funds and institutions to cope with imaginary threats. Srdja Popovic, a Serbian activist who helped overthrow the authoritarian leader Slobodan Milosevic, has reminisced about the day he switched on the television and learned of a “high-level CIA conspiracy to overthrow Milosevic by using well-paid student activists,” among them himself. Much later, he learned that police really were spending time and money searching the world for the international headquarters of his movement. In fact, it was in his parents’ living room in central Belgrade. In the Soviet Union, that kind of thinking led to mass murder.”  For more go here:

via Why Americans believe Trump’s worst conspiracy theories..

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Tramp, Tramp, Tramp the Trump Beats Go On

Aren’t you tired of it all: the waving hand, the petulant demeanor, the mindless cant, the absurdity, the embarrassment and on it goes?  I try to imagine a President Trump seated around a table with Cameron of Britain, King Abdullah of Jordan, Merkel of Germany and I am embarrassed for my country. I cannot conceive of Trump with a finger poised and hovering over the big red button.

In a President I want thoughtfulness, patience, a cool mind — maybe even a modicum of warmth.  Not in this guy.  I want a real life manifestation of Michael Douglas as the American President. I want courage over foolhardiness. Above all, I do not want a cynic in the White House.

Tired, oh so tired of this quadrennial spectacle.

David Milliken

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Robert Reich: In today’s GOP, Social Darwinism reborn – Baltimore Sun

“Millionaires are the product of natural selection, acting on the whole body of men to pick out those who can meet the requirement of certain work to be done. It is because they are thus selected that wealth aggregates under their hands — both their own and that intrusted to them. They may fairly be regarded as the naturally selected agents of society.”  — William Graham Sumner

via Robert Reich: In today’s GOP, Social Darwinism reborn – Baltimore Sun.

The Tortoise still frets about the notion of social Darwinism.  After all, a Chelonian who takes advantage of his natural camouflage and finds ways to hide from danger which she senses through vibration may well live to be 100. That’s productive and makes for more tortoises. However, the great tortoises are endangered.  More and more, these animals which are fit to survive in their natural habitat are not so fit in man’s habitat. A trip to the sunny meadow, if it involves crossing a highway or street, can mean certain squashing death by automobile tire.

In terms of laissez faire my grandfather did a fine job of founding a company in 1929, a company that survives today into a fifth generation.  Grandfather really never saw the day when the company finally succeeded, but his descendants have.  So I guess Grandfather and his progeny have been economically fit.  The small company has survived by cautious expansion and product development as the need arose to survive obsolescence.  I do not believe the company has ever been cutthroat or greedy and yet it has survived where competitors have gone extinct.  True, technology has dramatically reduced the number employed, but the company goes on — providing college and opportunity for others.

I also believe that like tortoise survival, there’s also a lot of plain old luck involved when no powerful competitor comes along to squash the company dead in the road — that and the fact that the company has always, like a good tortoise, maintained its “hide” and stuck to the basics.  Where it was intended to survive on herbs, it has never developed a taste for meat.

So when I think of free enterprise, capitalism and the American way this is the industry I think of.  I do not believe that my grandfather or his descendants were more fit to live than any other person born of woman. Nor do I think their calling in life was particularly more worthy than teaching, social working, policing, fire fighting or writing poetry — unless, of course, worth is solely a matter of material success.

I know that the name of Robert Reich , means ultra-liberal to many, especially since he comes from UC-Berkeley.  And yet, the link attached needs to be consulted.  In short I might be persuaded that millionaires are the “the naturally selected agents of society,” and as such even the vaunted Job Creators who are selected “for certain work” to be done.”

But why then is the Tortoise still worried that without a decent social safety net in the public interest, good old capitalism will run amuck again as it just did in the last twenty years.  And the lower species will wind up with another bail out — AGAIN.  Tortoise fears the human species will sink into its same old habits and make more tortoise soup from an endangered species, i.e. the middle class taxpayer.  Once more, they might forget the wealth entrusted to them.

I believe that Warren Buffett creates new jobs, because I have seen evidence.  If I could really see more of it, and hear fewer excuses like overmuch regulation and taxes, I might believe again. Maybe I need to visit China to see those jobs. The Tortoise wants value-added capitalism that creates good jobs at home, not just another low-paying service wage. Right now Tortoise knows that she and the millionaires don’t share the same habitat. She wonders if they even value hers.

Steadfast and cautious,

David Milliken

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The Trump and the Hare

In Chelonia where I live we don’t see  Trump-like characters.  There’s not a blow hard among us. I mean look at our natures.  We’re built to be wary, inconspicuous, ready at any moment to survive another day by pulling head and limbs into our shells, hoping our camouflage will cause us to be over looked. We’re like the group of cautious Americans David Brooks cited recently (NYT 4-19-11). Billions of net worth does not permit us to offend whomever we choose and with abandon. We have bosses and voters to ingratiate.

Brooks says he would never vote for Trump, but that he would also not want to live in a country without people like Trump.  Well, perhaps, if we could only confine them to Texas.  I suppose Brooks means he wants to live in a place where a Trump can do his entrepreneurial thing with all the promise of trickle down.  Well, yes, we have to have our Vanderbilts and Carnegies, but at least they built railroads and steel mills.   But Trump is a real estate broker, a tycoon of the real estate “industry.”

The Trump is no hare in the sense that he will loose for snoozing while  more methodical, industrious, dull drones pass him by.  However, The Trump epitomizes narcissistic ego that goes amuck regularly.  He’s a man so confident and vain that he knows he can bamboozle the Chinese into submission with tariffs and quotas.

The hare didn’t lose the race because he lacked the savvy, guts and skills to succeed.  He lost the race because of flawed character.  Brooks refers to Trumps’ boyishness.  Agreed, the man is the quintessential boy-man, a particular kind of American archetype.  Trump captures something else peculiarly American — by any means make the sale.  Change the pitch to sell the house regardless of whether your mark can afford it or the block needs your development.  The sale!  Make the sale!

Our country would be the loser without sales people.  We also are the loser when we forget caveat emptor.  That vigilance is the only defense against greed as we forgot when enterprising capitalists pawned away low-interest homes at inflated prices — quite an industry, “real” estate.

We tortoises have our own camouflage and so does The Trump.  Camouflage is a kind of specialized facade for self-protection.  Camouflage deceives for both offense and defense. It covers something up and hides an identity.  No, Donald Trump doesn’t belong in the White House.  He’s not fit for command.

Cautious and steadfast,

The Tortoise



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