Californians paralyzed by Trump hatred

“Can You Still #Resist When Your State’s on Fire?” (nytimes) is an interesting window into the thinking of the West Coast Righteous:

There’s something about the situation here this season that seems like a stage set for the current political moment: fires raging, a giant company, PG&E, responsible for so much of the death and destruction; the incredible salaries and compensation of that company’s executives, the huge shareholder dividends; the company’s decision to create giant blackouts for millions of people, presumably while it fixes the negligence that caused the problem in the first place. And all this, with 59,000 people living homeless in Los Angeles. This is the apocalyptic backdrop against which, it seems to many of us here, President Trump is trying to destroy the planet in so many ways. Of course, the builders of this set predate the Trump administration, but the script playing out on the set — the underlying themes and angles and shots — fits well with his direction.

One way to make sure the homeless don’t end up starting fires might be to house them, which Los Angeles has not figured out how to do.

Meanwhile, all my neighbors are in the “resistance” against Mr. Trump and his policies.

Or putting together events in their backyards to fund-raise for various Democratic candidates and for important causes like reproductive rights, climate change initiatives, homeless housing and criminal justice reforms.

All of the problems mentioned by the author are ones that can be addressed without interacting with the federal government and the hated Trumpenfuhrer. California can build apartments for those currently homeless, run new power lines, pay people $10,000 for each abortion that they want to have (“reproductive rights”; note that selling an abortion privately in California can be substantially more lucrative), and open its prisons (“criminal justice reforms”).

[Note that California state prisons hold roughly half as many prisons as the federal government holds nationwide. These 115,000 victims of an unreformed criminal justice system are guarded by folks who earn more than Harvard graduates at a cost that exceeds tuition, room, and board at Harvard.]

Yet instead of getting together to create state programs to solve all of the problems that they say they’re concerned about (voting to tax themselves as necessary to pay for the new programs), Californians invest their time and energy complaining about a guy who is 3,000 miles away.

Tom Steyer, the billionaire running for the Democratic presidential nomination currently, is a good example of this way of thinking. He’s pledged to give half of his money to charity (i.e., he’s pledged not to pay state or federal tax on half of the money he has earned). Why wouldn’t he instead build some apartment buildings in California and give away half the units to those currently homeless?


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Protests against Trump are really protests against non-elite voters?

“1, 2, 3, 4, Trump Can’t Rule Us Anymore: With impeachment looming, it’s time to take to the streets again.” (NYT, October 21, 2019):

All over the world right now, outraged citizens are taking to the streets. Mass protests in Hong Kong have been going on for months, at one point drawing about a quarter of the territory’s population.

So as Donald Trump’s sneering lawlessness and stupefying corruption continue to escalate, it’s confounding, at least to me, that Americans aren’t taking to the streets en masse.

“Want Trump to Go? Take to the Streets: Another moment for public protest has arrived.” (NYT, a day earlier), by David Leonhardt, “a former Washington bureau chief for the Times”:

Fortunately, some progressives understood that politics isn’t only an inside game. The outside game — of public protest and grass-roots lobbying — matters, too. … On the day after Trump’s inauguration, some four million Americans took to the streets for Women’s Marches …

Do you remember the images showing throngs of people taking to the streets for the Women’s March? The size of the crowds, especially compared with Trump’s inauguration, reinforced the fact that most Americans rejected Trumpism.

The comments to these articles are packed with complaints that 48 percent of Americans elected the object of the proposed protests and sometimes express contempt for these 48 percent, e.g., as believing Christians, racists, etc.

Since the people who voted for Trump still support him, isn’t the proposed protest best understood as by coastal elites against the non-elites whose right to vote they forgot to take away? (and the protest is against the non-elites being able to vote in what they perceive to be their own interests)

Why use Trump as a scapegoat? If people who live in New York City feel oppressed by those who live and vote in Georgia, Iowa, Wisconsin, etc., shouldn’t they be able to name their true oppressors and protest against them? Maybe demand that voting be restricted to those with a liberal arts degree! Why should people without college-level training in the humanities be choosing a government?


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U.S. southern border versus Syrian northern border

Facebook is alive with outrage regarding Donald Trump’s scaling back of our military involvement what will soon be the 9th year of the Syrian Civil War.

The same people who demanded the abolition of ICE and the pulling back of armed U.S. forces patrolling the U.S. southern border are demanding that armed U.S. forces patrol the Syrian northern border. The people who advocate for a wave of migration from Central America into the U.S. are opposed to a wave of re-migration of Syrians currently in Turkey back across the northern border into their original home (map from the BBC, which says “Turkey launched the offensive in northern Syria a week ago to push back from its border members of a Syrian Kurdish militia called the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and create a ‘safe zone’ along the Syrian side of the border, where up to two million Syrian refugees can be resettled.”

Readers: Is Trump wrong? Should we spend the next 10-20 years patrolling the Syrian border and trying to keep our NATO ally Turkey (population 80 million) from doing what it deems prudent in its immediate neighborhood?

[If Elizabeth Warren prevails in 2020, will she solve both of these problems by relocating U.S. Border Patrol forces over to northern Syria?]

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Trump is building a wall for only $64 million and in only two years

From a recent trip to Washington, D.C.:

A large swath of recently public space (used by both tourists and protesters) has been blocked off and is now patrolled by assault rifle-toting guards. Part of this is associated with the construction of a new fence around the White House. The 3,500′ fence will, if there are no overruns, cost $64 million and take approximately two years (AP).

What if the the southern U.S. border fence were completed in this fashion? The White House fence is 0.66 miles long, so the cost will be approximately $100 million per mile. Wikipedia says that 649 miles of the 1,954-mile border is currently fenced. So if the same techniques were used down in Texas and New Mexico, we would be doing 1,305 miles at $100 million per mile, which comes out to a fairly reasonable $130 billion (a couple of months of spending on public housing and Medicaid?).

[Trump cannot take all of the credit for this achievement. The Feds say that planning began in 2014.]

The citizen in the photo above holds a “Hate Won’t Make America Great” sign, but the souvenir vendors a block away apparently disagree:

[Nancy Pelosi said that it was “immoral” to build a more extensive border fence (but the current 649 miles did not have to be dismantled, apparently, because those are the moral miles of fence?). If a Democrat wins the White House in 2020, will this $64 million project be abandoned?]

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Greenlanders and Trump

After Trump was elected, a friend said “If Trump proposes any cuts to the military, Democrats will demand a 600-ship navy.” In that same vein, while I was traveling around Greenland in preparation for a Northwest Passage cruise, my Facebook friends were defending continued white European colonialism in Greenland following Trump’s offer to purchase the island from Denmark.

What does Greenland look like? Here’s Sisimiut, one of the largest cities, population 5,500 (10 percent of the island’s total population):

Danish colonial rule was legitimized (at least by the Klaboona) in the 1930s. History from the museum in Ilulissat (posited source of the glacier that sunk Titanic):

What did Greenland residents think of the Trump offer? I asked everyone whom I met during August 2019 visits to Kangerlussuaq, Ilulissat, Sisimiut, and Itilleq. There was a huge amount of enthusiasm for continued Danish rule… among those who were actually Danish, e.g., an art museum director who was born in Copenhagen to Danish parents and emigrated to Greenland roughly 25 years ago. There was zero enthusiasm for continued Danish rule among those whose heritage was “Greenlandic” (Eskimo/Inuit). People of mixed genetic heritage had a mixed opinion.

One Greenlandic gal noted “the Danes never thought about doing anything for us until Trump made his offer.” The Danes living in Denmark with whom I spoke considered the offer in “What can Greenland do for us?” terms, e.g., what were the value of the minerals that could potentially be mined. They did not mention any consideration of whether Greenlandic folks would be better or worse off under the cruel boot of the Trumpenfuhrer.

Thus, based on my sample of roughly 40 individuals, native Greenlandic folks have the same affection for European colonialism that Native Americans do for European-American immigrants.

My notes from watching short documentaries on Air Greenland (nice airline) during the inbound flight:

People want to fight the Danish and be independent. Yet young people move to Denmark. Young people leave smaller Greenland towns for Nuuk. It is a huge waste of time for Greenland kids to learn Danish; they could be a lot more integrated with the world economy if they learned English instead.

Acknowledgement that they are financially dependent on Denmark, but expressed hope that they can be self-reliant as in the past. Why aren’t the fishing rights lucrative enough for independence ? Plenty of cod back in Viking times.

Why do they have alcohol? Much coverage in the tourist promotional videos of the damage done by alcoholism. Young woman beat up a number of other girls at a bar. Had no memory and no reason to have attacked any of them. Sentenced to 70 hours community service. Industrial cheap alcohol in a place where the sun doesn’t rise for 6 months?

Some photos from the in-flight magazine and seatback video:

Note that helicopters are included within the category of “aeroplanes.” In case you were considering signing up for a dogsled ride, “Travelling with dogs is a sensual experience that penetrates travellers – and remains there”. Mira Kleist, a young diplomat, gives advice to teenagers that might not make sense in the digital age: “Just do what you want to, people soon forget.” (But Google, Facebook, and remember, as anyone whose Harvard acceptance has been rescinded can attest.)


  • “Greenland’s exit warning to Britain” (Politico), regarding the three-year process (1982-1985) required for an island of 56,000 population to leave the European Union. (one fun thing to do on the cruise, whenever the English passengers started to talk about Brexit, was to ask Norwegians at the table if Norway would like to join the EU, a proposal that was greeted with howls of derisive laughter)
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Why do Democrats want to impeach Kavanaugh?

“Calls for Kavanaugh’s Impeachment Come Amid New Misconduct Allegations” (nytimes):

Several Democratic presidential candidates called for the impeachment of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh on Sunday after The New York Times published new information about allegations of sexual misconduct against him, while Republican leaders condemned the reporting as irresponsible and defended him.

“These newest revelations are disturbing,” Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts wrote on Twitter about The Times essay. “Like the man who appointed him, Kavanaugh should be impeached.”

Kamala Harris, a Democratic senator from California and a member of the Senate committee that presided over his confirmation hearings, on Twitter echoed the call for impeachment.

I don’t understand what Democrats would gain if the two proposed impeachments were successful. Trump gets replaced by Pence, right? Wouldn’t that just set Pence up for a 9-year presidency? Similarly, if Kavanaugh were to be impeached, wouldn’t Trump (or Pence, in the Democrats’ ideal world!) simply appoint an equally conservative replacement? If the replacement happens to identify as a woman, e.g., Amy Coney Barrett, then the current standard playbook couldn’t be used.

(I personally would be happy if Kavanaugh were gone, since he has admitted to being “proud” of having practiced sex discrimination in hiring (nytimes: “I am proud that a majority of my law clerks have been women.”). I don’t understand how the U.S. can have a gender-neutral legal environment when judges brag about not treating all 52 (54?) genders equally.)

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Making America Great with a German Helicopter

Democrats will debate tonight, presumably seeing whose empty unfunded promises can come closest to what Hugo Chavez promised voters.

What do Trump supporters have? At Oshkosh, we saw the Trump Chopper: Turning Washington Upside Down. What does it take to make (keep?) America Great? A Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo 105!

Everything is right-side up on one side and upside down on the other. This includes the tail number(!):

Watch the videos on The machine does aerobatics, just like the Red Bull BO-105.

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Religious dogma of the Church of Trump Hatred

A Facebook friend’s post:

The upcoming US election is unlike any other. … This is not a normal election. This is a national emergency. It cancels the usual rules. … [some ideas for what Democrats should do] … Then, once the gross course correction is attained, away from the Trump course of authoritarian, corrupt, nationalistic, lie/propaganda/fear/polarization based government, we can go back to deciding how liberal or conservative our policies on 100 matters should be.

Right away from this coastal elite Democrat, scornful of religious Americans who accept dogma uncritically, we can see Millenarianism:

the belief by a religious, social, or political group or movement in a coming fundamental transformation of society, after which “all things will be changed”

Of course, I couldn’t resist a simple question:

How has the stock market done during this 2.5-year “national emergency”?

I.e., why wouldn’t investors take 60 seconds to sell U.S. stocks and buy non-U.S. stocks, rather than stick around for the “national emergency” and see whether Dictator Trump would confiscate their assets, just as other dictators have done in the past? Why would foreigners continue to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in the U.S. (some stats)?

The answer turned out to be, ultimately, that any question regarding whether Trump being in the White House constituted a “national emergency” was “off topic”.

If we regard Trump hatred as a religion, ideas that cannot be questioned or examined rationally would be part of the dogma.

Separately, the other day I photographed stickers on an aircraft mechanic’s toolbox:

I posted them on Facebook, noting that they had come from a mechanic’s toolbox, and a guy who lives in Manhattan and draws his paycheck from the refugee industry responded with “Who gives a fuck” (a good summary of Democrats with regard to native-born guys who work hard at skilled blue collar jobs?). I think this is evidence for my Dutch friend’s observation regarding American elites, blue collar whites, and Trump’s election: “They forgot to take away their right to vote.”

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Believing in both a benevolent God and Trump in the White House

A virtuous Facebook friend posted “Have We No Decency? A Response to President Trump” from three reverends (Right, Very, and Plain) at the National Cathedral.

The content is conventional:

The escalation of racialized rhetoric from the President of the United States has evoked responses from all sides of the political spectrum. On one side, African American leaders have led the way in rightfully expressing outrage. On the other, those aligned with the President seek to downplay the racial overtones of his attacks, or remain silent.

But the authors are presumably believers in a benevolent and omnipotent God. Here was my response:

If God hates Trump (and why wouldn’t she?), why did God allow Trump to be elected?

I’m wondering how it is possible for this trio of reverends to simultaneously believe in their powerful and benevolent God and also in the existence of President Trump.

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How many people would spend 19 hours listening to the Mueller Report?

One of the great things about the Internet is that we can answer the question How many people would spend 19 hours listening to the Mueller Report?

The Audible version of the Mueller Report has 480 ratings!

(I recently talked to a couple of intelligent well-educated sisters. They believed that the Mueller Report proved that Donald Trump was an arch-criminal, that he would be prosecuted and imprisoned if he were not a sitting president, and that if they could only get hold of his tax returns it would prove that he was involved in “money-laundering”. Despite their passion, I don’t think that they had read every page of the report, much less invested half a work week in listening.)

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