Thursday, September 29, 2016

Fact checking the Debate, part II

Following up on my earlier post -- Fact-checking the first presidential debate....

Donald Trump railed about “jobs” leaving states like Michigan and Ohio. But unemployment in Michigan and Ohio is  down to 4.5%, excellent and below the national average. Ford is sending work to its Mexican factories building cheap, small cars. But small car production is always destined to go overseas and the fast-rising Mexican middle class buy our goods.  Meanwhile those Michigan factories are being retooled to make profitable larger vehicles and no Ford US jobs are lost. 

Also regarding jobs: For comparison: jobs added per year was strongest under Bill Clinton (2.8 million), followed by Carter (2.6 million), Reagan (2 million), Obama (1.3 million as of January, in much more challenging times.) And the record worst performers? H.W. Bush (659,000), and W. Bush (160,000).  Which raises yet again the judo challenge that HC should demand:

"Why at your party's recent convention was there no mention of the most recent GOP presidents? Nor the hames Cheney, Hastert, DeLay, Boehner, Ailes, or any other Republican leaders between Reagan and Ryan? Ashamed, a little?" 

Name a major metric of US national health that does not do better across the span of democratic administrations. As I show very clearly here. And yes, that includes fiscal responsibility.  Why leave the American voters assuming the polemic that Republicans are better on debt? When the opposite is true.

Here’s another of those judo challenges. Is Hillary aware (she has to be) that one of the most electrifying moments of her DNC acceptance speech was when she shouted “I believe in science”? Beyond science, name one - just one - knowledge profession that the Foxite cult is not waging war against. Every profession of skill and knowledge in American life, from teachers and journalists to economists, medical doctors... name an exception!

But yes, Donald Trump has repeatedly called Climate Change a “hoax” and helped egg on the War on Science.  The US Navy has issued many reports expressing worry and asking for more money to prepare for an ice-free Arctic. But this is not just Trump! It should be used as an attack against the Republican congressional establishment.

== Added debate fact-checks ==

The nerve of the guy, to raise the issue of our bridges and roads and infrastructure collapsing, when it is the GOP run Congress that has blocked infrastructure bills for a generation. And some have openly admitted that it is because the resulting economic stimulation would benefit a democratic president.  That is called treason.

DT: “NAFTA is the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere but certainly ever signed in this country.”

Oh what nonsense drivel. As Marilyn Geewax points out: ‘Most studies show NAFTA had a relatively small impact on the U.S. economy. "NAFTA did not cause the huge job losses feared by the critics or the large economic gains predicted by supporters. The net overall effect of NAFTA on the U.S. economy appears to have been relatively modest," according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.’

But that is myopic.  True, NAFTA’s short term effects on the U.S. have been fairly minimal. But the same is not true of its effects on Mexico, whose skyrocketing middle class is directly attributable to NAFTA.  And a prosperous, middle class Mexico is among the 21st Century events that US citizens should most desire, offering fantastic benefits in both trade and security, downstream. No one mentions this, because pundits do not think Americans are capable of understanding the concept of a positive sum, win-win game.

But moving on… the birther lunacy shows how deeply into madness some of our countrymen have plunged. Alas, while the news media has let itself be lured by DT into talking about birth certificates, it’s been easy for racist dopes to convince themselves that such a document can be faked.  

So it puzzles me why no one mentions how dozens of copies of the August 4, 1961 edition of the Honolulu Advertiser keep turning up in garages all over Oahu, containing the birth announcement of Barack Obama. Please tell us how he faked that -- such super powers. Please tell us, oh hypocrites who happily ignored Ted Cruz being born in Canada.

Oh, but the nonsense keeps on fizzing. DT: “We should have taken the oil” from Iraq."

Really.  Wage war against the country we just ‘liberated’? Really.  In fact, the last 70 years has featured more (if imperfect) peace and prosperity than any span across the existence of our species, largely because (1) Pax Americana kept that peace, and (2) we deliberately - in the late 1940s - did the opposite of the “winner takes the spoils.” The first conquering empire to be generous instead of rapacious.  It has worked.  Like scores of mature decisions that confederates and Trump now revile and abjure.

Trump was more on-target pointing out that the Obama Administration did poorly preparing the Iraqi military to resist ISIS and handling the aftermath to the ousting of Khaddafi in Libya.  These were foreign policy disasters… though the former was 90% a product of stunning incompetence by the Bush Administration, which left an Iraq so hostile to the US that we had to pull all forces. It was not our choice.

Trump is also right that NATO partners should shoulder more of the burden of their own defense.  This is already starting to happen, in part because of miscalculations by DT’s bromance partner Vladimir Putin. What’s not helpful is screaming at the most successful alliance in the history of the world.

The gall of attacking the state of U.S. military readiness is almost as astonishing as the fact that no fact-checker called Trump out about this. Let’s be extremely clear. 

At the end of either Bush Administration, not a single major US Army unit was “fully combat ready” and in both cases the Army reserves were almost destroyed. In sharp contrast, by the end of the Clinton and Obama administrations, every single major US Army unit was “fully combat ready”. The reserves have been repaired. And the US military is presently undergoing the quickest and most thorough modernization in its history.

Defense, like crime and fiscal responsibility, should not be left alone as some bulwark assumption of Republican superiority. They are not better at defense.  Not even remotely.

Despite that, Trump made a good point about North Korea.

The payments to Iran though, were simply returning to them their own money, of which we had free use for more than 30 years.

Trump claimed a “hundred generals and admirals” support him.  Ahem. Those are retired generals and admirals, and proclaiming this so loudly was not patriotic. We do not need even a scintilla of support for any image – ever – of partisanship by the officer caste. 

I do know that more retired generals and admirals support Clinton, by far.  But in this case she’s wise to be reticent and leave it a demure and understated thing. 

Let me be clear. The aspect that generals and admirals and admirals dread most about a Trump presidency – other than a return to Republican doctrines of war (see that laid out here)

…is the very high likelihood that a President Trump would rashly force our flag officers into choices between obedience to the Commander in Chief vs. faithfulness to the nation and its citizens. This is a very real fear! It is discussed in muted tones, over sour beer, everywhere those officers now meet, after duty hours.

Only now, let me turn and accuse the democrats and pundit caste of a genuine unfairness! Re Trump's early ‘support’ of George W. Bush’s Iraq invasion, I actually have some sympathy for him. The one statement on the Howard Stern Show that is used against him is rather weak evidence for “supporting” the Bush misadventure. I don’t mind crediting Trump with being tepid-to-hostile toward Bush’s WMD lies and concocted excuses for a war that killed 5,000+ Americans and perhaps a million other people while benefiting only Cheney family companies. And Iran.

What is not permissible is for Donald Trump to shrug off association with the political party that deliriously supported both horrifically awful Bush presidencies and that fostered the War on Science and other insanities.  

Which brings us full circle to Hillary Clinton’s worst and most cynical sin.

In hoping not to offend wavering moderate republicans and drawing them to vote for her, she has chosen to ignore the Republican Party – the elephant that was weirdly missing and never once actually mentioned during the entire debate!  This was penny-wise, shortsighted and spectacularly foolish.

It speaks ill, suggesting shortsightedness, since only a GOP-trouncing will give her – even for just 2 years – a Congress that might pass the legislation that she (and we) need.

It also shows he limited perspective on her own self-interest! Because even if she wins the White House, leaving the monstrously dogmatic, hateful and lazy current (Murdochian) version of republicanism untouched will guarantee her presidency to living hell.

== Added matters ==

One of you reminded me about Gingrich’s Contract With America, which was one of the best bits of political polemic in decades. Note that Newt was just about the only Republican leader from the era between Reagan and Ryan who got a mention and a speech at the RNC.  Which was sweet revenge, since Hastert & DeLay & Boehner & Ryan betrayed and ousted him.


Why? For the crime of actually negotiating  with Bill Clinton some bills to benefit America. For that crime, violating the Hastert rule, he was sent into exile. The only sci fi author in Congress.

My twenty suggestions to the new administration in 2009 begins here: Unusual Suggestions to America and a New Administration.


Notable in the list is a proposal that the dems should study the Contract With America. It offers lessons and there are some (mostly liberal) ways that is should be emulated. 

== Return to Part I: Fact-checking the Presidential Debate.

57 comments:

Rud Merriam said...

Ironically it was the Clinton military that Bush used in Iraq. Then after a scorched earth result, since shock and awe didn't work, they Bush left a country that could not be prepared for something like Isis.

My thought after the Dem National Convention is they finally put the shade of Vietnam behind. Clinton has worked with the military enough as Sec State to know how to use them if it is necessary, and not use them for ego trips.

The military swear to uphold the Constitution and follow the commands of the CINC. They know the trials that occurred after WWII and don't want to be caught in future versions. Iraq came close enough to remind them of what might happen. I'm sure the military can find ways to creatively procrastinate until Trump's attention is drawn to some other issue.



David Brin said...

RM, the biggest example was the one and only truly successful military engagement of either Bush regime, the toppling of the Taliban after 9/11. That happened so swiftly that no credit can go to military doctrines of the GOP.... they pulled Clinton era war plan off the bookshelf and ran with it, relying (as democrats do) on special forces, air power and local alliances.

That victory was turned into disaster, though. By Ninnies.

Anonymous said...

Very advantageous to choose and pick certain items from the debate and leave out the entire one and one-half hour of back and forth banter. Given the entire debate I saw figures on Polilifact that had Trump lying 81 times and Hillary 17 times. I just read an article in Forbes today on Trumps refusal to release his tax returns to the public. It stated that last August , to prove his charitable bona fides, Donald Trump's campaign gave the Associated Press a 94-page list of $002 million worth of donations that he and his companies had made since 2010. The first entry:$63.825 million for "various conservation easements." It went on to state they don't know whether the charitable deductions Trump presumably claimed for those easements are amoung the items the IRS auditors are scrutinizing-his campaign wouldn't comment and the presumptive REpublican Presidential Nominee has said he won't release this actual tax rturns until those audits are over. But chances are they're on the IRS' hit list.

It should be noted conservation easements are legal but the land value deduction one takes can be questioned and the amount deducted can be reversed. There's alot more but not enough room.

This was a Special Issue of Forbes sent subscribers.

Anonymous said...

Typo error. 94-page list $002million should be changed to $102 million worth of donations.

donzelion said...

Jumper: in response to your previous post and the discussion on JASTA -
"On the other hand, why was [suing foreign governments like Saudi Arabia for supporting terrorism] not allowed before this law? Meaning, with absolute proof of actual material support, was it the case that there was prior to this no legal remedy? That's hard to believe, but I'm no expert.

The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act barred almost all claims against foreign governments, except in very narrow circumstances (e.g., when a foreign government acts as a private sector company, then it cannot use government ownership as a ploy to elude legal liability). In matters of terrorism, when the President (and State Department) designate a country as a "State Sponsor of Terror," then that country may be held liable for actions that support terrorism (e.g., if Iran backs Hamas in Israel, and Hamas bombs a bus that kills Americans in Israel, then an American sue Iran itself, and Iran cannot assert protection from the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act).

JASTA breaks that system. Now, whether or not the U.S. government has determined that a foreign state is a "sponsor of terrorism," individual lawyers can bring claims against those governments directly. This means if a German official gave housing subsidies to someone who attacked America, or a UK official conferred asylum on a person who advocated violence - Americans could sue either of those countries (as well as Saudi Arabia) (they probably wouldn't win, since something more than 'negligence' is needed - but the costs and complexity of litigation could prove an immense problem).

It makes a mess of things for our allies. It makes a mess of things for our 'sometimes allies.' Which is why it didn't happen until September 2016.

donzelion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
donzelion said...

"DT: “We should have taken the oil” from Iraq.""

LOL, and of course, the best illustrations available countries where we DID take the oil? Uh, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Didn't work out so well.

"The first conquering empire to be generous instead of rapacious."
We've been quite rapacious at times (ask the Philippines, the Banana Republics, or the two aforementioned countries). Just we don't like it when we are: our rapacity has kicked us in our butts. It is only when we hold true to our principles, including our laws, that both we and our friends prosper.

donzelion said...

[Continuing from yesterday's JASTA discussion]

Dr. Brin: on so many points, so many areas of agreement, but the one point of disagreement merits some time.

"Likewise, your notion that anyone will remember JASTA even a year from now is amazing."
JASTA will amount to little more than a citation in legal briefs - UNLESS Obama's name comes up for the Supreme Court (or another important government role). The attacks will start, "Hillary wants to foist that Muslim back on us - the man who loved Saudis more than American victims of 9/11 - against the will of the entirety of Congress - is that the kind of judge you want?"...it'll stop that from ever happening.

Which is why they did this in September 2016.

donzelion said...

[And concluding a lengthy response to Dr. Brin on this matter]

Yes, the ISI has dealings with folks who want to hurt Americans. They also have dealings with folks trying to kill the folks who want to hurt Americans. There's ample space for criticism, but at the end of the day, our folks have to be able to work with them, and our folks who do this stuff say JASTA will make it harder. That holds some weight.

"Your ability to ignore the billions spent on Wahabbi and Salafist madrassas that have spread poison for generations simply astonishes me."
Hmmm...I ignore nothing. I see millions of dollars spent on certain schools, and I would like to know more about precisely how that came about and why. But I also see the $100 billion Saudis spent on American universities - the mere fact that money was spent on, say, UCLA, USC, UCSD, among thousands of others does not lead me to believe they "control" American universities - let alone that "they are in an ongoing campaign of almost-war against the West."

SOME wish they could be in an almost-war against the West. MANY actively stand up to defend the West. SOME died fighting other Wahhabis to protect Westerners. A FEW helped build the West. (Most just want to profit from the West, much like we most of us Westerners).

The folks who do want a war against the West NEED Americans to believe that there is a state of 'almost-war.' They will plant evidence to suggest the breadth of their ties to the governments they detest. Terrorism works through brutality and trickery: they are counting on us to cooperate by believing their bullsh!t. After all, it worked with Iraq, and can work with the Saudis too. That alone is a good reason to be cautious about such views.

But there's a better reason: faced with a complex 'other,' our best course is to remain faithful to our own principles. We believe in evidence. We reject assumptions when they violate the bulk of the available evidence. We criticize and critique, because we hope to guide ourselves towards a clearer picture, and we tolerate (sometimes even invite) criticism to correct our own errors.

It is in that spirit that I am critiquing your views on that issue, so that all the others you get right (or at least, I agree with) should be unmarred.

Jonathan Sills said...

"The military swear to uphold the Constitution and follow the commands of the CINC."

My oath of enlistment was "to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and to obey all lawful orders of those appointed over me."

Should the C-in-C have issued an order which was, in my estimation, unlawful, it would have been my duty to disobey any such. (On the other hand, I'd have to be damned sure of myself there, as I'd likely have to defend such disobedience at my court martial...)

donzelion said...

Rud: "it was the Clinton military that Bush used in Iraq."
Indeed, and there were many in the military who endorsed Bush Jr. because he would rebuild what Clinton had cut. Some of them still feel that way. Partisanship...

The military that Clinton left Bush Jr. with was fully capable of destroying the 'enemy' in Afghanistan, occupying for 18 months, and then turning around and destroying the 'enemy' in Iraq while occupying both countries. The degradation came as a result of troops trained for 'warfighting' being forced to serve a 'law enforcement' function: use the wrong tool, you hurt that tool.

The failure in Iraq and Afghanistan was never our troops. It was our political leadership. Which makes sense, since the only one who knew anything for real about the military, Colin Powell, was the 'black sheep' of the inner circle, who was given the painful choice of 'selling' the war in Iraq in order to try to save the lives of the troops he loved. He tried his best.

Now, as for these generals and admirals (and I can only find a list of 88 of them, not 200), their complaint is about budget cuts. They think Trump will reverse that. I don't see why they think that, since Trump was too smart to pay his share into the budget, but it does seem to be what they believe.

They also don't seem to mind that Trump has promised to MAKE the military break American law and torture bad guys. I guess with a Trump presidency, any time he gave a crazy order they could laugh it off and say, "Surely he was just being sarcastic."

Paul SB said...

And now for something completely different:

I just saw an advertisement for a pepper spray that has a built-in camera, a blue-tooth connection to your cell phone, and an app that automatically send a picture of your assailant to local police. Something new and clever on the transparency front. Unfortunately the add disappeared when I scrolled, so I don't have a link to provide.

It would be ironic if the attacker was the police. I wonder if the app can send the digital photo to more than one location, like your local news station?

Jumper said...

http://www.getthedefender.com/
Easy!

Anonymous said...

And, for a second time, why would an anti-establishment candidate bother with name-lists of establishment candidates? The shame is a fantasy of your invention, and reasons for the anti-establishment candidate to not dwell on the establishment very obvious. Well-earned are the blinkers of the élite!

Ho, hum, more wailing on the Foxite strawman, and, oh my, charges of treason! If anything would sway folks to your cause...well, yeah. About that. Charges of treason are of course trivial--here's one: if you scream across the sky on Carbon farts that's treason against the biosphere, and likewise for your rather overbuilt system of stroads...oh, what, not gonna stop car- and plane-sitting? Treason!

David Brin said...

Notice the core of the yammer. Everything is relative! There's no such thing as treason and I ridicule any use of the word! (Sub-text: I know my side has committed it.)

When a "side" has only a completely pure record of harming the nation and our children, without a single unambiguously positive and beneficial outcome from decades of rule, what else can we call it? Treason is not "relative" when outcomes directly and universally correlate with harm to the nation. and your failure to come up with a single counter example - reverting only to screeching - is case in point. Anonymous coward.

---

donzel JASTA breaks the system in just one case - for a specific act of outright war.

“Yes, the ISI has dealings with folks who want to hurt Americans. They also have dealings with folks trying to kill the folks who want to hurt Americans.”

Feh. Just enough to juggle and mesmerize and mislead. They have one obsession. Messing up India. And it is lunacy. There is no equivalence. They have lost every encounter with India and their obsession only helps to impoverish both nations.

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin: your read of JASTA suggests it's much narrower than the bill that was actually passed. JASTA contains some wording making it retroactive for the sake of 9/11, but by design, it applies going forward to any other states as well. Do you seriously believe other intelligence agencies we also have dealings with (MI6, Mossad, and many others) don't occasionally deal with unsavory groups?

re ISI - "They have one obsession. Messing up India."
Generally concur, though the status of ISI activity - esp. in Jammu and Kashmir - is rather complex. Those same groups the ISI backed turned around and may have assassinated Bhutto, and then turned around and made two more attempts on Musharraf. Factions within factions...in two countries with nukes. Our best course is to monitor closely, and that takes more than eavesdropping on mobile phones to pull off.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Notice the core of the yammer. Everything is relative! There's no such thing as treason and I ridicule any use of the word! (Sub-text: I know my side has committed it.)


And as if, by remaining polite to them (in the face of their rampant diatribes against us), they might somehow be convinced of the rightness of our cause, but we're blowing the chance by maligning them.

As you are wont to say, "Dig it," we're done trying to convince those people. We're just trying to make sure they get shellacked in the election.

Jumper said...

I parse that as: "100% of actions adding CO2 are as validly termed treason as other destructive actions."
I disagree. I think to avoid a harmful worldwide environmental penalty, other methods must be found which accept transportation and air travel. A policy of population control via family planning funding, and technological transformation to wind and solar on a major scale will result in the kindest outcomes possible. The way is narrow but not impossible. It is difficult. Those who eschew difficulty will result in a world with more, not less, human misery.

David Brin said...

Don't bother, Jumper. Such lunatic catechisms let them clutch the notion that everyone who believes in science wants us to "shiver in the dark." You all know TWODA. If there's not a positive sum in play, then I am suspicious that the narrative is wrong.

donzelion said...

Well, I've been suggesting that sex would become a key factor in the Clinton v. Trump slugfest for months, but never anticipated it would crop up in precisely the way that it has this week.

"We're just trying to make sure they get shellacked in the election."
Indeed. Somehow, convincing 40-50 million Evangelical Christians that they've backed a porn-purveying, Playboy appearing, strip club owning, unapologetic Christian fits with that agenda: these are people who railed against Bill Clinton for philandering and infidelity, but now back Trump anyway.

Deploying cognitive dissonance in every form and holding that religious core to their asserted morality may work better than trying to pin down Trump. And if it doesn't work, then in the future, that core's pretensions of morality will have that much less power in the electorate. "You guys say an awful lot about values, but you endorsed this man?"

That, perhaps, is a gain for the country. But what sordid gains...

David Brin said...

There is only one thing Evangelicals share with DT. Common enemies. That is the tribal and only factor that makes a difference.

You left out gambling lord, business cheater with mob ties.

Ilithi Dragon said...

Personally, I don't even really bother to read much of the anon comments. I do read them, because sometimes its a regular commentor who forgot to login, or someone knew who hasn't established their local identity yet, but once they turn to vitriol, I engage skim mode, because they invariably follow the same dull, predictable pattern, and just vary in the flavor of their baseless arguments, vitriol, and/or conspiracy tripe.

Not much else constructive that I can really add to the conversation, I'm afraid. Maybe I'm just tired...

I will say, though, that if Trump is elected, I give my odds of surviving his first term to be pretty low.
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Paul SB said...

Jumper, thanks for looking that up. I thought it was an interesting direction for transparency technology to take, especially given that I had an old gaming buddy who had been sexually assaulted. If these existed back in the 90's...

Dr. Brin,

This comment of yours:

"There is only one thing Evangelicals share with DT. Common enemies. That is the tribal and only factor that makes a difference."
made me think of E.E. Evans-Pritchard's old Law of Segmentary Opposition. In a way you could say that Evangelicals who side with a person who is so completely the opposite of what they claim to believe in makes them little better than the animals they claim humans are not. They won't stand on principle like they claim to value so highly, instead they form an unholy alliance with a minion of El Diablo himself (no twisty mustache or goatee, but the principle is the same). So much for their vaunted ideals and claims to moral superiority.

But I doubt that most people, unlike Donzel, will be able to see this. Humans have the weird situation where the core of their brains act just like all the rest of the Animal Kingdom, but the cortex on top of that behaves like a serial processor, taking information and filing it away into boxes, regardless of how well it fits. Humans barely grasp their own feelings because they keep trying to put them into categories that they only vaguely fit into. Evangelicals who support Trump are failing to engage their cerebral cortex, the very part that makes humans most human and least like other animals. Hypocrisy, but huge numbers of people will fail to see that as hypocrisy.

The only people who truly share Trump values are top business executives, and they are the only people who can in any way expect to gain anything from a Trump presidency. Most of them won't gain anything, though, because they are in competition with each other, and only a handful will get those plum government contracts and favorable legislative and judicial deals.

LarryHart said...

On Trump...

The followers who like him aren't going to be swayed by anything. Any new facts that we think make Trump look bad are things that they like about him. For example, they are glad to see him make fun of a woman for gaining weight--something they'd like to do themselves but didn't have the courage to do before Trump gave their dark impulses a voice.

What we have to hope and (if so inclined) pray is that:

1) There are more of us than there are of them AND
2) More of us actually get out and vote (as opposed to Bernie-or-Busters who somehow think Jill Stein or Gary Johnson have anything in common with Senator Sanders, and that helping Trump beat Hillary will show her)

Paul SB said...

Ulithi Dragon,

As a general rule, I have found that people who post anonymously are victims of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, which is a fun one to contemplate. Basically, you have to have a certain level of mental ability to accurately judge your own intelligence, which means that stupid people rarely know how stupid they are. Donzelion gave us a link to an article in which neurologists try to explain Trump supporters in the last thread, and Dunning-Kruger was where they started. If you want a quick run-down, here's the RationalWiki post, which includes a brief clip of a very grey-looking John Cleese explaining it.

I'm inclined to dismiss most of our anonymous trolls, but I am not sure the concept should be used as a general brush with which to paint anyone you don't agree with. My suspicion is that we all exhibit this effect under different circumstances. I have had a lot of people compliment me on my cooking, and even suggest I should do that for a living. Once in awhile I catch myself taking a bit too much pride in some dish I have concocted, but am I really a good cook, or have I just gotten lucky a few times and have overestimated my skill? I never took a class, my somewhat old-fashioned mother never taught me to cook because she assumed I would marry someone who would do that job (very bad assumption).

Paul SB said...

Drat,

I forgot to add in the link:

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Dunning-Kruger_effect

LarryHart said...

PaulSB:

Evangelicals who support Trump are failing to engage their cerebral cortex, the very part that makes humans most human and least like other animals. Hypocrisy, but huge numbers of people will fail to see that as hypocrisy.


Trump supporters want permission to be mean to a subset of humanity. That's the "value" they share with Trump, and as long as he appears to deliver that, they couldn't care less whether he personally subscribes to their moral values.


The only people who truly share Trump values are top business executives, and they are the only people who can in any way expect to gain anything from a Trump presidency. Most of them won't gain anything, though, because they are in competition with each other,


They're also in (business) competition with Trump. Whatever he does will about making him (Trump) the "winner". Other businesses will be "losers". If other business people think Trump will be good for them, they might as well believe that Ted Cruz would be good for Radical Islamic Terrorists (tm) because both are religious.

Paul SB said...

Larry,

Do you know how many people visit this blog and its comments sections regularly? I don't, but perhaps if we took our attitudes elsewhere on the net we might bring more attention. In fact, while I don't have a huge following of Facebook fans, I think I will go there and link that article that Donzelion sent us in the last thread. I haven't checked Facebook in a couple weeks, so I have no idea what's been going around. (I'm finally starting to get over this flu. Still coughing and sneezing a bit, but the neck & shoulder aches and general drowsiness are gone.)

Paul SB said...

Larry again,

My daughter was talking to me while I was typing, so I didn't see this last comment before I sent my last.

You are right about the haters supporting Trump. I'm not sure how much Trump actually shares their hatred and how much is play acting to court their vote. I think his hatred of women comes across as genuine, but I halfway suspect he really doesn't care particularly about illegal immigrants. He may just be playing to the racist factions within conservative America. Likely he sees illegal immigrants as just a variant on the "loser" trope, which is pretty much 99.99% of the human species, meaning anyone who has less money than he does.

donzelion said...

Well, if Melania was working after her visa expired, then he married an illegal immigrant. Not hatred; just sense of entitlement.

And then there's Hillary. Boring. Not sexy, not sexist, just about as appeaLing as a school marm (and offensive to the whole crowd that hated school marms).

If it were anyone but her, the clown would be a laugh soon forgotten. She's done nothing terrible, save be a target of decades of disdain, but that's enough for the bully inside so many of us to shrug her aside - not as a woman - but as a boring figure who cannot captivate.

Maybe if we saw her get angry, it would help.

LarryHart said...

PaulSB:

My daughter was talking to me while I was typing, so I didn't see this last comment before I sent my last.


Your daughter talks to you? Must not be a teenager yet. :)


You are right about the haters supporting Trump. I'm not sure how much Trump actually shares their hatred and how much is play acting to court their vote.


When I said they didn't care if he shares their values, I meant about other things such as Christian piety or legalization of marijuana. I wasn't thinking in terms of whether he actually shares their bullying values or whether he's just playing a character. But it's probably true in that sense as well that they don't care as long as he enables their bullying.

A subtle point but one I want to make: Bullies don't generally "hate" their victims, or at least don't have to. If anything, it's the victims who (justifiably) hate the bullies. White supremacists who honestly believe that blacks are inferior beings don't do so out of hate. I'd say it's more likely they don't dwell on black people enough to form an emotional reaction one way or another except in a specific situation like watching a protest demonstration on tv.

The characteristic Trump enables in his supporters is not "hate" but "bullying". He makes it ok for them to exert their privilege over other people by denying that all American citizens (or all human beings) deserve equal dignity and backing his supporters up on their claim of being the one group of people who really counts as first-class citizens.


I think his hatred of women comes across as genuine, but I halfway suspect he really doesn't care particularly about illegal immigrants. He may just be playing to the racist factions within conservative America


Again, it's not about hate. What he implies to his supporters is that it's ok to be mean to certain subgroups of people. He appeals to people who like to be mean. When I say I hope and pray that there are more of us than of them, I don't just mean an election total. I mean I hope that enjoyment of bullying is still a minority characteristic in the American character. If that has gone mainstream, the effect will be analogous to the effect of oceans warming enough to release nitrogen-sulfide. It will be toxic and irreversible.

Tim H. said...

Derf posted something interesting:
http://derfcity.blogspot.com/2016/09/this-photo-popped-up-in-my-facebook.html
The juxtaposition in the photo just fits so well.
LarryHart, I'd say the enjoyment of bullying is fairly mainstream, but not as bad as it could possibly get.

Flypusher said...

It is mind boggling and infuriating how many people have taken leave of their senses in supporting Trump. They seem to think they can just pick the aspects of Trump they like (he's successful, he's an outsider, he says he'll bring the jobs back), but they can reject the generous side helpings or bigotry, or his unstable temperament. That's not how it works. This is a whole package deal.

The ONLY argument I've heard from Trump supporters that passes any test of reason is that HRC would be guaranteed to make SCOTUS picks that are too liberal in their opinions. Of course you are taking a gamble with who Trump might pick, and you're selling your soul pretty cheaply for a maybe, but not liking HRC's judicial picks is at least grounded in reality (I for one, would welcome Merrick Garland and more RBGs). But they tell me Clinton is bad because she lies. Yes, she does, but Trump's lies are more frequent, more egregious, and on a much wider variety of topics. I should vote for Trump because Hillary can't be trusted. Really? But Trump won't release his tax forms, he's refused to pay small contractors the $ he's owed, and he's up to his hairpiece in frays suits. Just yesterday I get one sincerely claim lay that Clinton is the real racist, and a President Trump would be better for minorities. Right, the guy who was busted by the DOJ for housing discrimation, and is promising to bring back stop and frisk. It's like there is this zombie virus infecting people's brains.

They also miss the forest for the trees in Trump's latest misstep. This main issue isn't that he was a sexist jerk, or that Ms. Machado isn't pure as the driven show. What should be the wake up call is TRUMP CAN RESIST TAKING THE BAIT. An actual mature and rational adult would have let that slide, or even better, apologize for being such a jerk in the past and say he had stopped treating people like that. But what does Trump do? He throws a temper tantrum on Twitter in the wee hours of the morning. This grown man is showing all the judgment and impulse control of a toddler who missed nap time. THIS is the person who ought to have the responsibility to order American military personnel into harm's way?? I'm sure ISIS is salivating at the prospect.

Jumper said...

According to rumor Sec. Clinton curses like a sailor among confidantes. I suspect this aspect, and that she covers it up, contributes to the perception she is "hiding something." I agree with donzelion.

Jumper said...

I think of Trump supporters:
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Fractal_wrongness

Also, I'm convinced that like most, politicians lie. There are harmless lies, lies to defend colleagues or family or allies, cheap puffery and self-aggrandizement, lies in service to diplomacy or national security, and lies to defend corruption and exploitation. It matters which, and mere lying is insufficient to refuse employment without discerning the reasons.

For example I expect many lie about their religious beliefs and make promises that any serious student of policy knows are unlikely to be accomplished from a particular seat.

Flypusher said...

Donzelion-"Maybe if we saw her get angry, it would help."


She has every right to get angry about so many things (Trump getting graded on a curve being especially maddening), but that stupid sexist double standard about being "too shrill" would probably still hurt her among the wishy washy still-on-the-fence voter bloc. I'm hoping she manages to get into office and then feels a bit more free to express anger when anger is warranted.

Paul SB said...

Larry,

Your daughter talks to you? Must not be a teenager yet. :)
- Actually, she is no longer a teenager, having turned 20 a few months back (and I'm doing the time-warp, still fixating on when she was a chubby-cheeked two-year old.) But even as a teenager, she talked to me all the time, and made better conversation than a majority of adults - sadly that includes her mother. I suspect she outdoes both her parents on most aspects of intelligence, though she still sometimes thinks like a teenager. Time and experience will heal that.

Last night she was going on and on about a book she picked up at the library, one which does a lot to explain the kind of loony behavior we see and see all around us. It is called "Predictably Irrational" and she convinced me to order a CD copy so I can "read" it myself. I finished "Glory Season" several days ago, and though I still have "Kiln People" and have been wanting to get "Existence" on CD as well, plus a couple by other authors (both Canadians, oddly enough), I have been savoring "Glory Season" instead of moving on. Would that be the bibliophile's version of holding the hit? Anyway, you might want to check this one out if you get a chance. Same goes for Flypusher! I totally feel you on this one! The Trump phenomenon goes way beyond Dunning-Kruger.

And Tony, why do you think American culture seems to promote the ugly aspects of human nature so well? Bullying is, indeed, extremely common here. When I was in 11th Grade I hung out with a bunch of foreign exchange students, mostly Europeans (Switzerland, Italy and Germany) but also one young lady from Japan, and they were all pretty disturbed by how much bullying they saw here. My observation was that Americans are very proud of their freedom, but have a lot less to say about responsibility, a combination that provides plenty of cover for bad behavior.

Paul SB said...

Drat! And once again I forgot to provide the link...

https://www.amazon.com/Predictably-Irrational-Revised-Expanded-Decisions-ebook/dp/B002C949KE/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1475337093&sr=1-1&keywords=predictably+irrational

LarryHart said...

Flypusher:

The ONLY argument I've heard from Trump supporters that passes any test of reason is that HRC would be guaranteed to make SCOTUS picks that are too liberal in their opinions.


I suspect that, among Republican politicians at least, that's exactly what is going on, and all else is sophistry or rationalization.

I understand why right-wingers, having had the power of the Court for 30 years, are loathe to imagine the shoe on the other foot. What gets me is their ability to convince themselves (or to pretend) that it goes beyond their own preferences and portray themselves as the defender of the way things should objectively be. The party line is that Republicans will appoint "constitutionalist" judges who don't make s###, but just do what the law says they should. The fact that Merrick Garland would be be more true to this vision than the Roberts Court has been, should put the lie to this assertion, but does not. Had God not saved us from Antonin Scalia, we'd now have a Supreme Court ruling that says "whole number of persons" means "eligible voters and registered gun owners".

Of course you are taking a gamble with who Trump might pick, and you're selling your soul pretty cheaply for a maybe, but not liking HRC's judicial picks is at least grounded in reality (I for one, would welcome Merrick Garland and more RBGs)


Yes, the thing is, even when one grants their points, their arguments still don't make sense. I think Republicans have taken the whole "Liberals live in a reality-based world" a step further, to actual denial that reality matters.

Flypusher said...

LarryHart-"I suspect that, among Republican politicians at least, that's exactly what is going on, and all else is sophistry or rationalization."

Also we have Paul Ryan who wants more tax cuts for the wealthy so badly that he's willing to go over the cliff for it.

The other disturbing rationalization starting to make the rounds is that he really couldn't do that much damage, as Confress will check his worst excesses. Really? Back when he hadn't secured the nomination, and the GOP still had some leverage, they declined to use it. But once he has the power, then you can make him behave? There's a Lincoln quite that goes roughly - 'any man can deal with adversity. The true test of character is when you give him power.' Trump, by lucky accident of birth, has had power. He has a long track record of using it in a petty, vindictive, and selfish manner. Yes, there are checks and balances, but there are plenty of things a President can do without any say from Congress. Just the fact that the Pres is CIC gives Trump ample opportunity. My nightmare scenario is Kim Jung Un, or someone from ISIS says something that gets under that thin orange skin, and he issues some bats$&@ crazy order to strike back. People in the military do have the right to refuse an unlawful order, but you'd have to have everyone in that chain of command do so to avert disaster. They have a difficult enough job without having to face the prospect of deciding whether the President's orders are sane or not. And as Dr. Brin noted, the military staying clear of politics has been a very good thing. There are so many frightening blurring of lines going on this year.

LarryHart said...

Today's www.electoral-vote.com has an interesting passage directly relating to recent conversation here. I present without comment:


For many older evangelicals, the world has turned upside down. In a few short years, the country has gone from what they consider normal to one in which men marry men and women marry women, and bakers, florists, and photographers who don't want to participate are branded as criminals. Now, transgender people are coming out, and none of the four candidates running for president is alarmed. Hillary Clinton and Jill Stein embrace the change as a good thing, Gary Johnson thinks the government has no business legislating morality, and the twice-divorced Donald Trump, a casino mogul and serial liar who had a child out of wedlock, is not exactly their model of a God-fearing Christian. Nevertheless, most evangelicals are coalescing around Trump for fear of what kinds of Supreme Court justices Hillary Clinton might nominate.

Or, that's one theory, at least. Matthew Avery Sutton, an academic who has written extensively about the evangelical movement, has another. He argues that many evangelicals hear Trump's strongman-like talk, and his plans to divide the world—Christian vs. Muslim, Mexican vs. American—and they see fulfillment of Biblical prophecies regarding the end of days. These individuals view Trump as the ideal leader (and perhaps the trigger) for the coming armageddon. It's a provocative thesis, but one that Sutton lays out fairly persuasively. If he's right, then the evangelicals would not be pleased to hear exactly how much they have in common with ISIS.

Paul SB said...

Tim,

I read over that article, and I can confirm what the writer is saying about rural Pennsylvania. One of my oldest friends went into the Air Force after high school, then came back with a pregnant girlfriend from rural Pennsylvania. Since he didn't have a lot of family in Colorado, they decided to move to Pennsylvania where he parents could help with the baby. In retrospect it was probably the worst decision he ever made. I visited a couple times, and was treated to the sight of the Klan recruiting in full regalia in the town square (Littlestown, PA). He was pretty embarrassed by it. He was also horrified by how badly educated the people there were. He would shout at his wife, "Hey Honey, who was Josef Stalin?" and she would reply that name sounded familiar. I started calling it Littlebrains. But after a couple decades of living in the kind of tiny town where everyone knows everyone else's tastes and sizes in undergarments, his brain has gone south. He wasn't the smartest person I knew, but not stupid by any stretch. But after 9/11 I started hearing the term "sand nigger" from him regularly, and these days he can't talk for more than 2 minutes without brining up Jesus. I don't talk to the guy much anymore.It isn't #1 on my list of disappointments in life, but his Metamorphosis was rather disturbing. The Hitler Youth flag next to the Trump banner does not seem the least bit inconsistent with my own experience of that region. The one ray of sunshine was that so many people did object to it. But the vendor's response just confirms in my mind what I said about freedom vs. responsibility. If you are disgusted by the words or actions of some right-wing hate zombie, you are automatically labeled a PC nazi, trying to take away their precious freedom.

LarryHart said...

Flypusher:

It is mind boggling and infuriating how many people have taken leave of their senses in supporting Trump.


Someone on this blog once floated the idea of Trump as The Mule from Asimov's "Foundation and Empire". As a comics reader, I don't dismiss as quickly as most would the notion that certain people come along in history with some sort of mutant power to get people to go along with them despite any rational thought. This might explain Julius Caesar, Hitler, and Trump. I don't even mean that the individuals know that they are making use of a mutant power--just that they run with the effect that they have on people. It's even possible that many others have the power, but lack motive or opportunity to use it.

I suggest this in the same spirit that Dr Brin sometimes throws out stories to try to explain what we're seeing, not because he can explain the story in detail, or even necessarily believe it, but just to suggest it as perhaps a plausible explanation.

Flypusher said...

"Or, that's one theory, at least. Matthew Avery Sutton, an academic who has written extensively about the evangelical movement, has another. He argues that many evangelicals hear Trump's strongman-like talk, and his plans to divide the world—Christian vs. Muslim, Mexican vs. American—and they see fulfillment of Biblical prophecies regarding the end of days. These individuals view Trump as the ideal leader (and perhaps the trigger) for the coming armageddon. It's a provocative thesis, but one that Sutton lays out fairly persuasively. If he's right, then the evangelicals would not be pleased to hear exactly how much they have in common with ISIS. "

The only real difference between people who support foreign policy they think would bring about the end of days, and people who hijack planes and fly them into buildings to murder thousands, is that the second group succeeded in their evil plan. Calling these people deplorable is being kind, IMO. The one bit of hope I have is that these crazies and the foul bigots attracted to Trump CAN be out-voted, if the rational people will take the trouble to vote.

LarryHart said...

Quoting www.electoral-vote.com (emphasis mine):

For many older evangelicals, the world has turned upside down


Appropos nothing else, this passage convinces me that at least one of the writers on www.electoal-vote.com is a fan of "Hamilton".

David Brin said...

Flypusher gets post of the day for pointing out that DT’s disqualifier is ‘taking the bait.’

Paul SB my impression is that bullying has declined steeply in the US. It’s hard to get comparisons because we are in the middle of the “awareness surge” re bullying and hence its current prevalence will get vastly amplified attention.

The “constitutionalist” mantra on the right re court appointments is loony. Their guys make up stuff too. It just always benefits oligarchs.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

my impression is that bullying has declined steeply in the US.


That's probably true, and it also means that overt bullying has gone underground the way overt racism, overt sexiam, overt anti-Semitism, etc have. People like David Duke and Rush Limbaugh decry the fact that the former master race of this country are now chastised if they express their views in polite society. Same with bullies. And what Trump implicitly promises these followers is that he will again normalize their prejudices and make it comfortable to be an a$$h#### again. That's what he specifically means by "Make America great again!"

Paul SB said...

Larry,

On mutant powers, if you want to be technical about, every power we have is a mutant power. If you are mad elf more than one cell, you are clearly a mutant, because the first life on Earth was unicellular. But that's getting technical. Trump's power is simply charisma. He's a salesman, and like any good salesman, he tries to figure out what people want to hear, tells them that, makes it seem truthy and uses that truthiness to make the sale.

While we have Armageddon in our minds, here's a fascinating article about recent archaeological work at Tel El Megiddo. If these Evangelicals were really serious about taking the Bible literally, they would be keeping their eyes there, not on the presidential election, because the Bible says that the end of the world will begin with battle on that hallowed hill, not in Washington.

http://discovermagazine.com/2015/nov/14-witness-to-armageddon

There is a hunger strike happening at the Megiddo Prison, and there's some news about a letter Shimon Peres wrote to the warden before he passed away, but I don't see any armies massing there. So much for Biblical literalism!

Paul SB said...

Dr. Brin,

Being in the education profession, bullying is something that comes up at work often enough, and the statistics bear your impression out. You are right that a huge change in awareness means that in the past bullying was dramatically under-reported, so the stats aren't as solid as we might hope. Plus you get spikes, usually news-driven or copycat, and some outliers that mess with the numbers, regional differences, etc. But the old "boys will be boys" mentality is slowly losing out to the "better angels of our nature." This is one of the main reasons I am so anti conservative. Trump may be an outlier, but the basic mentality of conservatism is to never try to fix anything, because what was good enough for my Papi is good enough for me, and if it's good enough for me, it should be good enough for everybody.

Flypusher said...

About "make America great again", Chris Ladd (now the ex-GOP Lifer), has an interesting article in Forbes:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/chrisladd/2016/09/27/the-last-jim-crow-generation/#153c81646ed9

I'm a White person in the following generation, old enough to have seen dumb racist nonsense like discussions about whether a Black QB could really lead his team in a Super Bowl game, but too young to have experienced segregated schools, "Whites only" facilities, etc. We seem to be split between siding with the Jim Crow mentality of some of the older Boomers, or the more racially enlightened attitudes of most Millennials. The progress Mr. Ladd lists, which causes these throwbacks such distress, is at the top of the list of things that make me proud of America (the Marshall Plan and the moon landing are also up there).

Paul SB said...

I just remembered something that might be relevant. Every year teachers have to go through sexual harassment training. Most schools do this on line these days. I just did this yesterday, and the web site, which basically spits facts out at you then quizzes you on them (bad pedagogy there) was clearly designed for the business world and did not skirt even close to the kinds of issues an institution that caters to minors has to be aware of. However, this years version had a couple new things that I thought were very, very interesting. One was that it emphasized that increasing numbers of sexual harassment suits are being filed by men, and a whole lot of these are against women. But the really big admission was that sexual harassment more often than not has more to do with power than with sex. It is, in effect, a form of bullying, which is really just everyday terrorism. One of the case studies we read about was a major company that was sued for millions over about a dozen men who were being harassed by their male supervisor. Basically he and other members of the management team were trying to "motivate" their workers by constantly insulting their "manhood" spreading rumors about their anatomy and how it was used, etc. creating an extremely hostile work environment. Basic boys-will-be-boys stuff, but the corporate managers thought this was just how you motivate your workers. They deliberately avoided doing these things to female employees, because they wanted to avoid sexual harassment litigation.

As Gomer Pyle would say: Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!

Laurent Weppe said...

From the previous post and comments:

* "Reports tell of sample groups of undecided voters “gasping” when DT proudly claimed to be “smart” by paying little to no federal taxes."

What makes me shudder about that is how easy it would have been for an actually talented bullshiter to turn this into his advantage.
"Sure, I didn't pay taxes, that shows that I know where the weak points in the tax code are which means that I'll know which parts to rewrite once I'm in charge"
A talented bullshiter wouldn't even have to have to promise he'll fix the code, just say "I know how to do it and my record proves it" and make it look like he won the argument even though he never intended to actually fix anything.

***

* "It reflects something that my friends in the US senior military officer corps worry about, deeply. If someday they'll be forced - under a president Trump - to make similar choices... between a tradition of obedience to the commander in chief vs duty to the American people.

Don't US military officers have a duty of disobedience?
I say that because in french law, public servants (including the military) are mandated by law to disobey illegal orders. When it comes to soldiers, the law states that, I quote:
"le subordonné doit refuser d’exécuter un ordre prescrivant d’accomplir un acte manifestement illégal [...] le militaire fait savoir son refus, par tout moyen et dans les plus brefs délais soit au ministre de la Défense, soit à son chef d’état-major d’armée, soit à l’inspecteur général de l’Arme"
Translation:
"The subordinate must refuse to execute an order to commit a patently illegal deed [...] the soldier informs of his refusal, by any means necessary and as fast as possible either the minister of defense, his army branch's chief of staff or the office of the Inspector General"

And yes, that does include blowing the whistle and using the press or social media as one's proxy, so if, say, a french soldier in Mali is ordered to torture a captive, not only is he duty bound to openly refuse to torture, but if he takes his smartphone and put on Twitter "shit shit shit my boss just ordered me to torture some guy" he is, actually, doing his job as mandated by french law.

***

* "Heinlein had his "fair witness"; you've got your panel of 18, but I thinl it is still science fiction to suggest that the public will accept judgements from experts when the judgements contradict their preconceptions."

That's not science-fiction, that's pure fantasy: we'll develop "magic-by-exotic-particles-which-break-the-laws-of-physics-because-their-hypercords-have-been-twisted-to-look-like-carebears-having-group-sex-with-xenophorms" long before we manage to have panels of incorruptible experts universally acknowledged as such.

***

* "Jumper: Bigots would have a difficult time backing such a flip up with facts.

They'll just lie about it.
Racists and bigots will keep pretending that they wouldn't drawn in their own shit if the minorities and immigrants who maintain the very infrastructures which keep the bigots alive disappeared until they actually succeed in getting rid of the minorities and immigrants and end up drowning in their own shit.

***

* "And on, and on....the mindset here is incredibly disturbing."

The aggressive submissiveness of the authoritarians has always been that disturbing.

Laurent Weppe said...

* "And then there's Hillary. Boring. Not sexy, not sexist, just about as appeaLing as a school marm (and offensive to the whole crowd that hated school marms).

My mother was a school marm. If you think Clinton's performance in the debate looked like a school marm's, you've only met the tamest of school marms.

***

Maybe if we saw her get angry, it would help.

Unless said display of anger involved crushing Trump's skull on the ground, ripping his brain from his skull and eating it in public while an army of Valyrian Dragons cooked and ate the audience, it would simply be dismissed as "she's histerical" "She can't control her own nerves" "she'll lose her cool under pressure".

As my schoolmarm of a mother repeatedly told me "As a woman, if I want my anger to be taken seriously, I have to beat the fuckers bloody before I start threatening or shouting at them"

David Brin said...

fun stuff.

onward

onward to space!

donzelion said...

LarryHart - "...bakers, florists, and photographers who don't want to participate [in same sex weddings] are branded as criminals."

This sort of fallacy is a great example of the problem. No baker et. al. has ever been branded a criminal (one public servant who refused to do her job was held in judicial contempt - if she doesn't like her job, she either must do it regardless, resign, or face contempt charges). Rather, if they break a contract to deliver a cake, they are liable for breach of contract. You don't get to avoid a contract because it turns out to violate faith.

But Christians THINK they are being persecuted. The Faux media raises this as persecution and they feel that sense of threat, eating away at rationality and displacing higher brain functions with threat responses.

Instead of the same-sex marriage matters being a case of "my word is my bond" it's a case of "my word is my bond unless I promised something to people I don't like." And that sort of equivocation fits Trump's own conduct.

David Brin said...

onward

onward

Jeff B. said...

Paul SB,

The Hitler Youth flag next to the Trump banner does not seem the least bit inconsistent with my own experience of that region

NW PA is not much different than the center demographically, but I can attest as a former Yinzer (Pittsburgher) who moved to the "country" 25 years ago, the picture is a lot more... complicated. There's definitely a racist element, but actual outright, public examples. Most have moved on with the times- and while Trump signs do outnumber Clinton about 4/1, there are a lot of decent people around, too. Most of the people protesting the Nazi regalia would have been locals, policing their own.

My beef with the area applies I think to most of Western PA in particular- the region is technically considered part of Appalachia by the census for ethnological/sociological reasons, and one of the characteristics is closing ranks (even unconciously) vs. outsiders. Even with increased settlement of outsiders, in many towns the "born and raised" clique forms a tight wall for all but the most gregarious.

And one other thing- I wish I could find it, but a while back there was a very interesting examination of the deep reasons for Trump's support in the hinterlands. It's all too easy to dismiss it as blatant racism, or to look down on people as poorly educated, ignorant bumpkins. I've seen it here at times, and caught myself slipping into that mindset at times, too.

It's more about hope and dreams- the world's changed, and these people feel like they're being left behind. The jobs aren't there like they used to be, and well, if it's not affecting them directly, they can see the impact on their neighbors and communities. Life can feel... perilous, on edge, for even the mostly secure, because who knows what tomorrow will bring, and what will be their for the next generation?

So then along comes a charlatan (with a host of charlatans trailing in his wake), promising that "this time things are gonna be different." He appears to be a successful businessman, he doesn't appear to be talking down to them, he doesn't care if he offends people. And his hangers-on have been perfecting the same act for years. They point at the "other" as the sources of all the problems: from the obvious, the immigrants, to the pointy-headed professor-types talking down to them. And they play on fears of the other, too, the threat of urban violence and foreign hostility and terrorism.

All this plays into what such people want to hear. It's not our fault, it's those other people; we can fix it, we can go back to the way it was. It's almost sad, because people want to believe so badly that contradicting the dream results in outright rage at times.