Category Archives: Donald Trump

Stopping Donald Trump

Donald Trump

I think if we want to stop Trump’s big “mo” then we must fight him where he lives. I believe a scandalous mini-series, whipped up quickly and deliciously, might do the trick. It could feature a Donald Trump-like candidate on the election trail, with flashbacks to the dirty deals and less-than-triumphant moments of his “life”. It could follow him everywhere – backstage at rallies and debates, in his fancy car, in his private jets, in his marriages, with his children, doing deals, talking to developers and world leaders about business, everywhere except the bathroom (because, unlike Donald, we don’t go there).

We could show him winning the election and then follow him into the White House (á la House of Cards but trashier and less subtle). We could show his policies being passed into law and the resulting unexpected reactions of Americans (even his followers) and of nations around the globe. We could show attempts to impeach him and how he resists them and grabs more power for himself, perhaps gets Congress to vote him President for Life. Really good TV script writers could get this right. Perhaps Amazon would take it on, or Netflix, or HBO, or someone with access to network TV that reaches poorer Americans. Turning his own media against him may be the only way to change the minds of people who think he actually will “make America great again”.

Shoe

2.

Make a series of TV ads that show President Donald in front of the UN, OPEC, US allies in the EU, and in South America, saying the things he has said in this campaign. Show film of possible reactions from famous news clips or even from a movie like Evita. Show Donald in place of George Bush when the shoe is thrown, only he is taller so he gets hit and goes down, hair in disarray. Use your mad computer skills

3.

I’m sure some of you have some interesting outside-of-the-box ideas. Tweet them at #stopTrump

By Nancy Brisson

Why We Can’t Elect Donald Trump (or any of the Bully Boys)

Donald Trump 2

Donald J Trump could become the leader of America, but if he is elected and if he does the things he says he will do, America will be a substantially different nation than it has always been. We can kiss our forefathers good-bye, and the high ideals they wished us to strive for as a nation. By the time we build that wall, send all undocumented immigrants back to their countries of origin, build up a huge military presence and bully China, I’m not sure what America will be left with, but I think we will finally understand the word Fascism.

Older Americans shudder at the thought of a Socialist taking over our Democracy but tend to have little or no reaction when someone exhibiting signs of Fascism (Donald Trump) begins to climb in the election polls. Fascism is far more at odds with Democracy than Socialism is but we just don’t have enough understanding of what the term means for it to call forth the intensely negative visceral reaction that it should. I have written warnings about this twice before, but this time I have help from a very famous writer, Umberto Eco.

Writing from Paris, Christopher Dickey begins his article in the Daily Beast with this statement, “Here in Europe, people know a thing or two about fascism.” He is remembering an article he read twenty years ago by the deeply philosophical Italian author Umberto Eco, who died last week.

No, here in Europe, by various names—as Fascism, Nazism, Stalinism—it was the living, vibrant, vicious force that led directly to the most horrific global war in history. More recently, it took root and lingered as an active ideology in Latin America, providing a crude foundation for the repressive revolutions and dirty wars that raged from the ’60s through the ’80s.

Indeed, the fundamentals of fascism are with us today, in the killing fields of ISIS-land, in the madness of North Korea, and also, sadly, in battered democracies from newly militaristic Japan to xenophobic, isolationist parties in Europe. And, yes, in somewhat more subtle forms fascism can be found on the campaign trail in the U.S. of A.

Umberto Eco, in his article (title not given) gives a list of the attributes of a Fascist:

Makes a cult of tradition

Rejects modernism

Takes action for action’s sake  (“thinking is a form of emasculation”)

Distrust of the intellectual world

Disagreement is treason

Racist by definition   (“seeks for consensus by exploiting and exacerbating the natural fear of difference”)

The appeal to a frustrated middle class   (“a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups”)

Obsession with a plot

Followers must feel humiliated   (“by the ostentatious wealth and force of their enemies”)

Popular elitism   (“Every citizen belongs to the best people of the world, the members of the party are among the best citizens, every citizen can or ought to become a member of the party.”) (“[T]he leader knows that his force is based upon the weakness of the masses; they are so weak as to need and deserve a ruler”)

Life is permanent warfare  (“pacifism is trafficking with the enemy”)

Official heroism   (“martyrdom”)

Machismo   (“implies both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to homosexuality”)

Selective populism   (“citizens do not act, they are only called on to play the role of the People”)

“Newspeak”   (from 1984, George Orwell)   (“All the Nazi or Fascist schoolbooks made use of an impoverished vocabulary and an elementary syntax, in order to limit the instruments for complex and critical reasoning.”)

Umberto Eco sounds like he is speaking about the Republican Party candidates and members of Congress, and especially of Donald Trump, as we know them right now, but he wrote this 20 years ago.

Here’s the link:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/02/22/how-umberto-eco-tagged-today-s-fascists.html

I think that all of the Republican candidates are unelectable and everyone is feeling this even if they will not admit it. I am guessing that people are thinking that Donald Trump is the least dogmatic. He is not toeing the party line. He is his own man. And for some reason people cannot see the dangers in turning over our governance to this man. They want the 50’s back and Donald promises the 50’s. But they will return under his terms. He humiliates anyone who questions his leadership and people back down, even scary people like Ted Cruz. If we give him carte blanche to “make America great again”, it will be his vision of America, not ours and he may have a hard time ever leaving office. He may make himself President-for-life. We cannot control this man. He brooks no disagreement. In the scary GOP line-up of future Presidents perhaps the man who seems most benign is the biggest nightmare of all, but we may not know it until it is too late.

At the end of his article Dickey draws parallels between Europe then and America now.

But where does Eco’s Eternal Fascism fit in American politics? Can it be that many of the figures parading before us in this presidential campaign year appeal to the worst instincts of “the People”? Do they play on atavistic fears and resentments, frustrations and humiliations? Are they marked by their irrationalism and anti-intellectualism, their hatred of things foreign, their desire to be seen as heroes and their gun-toting machismo?

Oh, hell yeah. But I don’t need to point the finger. Umberto Eco is doing it from the grave. As he wrote more than 20 year ago:

“Franklin Roosevelt’s words of November 4, 1938, are worth recalling: ‘If American democracy ceases to move forward as a living force, seeking day and night by peaceful means to better the lot of our citizens, fascism will grow in strength in our land.’

“Freedom and liberation,” Eco wrote, “are an unending task.”

How do we get angry Americans who think any of these guys are the answer to “setting America on the right path” to understand that they will do just the opposite? How do we get Donald Trump to leave the Republican race now that all of the non-scary candidates have been chased away? Getting rid of Donald is not enough. We must elect a Democrat in 2016 or American Democracy will not survive. I have no idea how we convince what I call “the pod people”, brainwashed by right wing media, that they must vote against the positions they have been taught to believe in.

10/27/15 On Megalomania, and the World https://draft.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=453069755357542576#editor/target=post;postID=2896814823017990171;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=0;src=postname

11/24/15 A Plague on Both Your Houses https://draft.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=453069755357542576#editor/target=post;postID=8679697109120850499;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=1;src=postname

By Nancy Brisson

Me Donald – Me Hulk – Me Save America

Thank you You Tube

Donald Trump promises to set things right in America (double meaning intended). About half of America wants a President who can turn into the Hulk. They want to be taken care of in that way. “Me Hulk – me mad – me smash all meanies – China, ISIS, Iran – (with American soldiers doing the actual smashing). Me rich, me brilliant business man – me make America rich again – get jobs again. Me white – me make America majority European again – me run foreigners out of country.”

One problem with this (among so many) is all those “me-s”. America is not supposed to wait for one person, even if s/he is our leader, to solve our problems. We live in a Democracy – a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

What I don’t see, if Donald Trump becomes President, is where we the people fit in. Do we just passively wait while Donald Trump rains down largesse on our heads? Do we kick back and enjoy the fruits of his power moves while hoping to fare well in the deals he makes? What is the people’s role in a Donald Trump Presidency? What about the 50% of people who don’t agree with his projected policies? Will he sell the American soldier and the American worker down the river if necessary to insure the overall prosperity of our nation? Will we share that prosperity or will we be the coal shoveled into the furnace, used, spent, discarded? Donald Trump eats people he perceives as inferior for lunch. “Hulk angry – stay away from Hulk.”

That old mojo we used to have is not gone, even though half of the nation seems to have lost so much faith in America that they will turn to a bipolar superhero to recapture an old snapshot of a transcendent America. Life is not a snapshot. A snapshot is the past. However nostalgic we might be to recreate that old snapshot we know we can’t. Life moves on. Life is a movie; it’s a video, on fast forward sometimes.

America is not dying. America is in transition. Either the world will coalesce as a global entity consisting of the world’s nations, but more open because economics will know no boundaries, or the nations, including us, will turn inward and wall themselves off into individual entities, and society will assume a more feudal structure with nations constantly sparring with each other (that sounds sort of like now, doesn’t it).

We will not be wise to elect a “savior”. What we need is a leader who straddles the past and the future and helps America legislate and build its way into having two feet solidly planted in a new future with common goals. There will still be things to fight about, there always are, but if we let World War III happen there may not be a recognizable world left. No one really could possibly think that starting World War III is a great idea. But mankind has gone to war often for some incredibly stupid reasons (and to settle some unavoidable battles, although rarely). If we try to rewrite the old King Arthur rule that “might makes right” and try turning it around so that “the mighty strive to do what is right” perhaps we can stop looking to the Hulk to save us and collectively govern wisely, more like the Federation from Star Trek.

By Nancy Brisson

Thinking Mr. Trump’s Immigration Plan Through

I often wonder when I am reading books about World War II and the Holocaust what I would have done if I lived in Europe in those years. When my neighbors, who I most likely knew were Jewish, but maybe not, put on a yellow star, how long would it have taken for me to start to avoid them. I doubt that I would have stepped up boldly to defend them. The German officers were brutal and deadly.

Would I have done something covert, such as take part in a human chain to hide someone and pass them on to safety or join a secret resistance movement? Often we have no idea how we will behave when faced with a choice that weighs our morality against our very life.

And while that might not be the exact circumstance we will face if Donald Trump becomes President, it will feel an awful lot like those terrible days. Eleven million plus people will be rounded up. Will they be forced to wear armbands or pins with the flag of their nation of origin until they can be shipped home? They won’t all be Mexicans. They will be Dominicans, Turks, Bhutanese, Sudanese, Nigerian, Argentinian, Columbian, etc. Will we round them up and pack them into buses? Will we send them to ports on trains? Will we use planes? Will we put troops with them in transit to make sure they don’t escape? Will they shoot to kill? How else would we process and move 11 million people?

We think we are unhappy the immigrants and refugees are here; we will be even more unhappy watching the deportation process unfold. The optics will be awful but the emotional impact will be worse. What will happen to citizens who try to interfere? What is the plan for that? I’m guessing all that military equipment the police bought will prove to be quite useful for this operation.

Sending Japanese Americans to Internment

We don’t want anyone to come into America and overstay their welcome. How will we track visas and the people who have them? Will we attach tracking devices that can’t be removed? I think the devices we have right now can be disabled. People being tracked will find ways to go “off the grid”. Do we stop granting visas altogether?

After we alienate every citizen of every country around the globe and become a giant island between oceans who will buy our products? Isn’t it possible that we might become even more unpopular than we are, basically putting the kibosh on us getting the trade balance to tip in our favor? After all actions have consequences.

So think carefully. Even if we could find the money and come up with a foolproof methodology to do this thing, should we? Can we live with the wrenching human upheaval of actually hunting embedded neighbors down and the heartlessness of shipping them to places that might be dangerous for them or places that offer them only poverty and an absence of hope?

If our human spirits can survive this inhumane process intact, will we get what we want? The old adage goes “don’t wish for what you don’t want because you might get it.” Sometimes this same old adage can be stated as “don’t wish for what you do want because you might get it”. If citizens are suffering because of illegal immigration then we really need to think about how we can accommodate those who are here, keep out those who are not and have enough resources to make everyone comfortable. Donald Trump’s plan may sound enticing until you examine it closely, but I think we need a better immigration plan, please. 

By Nancy Brisson

What is Real and What is Fantasy?

People want to get back the things that we seem to have lost such as: security in the form of jobs that last a lifetime, pensions that don’t disappear (pouf) (thank you, Rachel), social security we don’t have to feel guilty about, medical care that we can afford from cradle to grave, ascendancy on the world stage, no environmental ax hanging over our heads, and no illegal immigrants taking our jobs and using our tax dollars.

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders both promise that they can deliver these things although, I assume, using totally different methodologies. Donald Trump’s alleged ‘plain-speaking’ hints at an agenda that will keep America mostly white and speaking English. If will be an America that employs all citizens who can work and an America that is feared and therefore respected around the world. He believes that building an enormous military force armed to the teeth with the very best weapons willing to fight anytime and anywhere will insure that our nation remains a ‘safe space’ for American citizens.

But Donald Trump is a true patriarch and, as a CEO, he is used to being large and in charge. His governance sounds much more like a dictatorship than an exercise in the checks and balances as set forth by our forefathers in our Constitution. Donald Trump sounds like the candidate you might want if you need to answer the question “who’s your Daddy”. How much freedom do we give up as citizens if we let Donald Trump set things right for us? Will our losses equal our gains? He tells us what we think we want to hear, but can he deliver? Does just having a big mouth and a flamboyant, overly confident personality win the day around the globe? Will our enemies be shaking in their boots or will they resent us returning to our interfering and often mistaken ways.

Bernie Sanders offers us many fine things, rights that working people in other advanced nations have already won, rights that support people who work, especially women (although increasing numbers of men find themselves in need of at least the parental rights); things like universal pre-K, family leave, sick leave, closing the disparity between male and female pay, between rich and poor. Bernie Sanders seems to favor turning illegal immigrants into an innovation advantage through education and programs that ferret out people with special talents or abilities or high levels of intelligence. Bernie Sanders is mostly focused on America’s economy which is certainly where we would like to have power focus right now so that the middle class does not continue to lose ground. What is Mr. Sanders foreign policy? At least Bernie will fight to keep our planet healthy. Will he be overcome by the socialist label which he does not seem to mind, but which most Americans fear (or have been taught to fear)?

Electing Bernie Sanders would be like electing the best union organizer of all time. We have never had a union organizer as a President. It sounds like Bernie Sanders is a very democratic socialist and will not take us to places we do not want to go. However, we have to ask ourselves if the state of our current finances and the extreme opposition to left wing reforms that benefit workers who don’t seem to have jobs, is practical and doable and a road that will lead us to prosperity, or if this too is just what the media is calling “magical thinking” and Bernie’s agenda is really just a fine example of promises that cannot be fulfilled. Boy, I hate to think that that is true. Perhaps instead of giving up on these kinds of middle class rights we need to choose someone who will take baby steps until the economy and our rights reach a peak at the same moment. It is really hard not to want it right now, but we have some other people in America who need a leader who will also fight for their rights. Can Bernie fight on all the fronts we need to fight on right now?

Donald Trump’s focus seems to be on forces outside of America and Bernie Sander’s focus seems to be on forces inside America. I like some of what each has to say, although, of course, I lean more towards Bernie Sanders. I like that Trump says he will make America great again, but, in truth, I do not agree with any of the ways he will go about it. Each of these candidates suggests the possibility of instant answers and that I cannot believe in. It appears to me that our culture and our economy is in a transitional age, which is why Americans cannot decide whether to be cautious or bold, inclusive or isolationist? We will, most likely, wend a careful path through some kind of middle way if we can ever get our nutty relatives on the right to make sense again.

We need training; we need education. If we are going to be a nation with fewer public jobs and fewer corporate jobs, we need to raise a generation of entrepreneurs schooled by people who already know the ropes. One reality show called The Apprentice is not nearly enough to get us an America full of thriving small businesses that succeed and grow into big businesses.

I am a proponent of a classic curriculum, of what used to be called the liberal arts (before liberal became a ‘suspect’ word and before ‘political correctness’ limited free speech and thought). I am, however, open to the argument that perhaps a liberal arts education is a ‘frill’ right now for those who need to go right out into the world to work. This means we need all sorts of educational environments from schools to one-on-ones and we need all kinds of programs from skill training to college degrees to apprenticeships. As far as I know the world will need people who can fix things for many, many years to come and we will need even more of them than the number of geniuses that we will require (although can a culture ever have too many geniuses). I tend to believe that education and small business and public programs are the ways out of our current impasse.

By Nancy Brisson