How Do I Understand?

Read 5 min 54 seconds 1708 words

August 10, 2018

This is my “deep story”

I stumbled upon a rich treasure the other day. It is already bearing fruit.

I am not sure how I connected with this source but it is amazing!

It is called ‘Cognoscenti’. The tagline on its page is “Thinking That Matters”.

The definition of Cognoscenti is “persons who have superior knowledge and understanding of a particular field, especially in the fine arts, literature, and the world of fashion according to dictionary.com

I have provided the link to the page where the inside story is.

This medium is a sponsored program by WBRU Radio in Boston MA. I recommend reading the article.

GETTING BACK ON TOPIC

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The title of an article struck me “I Keep Trying to Understand Trump Voters, But I Keep Failing,”.

 Julie Wittes Schlack Cognoscenti Contributor wrote the article

Julie writes essays, short stories and book reviews for various publications including WBUR’s Cognoscenti and The ARTery.

By day, she leads the product innovation team for C Space, a Boston-based consumer collaboration company.

It is Ms. Wittes Schlack’s review of a book by Arlie Russell Hochschild “Strangers In Their Own Land”.

She describes the book as “a deeply researched and prescient study of Tea Party activists in Louisiana.

She quotes Ms. Hochschild “In a period of political tumult, we grasp for quick certainties”. We shoehorn new information into ways we already think.”

WOW!

This is attached to a podcast named “Hidden Brain” hosted by Shankar Vedantam and produced by  Maggie Penman, Renee Klar, Jennifer Schmidt, Rhaina Cohen,  Tara Boyle, and Chloe Connelly. It was distributed on January 24, 2017.

The work of sociologist Arlie Hochschild was researched for some time.

The article starts out by restating my conundrum: “Researchers have long been confused by what seems like a paradox: many people in America vote against their economic self-interests.

Whether it’s the working-class conservative who wants a tax cut for the wealthy or a member of the liberal elite who fights for safety nets that raise his own taxes – we don’t always act in the way that would help US most.”

Aha! I dim light flickers to life!

Ms. Arlie Hochschild tackles this paradox.

“She says that people might vote against their economic needs, they’re actually voting for their emotional needs”.

Ms. Hochschild spent years in Louisiana trying to understand the deep stories of conservative, white, heterosexual, working-class Americans.

“Their deep story focused on the American Dream: the idea that, if you work hard and play by the rules, you can have a better life,”

Today that dream is shattered best that I can tell.

I read an article today that discussed how the rents paid by the uber-wealthy are decreasing while the rents paid by the poor are increasing.

How can that be?

I thought America was a capitalist country governed by the “marketplace”, whatever that is.

(I am working on a post about poverty in American and the pay gaps: between rich and poor, women and men.)

I will get to that soon. I have been postponing it because I don’t think all of that story is told yet.

Yes, unemployment is low and the stock market is high.

But it all seems artificial.

I vividly recall the crash in 2007. I have been waiting for the crash of 2018 or 2019 to hit.

In addition, the tariffs and trade wars are going to working classes and the not uber-rich one more time.

The hardships unleashed by the last crash were not felt by the uber-rich.

The US Treasury is borrowing at a rate that makes me gasp.

I don’t understand it all but when the talk is of ‘unprecedented’ increases, my heart plummets.

But Ms. Hochschild’s observations ring true.

When I was in the Army in Alabama, the local people that worked in the same building were very much in favor of Nixon.

I cautioned them that all was not well.

They didn’t believe, but I think I righter than they.

The times are so much like the days and turmoil of Nixon’s reign but even he did not go to the autocrat extremes of our current dictator.

But I wander from my story.

I noticed last week that Trump’s approval ratings were at 50%.

Huh?

A recent Pew survey found that approval ratings for Trump have been stable

Thirty-nine percent of Americans approved of his job performance in February 2017, almost a month after his inauguration.

With all the terrible things that have happened since his approval rating has improved!

Looking across to the opposition while 84 percent of Republicans approve of his job performance compared to just 7 percent of Democrats.

I never recall that big a chasm in this country.

I didn’t understand people voting for him in the first place. Now, even more, think he is just swell.

I mentioned that the American Dream was the quest for all Americans.

What happens when that dream does not come true?

Conservative white people see blacks and immigrants cutting in line in front of them.

They get ahead while the white people flounder.

No improvement in wages.

No improvement in job security.

Even when Trump kills industries with his tariffs they still approve of his job performance!

According to Hochschild, Trump tapped into the deep stories of these white people.

He confirmed what these people felt and that validated them.

His rhetoric even gives them a way to talk about their stories.

This has been one of my ‘not-understandings’.

They voted for him. Now they approve of him even more! ??

I wondered where these people had been.

Why hadn’t I heard of them before?

But that was part of the problem.

They didn’t have a voice until Trump came along.

Sure they elected a lot of crazy, of the rocker congresspeople. But that is the nature of the South.

‘A different country’ when I talked about Alabama.

Okay. That explains the attitudes of the people that lined the top of the freeways in Kentucky.

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Shanties.

My story was reinforced by an up-and-coming singer. Dolly Parton. She sings of the squalor that she and so many others lived in.

I just didn’t pay enough attention to the words.

Ms. Hochschild explored the ‘deep stories’.

 “The phenomenon of the tales we construct and tell ourselves to create coherence, to explain our values, hopes and disappointment.’

The stories may not be accurate but they ‘FEEL’ TRUE.

That still is only part of the story.

Last week Pence was in Duluth. A month earlier it was Trump.

The city was upside down!

How did these people, those that I grew up with, that I attended school devise such different ‘deep stories’ than mine?

I heard my rage and utter despair at the conditions that were and are developing.

Hochschild describes the “empathy wall” that makes us feel different even hostile to those who hold different beliefs

Boy that describes me to the hair I don’t have on my head.

What still befuddles me is that approximately four in 10 Americans support Trump even though a majority say they don’t like the way he conducts himself.

Another HUH?

How can someone vote for a person they don’t respect or admire? Especially for president?

Ms. Wittes Schlack describes the theory of Arlie Hochschild.

“In her telling, the conservative right’s deep story is about standing in line to get to the summit of a hill where you’ll finally realize the American Dream.”

You will have the prosperity and security of your dreams.

“The line moves slowly, but despite your lack of progress, you feel proud for  not complaining.”

You are tenacious. You are patient.

But now, the line quit moving.

It was moving at a snail’s pace, but now you see women, African-Americans, and immigrants cutting in line in front of you.

That you made you mad as a child and maybe even more now.

You feel “increasingly outnumbered and victimized.”

But you are like your ancestors, stoic and not complaining.

You won’t be a ‘whiner’.

It is safer for your ‘deep story’ to “characterize them, those people who cut in line, as rapists and criminals.

“They are job-stealing parasites infesting the homeland.”

You blame them and then you can hold onto your self-respect.

I am like the rest of the Americans that are increasingly contemptuous of the Republicans.

I even have created a name for them “The Trumpsters”. Those who follow Trump are “The Intolerants”.

In my story, it makes no difference whether you ‘born into privilege or poverty’.

We don’t look at the losses we have experienced we look at the great things we have accomplished.

We have redressed the wrongs of Civil Rights and Women’s Rights.

We “champion diversity and economic fairness.”

“We see the last 50 years not as an erosion of American values” but as a fulfillment of them.

We can agree with the conservatives that the “American Dream’ is increasingly unattainable.

But I blame the 1% and the skewed capitalist system on which they gorge.

I don’t blame the destitute or the working poor.

Granted liberals congratulate themselves on doing good works.

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But what do we do when we see the world rails ‘off the rails’?

I get angry and I despair for the future.

We have achieved all the ‘rights’ but now, in a blip, gone.

How do we address the rising tensions in our midst? The rising likelihood of racial violence?

We have already been thru this once!

What?

What did the hard work of the last 50 years accomplish?

Each story feels right for the people living in it.

It looks equally twisted to those that are looking in from the outside.

I don’t understand how we will reach common ground?

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Thanks for stopping.

Craig

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Who is this Man?

August 5, 2018

4 minutes 18 sec read  997 words

He came from strict Catholic roots, born on Oct 29, 1897, studied history and literature.

He had contracted polio as a child and was rejected from military service.

This “sense of physical inadequacy tormented him,”  his whole life.

He had black hair and “a diminutive frame” and an intellectual background.

He was hostile to his nickname “little doctor”. He had a doctorate in literature and wrote revealing personal journals.

In his youth, crippled with high intelligence, driving ambition, voracious sexuality, and poverty.

These shortcomings along with his club foot “provided a rich cocktail of bitter complexes and hang-ups”.

His biographer described him as “always in search of a Messiah-like father figure to fulfill his nagging need for attention and applause.”

When he finally met a man who met his criteria, he fell under his spell. His conversion to this man’s cause “was instant and complete.”

He was a devoted disciple and did not waiver in his loyalty.

They even died together.

This man crafted the message and stage-managed the appearances of his manic devotion.

He created an empire “beyond the dreams of the spin-doctor imitators today.”

He gained total control of whole industries including the press, publishing, broadcasting, theater, and film.

He commissioned movies “(and bedded the actresses)” which put the sugar on the pill of his master.

His affairs led his wife to demand a divorce even though she too was unfaithful.

ENOUGH HINTS
WHO IS THE MAN?

Who is or was, depending on how you look at the time, is this man?

He of the slippery tongue, the masterful spinner of tales, the pre-eminent ‘bullshitter’.

I covered the requirements for the title ‘bullshitter’ in my recent post…

As his turn came, as it always does, he became even more fanatical to the cause.

He has served as the ‘master to emulate’ by our current dictator in chief.

Trump is described as a follower of Roy Cohn who showed Trump how to ‘exploit the power and instill fear’.

Being acknowledged as a disciple of Roy Cohn, as damning as that is, is only a part of Trump’s evil designs.

His real anchor as he presides over the death of the United States of America is:

Joseph Goebbels.

Yes, you read that right.

I have read Trump is a modern day Hitler.

That may be.

But I put forth the nomination of Joseph Goebbels.

He is a fascist leading the brain-washed citizens to overtake an experiment in democracy.

But I recommend that Trump, the most powerful ‘illiberal’ to ever walk the earth, to be the incarnation of Dr. Joseph Goebbels.

I claim Trump is the master of ‘illiberal’ because even Hitler did not have as much power as Trump has at his fingertips.

Hitler had Mussolini who made up the Rome-Berlin Axis.

Japan was also considered part of the Axis powers but there had been no summit or meeting to establish the formality.

The three countries controlled Europe, North Africa, and East Asia at their zenith.

But Trump has Putin and Xi Jinping.

Trump has powerful followers of his tradecraft: Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban; Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro; the Philipines President RodrigoDutarte and no doubt even more up and comers who haven’t reached the world stage just yet.

Hitler also had Marshal Philippe Petain who headed Vichy France until 1942 when the Allied Invasion of France brought Charles De Gaulle back to France.

Charles De Gaulle led Free French Provincial government of the Free French Republic and ousted Petain from power.

But in terms of the number of people under subjugation to these dictators and the sheer firepower they can amass beats Hitler and his ilk any day.

Goebbels is described by the Jewish Virtual Library. org which recorded Hitler’s impression of Goebbels.

“Dr. Goebbels was gifted with the two things without which the situation in Berlin could not have been mastered: ‘verbal facility and intellect’”.

The Jewish Virtual Library. org’s description continues “Goebbels was the true creator and organizer of the Fuhrer myth, of the image of the Messiah-redeemer, feeding the theatrical element of the Nazi leader while inducing the self-surrender of the German masses through skillful stage management and manipulation’.

Now, I ask you, which of the above images does not describe Trump to the last of his coiffed fake hair.

If not for his orange complexion maybe he could resemble Goebbels more closely.

But, does his  ” deeply rooted contempt for humanity, his urge to sow confusion, hatred, and intoxication, lust for power and his mastery of the techniques of mass persuasion” match, Joseph Goebbels, when he was given full vent in the election campaigns of 1932 which brought Hitler to center stage.

Why do the major media outlets fear to bring these characteristic similarities of Trump and Goebbels to center stage in American news?

No doubt they do not want to inflame passions more than they are.

Based on the marches of Portland OR last weekend where the right wing Patriot Prayer party’s demonstration was met by counter-protesters.

The police were prepared for the event, keep each party to an opposite sidewalk along the street. Skirmishers of the opposing forces met and they shed blood.

Noteworthy is that this alt-right gathering is just ahead of the alt-right ‘Unite the Right’ in Charlottesville last August.

Would you expect that Trump will continue his wild-tinged calls for against the press as “enemies of the people” and the Mueller investigation “a witch hunt” are having the desired effect?

American Citizens are beginning to believe him. America’s citizens are beginning to believe him.

Keith Payne is a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

He states “When a statement is repeated, it starts to feel more familiar. It is the concept of “illusory truth”.

He continues “Even when people know a claim is false, just a few repetitions can make them more likely to think it’s true.

Now how does that square with your thinking Trump’s supporters?

 “The Intolerants’ as I have labeled them should not be discarded out of hand—just because you don’t believe it doesn’t make it not true!

Now for the picture gallery:

 

 

 

Goebbel’s Rallies

Trump’s Rallies

 

 

Thanks for stopping.

Craig

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‘NEVERMORE’

aka EXPOSING THE PROPAGANDA

August 4. 2018

864 words

3 minutes 41 seconds read time

Good Evening.

The title of the post tonight is ‘Nevermore’. Does anyone recognize the famous phrase?

A hint: it was in a poem by Edgar Allan Poe.

But maybe he is not taught anymore?

An example of what they still may teach galloped across my mind last night while watching a math professor finish the equation of a lifetime. From on his ladder, his slowly turned his head to see the cleaning lady wiping off the beginning of the equation. The narrator’s voice trailed off, ‘he almost finished the equation’?

Great commercial.

Great question.

How many know the name of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem?

I could ramble on with subjects not taught anymore and one caught my mind. Spelling!

Who needs spelling and proofreading in the day of Grammarly, ProWriting Aid and many other tools?

Case in point.

My spellchecker did not recognize that I had misspelled Poe’s middle name incorrectly.

What an embarrassment!

‘Nevermore’!

Last evening and the one before I lamented I had separated from several family members due to their continued intoxication with Trump.

My oft-stated reasoning for debunking so many of Trump’s stupidities/lies/miscalculations take your pick is to correct the fake news of the day.

I often state that if people are intoxicated with Trump after 18 months they should move to a desert island with others of their ilk.

Leave us that love DEMOCRACY and DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES to live in what was the UNITED States of America.

That holds true for these men and women have served in the military.

They took an OATH to DEFEND and UPHOLD the CONSTITUTION. 

To act against the Constitution is CONSPIRACY. That is a federal felony.

I don’t understand how they can so blithely ( casually and cheerfully) cast aside the country that helped them grow to adulthood.

I do not take my stand lightly nor without great sadness.

Tonight I watched last nights broadcast of the Rachel Maddow Show.
Nicolle Wallace interviewed Steve Schmidt, a former Republican strategist.

She also interviewed a former high ranking FBI official and a former high ranking CIA official.

Brian Stelter a reporter for CNN added in his column last night that Trump has lied (quoting a Washington Post columnist) 4,229 times in 558 days.

Chris Cillizza of CNN states he has said things that are not true more than 7 times a day!

The easy question is why don’t Trump supporters, (several months ago I labeled them as “JOCKSTRAPS”) look at something other than Fox News and other alt-right rags?
I agree with a reporter the other day said we shouldn’t call Trump and his supporters ‘fake news’. It is propaganda.

I agree wholeheartedly.

I have struggled for a good name to label the ‘fake news’.

 Propaganda is the real name for FAKE NEWS.

The harder question is that people who I assume perform due diligence when they are looking at buying a used car or looking for a new car mechanic.

But to decide they do not want to know the truth about Trump and his evilness?

They take him and his supporters at face value?

Even Fox News has Shep Smith has often spoken the truth regarding Trump.

These people who have their heads in the sand about Trump.

They have their heads even deeper in a pile of cow manure when they don’t even listen to a news anchor on Fox News.

Amazingly stupid!

This makes them irrelevant in any conversation involving today’s news.

I queried them and did not get a response.

Are they concerned where Trump and his minions are leading this country in regards to Women’s Rights? Children’s Rights? Civil Rights?

The Rights of the Sick and Infirm?

The Rights of the children ripped from their mothers at our border?

Do they understand the damage Trump and those of Trump’s Party (make no mistake the Republican Party does not exist) are doing?

The debris alone will last as long as their children are alive!

Their grandchildren’s children will still pay for the damage Trump is doing.

The $1.5 trillion gift to the 1% and to wealthy corporations will take that long to repay.

I am not even discussing the moral turpitude he is encouraging and is being copied not only by other JOCKSTRAPS running for election or reelection. but by other countries around the world.

If I  cannot trust these people’s competence to test attacks against the longstanding pillars of this country’s experiment in democracy, how can I trust their competency to tell me what the weather is?

This is obviously an oversimplification but how can any opinion they hold be of value?

An example: since they have not given any indication of ever talking to me again, I must conclude they approve of the activities at the Tampa rally.

Those people and their actions are beyond the pale!

To slam the press which is a pillar of a FREE DEMOCRACY IS INEXCUSABLE.

I have no choice but to cut off further conversation.

That is brutal.

It is sad.

But it is necessary.

I can’t wrap my head around the new ways Trump finds to disparage this nation, its history, its citizens.

I don’t have enough time left on this earth to understand these people’s misguidedness.

Mr. Poe’s poem? The Raven.
Therefore, ‘NEVERMORE’.

 

Thanks for stopping by.

Craig

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