This is the most profound essay I’ve yet read on The Donald’s character. At its root, the article is a sociological analysis.

“The idiot cares nothing about public life, much less public service. The idiot cares only about his own name. The idiot, by way of his actions, can destroy the social body. Eventually, the idiot destroys himself, but in so doing, potentially annihilates everyone along with him. He is a ticking time bomb in the middle of the public square.”

 

“Teach-in? What’s a teach-in?” That is a common response from my university students. That bewilderment is not limited to Millennials. Most Americans under age 60 know nothing about this unique form of social activism.

However, many Baby Boomers will recall the Vietnam War teach-ins. In the ’60s and ’70s, many of us opposed the war on moral grounds. However, we soon realized that we knew little about Vietnam and Southeast Asia, the history of American foreign policy, the intricacies of how the federal government worked, and the wide range of political activities available to us. We eagerly attended teach-ins to learn from our elders (even though we claimed not to trust anybody over age 30!) about all aspects of the war and citizenship. I attended some sessions with 200-300 participants.
In the digital age, you no longer need to hire a hall and hope for an embodied audience. The internet is now a viable venue for teach-ins. Since Trump’s inauguration, I have turned my Facebook page and The Society Pages’ (TSP) blog into a “Trump Teach-In.” I began posting several articles in the morning and another batch in the evening. During those 100+ days, I sometimes grew weary of all things Trump. I often went to bed swearing that I would no longer aggregate and post news articles about President Trump’s threat to the U.S. Constitution. I had a life to live.
Then I would rise in the morning and begin perusing my list of reliable sources—The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio (NPR), The Guardian, Politico, Talking Points Memo, etc. (we still have a relatively free and vigilant press). Soon I was again posting like a man possessed. Like it or not, this is my life in Twenty Seventeen. George Orwell needs updating.
I lived and resisted throughout Richard Nixon’s presidency and Watergate. It took him over four years to precipitate a constitutional crisis. U.S. Courts, Congress, and citizen activists eventually prevailed. In 112 days, President Trump has created an even more dangerous constitutional crisis. The outcome is uncertain.
Trying to stop the travel ban, disrupt the undocumented-immigrant roundup, solve Trump’s Russian Rubik’s Cube, protect civil liberties, avert nuclear war, and save American social and environmental programs is just the beginning. Not to be unduly alarmist, but look at what happened to Germany’s Weimar Constitution, a parliamentary democracy, during a single year, 1933. Democracy’s demise occurred despite spirited resistance from Germany’s citizens and its courts.
Governing primarily by unilateral executive orders and impulsive tweets, Trump is attempting to close our borders with travel bans, setting in motion a “military operation” to round up undocumented immigrants, authorizing a 1,000-mile wall along the Mexican-American border, and replacing diplomacy with cruise missiles and MOAB bombs. In addition, he labels the press as “the enemy of the people,” and monitors and fires federal civil servants who are out-of-step with him. This style of governing is trickling down—16 state legislatures are seeking to criminalize protest.
Now he has precipitated a potential constitutional crisis by firing the FBI Director James Comey, the man leading an investigation into “All the President’s Men’s” possible collusion with Russia.
We cannot count on the U.S. Courts or Congress to halt our accelerating avalanche toward Caesarism. The last bulwark of a constitutional democracy is an informed citizenry who are willing, in the words of political theorist Hannah Arendt, “to act in concert.” As Edmund Burke, the 18th century conservative thinker, observed, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men [and women] to do nothing.”
One of my recent posts had 70 shares. This virtual version of a teach-in is paying dividends by spreading “old-fashioned” facts and analysis. As the new masthead of the Washington Post proclaims, “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” For my part, I will continue my daily Trump teach-in posts, providing my readers with a little daylight. However, as the old adage goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

Stupid is as stupid does. This almost certainly give women and moderate Republicans veto power over whatever the Senate good ol’ boys come up with for Trumpcare.

People are always asking me what’s left on my “bucket list” [foolishly assuming that I’m going somewhere soon–seven years and counting, asshole!].
Given my madcap and roguish life and times, there is little I have failed to experiment with–except the hundreds of classic books I will never get read.
Top of the summer-reading list of books I’ve never finished is “Don Quixote.” Now there are some highly acclaimed “fancy pants” translations like Edith Grossman’s. However, for my money, an “oldy but goody” (1949) translation by Samuel Putman best captures Cervantes’ bawdy, saucy, and serrated intent.

If you want a Sherpa to guide you through this Himalayan novel (nearly a 1,000 pages), none is better than the classic novelist, Vladimir Nabokov: Lectures on Don Quixote. Conveniently, all his references are to the Putnam translation.

For a brilliant sociological analysis, see “Don Quixote and the Problem of Reality” by Alfred Schutz, Collected Papers II: Studies in Social Reality.

One can be a partisan of the left or right and still adhere to this proverb. Do not be deluded by fanatics, thugs, and rascals just because they claim to be your ally.

“When someone is honestly 55 percent right, that’s very good and there’s no use wrangling. And if someone is 60 percent right, it’s wonderful, it’s great luck, and let him thank God.

“But what’s to be said about 75 percent right? Wise people say this is suspicious. Well, and what about 100 percent right? Whoever says he’s 100 percent right is a fanatic, a thug, and the worst kind of rascal.”

— An old Jew of Galicia (Quoted by Czelaw Milosz)

“The words that reverberate for us at the confines of this long adventure of rebellion are not formulas for optimism, for which we have no possible use in the extremities of our unhappiness, but words of courage and intelligence which, on the shores of the eternal seas, even have the qualities of virtue.

“No possible form of wisdom today can claim to give more. Rebellion indefatigably confronts evil, from which it can only derive a new impetus. Man can master in himself everything that should be mastered. He should rectify in creation everything that can be rectified. And after he has done so, children will still die unjustly even in a perfect society. Even by his greatest effort man can only propose to diminish arithmetically the sufferings of the world. But the injustice and the suffering of the world will remain and, no matter how limited they are, they will not cease to be an outrage. Dimitri Karamazov’s cry of “Why?” will continue to resound; art and rebellion will die only with the last man.”

That was Paul Ryan’s line before last Friday, when the health care bill he designed in secret went down without a vote, his own party showing what they thought of his policy.

Time and again when he was asked about President Trump’s attacks on immigrants or the courts, his ties to Russia or his claims of massive election fraud, the speaker of the House would say he was too busy working on his agenda, “A Better Way,” to think about all that nasty stuff.

That Mr. Ryan failed on the policy promise that Republicans have been running on for eight years makes it clear that if he is the policy wonk of the Republican Party, then the Republican Party has no policy. And with a health care plan that would have stripped 24 million Americans of basic care and drastically hiked premiums for people over 60, it seems that they don’t much care what Americans need or want.

The discrepancy between promise and reality should be no surprise to anyone who has looked at Mr. Ryan’s proposals over the years. Mr. Ryan has been rolling out grand pronouncements in bound volumes with fancy covers and snappy names, but the main message never changed: America‘s “path to prosperity” (remember that one? 2011) lies in tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, and slashing social programs and regulations.

Three years ago, a House Republican leader said his report on antipoverty programs showed that “Paul Ryan remains our big-ideas guy.” We called it “a high-minded excuse” to “eviscerate programs like Medicaid, Head Start and food stamps.”

After Mitt Romney, with Mr. Ryan as his running mate, lost the presidential election in 2012, Republicans commissioned an “autopsy” that called for a realignment of the party.

“We have become expert in how to provide ideological reinforcement to like-minded people,” the report’s authors warned.

Mr. Ryan responded by repackaging the same agenda for the 2016 election, even though working-class Americans were demonstrating fury at his establishment orthodoxy. They didn’t want Social Security cut and they wanted the “health care for everybody” that Mr. Trump promised.

Mr. Ryan swallowed Mr. Trump’s insults and offenses, in the name of passing his agenda. After seven years and 60 failed Republican efforts to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, Mr. Ryan finally got his moment, and blew it.

After pulling the bill, Mr. Ryan showed he hadn’t given up on trying to make people think he was someone they could believe in. With no detectable irony, he described his humiliating defeat as “an incredible opportunity,” adding “There remains so much that we can do to help improve people’s lives, and we will.”

But he’s fooling no one any longer. Put to the test, Mr. Ryan revealed that all along, he doesn’t have anything more creative in his cranium than stale conservative dogma.

He had helped fulfill a cynical prophecy delivered last month by John Boehner, who was ousted by the same Freedom Caucus radicals who took Mr. Ryan and his White House boss down a peg on Friday, and may yet give the speaker the boot.

“In the 25 years that I served in the United States Congress,” Mr. Boehner said, “Republicans never, ever, one time agreed on what a health care proposal should look like. Not once. And all this happy talk that went on in November and December and January about repeal, repeal, repeal — yeah, we’ll do replace, replace — I started laughing.”

This is a key action manual for members of the Resistance. Astute strategy and tactics for resisting Trumpism in the coming months and years.

“Every crowd has a silver lining.”
“There’s a sucker born every minute.”
P.T. Barnum

The Teeth Mother Naked at Last

Now the Chief Executive enters; the press
conference begins:
First the President lies about the date the Appalachian
Mountains rose.
Then he lies about the population of Chicago, then he lies
about the weight of the adult eagle, then about the
acreage of the Everglades

He lies about the number of fish taken every year in the
Arctic, he has private information about which city is
               the capital of Wyoming, he lies about the birthplace of
Attila the Hun.

He lies about the composition of the amniotic fluid, and
he insists that Luther was never a German, and that
only the Protestants sold indulgences,

That Pope Leo X wanted to reform the church, but the
“liberal elements” prevented him,
that the Peasants’ War was fomented by Italians
from the North.

And the Attorney General lies about the time the
sun sets.