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Another attempt to explain the Trump phenomenon

Monday, Aug 29, 2016

* Sociologist Arlie Hochschild spent five years in Louisiana’s bayou country trying to figure out the folks who eventually turned into Donald Trump supporters. Her new book Strangers in Their Own Land is the result

Strangers in Their Own Land goes beyond the commonplace liberal idea that many on the political right have been duped into voting against their interests. In the right-wing world she explores, Hochschild discovers powerful forces—fear of cultural eclipse, economic decline, perceived government betrayal—which override self-interest, as progressives see it, and help explain the emotional appeal of a candidate like Donald Trump. Hochschild draws on her expert knowledge of the sociology of emotion to help us understand what it feels like to live in “red” America. Along the way she finds answers to one of the crucial questions of contemporary American politics: why do the people who would seem to benefit most from “liberal” government intervention abhor the very idea?

* Hochschild distilled her book down to this essay

What the people I interviewed were drawn to was not necessarily the particulars of these [far right conspiracy] theories. It was the deep story underlying them—an account of life as it feels to them. Some such account underlies all beliefs, right or left, I think. The deep story of the right goes like this:

    You are patiently standing in the middle of a long line stretching toward the horizon, where the American Dream awaits. But as you wait, you see people cutting in line ahead of you. Many of these line-cutters are black—beneficiaries of affirmative action or welfare. Some are career-driven women pushing into jobs they never had before. Then you see immigrants, Mexicans, Somalis, the Syrian refugees yet to come. As you wait in this unmoving line, you’re being asked to feel sorry for them all. You have a good heart. But who is deciding who you should feel compassion for? Then you see President Barack Hussein Obama waving the line-cutters forward. He’s on their side. In fact, isn’t he a line-cutter too? How did this fatherless black guy pay for Harvard? As you wait your turn, Obama is using the money in your pocket to help the line-cutters. He and his liberal backers have removed the shame from taking. The government has become an instrument for redistributing your money to the undeserving. It’s not your government anymore; it’s theirs.

I checked this distillation with those I interviewed to see if this version of the deep story rang true. Some altered it a bit (”the line-waiters form a new line”) or emphasized a particular point (those in back are paying for the line-cutters). But all of them agreed it was their story. One man said, “I live your analogy.” Another said, “You read my mind.”

Lots more stuff in there, so go read the whole thing.

- Posted by Rich Miller   58 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Kirk admits to problems with Q&A, blasts Obama

Monday, Aug 22, 2016

* Umm

After Sen. Kirk addressed the Naperville Chamber of Commerce, media members were asked to leave the room during the question and answer session. Later, Kirk explained the stroke he survived in 2012 makes question and answer sessions difficult.

“That’s just a Kirk thing. I’ll take the hit for that. Ok,” Kirk said.

Yikes.

…Adding… Kirk’s campaign explains that he has a tough time hearing in environments like that with a lot of background noise, glass clinking, people talking, etc.

* Bernie

Even before the Obama administration late last week said that a $400 million cash payment to Iran was linked to the release of a group of American prisoners, U.S. Sen. MARK KIRK R-Ill., like many Republicans, was calling the payment ransom.

The administration used the term “leverage” to say why it held back delivery of the money it said was owed to Iran because of an arms deal in the 1970s until hostages were released.

Kirk, talking to the editorial board of The State Journal-Register on Tuesday, was critical of the cash payment.

“We can’t have the president of the United States acting like the drug dealer in chief,” Kirk said, “giving clean packs of money to a … state sponsor of terror. Those 500-euro notes will pop up across the Middle East. …. We’re going to see problems in multiple (countries) because of that money given to them.”

A drug dealer in chief? No dog whistle there.

* And it was the Iranian’s money, after all

In a conference call with reporters, two senior administration officials intimately involved with the financial and prisoner negotiations sought to refute what they described as false reports about what happened. They weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity.

There was no way that Washington could have avoided repaying the money to Iran in the short-term, one of the officials insisted.

The 1981 Algiers Accord between the U.S. and Iran that set up the tribunal made repayment mandatory, and allowed for either claimant to seize assets in international courts if the other reneged on a ruling, the official said. Iran had lived up to its commitment by repaying $2.5 billion awarded for claims by U.S. citizens and companies.

A ruling on the military fund was expected soon, the official said, as Iran asked last year for the tribunal to hear its case and Tehran and Washington had been negotiating proposals for a hearing. Given that interest rates in the early years of the fund were as high as 20 percent, the official said Iran stood to receive a much more substantial award than $1.3 billion in interest. As a result, the U.S. opted to settle with Iran.

* Tammy Duckworth, by the way, has a new TV ad

*** UPDATE *** Press release…

Republican Senator Mark Kirk has been endorsed by Americans For Responsible Solutions, an organization started by former U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords (D-Az.) and her husband, Mark Kelly, that encourages elected officials to stand up for solutions to prevent gun violence and protect responsible gun ownership.

“Senator Mark Kirk has been a steady voice for bipartisan, responsible change that helps keep guns out the wrong hands, saves lives, and makes Illinois a safer place to live. He has stood up to the gun lobby and worked across the aisle for plans that reduce gun violence and protect the rights of law-abiding Americans,” said Peter Ambler, Executive Director of Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC. “We need more Republican leaders in Congress like Mark Kirk, and that’s why we are endorsing him for re-election in 2016.”

Senator Kirk was one of two Republican Senators to receive an endorsement from Americans For Responsible Solutions.

“In the wake of tragedy at Sandy Hook, Republicans Sens. Pat Toomey and Mark Kirk broke from the gun lobby and supported a bill to help prevent felons, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill from obtaining firearms at gun shows and online,” Giffords and Kelly wrote in a CNN op-ed. “This week, they are earning our organization’s endorsement.”

Senator Kirk has been a leading voice on common-sense, bipartisan gun reforms and legislation. Last year, the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence honored Senator Kirk with the Lincoln Award for his efforts in combatting gun violence in Chicago- he was the first Republican Senator to receive this honor.

“I’m honored to have former Rep. Giffords’ group’s support, not only for our campaign but for our effort to make streets, neighborhoods and schools safer,” said Senator Mark Kirk. ” The only way to break through the partisan gridlock in D.C. is by working across the aisle to reach bipartisan solutions, and I remain committed to working with Republicans and Democrats alike to get the job done and end the cycle of gun violence.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   22 Comments      


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