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PM Carpenter, your host. Email: pmcarp at mchsi dot com.
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In Sausalito overlooking S.F. Bay with my uncle, Lucky Strike nonfilters and a case of Bud. Those splendid days are long gone.


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February 11, 2018


L. Reeves

"What they really admire — and what they wish to advertise to others as a major part of themselves — is the swaggering, chest-thumping, tough-guy "manhood" of a punk like Trump. Such are the weakest, most frightened men on earth. (Which is why they're so loud.)"

You've nailed it, PM. That is what the Trump supporters admire and what they believe will protect America --that it takes a swaggering, chest-thumping, tough guy to make deals --to stand up to outside "threats" of all sorts. Sadly, they don't seem to realize that from Trump it's all bluster, it's fake, and in fact dangerous.

But having said that, let's also admit that Trump has a sixth sense for how to reach the insecure among us. He has proven a certain "genius" for rousing the rabble. Someone (I forget who) illustrated this "talent" the other day by explaining how Trump will deploy a word like "treason" (as he did in the context of the SOTU address and Dems unresponsiveness), in a casual, half-joking way, in order to begin normalizing the use of such a serious word. We have seen this technique used repeatedly by Trump. In this way he steers words, discussions, ideas, in directions that he wishes them to go. This president's instincts are base but effective in procuring a certain constituents' loyalty and for allowing their insecurities and their prejudices to take on acceptability.

Beware the Donald's sixth sense --his deplorable but "genius" gift for validating his base's most insecure, vile, and dangerous sentiments.

Peter G

Which is why I puked on the author of that piece at Vox advising the Democrats to reclaim nationalism. It is, as everyone can easily see, inectuctably mixed with nativism and racism. In the aftermath of the Trump electoral disaster were we not endlessly treated to advice to the effect that we all needed to embrace their deplorability, their racism and sexism and nativism, their demands for ideological conformity and submission, their demands for respect where none is earned and none ever given.

Fuck that shit.

PS love the new lay out. You don’t realize what can be made better until it is.

Peter G

That is a very astute observation about what may be Trump’s only real skill, legitimizing shiftiness. And he does this with typical Trump cowardice, always framed as a joke. That you can’t take. But he did not invent this technique. Our late and unlamented British Troll was particularly fond of this techique. And if you didn’t his rascism or sexism why you were just overly sensitive.

Anne J

Hmmmm...somehow I'm having great difficulty believing that a guy who voted twice for Obama would then turn around and vote for the virulently racist Obama hater. Something here just isn't adding up. And they say us non college educated smallfolk are the stupid ones? I'm so sick of this pandering to white middle or upper middle class men while completely ignoring everyone else. Why are these people not coming to California? Because they've written us all off as tree hughing illegal immigrant coddling hippies? Do they realize who our governor was 50 years ago? Do they realize which president was born here? Being the most populous state in the union, we have plenty of representation of all voting blocs here if anyone would care to come here and see all the red and purple and realize we are not as blue as advertised. How about taking a trip to Devin Numbuts' district in the Central Valley? Or Dingbat Rorabacher's in Long Beach for starters? Our electoral landscape is even more varied than our geographical one.

Peter G

I am not sure who exactly saying that non college educated people are the stupid ones. Maybe that’s because I was part of the first generation for whom college education was a realizable thing regardless of economic class. And regardless of intelligence the are still many people for whom college education remains beyond reach. The fact is, though, that many could not have cut it in an academic world. And I might have been such a one had I not spent a couple years parking in a chemical plant out of high school in order to pay my way through university. Knowing what that world was like was a very powerful inducement to get up in the morning and make it to class. I knew many people who could not manage even that much and so dropped out. None of those people were from what you would call working class families.

Assuming that a lack of college credentials somehow makes you an idiot is a mistake I am not likely to make. Nor am I ever likely to assume an Ivy League degree makes you smart. That doesn’t even qualify you as human considering the many counterexamples they have churned out.

Anne J

To be honest I hear it more from the left than the right.

Anne J

Appealing to insecurities is how advertisers sell products. I'm still trying to figure out if that is Trump's genius or does he merely cater to and exploit his supporters' many hatreds.


If the GOP wants this guy they can have him


I’m sure Shannon Kennedy is an honorable man. He’s also an idiot and not worth bothering with. This op-ed was a waste of precious editorial real estate. And yes, I have honorable friends, and ones with advanced degrees, who voted for Trump. Yes, they’re out there; we get that. All our side needs to do – no, make that fckn ALL we need to do - is outvote them. Many of these Shannon Kennedys won't be voting next time or the time after.

I am beginning to see why my cousin (smart, well-read, a bit to my left) loathes Roger Cohen. Um, Roger, “same old same old”? Like Shannon Kennedy’s obvious reverence for Barack Obama? Barring the 26th Amendment and Michelle and if Barack had run for a third term, Shannon Kennedy would have voted for him a third time. It’s easy to suspect the main reason Shannon Kennedy didn’t vote for Hillary is because she is a woman. Watch this guy not vote this fall or in 2020. Cohen’s main contribution here was to highlight Trump voters’ base instincts, along with legitimate desperation, which Trump artfully exploits. This is new?

“Listen to” . . . what, Roger? Shannon Kennedy’s prejudices on those damn foreigners? The economic desperation of the rust belt? Syracuse IS a mess. It is true Obama (and Clinton) wasn’t the greatest on this; all through our country a large portion never recovered from the pre-2008 Meltdown, where innumerable local economies were and are a mess. (Obama’s greatest failing was in education, feckless and not one but two idiots heading up USDoEd: Arnie Duncan and John King.) This is where we need Joe Biden, whom Cohen sites, at the very least to be part of any discussions.

Cohen doesn’t have the first clue about how the Democrats should regain power.

Anne J

Kennedy claimed to be for national health care but yet he still supports Trump after he spent all last summer trying to take it away from people? I'm going to agree with your conclusion. He didn't want Hillary Clinton. Getting rid of her once and for all was the right wing spin machine's greatest accomplishment.

L. Reeves

Oh, you're right, Anne. Trump definitely caters to and exploits his supporters' many hatreds or,at the very least, we can label them ignorant insecurities. But I'm suggesting this is a kind of evil genius that Trump instinctively possesses. We shouldn't underestimate his natural abilities, and his ongoing intent to behave as he does. He's just compulsive about it. Never introspective about what he's doing. It comes as natural to him as it is to breathe. And catering to his own base compulsion is a long-standing habit of his that he will not break. I guess this all goes without saying by now. But I start to get tired of the press being shocked at his every vulgarity of sentiment and word. Like this isn't totally expected by now? They should preempt him by talking about what he'll next tweet, etc. I don't know --start mocking him, laugh at him, quit reacting to him in a serious way --and all the while not underestimating his instinctual and singular ability to behave in a confidently disgraceful manner.

And most important of all, as Max points out, is for Dems to get the vote out. Still, they must determine a sure-fire way to make that happen.

Peter G

Would not be surprised. Now me personally I don’t give much of a damn for anyone who thinks they are entitled to a position in this universe based on who their parents are, what color they are or what gender they are. So I will be honest and say that I have nothing but contempt for those Trump supporters who believe that somehow they should be priveleged to have a get out of competition note to excuse them from having to work for what they get.

You may have seen something so awful from Fox that they actually had to scrub it from their site. That was a column from the head of their News division assaulting the diversity of the US Olympic team and asserting that race or sexual orientation should not have been a factor in selecting athletes to compete for the US. As if it ever was. Every single spot was earned with painful effort. How despicable is it to suggest otherwise? So despicable Fox knew they went too far.

But I will point out something. Remember that bit about Ginger Rogers doing everything Fred Astaire did, but backward and in high heels? Well I watched the stunning success of your Women gymnasts at the last summer Olympics. And they did everything the guys did, but better, and while being hunted by a sexual predator.


There's no reasoning with the Shannon Kennedys anyway. So when he voices his prejudices on those illegal aliens (he did not use that exact term but his meaning is quite clear) the reply ought to be: you mean like Melania?

Anne J

Or every time he does tweet something stupid they should ask what he's hiding this time and focus on that instead.

Tom Benjamin

I agree with Phil and pretty much everything in the comments. The only thing I would add is a question: Why do pundits like Cohen think the Democratic Party needs their advice? The Republicans have won the popular vote in exactly one of the past seven presidential elections. Do the pundits ever have any advice for them?


When the Republicans sends its people, they're not sending the best. They're sending people with lots of problems and they're bringing those problems. They're bringing racism and misogony. They're bringing bigotry and xenophobia. They're morons and some, I assume, are good people.


Yes, Max. One thing the article got right was the attraction many of those men have for voting for the fake machismo act, chest-thumping etc. that they can sadly identify themselves with; even whilst ignoring so much else of more importance. Max, I think you nailed it when you said; "It’s easy to suspect the main reason Shannon Kennedy didn’t vote for Hillary is because she is a woman"(Commentator quote from: Max,February 11, 2018 at 11:31 AM).


Max and Anne J in reply to Max, you both hit the nail right on the head! He voted against the very interests he spouted he believed in prior, because his machismo (ego), was more important than any other factor, and kept him from voting for a such a highly qualified female for president. The thought of a woman capable of doing a better job, in another profession long dominated by males in USA, (and not only breaking the glass ceiling to the presidency but likely outshining those who had gone before), was just too much for some of these good ol' boys. Nevermind the GOP was never going to let DEMs to have another first by having an excellent woman who cared about everybody, follow right behind the first Black male President of USA. If the GOP ever run a women for VP or Prez, you better believe they would make sure she was the most token female as possible to do their bidding, to make it a disgrace for the everyday people of the country while they could have a woman to blame for it all. GOP was terrified of Hillary because she was capable of doing an amazing job, and they knew it.

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