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Books, Literature & Ideas

Field of Fright

  • The Terror Inside Trump’s White House
  • Related: Paul Krugman Issues a Warning About What We All Know Is Coming

Ira Chernus, Tom Dispatch February 5, 2017 | What kind of national security policy will the Trump administration pursue globally? On this issue, as on so many others, the incoming president has offered enough contradictory clues, tweets, and comments that the only definitive answer right now is: Who knows?

During his presidential campaign he more or less promised a non-interventionist foreign policy, even as he offered hints that his might be anything but.  There was, of course, ISIS to destroy and he swore he would “bomb the shit out of them.” He would, he suggested, even consider using nuclear weapons in the Middle East.  And as Dr. Seuss might have said, that was not all, oh no, that was not all.  He has often warned of the dangers of a vague but fearsome “radical Islam” and insisted that “terrorists and their regional and worldwide networks must be eradicated from the face of the Earth, a mission we will carry out.”  (And he’s already ordered his first special ops raid in Yemen, resulting in one dead American and evidently many dead civilians.)

Ira Chernus, a TomDispatch regular, is professor emeritus of religious studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder and author of the online MythicAmerica: Essays.

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Paul Krugman Issues a Warning About What We All Know Is Coming, Dartagnan, DailyKos / AlterNet

The New York Times columnist sees calamity on the horizon for Trump's America.

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Paul Krugman Issues a Warning About What We All Know Is Coming

(Credit: Reuters/Richard Rowe)

The New York Times columnist sees calamity on the horizon for Trump's America.

Dartagnan, DailyKos / AlterNet If you like reading this article, consider joining the crew of all reader-supported Evergreene Digest by contributing the equivalent of a cafe latte a month--using the donation button in the above right-hand corner—so we can bring you more just like it. February 11, 2017 | In September of 2001 the Administration of George W. Bush was running into trouble. A President who had lost the popular vote, installed into office only through a hotly contested Supreme Court decision, had nonetheless behaved from the start as if he possessed a mandate, eagerly dismantling his predecessor’s achievements and turning the country on a hard rightward course, following a strategy that had been carefully concealed from the public during the campaign.

The public reaction was swift and negative—Bush’s own popularity tanked precipitously as the public reacted to an agenda most had not realized they had voted for. Prior to September 11th his approval levels had dropped to the lowest of his still-young Presidency.

Dartagnan, Member, DailyKos


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This Political Theorist Predicted the Rise of Trumpism. His Name Was Hunter S. Thompson.

  • There’s no doubt about it: trouble lies ahead. That Hell’s Angels foresaw all this 50 years ago underscores the depth and seriousness of Thompson as a political thinker and of ours as a singularly dangerous time. Trumpism is about something far more serious than Trump, something that has been brewing and building for generations. Let us take Thompson’s cautions seriously, then, so that this time we Berkeley types are not naive about what we face. Otherwise, we’re all liable to get stomped
  • In Hell’s Angels, the gonzo journalist wrote about left-behind people motivated only by “an ethic of total retaliation.” Sound familiar?

Susan McWilliams, the Nation Hunter S. Thompson, right, speaks at a panel discussion in New Haven, Connecticut, on December 7, 1972. AP Photo

December 15, 2016 | I n late March, Donald Trump opened a rally in Wisconsin by mocking the state’s governor, Scott Walker, who had just endorsed his Republican opponent, Ted Cruz. “He came in on his Harley,” Trump said of Walker, “but he doesn’t look like a motorcycle guy.”

“The motorcycle guys,” he added, “like Trump.”

It has been 50 years since Hunter S. Thompson published the definitive book on motorcycle guys: Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs. It grew out of a piece first published in The Nation one year earlier. My grandfather, Carey McWilliams, editor of the magazine from 1955 to 1975, commissioned the piece from Thompson—it was the gonzo journalist’s first big break, and the beginning of a friendship between the two men that would last until my grandfather died in 1980. Because of that family connection, I had long known that Hell’s Angels was a political book. Even so, I was surprised, when I finally picked it up a few years ago, by how prophetic Thompson is and how eerily he anticipates 21st-century American politics. This year, when people asked me what I thought of the election, I kept telling them to read Hell’s Angels.

Susan McWilliams is Associate Professor of Politics at Pomona College. She is most recently the editor of the forthcoming book A Political Companion to James Baldwin.

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Series | The Obama Legacy, Part 3: Americans Approve Of Barack Obama’s Legacy But Don’t Necessarily Want To See It Continue

  • In his farewell speech Tuesday, Obama acknowledged the rifts that have left the nation with such divided views of his legacy but called for Americans to mend them.
  • This piece is Part 3 of a series on Obama’s legacy that Evergreene Digest  will be publishing over the next weeks. 
  • Related: The Leftwing Has Placed Itself In The Trash Can Of History

Ariel Edwards-Levy, the Huffington Post 01/13/2017 | As President Barack Obama concludes his time in office, his most immediate legacy is a paradox.

Obama’s approval rating, which languished in the mid-40s during much of his tenure, soared during the tumult of the 2016 presidential campaign. He will leave office with an average approval rating of just over 55 percent, according to HuffPost Pollster’s aggregate.

Ariel Edwards-Levy, Staff Reporter and Polling Director, the Huffington Post

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Previously in this series:


The Leftwing Has Placed Itself In The Trash Can Of History — Paul Craig Roberts,

At a time when the Western world desperately needs alternative voices to the neoliberals, the neoconservatives, the presstitutes and the Trump de-regulationists, there are none. The Western left wing has gone insane. The voices being raised against Trump, who does need voices raised against him, are so hypocritical as to reflect less on Trump than on those with raised voices.

Related: The Issue is Not Trump. It is Us.