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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.

Berkeley protesters just fell into the most obvious trap imaginable. Again.

  • What happened at Berkeley wasn’t heroic or principled; it was disorganized, and pathetic.
  • Related: 'People Have the Right to Take to the Streets'

Melissa B. Warnke, Los Angeles (CA) Times, February 8, 2017 | An attention-thirsty bigot came to speak at UC Berkeley last night (I refuse to say his name), at the request of the College Republicans. He couldn’t have asked for a better evening. What was originally billed as a peaceful protest quickly turned violent. The bigot didn’t end up speaking to a crowd of several hundred students. Instead, he spoke to a crowd of millions, during an extended interview on Fox News and a series of rants on his Facebook page, where he claimed he’d been evacuated from the campus.

I chose to cover neither the bigot’s speech tonight nor the protest. He has a single card in his deck; I’d seen it before. But when I heard that Sproul Plaza, the campus square half a mile from my house, had descended into chaos, I tuned in. And here’s what I saw: Protesters shouted obscenities; they threw firecrackers and bricks at police; they shattered windows; they set a large fire in the middle of campus; they pummeled a man wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat until he bled. Police fired rubber bullets at and deployed tear gas on the crowd after issuing multiple warnings for protesters to leave the area. Students then danced to “We Found Love in a Hopeless Place” and “Drunk in Love” while raising their middle fingers.

Melissa B. Warnke: Contributing writer, Los Angeles (CA) Times' Opinion, , covering politics, violence, gender. 

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'People Have the Right to Take to the Streets', Janine Jackson <>, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)

Janine Jackson interviewed Mara Verheyden-Hilliard about the inauguration protests for the January 27, 2017, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

9 MLK Quotes the Mainstream Media Won't Cite

The words of the real MLK were far more radical than today's cherry-picked lines.

Kali Holloway, AlterNet you can follow Evergreene Digest on Twitter <>. Photo Credit: National Archives and Records 

December 16, 2015 | The Martin Luther King Jr. who is cynically trotted out every time racial unrest erupts in our cities is the MLK who can be conveniently used to prop up the status quo. He is MLK reduced to “I Have A Dream,” used in conservative political ads to scare-monger about invading, job-stealing Mexican immigrants. He is the almost wholly fabricated MLK whom the modern GOP claims would today be one of their own, presumably standing alongside them as they vote against the poor, people of color and women of every race at every opportunity. He is MLK reimagined as the passive figure the fascist, racist right in this country wants us to be as they lean into the boot on our necks. 

In reality, those examples rely on half-truths and half-reveals of who MLK truly was. In real, big-picture life, MLK was far more radical than the cherry-picked lines from his speeches and books would suggest, a man who moved further left over the course of his long and weary fight for African-American civil rights. By 1966, MLK had become an outspoken opponent of "liberal" white complicity in white supremacy, of American imperialism and warmongering, of the capitalist system itself. Modern right-wingers’ use of quotes from MLK (here are a few examples) twist and misuse his words in ways that belie much of what he ultimately came to stand for.

Kali Holloway is a senior writer and the associate editor of media and culture at AlterNet.

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Trump’s Crony Cabinet May Look Strong, but They Are Scared

Greenpeace protesters unfurl a banner that reads "Resist" at the construction site of the former Washington Post building, near the White House in Washington, Wednesday, January 25, 2017. (AP Photo / Andrew Harnik)

From climate justice to the Fight for $15, movements had CEOs on the ropes—and we can still beat them.

Naomi Klein, the Nation 26, 2017 | Let’s zoom out and recognize what is happening in Washington right now. The people who already possess an absolutely obscene share of the planet’s wealth, and whose share grows greater year after year—at last count, eight men own as much as half the world—are determined to grab still more. The key figures populating Donald Trump’s cabinet are not only ultra-rich—they are individuals who made their money knowingly causing harm to the most vulnerable people on this planet, and to the planet itself. It appears to be some sort of job requirement.

There’s junk-banker Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s pick for Treasury secretary, whose lawless “foreclosure machine” kicked tens of thousands of people out of their homes.

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist and author of international bestsellers. She is a contributing editor for Harper’s and reporter for Rolling Stone, and writes a regular column for The Nation and The Guardian. Additionally, her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek, The Los Angeles Times, The Globe and Mail, El Pais, L’Espresso and The New Statesman, among many other publications.

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