© LINDA HOGAN
IN VERMONT, WALL REFLECTION
WHAT DO KIDs NEED TO LEARN?
letter from an american
Regarding the March 4 letter to the editor about
Marymount University eliminating its English major, "Farewell to the
I have asked myself over the years just what children need to learn.
Finally, I feel sure in saying children need to learn what the world is
(actually, Hannah Arendt said it before me), which means sciences, math,
technology, geography as well as what people have done over the
centuries, i.e., the humanities: history, languages, literature,
psychology and more. All children need to learn about both areas of
go to frank_bernheisel/
I am madly reviewing the copyediting on the new book and was ever so
pleased that the day was mostly quiet, so I could post a photo with a
But I have had half an eye all day on the increasingly eye-popping
messages appearing on a Twitter knock-off social media site from a man
in Florida who appears to be getting more jittery by the minute.
Not my usual contemplative image this week, but this one was so perfect
under the circumstances I just had to post it....
See you all tomorrow...HEATHER
HE BE INDICTED SOON?
Rumors that he is about to be indicted in New York in connection with
the $130,000 hush-money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels have
prompted former president Donald Trump to pepper his alternative social
media site with requests for money and to double down on the idea that
any attack on him is an attack on the United States.
The picture of America in his posts reflects the extreme version of the
virtual reality the Republicans have created since the 1980s. The United
States is "THIRD WORLD & DYING," he wrote. "THE AMERICAN DREAM IS DEAD."
He went on to describe a country held captive by "CRIMINALS & LEFTIST
THUGS," in which immigrants are "FLOODING THROUGH OUR OPEN BOARDERS
[sic], MANY FROM PRISONS & MENTAL INSTITUTIONS," and where the president
is "SURROUNDED BY EVIL & SINISTER PEOPLE." He told his supporters to
"SAVE AMERICA" by protesting the arrest he...but no one else...says is
coming on Tuesday.
Trump's false and dystopian portrait of the nation takes to its logical
conclusion the narrative Republicans have pushed since the 1980s. Since
the days of Reagan, Republicans have argued that people who believe that
the government should regulate business, provide a basic social safety
net, protect civil rights, and promote infrastructure are destroying the
country by trying to redistribute wealth from hardworking white
Americans to undeserving minorities and women. Now Trump has taken that
argument to its logical conclusion: the country has been destroyed by
women, Black Americans, Indigenous people, and people of color, who have
taken it over and are persecuting people like him.
This old Republican narrative created a false image of the nation and of
its politics, an image pushed to a generation of Americans by right-wing
media, a vision that MAGA Republicans have now absorbed as part of their
identity. It reflects a manipulation of politics that Russian political
theorists called "political technology."
Russian "political technologists" developed a series of techniques to
pervert democracy by creating a virtual political reality through modern
media. They blackmailed opponents, abused state power to help favored
candidates, sponsored "double" candidates with names similar to those of
opponents in order to split their voters and thus open the way for their
own candidates, created false parties to create opposition, and,
finally, created a false narrative around an election or other event
that enabled them to control public debate.
Essentially, they perverted democracy, turning it from the concept of
voters choosing their leaders into the concept of voters rubber-stamping
the leaders they had been manipulated into backing.
This system made sense in former Soviet republics, where it enabled
leaders to avoid the censorship that voters would recoil from by instead
creating a firehose of news until people became overwhelmed by the task
of trying to figure out what was real and simply tuned out.
But it also fit nicely into American politics, where there is a long
history of manipulating voters far beyond the usual political spin. As
far back as 1972, Nixon's operatives engaged in what they called
"ratf*cking," dirty tricks that amounted to political sabotage of their
opponents. The different elements of that system became a fundamental
part of Republican operations in the 1990s, especially the use of a
false narrative spread through talk radio and right-wing television.
More recently, we have seen blackmail (former representative Madison
Cawthorn [R-NC] blamed his own party for the release of compromising
photos); the use of state power to help candidates (through
investigations, for example); double candidates (a Florida Republican
won a seat in the state legislature in 2020 after a sham candidate with
the same name as the Democratic candidate siphoned voters); and the
deliberate creation of a false political reality.
Indeed, David Klepper at AP News reported just yesterday that Russian
social media accounts are up to their old tricks in the U.S., pushing
the idea that federal authorities have been lying about the true impact
of the East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment because they want to
divert U.S. money from problems at home to Ukraine. "Biden offers food,
water, medicine, shelter, payouts of pension and social services to
Ukraine! Ohio first! Offer and deliver to Ohio!" one of those accounts
So the United States has had its own version of political technology
that overlaps with the Russian version, and it has led to the grim
picture Trump is portraying in his attempt to rile up his supporters to
But here's what I wonder: What happens when people who have embraced a
virtual world begin to figure out it's fake?
Russians are having to come to grips with their failing economy, world
isolation, and rising death rates as President Vladimir Putin throws
Russian soldiers into the maw of battle without training or equipment.
Now they have to deal with the fact that the International Criminal
Court has indicted their president for war crimes. Will they rally
around their leader, slide away, or turn against him?
In the United States, MAGA Republicans have been faced with evidence
released in the Dominion Voting Systems defamation case against the Fox
News Corporation that shows Fox News Channel personalities lied to them.
Now those who have cleaved to Trump have to face that he is asking them
to risk their freedom to oppose his arrest for paying $130,000 to an
adult film actress to keep quiet about their sexual encounter, hardly a
noble cause. And the last time he asked people to defend him, more than
1,000 of them—so far—faced arrest and conviction, while he went back to
playing golf and asking people for money.
Tonight, Erica Orden of Politico reported that Manhattan district
attorney Alvin Bragg emailed his employees to say "we do not tolerate
attempts to intimidate our office or threaten the rule of law in New
York." He told them: "Our law enforcement partners will ensure that any
specific or credible threats against the office will be fully
investigated and that the proper safeguards are in place so all 1,600 of
us have a secure work environment." He also noted, without mentioning
specific cases, that his office has been coordinating with the New York
Police Department and with the New York court system during certain
Some of Trump's radical supporters have taken to social media to make a
plan for surrounding Mar-a-Lago and protecting Trump with firearms, but
others appear to be more eager for someone else to show up than to do so
Ali Alexander, who helped to organize "Stop the Steal" rallies to try to
overturn the 2020 presidential election, wrote to his supporters today:
"Previously, I had said if Trump was arrested or under the threat of a
perp walk, 100,000 patriots should shut down all routes to Mar-a-Lago....
Now I'm retired. I'll pray for him though!"
heather cox richardson
letter from an american
canadians, you want more freedom? here's a way to have
shawville, qc | a year ago ottawa was besieged by
the self-named freedom convoy, with all its nonstop noise and traffic
snarls we easily recall. a threatened re-run this winter did not take
off. but what if we took a more positive approach to this struggle?
biden's 2-23 state of the
wednesday night president biden gave his state of the
union speech and millions of people watched. in this morning's
washington post there were nine articles, plus the editorial,
about the speech. i thought most of what the post writers had to say
incomplete and mealy mouthed. needless to say, the networks and the
internet were all over the speech.
go to frank_bernheisel/
complaining ~ it's a canadian thing, eh?
shawville, qc | talking about top-ten hits of 2022? complaining
of, or rather, citing evidence for "government over-reach" has to be
high up on that canadian list, no matter how it's sung. it was even a
significant topic on a few fishing trips last summer.
go to fryan/fred_ryan440.html"
jane does the
this is one of 30 short
poems in the chapbook placing no markers by jason krpan. you can
download the book for free at bookfellows.