Last laugh in the Rust Belt

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 12:40 pm by George Smith

The Guardian visited Bethlehem. Northampton County, Pennsy. Along with the coal counties to the north, where Democrats flipped from Obama to Trump, the results were not a complete surprise to me or a friend from the same area, both of us now in California.

The Guardian gets an interesting quote from a former steel worker: “But you know what, people like me, even though I voted for Hillary, were smart enough to know that the crap that we went through – we didn’t want any more of it.”

“[Some] Democrats stayed home, some new voters excited about Trump came out, and some Democrats crossed party lines to vote for a promise Trump made over and over, that he would make America great again,” the Guardian reads.

They voted for hope. Just the way they voted for hope eight years ago. And mostly saw just more disappointment.

The Guardian maintains it will be camping out in Northampton County for the coming year.

On the other side, the best headline all week — Fascinating poll findings: Only white Americans like Trump.

After awhile, even if you voted for the loser, it gets on your nerves. So by all means, keep it up swells.

Saw it all come down. Knew that someday the bill would come due.


  1. anon said,

    January 19, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    As someone who grew up in Nazareth, this was very interesting for me as well. I left for good pretty soon after college. I was offered a lot of 3 to 6 month “trial” contracts (salary only, no benefits) to work, and if they “liked” me, they’d offer something permanent. Of course, on day 89, they called me into the office and told me to get lost. There were places that would call a person back within a week of firing them like that and offer another 90 day contract, under the same terms. I didn’t stay long enough to get that second offer. Some people did keep going back, getting the same treatment repeatedly. The only other option was to spend 4 hours every day in a car, on top of work time, for a job in Philly or in NYC.

    I guess that’s one of the big reasons I left. The cost of housing was driven up and stayed inflated, but the good work prospects just were not there after the heavy industries left or drastically downsized.

    As for the people there, they are not necessarily completely bad, but there is a lot of unconscious and unashamed racism and sexism. They are much more likely to believe something if a white guy tells it to them. It’s no surprise they bought into Trump. I will not be surprised when they turn on Trump. He is simply a con man. The Eisenhower and union job days have been gone a long time, and they aren’t returning.

    Full disclosure: A member of my family worked for a firm that had offices in Trump Tower circa 1990 and had a few interactions with him, plus, I had a subscription to SPY magazine.
    Hoo boy, there are stories…

  2. George Smith said,

    January 20, 2017 at 10:13 am

    If you heard his speech today he promised all the populism again.

    My feeling is that nothing much will happen. His administration will be hindered or brought to a complete halt by incompetence. If Mattis is made head of DoD, he;ll try to stop any new wars of adventure if they’re not all out reduce the enemy to sand and rubble finishers.

    Trade war with China which should be unpredictable. I’m actually for the break-up of some existing big supply chains.

    Big military build-up which will cause a short-term surge in parts of the economy but still not reach most of the people who voted for him because they’re largely not attached to national security.

    Continued dissolution of Democratic Party because, this …

    Of course he’s getting rid of the NEA and the NEH. What use does Donald Trump have for the things that make life beautiful and good? He surrounds himself with gilded ugliness. He’s a billionaire who hangs a Renoir reproduction in the $100 million abattoir he lives in, because why would he want an original? He has enough money and fame to access to the finest tailors in the world, and his suits don’t fit. His hair is stupid.
    I know, I’m petty. I’m a snob. I’m a liberal elitist, and elitist liberal snobbery is why Trump won. You know what? I don’t care. I’m tired of shouldering the burden of cultural empathy when no one asks the folks who voted for the racist, misogynist manbaby to take two damn seconds to consider the moral implications of putting an ignorant pussy-grabber into the most powerful job on the planet.

    They outraged crying made me laugh, from RS. Wenner got what he wanted. He went all in for Clinton.


    The idea of a noble coalition of the good-thinking white people at university, blogging, media, comedian shows on cable/YouTube and shoeshine support plus all the not-white people gets more irritating the more it’s flogged.

  3. anon said,

    January 20, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    I watched one of his speeches during the campaign. It was incoherent, and I can’t fathom how people understood and believed him. So, I took my car for the annual state inspection today instead.

    I agree with you on the “not much will happen” because of incompetence position. I do have a feeling that a lot of the people he appoints might get hauled away in handcuffs, if and only if their deeds become embarrassing enough. Half of the problem is the fact that these clowns have no sense of shame.

    This is the natural outcome of repeatedly electing people who are fervently against the IDEA of government or even measured, responsible behavior, to positions in the government.

    I’m sick of cleaning up the mess.

  4. George Smith said,

    January 20, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    He was coherent today and everyone in the establishment had the predictable fit.

    Then entire line of NYT observations was negative, from A to Z.

    “But Prime Minister Theresa May will struggle to find much to welcome in the sophomoric drivel that President Donald J. Trump presented as his Inaugural Address today.” — some Brit

    “Mr. Trump would echo the theme of a speech from Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Rises, in which the character Bane promises war against the elites, and that he will return power back to where it belongs — to the people.

    “This is the speech Donald Trump decided to give: populist, nationalist, thrilling to his fans, disturbing to his foes — and sending the message to Washington that he intends not to bring peace, but the sword …” — publisher of “The Federalist”

    Being compared to the arch-villain of Batman mythology is quite something.

    This, from a Pakistani, made me laugh actually.

    In Pakistan, we must have done something to deserve the dictator we had, but American voters have finally shown the Third World that we are brothers and sisters. Thanks for finally telling us that the American dream is basically a Ponzi scheme: You see all this money I have? You can have it, too. But can I take this last rupee from your pocket while you gaze at our beloved flag?

    My wife watched three and half minutes of the inauguration on CNN and said: “It’s all a bit Disneyland. So many blond people.” I have never been to Disneyland. I think I can stay away a bit longer. America invented Disneyland. It also played a part in making the Third World what it is today. Now Americans can stay home and live the experience.


    There wasn’t a ray of light or a wish of well from any quarter. I write this, on even the inauguration concert…

    The Good Peoples Resistance Front walked right up to the line today but still doesn’t have the nerve to call out for direct revolt. The New York Einrichtung Beobachter cried — reject, resist, Trump is unready, crazy and incompetent (Krugman), there was a need for personal revolt (gemeinschaft) of the good people to restore “gesellschaft” ( experts and systems rule) from Brooks and a “help us God!” cartoon.

    The artists and concerts at the inauguration couldn’t even catch the smallest break. The artists were white, dated and not inclusive — Toby Keith, 3 Doors Down, Greenwood, guys who sang patriotic country songs. Those who weren’t white were pathetic and deserved shunning.

    That was the appaisal.

    “Lee Greenwood [sang] God Bless the U.S.A. a dour march of national pride. In total, the concert’s message was that America is a defined geographical and ideological space, with borders worth defending, even at the price of excluding those who could make the place immeasurably more fun.” — Jon Caramanica

    Immeasurably more fun. Guy used to write for the Voice, too.

    Poor Sam of Sam & Dave was “restrained” and for his appearance pilloried on Facebook in a music forum turned Resistance Gau. Another fellow who played drums was merely dubbed “dim” and dismissed by the Times journalist.

    You really have to marvel at the sheer volume of I-hate-you-whitey-in-high-button-prose messaging coming primarily from other but superior whitey.

  5. GS said,

    January 20, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    “Could it get worse for the global elites? Yes. At the end of the week, a bitter speech by an angry white male…” — editor at Le Monde

    Donald J. Trump added his voice to history’s chorus today, and it was shrill and discordant. If any new president had a need to repair the breach, it was Mr. Trump — who was roundly, even vehemently, rejected by some 73 million voters, about 10 million more than the number that supported him. “We share one heart, one home and one glorious destiny,” Mr. Trump proclaimed, one of a number of anodyne, unobjectionable phrases urging unity and “solidarity.” Yet he refused — pointedly — even to acknowledge his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. — a speechwriter for Bill Clinton


    “This inauguration is devoid of suspense or drama, just spectacle and horror. Any producer knows you create horror by making your audience wonder if it will survive a drama or transformation, intact. The pristine pomp, with all its chipper bands and bright wardrobes, could not scrub the moment of all it’s ugliness and contrasts. Private and public Trump, smiling and glowering Trump, Obama’s coalition vs. the whiteness of Trump’s supporters.” — Rich Benjamin, author of “Searching for Whitopia”


    It set the tone for a day in which any remaining hopes for reunifying the nation were systematically quashed by this relentless narcissist and the party he commands. A day in which our new vice president, Mike Pence, refused to even shake the hand of the defeated presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.

    Mr. Trump’s address was little more than a litany of right-wing and alt-right complaints and conspiracy theories from the past eighty years. Like many of the commentators, who seemed shellshocked by the address, searching desperately for any hint of unity and reconciliation … — Kevin Baker, essayist and novelist

    “[A] Carter scenario — gridlock, disappointment, collapse — seems like the most plausible way to bet. But on the evidence of this speech, Trump has no intention of playing it safe: He will either remake conservatism in his image, or see his presidency fail in the attempt.” — Ross Douthat


    Absent was any soaring declaration of the values and traditions of our nation. In its place was his belligerent talk of those rusted factories, “rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation,” an “education system flush with cash” (what cash?) that leaves our children behind, and “the crime, the gangs and the drugs.” Andrew Rosenthal


    The toilets have hidden their names. The names of the toilets must not be seen or Something Terrible will happen.

    There are hats, so many hats. When did people start to wear alpine hats again? Everyone looks like they are in “The Sound of Music,” but not the right part.

    This is rather amusing, at the Post, so I include the link.



    “Instead, Trump sank to the occasion. Rising above is not in his skill set, as badly as the nation needs it. Trump looks at the United States and sees carnage, not better angels. He stokes the worst in us, with his offensive invocation of America First and his dark vision of America in ruins.” — Ruth Marcus


    Of course this vision will not appeal to everybody: It is not designed to do so. On the contrary, this appeal to the so-called real America, a tribe that exists within the United States of America, deliberately excludes anyone black or brown, anyone who does not live in a nuclear family and anyone who cannot or will not aspire to a house with a white picket fence. Nor can it succeed: The “jobs” and the “borders” that Trump promised to “bring back” do not exist anymore, in a world of air travel and artificial intelligence and automation. But Trump is not the first demagogue to succeed by offering an impossible, idealized national vision. Anybody who reads history knows that people have argued with one another, competed with one another and even murdered one another in the name of countless national and tribal utopias, religious and secular, right wing and left wing, over many centuries. — Anne Applebaum



    “A larger problem with the speech was Trump’s failure to reach out in more than a perfunctory way to the millions of Americans who not only didn’t support him but also were offended and even alarmed by his comments about immigrants and racial minorities — not to mention women, who are expected to descend in droves on the capital Saturday for a protest march. He seemed to be directing his remarks almost exclusively to the “forgotten men and women” he had cultivated on the campaign trail, the ones eager to roll back the clock to a time before globalization and automation wiped out manufacturing jobs and demographic changes altered once-homogeneous communities.” the LA Timed editorial board


    “This is the mood of the world,” said Richard Pease, 53, a printing sales executive from New Hampshire. “You just watch: first Brexit, then Trump, next Marine Le Pen for France. People want their lives back.”

    Asked to elaborate, Pease said: “I’m a white male who owns firearms. At least for the next four years I get to keep my guns and my balls.” — the Guardian’s Ed Pilkington



    Universal condemnation. It’s certainly a first in my time. Not a tacit approval. In the short term, at the least, it’s going to backfire. Before he even gets to bed tonight he’ll have read these and he’ll come to the conclusion they worked together to spoil his day. The reaction, predictable, will be to escalate matters.