FDR’s New Deal Was Also Green

CCC

Over at JSTOR Daily, Livia Gershon draws on scholarship by Neil Maher to remind us that the first New Deal was concerned with the environment.  Here is a taste of her piece:

The Green New Deal concept championed by Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez aims to address looming environmental catastrophe while creating good-paying jobs. Some critics argue that these two goals should be kept separate. But, as historian Neil M. Maher writes, there’s a strong precedent for the two goals going hand-in-hand. Take, for example, the Civilian Conservation Corps, which was part of the original New Deal.

Read the rest here.

46 thoughts on “FDR’s New Deal Was Also Green

  1. Alex,
    CO2 is a byproduct of whatever the fossil fuel is being used to produce, be It electricity or some other marketable consumer good.
    As you might know, most CO2 comes from the production of energy used to keep housing, offices, and other buildings comfortable. Accordingly, if you and other green advocates want to lower the levels, you might want to push for laws requiring people to keep their heat at 60 degrees F. in the Winter and to invest in well made wool sweaters and down sleeping bags. In the Summer, air conditioning will have to be eliminated. I am old enough to recall the days when most people had window fans and good screens on their windows. Of course, the window fans might not fit within a Green New Deal. In fact, during the July and August heat, many people actually slept on their screened-in porches. In summary, the Greens need to lead us back toward the austerity which will save the planet.
    I will join you in that as well as your boycott of Chinese goods once you get it organized.
    James

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  2. Alex,
    In my earlier list to you, I mentioned smokestack emissions being made cleaner. The fossil fuels used by many industries are involved here. Reforestation also helps and I mentioned that, as well.

    As you probably know, the EPA does not list the internal combustion engine and transportation as the primary culprits in CO2 emissions. Nevertheless, I think we might want to ask a few of the big name, vocal environmental celebrities to forego using private jets when traveling to their frequent “save the earth” conferences. While the actual benefit in emissions reductions would be negligible, the symbolic value of this move would be satisfying to people in my camp.

    Getting back to your basic question, Alex, I am all in favor of cleaner burning petrol, coal, and other fossil fuels. I wouldn’t be opposed to tax incentives for fossil fuel companies to innovate in this area. Of course, a lot is being done already.

    Finally, You could write letters to the heads of state in China, India, and other Asian countries. Those guys are the ones who don’t seem to be putting a brake on CO2 emissions. I am sure you are aware that China far outpaces the world in this area. Or perhaps you could organize a boycott of Chinese goods. Thankfully, President Trump did not enmesh us in the hypocritical Paris Climate Accord which gave, as I understand it, substantial exceptions to certain so-called developing nations.

    James

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    • James,
      There are no commercially available methods of reducing the CO2 output of burning fossil fuels. Implementing methods available would force every fossil fuel power plant into bankruptcy. Just making sure you understand the scale of your solution. You’d have to make capturing and handling CO2 cheaper than capturing and handling water in order for any fossil fuel power plants to be competitive when renewables.

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      • Alex,
        I thought there was a cleaner burning coal as well as some sort of scrubbers and/or filters for the smoke.
        But even if no cost-effective technology exists now, there is nothing wrong with researching new technologies.
        James

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      • Alex,
        I am a few years older than you and can recall when pocket calculators came out. They were fifty or sixty dollars and that was a lot of money back then. I am an optimist that innovation will bring prices down. It has happened in so many areas.
        James

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        • Oxidizing carbon makes CO2 (and CO). It’s not a byproduct, it’s the main product. It’s not in the smoke, it is the smoke. We’re talking about capturing all the smoke, compressing it into a liquid and pumping it underground. The cost isn’t in a technology, it’s that it takes half the coal’s energy to compress its exhaust into a liquid (PV=nRT). That’s why it doubles the price. It’s at the limits of physics. For scale, we’re talking each American would have to store 40,000 lbs every year just to become net neutral. Where are you going to put 40,000 lbs a year? For comparison you make 1,000 lbs of garbage each year.

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  3. Alex,

    Recycling is a good idea. Planting trees is also good. Responsible and reasonable laws about waste dumping, zoning, smokestack emissions, etc. are wise. I am sure I could list more if I thought about it; it is a matter of common sense. To b honest with you, I have other priorities

    James

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    • James,
      None of the things you listed address CO2 emissions. Could you try again? I really want to be a ‘responsible conservationist’ and not a ‘radical environmentalist Gaia worshipper’.

      Like

      • Alex,
        I am sure you are aware that China is the biggest offender in the world. They far outpace any other country. Have you considered organizing a boycott of Chinese goods or writing a letter to President Xi? You might also ask former Secretary of State John Kerry why he made special provisions for Chinese slow compliance when he negotiated the Paris Climate Accords. Thankfully, President Trump did not sign them.
        James

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        • Okay, I’ll do all that. But that that’s not going to do anything because American goods have the same carbon intensity, John Kerry has no authority, and I’m not a constituent of president Xi’s. What else can you think of?

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          • Alex,

            You missed my point on China. Get all of your fellow environmentalists to tell President Xi that you are not going to buy any more Chinese products until he cuts back on his country’s carbon emissions. The boycott by all of the concerned folks in the West will bring Xi to the realization that he needs to stop being the world’s leading polluter. And by the way, American products are not made with the same carbon footprint as comparable products in China.

            As far as John Kerry, I realize he is no longer in office, an event for which I am thankful. My point was that he did nothing about Chinese pollution while he was in power. I recommend that you and citizen environmental activists rectify Secretary Kerry’s failure with the boycott. You can also write Al Gore and tell him to stop using private jets and to sell one or two of his private houses.

            In terms of other measures, please see my posting above timed at 1:51 PM today.
            James

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          • Alex,
            Once you get the Chinese boycott going, please advise me. I will attempt to participate as a means of helping the Green cause without becoming a Gaia worshipper. It might also help our trade problems while Trump is attempting to negotiate a better deal with President Xi.
            James

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  4. Alex,

    You are being a bit too slyly hypothetical on this. 🤔

    Let me answer your question with a question. If Mick Jagger gave a concert and sang twenty traditional Frank Sinatra songs, would that make Mick the 2019 iteration of a mid-century crooner? Why or why not?

    James

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        • They believe in what you would call “radical environmentalism”. Are they pagan? Are they a NAZI?
          “I will, however, stand by my saying that radical environmentalism and National Socialism have remarkable similarities regarding earth worship.”

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          • Alex,
            Again, it depends on the individual.

            If a person (we will call him Ralph, which is not his real name) is a radical environmental promoter, thinks the world will end in twelve years, wants to help Mother Earth fight her enemies, and has a statuette of Gaia in his den, then he may well be a pagan. I would need to talk to Ralph for a couple more minutes before I issued my final verdict, though.

            Is Ralph a Nazi? I would have to get permission to search his closet for incriminating uniforms and paraphernalia before I rendered a final judgement. Does he really believe that stuff or does he simply like to collect unsavory uniforms? These matters must be ascertained. Ralph might just be a weird but not a nefarious guy.
            James

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  5. Jim in STL,

    Your paraphrases of Trump’s statements about certain foreign strongmen hardly meets the standards of the very definition you gave. I don’t know what sort of favor you think Trump is trying to curry by using pro forma diplomatic statements at public ceremonial events. If he were attempting to curry favor and do obsequious fawning over Putin and Kim, he would not be using the economic leverage which he is employing against them. Come back and give me a few better examples, Jim, once Trump lifts economic sanctions on Kim and suggests that Mrs. Merkel continue to purchase Vlad’s natural gas. As far as King Salman, Erdogan, and Mr. Duterte, please tell me any special favors they have gotten from Trump which were not afforded by previous presidential administrations. In summary, you did not accurately quote Trump and you really need to watch film footage of all of his formal diplomatic receptions and meetings. Trump and every other president uses generally positive and flowery language when making welcoming or concluding remarks at a diplomatic event. It is part of the game.

    Trump never said that Nordic genes are superior. I can’t find it on Google and you can’t produce it, Jim.

    Finally Trump was a strong supporter of Israel long before he went into politics. It runs in his family. His father, Fred Trump, was a big supporter of Jewish charities and, if I am not mistaken, a big purchaser of Israeli Government Bonds.

    Jim, I really am surprised you are trying to malign Trump on these issues. He is far from perfect as a human; he is not a Nazi. That is neither nor fair or accurate.

    James

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    • Maybe there are two different James here.

      Here’s a cite from the one that brought up Nazis to malign those concerned with the health of the environment, “There was also a fellow in Germany who pushed a brand of environmental activism during the FDR era. He called it Blood and Soil, and his first name was Adolf. Much secularism and atheism tends toward a quasi pantheism. It is not necessarily a noble movement as recent German history attests. In fact, in the German case it was quite destructive and immoral.”

      So boo on this James.

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      • Jim in .STL,

        Nice try but no points. 😩

        I did not mention any specific names. I spoke of the movement as a whole. I would be very cautious before I slandered someone by calling him/her a Nazi.

        I will, however, stand by my saying that radical environmentalism and National Socialism have remarkable similarities regarding earth worship.

        James

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        • “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” Henry II of England

          Turbulent priest (Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury) is murdered.

          “Hey, it’s not like I mentioned his name or anything.” Henry II of England

          Most disingenuous.

          Because two things share some similarities does not make them the same. That’s a false equivalence. Practical environmental concern is not the same as worshiping mother nature or rallying the volk to support the Fuhrer and state.

          I reclaim my points.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Jim in .sTL,

            False equivalency on your part. Everyone knew that Henry was speaking of the archbishop.

            Please tell me whose name I was putting into the corner of shame when I drew a general connection between Earth worshippers in Nazi Germany and in the modern Gaia movement. I alluded to no specific environmentalist. But now that we are on the subject, both the Hitlerians and the environmental extremists also have strong statist leanings. Mother Earth must have her legal due.

            Environmental extremism is simply something the Nazis and the radical environmentalists share, and the similarities are more than surface-level. They both have their full sights on an almost mystical connection to the Earth. I realize it makes you uncomfortable to be reminded of these connections, but they are clear to see.

            James

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            • You sly dog you. You use Nazism and that fellow, Adolph, to smear anyone concerned with preservation of the environment for posterity and elide them with Nazi extremism and then try to slip away*. So what if a pantheist and a Christian share a value and a reason to act. That does not negate the cause or need for action. Tribes can work together toward mutual benefit. Yours seems to be a theological disagreement and a resulting blindness to and need to discredit real world concerns.

              Ultimately, there will be Christian and non-Christian supporters, including mother-Earthers, of much of the Green New Deal because a majority of Americans will not join into the fear-based know-nothing do-nothing tribe and really do want to act as responsible conservators with an eye toward future generations.

              *reminder update: the majority of German Christians, protestant and Catholic alike, far outnumbering any mother-Earther citizen participation, were eager and willing supporters of the fellow, Adolph, and his Nazi program, because he promised to Make Germany Great Again and to hurt their common enemies. Really. There are records and photos.

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              • “The fear-based know-nothing tribe.”

                The earth is going to end unless we eliminate the use of all fossil fuels in ten years, which is like totally possible, will pay for itself, and will have no ill effects whatsoever.

                Which tribe is it that you are describing above?

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                • The tribe you describe lives in your mind and on rage/misinformation radio and TV.

                  No one is saying that the earth is going to end in 10 years. At least no one of consequence.

                  Fossil fuels are a finite resource and measures taken today to conserve will only leave a reserve. Reduction of fossil fuel use and adoption of renewable sources of energy will also help reduce harmful emissions while creating new technologies and industries.

                  Anyone honestly thinking about how all of this is going to work in 25 years or 100 years or 250 years will come to the same conclusions – the same conclusions cited in the most recent National Climate Assessment report, assembled by 13 federal agencies (Trump’s federal agencies).

                  Liked by 1 person

              • Jim in .STL,

                You are missing the deeper points. You cite a “cause” or “need” for action as the basis for political action. From there you argue that there is nothing amiss when Christians and pagans share common political goals. Well and good, Jim. The next question, however, is this: Why do they both place this emphasis upon that goal? It is because they share certain core values. Next, how does one arrive at core values? These are based on underlying philosophical, religious, or moral persuasions.

                That brings us to the matter of radical environmentalism. People espousing this position usually are placing their entire hope in this earth, a sphere destined for destruction by God. In other words, they place inordinate value upon an ultimately lost cause. Here I will make a distinction between responsible conservation, a noble concept, and tree hugging environmentalism.

                Jim, do you really think I want the equivalent of the Love Canal in my backyard? As I have stated elsewhere on Dr. Fea’s site, I would bet that I have gone deeper into the Alaskan wilderness with only a back pack than 99% of the Green New Dealers in Manhattan and Washington. Being a good steward of natural resources is a far cry from the shrieks of the Chicken Little greenies.

                As far as your final paragraph about German public support for Hitler, I am not sure I understand your point. Earth worship through the Blood and Soil movement was a component part of Hitler’s program. There were obviously other components. Interestingly, the Nazis were able to come to power in a country where the core of Biblical Christianity had been gutted in their universities. Germany lead the world in higher criticism in the 19th Century. What once had been an authoritative book, the Bible, was rendered a quaint stimulating Near Eastern exercise in linguistics . philology, and tribal history. Since nature abhors a vacuum, some rather destructive spiritual forces were able to fill the gap.

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                • “…a sphere destined for destruction by God. In other words, they place inordinate value upon an ultimately lost cause.”

                  If you believe this then why do you even care about things like the GND? Why waste your time? Do you assume that you’ve secured safe passage to the next world anyway so you may as well point and mock those that you apparently see as losers? What if God’s destruction is scheduled for a million earth years from now and it’s not a lost cause for that million years? (if you have insider info that it’s right around the corner then please share.) Why not have some concern and compassion for those that will suffer most from callous disregard of the warning signs of impending crisis just in case?

                  And congratulations for having backpacked in Alaska. More people should spend time in the wilderness contemplating life. When I become king it will be a requirement.

                  Like

                  • Jim in STL,

                    I affirm to you that I wasn’t a king when I backpacked in the Alaskan wilderness. I was a soldier and the army had sent me there. I took the opportunity to use my free time in the Summer outdoors.

                    Now, as far as your legitimate question about my concern for future generations, allow me to say that I am not an uncompassionate person. If Christ does not return for 100 years or more, I want my descendants and all other people to have clean water and air. I also want them to be able to enjoy liberty, i.e., a life without a Big Brother supranational bunch of bureaucrats in Paris, Brussels, New York, Washington, Berlin, or Tokyo managing their lives. The radical environmental train is out of control and has totally exceeded the limits of reasonable and measured conservation practices. These ultra green types have been crying wolf since the 1960s.

                    James

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    • This is part two of a response, I assume the first part is in moderation.

      “He is far from perfect as a human; he is not a Nazi.”

      Since you like precision with words i did not call anybody a Nazi. I did suggest that he was following the dictators playbook.

      Trump plainly said that he preferred immigrants from Nordic countries rather than from “shithole” countries like Africa. And, as he’s said, he believes in breeding for genetic superiority. Read that as you will.

      If you are being honest then you have to admit that his persistent praise of foreign strong men and dictators goes well beyond Pro Forma. Well beyond.

      “As far as King Salman, Erdogan, and Mr. Duterte, please tell me any special favors they have gotten from Trump which were not afforded by previous presidential administrations.”

      How about lavish praise and unequivocal and uncritical assurance that the leader of the free world believes their word over his own, and our allies’, intelligence and national security experts – giving them a status beyond reproach.

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      • Jim in STL,

        To be honest with you Jim, Trump and other Americans have ample reason to distrust parts of the national security apparatus. We’re not they the ones who said Saddam had weapons of mass destruction? We’re they not the ones who deceived a federal judge with the bogus Steele dossier? What about the multiple high level resignations in the FBI and the damning DOJ IG report? I am old enough to remember when our intelligence agencies were respected.

        Jim, you still have produced no statements from Trump advocating Nordic superiority. Besides, he is half Scotsman His mom was from Scotland. I think your remarks are unsubstantiated. Can you see beyond your emotions on this?
        James

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  6. Well, ya know, that fellow in Germany also liked dogs, thereby proving that the Humane Society is a fascist plot that will lead to the destruction of mankind and Barack Obama, who owned a dog, really was Hitler if not Satan. And don’t even get me started on Teddy and his enslavement of mankind via the National Park gambit.

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    • Jim in STL,
      Come to think of it, wasn’t Hitler a vegetarian? He would be on board with that element of the New Green Deal or whatever it’s called.
      As far as dogs, however, there are no mystical elements connected to them as there is to holy “Mother Earth.” Shades of pantheism for the Blood and Soil folks and the current radical environmentalists.
      James

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      • You do know that Trump is actually and vocally a “Blood and Soil” guy don’t you? He is a professing blood and genes supremacist.

        For instance, “You know I’m proud to have that German blood. No question about it.” “I have great genes and that’s why I’m successful (paraphrase)” Blah, blah, blah.

        He’s a bone fide outspoken white blood and soil supremacist preaching nationalism and his slogan is right out of 1920s-30s fascist propaganda including the original American Nazi movement – Make America (Germany. Italy, Spain) Great Again. From the gitgo he’s done nothing but try to defame and destroy our democratic, legal and justice institutions while fawning over the world’s dictators and abandoning our allies. He, day in and day out, makes half of America the enemy of the other half and urges action. Trump is literally and figuratively acting out the dictator’s playbook.

        Trump’s certainly not a Christian and he’s not a pantheist. He’s a self-worshipper.

        And you’re worried about and making Hitler allusions for people that want to preserve the environment for posterity?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Come now, Jim. Let’s dispense with the gentle euphemisms about “preserving the environment for posterity.” Sure, those are the groovy-sounding aims. Why, who could possibly be against that?

          (Raises hand)

          What are the specific means, as set forth in the GND itself. Let’s see: ban fossil fuels (in ten years); ban cars; eliminate air travel (I’m sure there will be a few private jets permitted for the more equal pigs to attend GW conferences and inspect the solar farms); retrofit Every Building in America (as Dave Barry would say: not making this up). The list of extravagant magical thinking goes on and on, much of it having nothing to do with the environment, and everything to do with redistribution of wealth from unfavored groups (let’s call them Wreckers) to more favored constituencies.

          And how is any of this facially absurd but grand social engineering project to be achieved?

          Coercion. State control. Government edict. Enforced conformity.

          This is not about saving the planet. It is about one thing, ever and always: power.

          It may not be Hitlerian, but let’s just say it requires an authoritarian (enlightened and well-intended, of course) mindset that he would have understood well.

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          • Come on Tony. You do realize that a real conversation can’t take place when you are using made up and misleading BS (some would say lies others would say propaganda). Read the primary documentation.

            And also too.

            Let’s just admit that coercion is the central organizing principle behind all organizations, whether the state, the nation, the tribe, the kingdom, the school, the corporation, the church, the blog, etc., etc. and on and on.

            OK, now that we’ve reviewed the principle of why people organize, for instance “to form a more perfect union,” and that organization uses the power of the many to do the bidding of the many, or some subset of the many, in order to enact laws, rules, creeds, liturgy, codes of behaviors, etc., that will protect the survival of the organization and the many, or some subset of the many.

            So far it’s basic math, right Tony? We cannot not be in a position to be coerced. If only there was a way to make it more fair to the many. Maybe an open democratic representative republic in which the people can vote the bums out when the coercion is against the people’s actual interests. Having a viable future is within the best interests of preserving the organization and posterity. Much like the electrification of rural ares or the eradication of such childhood diseases as measles, mumps, chickenpox, diphtheria, polio, etc. Or maybe the prevention of such diseases as malaria. Or maybe prevention of starvation. or maybe it’s in the interests of posterity to educate in order to be able to function and make vital decisions.

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            • Jim: I have read the primary document, the full text of the Cortez/Markey Resolution. I’ll let David Harsanyi sum it up: “Likely the most ridiculous and un-American plan that’s ever been presented by an elected official to voters.”

              I think that even includes the aborted Soylent Green Initiative.

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        • Jim in STL,

          I must say that I was surprised to read a few of your comments. Normally, you are more measured. Please allow me to be specific.

          —-When has Trump “fawned” over dictators? That is a very strong verb.
          —-When has he stated that his particular ethnic heritage (Scotch and German) is necessarily superior to that of others? When has he specifically demeaned French, Spanish, Japanese, Slavic, Chinese, Danes, Bantus, Egyptians, Asian Indians, etc. due to ethnic reasons?
          —-If he is a crypto Nazi, why is he the strongest supporter of Israel we have ever had in the White House?
          Jim, you have been fair in the past and I am surprised you made certain recent veiled implications.

          Now as far as the Green New Deal movement, you speak as if conservatives want to send the bulldozers crashing into Old Faithful tomorrow. Responsible conservation has little to do with the worship of Gaia and the complete restructuring of our society envisioned by radical environmentalists.

          By the way, I have backpacked in remote areas of Alaska where the average Manhattan or Marin County Green New Dealer has only visited with his/her eyes.

          James

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          • It’s not a matter of trying to be incendiary.

            Merriam Webster;

            1: To fawn, to court favor by a cringing or flattering manner, courtiers fawning on the king
            2: To fawn to show affection — used especially of a dog The dog was fawning on its master.

            To fawn implies seeking favor by servile flattery or exaggerated attention.

            Exhibits:

            Trump – Vlad Putin (ex KGB, Russia) Trump praises him and openly believes him explicitly.
            Trump – Kim Jong Un (North Korea) he writes the nicest letters – we are in love. A real leader and really nice guy and I believe him explicitly.
            Trump – Rodrigo Duterte (Philippines) Trump praises him and openly believes him explicitly.
            Trump – Tayyip Erdogan (Turkey) Trump praises him and openly believes him explicitly.
            Trump – Mohammed bin “you bring a pen and notepad and we bring the bonesaws” Salman, crown Prince and slayer of inconvenient journalists (Saudi Arabia). Trump praises him and openly believes him explicitly.

            His fawning is both explicit and implicit and always counter to his national security leadership. And, in contrast, add his attempts to wreck all of our strategic alliances with democratic nations.

            I’m sure that I’m missing somebody. Please help yourself to Google or a wide swath of news coverage.

            Why would he support Israel? Because his hardcore Evangelical base wants him to in order to set the stage for Armageddon (where all unconverted Jews will be killed and sent to eternal damnation and torture)? Because the hard-right Bibi Netanyahu and his Likud party like building walls and buying expensive weapons from the US?

            I’ll let you, and anybody that’s interested, Google for all the times in history that Trump has made a case for the superiority of his German genes and blood and for the efficacy of breeding for superior gene selection or his preference for the German and Nordic peoples (you know, the things that the likes of David Duke – neoNazi – and his chums find so inspiring).

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            • Over 40 years ago, there was a best-seller titled I’m OK, You’re OK popularizing a contemporary pop psychology called “Transactional Analysis”. It had a less-famous companion volume titled Games People Play which coined the term “Mind Games”.

              One of these Games was called “Tough Guy”, where a weak or small man tries to show How Tough He Is by hanging out with/fawning over/fanboying REAL Tough Guys. The usual examples given were wanna-bes hanging out with bar fighters, street gang types, or even mobsters. (“SEE? ME TOUGH, TOO! SEE? SEE? SEE?”) Another, later example is falsely claiming to be Navy SEALs and the like. (A more “grown-up version of something I observed during my D&D days — the wet-noodle wimp bragging about “I’m Really a Ninja — I could kill you all with my little finger!”)

              Chaplain Mike over at Internet Monk once described Trump as “Not an evil man, but a SMALL man. Much too small for the office he holds.” And the above “fawning over dictators” behavior sure resembles a small man playing a Game of “Tough Guy” with himself.

              Like

  7. There was also a fellow in Germany who pushed a brand of environmental activism during the FDR era. He called it Blood and Soil, and his first name was Adolf. Much secularism and atheism tends toward a quasi pantheism. It is not necessarily a noble movement as recent German history attests. In fact, in the German case it was quite destructive and immoral.

    Like

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