Thursday, May 26, 2016


    It was chilling, prompting a sense of foreboding.
    "Get 'em outta here!  Get 'em outta here!" commanded Donald Trump at a recent rally beset by protestors. Trump had been bragging that he would claim "40%" of Sanders voters when the clamor began.
     There are smarter and elder political analysts and journalists but I have not seen a more viscerally divisive presidential candidate since George Wallace, who's campaigns I covered and who I interviewed. It is odd to write this, but Wallace was eminently more qualified than Donald Trump. Wallace was a self admitted segregationist. He was a racist and a hate monger. Trump is worse. He has no policy positions, no electoral or government experience, is fueled by  ego, rides a wave of anger and appeals to the worst in America.
       An important message to the nation was sent by 450 of our top writers.You can link here to read their open letter to the American people. While I think Trump is a danger to the Republic in many ways he is also like the canary in the coal mine, a warning of sorts.
      American politics is broken and people are rightfully angry. Our wrath should be directed at the big money that has turned politicians into whores. We should be furious with the increasingly selfish nature of those who lobby and who have turned government into commerce. A loud mouth and insensitive sexist, racist, ego freak with no government experience and an appalling lack of familiarity with international complexity and who is a bully is not the way to change what infects us.
      Why do you think we have become a nation with so much fear, anger, selfishness and with a lack of a desire for common good? Why are people taking to Trump? 
      As you ponder and respond, take a moment to consider what some of our brightest have said. The warnings are becoming more numerous.

    Every time we drive the majestic Highway 1 we marvel at the engineering that produced the road with spectacular views including here in the Big Sur area.
    Highway cuts, switchbacks and  bridges--there are natural challenges to keeping traffic moving. The frame below is a recent overhead look at what locals call Rain Rocks. 
   This is an area that frequently was closed, due to slides of the mountain onto the narrow patch of the Pacific Coast Highway.
  You can see how the tunnel like structure is built into the mountain and shelters the road from boulders and rocks that  litter the roof.
   It is an amazing structure and engineering masterpiece that we watched be pieced together over the last 4 years. 

   The previous frames speak to the massive size of the structure. But in the frame below it dwarfs into just one more pass on an extraordinary road.

    See you down the trail.


  1. That's a great Throwback Thursday. I wonder what protected the construction workers from the falling rocks until they got the tunnel done.

    1. I don't recall there being any injuries during the years of construction, but there were times when the road was closed by slides. I'm wondering if there will be time when they will need to clear the roof?

  2. Well said. As frightening as Trump is, it is equally frightening what his popularity says about the lack of judgment and or ethical grounding of such a large segment of the electorate. In the end I am hopeful that they will come to their senses. Roulette is better left at the casinos. And Russian roulette....

    1. This can't be the whole answer, but there has been such a failure to know and understand history. The Trump threat is frightening in this context. I too hope that once we get into the fall campaign that once vaunted "common sense" will show up.

  3. TC - You are not alone in your contempt for Trump. Those of us serious ESTABLISHMENT conservatives share your end-view. Charles Murray is the most recent to give us voice:
    But I disagree with your location of the cancer: "Our wrath should be directed at the big money that has turned politicians into whores. We should be furious with the increasingly selfish nature of those who lobby and who have turned government into commerce."
    There's nothing new about money in politics. That's not what's different or causing these seismic shifts. Goldman Sachs, Google, Apple, AFSCME, NEA (Democrat givers)and The US Chamber of Commerce, Exxon, FedEx, NatMfgAssoc (Republican givers) are pikers compared to the ideologically based unlimited spenders -- George Soros on the left; Koch Bros on the right. The money these people are spending isn't going to "buy" people (your whore analog). It is going to fellow true believers. This money is crowding out the
    Dems and Repubs who take money from many people and who are beholden to no single interest. And the ideology money is pushing the system to extremes on both sides, on policy and procedure, thus compromise is a bad work.
    BUT ---- politics is not the CAUSE. Politics is just the reflection. The revolutionary forces that are shaping this mess --- of which Trump & Sanders are manifestations -- are much bigger. They are rooted in a perfect storm of related social, cultural and economic factors. Biggest social ... women rule; physically, intellectually, and temperamentally better disposed for a digital economy, women are already nearly 60% of college grads; male dominance socially and economically is OVER. Biggest cultural ... Daniel Patrick Moynihan called it in 1965 ... the utter destruction of the black family -- its impact 2 generations later is an unmitigated disaster with AfAm political leaders propping up a cultural enclave that is a total dead end. Biggest economic ... full effect of transition to digital economy --- where we manufacture more than ever but with ever smaller number of people. (We've already done this once ... Agriculture went from employing 50% of workers to 2%, yet we produce more Ag product than ever before.)
    We are in the early stages of a revolution.

    1. ML-
      The Murray piece is excellent and important.
      Re: the money issue. It is the ideological givers who are the worst, yes. However when a sitting House member "needs" to spend 40 hours a week in a call center raising money, something is seriously wrong. Money has always been an issue of elections and certainly governance, (money or whiskey, or grain, etc. )But political professionals have turned elections into an industry and the product are the survivors who then move into the sphere writing legislation or making policy and determining budgets in an arena represented by special interests so sophisticated and devious in their turning of screws and leveraging of influence that laws and policy become commercial product. But you are correct about ideology money and a push to the extremes.
      I'm reminded of Andy Jacobs Jr. story about not taking lobby money because
      he didn't want "guys in $1,000 suits and $500 shoes blowing cigar smoke in his face and telling him how to vote."
      Re: the Cause. I love your analysis. Reminds me of the days of our on set work when I'm thrashing through news of the day and you are plumbing the depths of cause, motive and cohorts!
      Still sad about DPM was trashed for bringing truth to the public square.
      Re: Revolution--maybe, probably. And probably marginalizing government.

  4. This is a very thoughtful piece that you all might enjoy:

  5. ML's comment above and your response were both thought-provoking and different in what has been said about the issue.
    I too worry about our people, their attitudes, and what has happened in our varied country. I do wonder if it is beginning to answer a long-debated question: was Nazi Germany a unique thing, i.e. could it only happen in Germany, with it's unique circumstances and ethnic makeup, or was it something that could happen in other countries, going though similar (the argument has never said the exact same) circumstances. We have a certain population (white, middle age and older, 'blue-collar' and becoming demographically a minority).
    We have a demagogue, fueled by populist sentiment, spouting nativistic slogans, appealing to us to 'make ourselves great again'. Sounds like next things we'll be hearing from him are the words 'destiny', 'rightful place', etc.
    I seriously worry about this country, and I never, ever, saw this coming.
    Cheers, Mike.

  6. Mike-
    I don't think the worry is misplaced. Some of this goes away and improves if Trump is seriously repudiated by American voters, though changes are evident. What is most surprising to me is that racism and nativism is so rampant.

  7. Amazing engineering feat. Hope it works. Oh, I'm talking about the tunnel on US-1. Getting US politics to some semblance of honesty and functionality will be eminently more difficult, because the right wing does not want it to work the way the founders designed it. And please recall that some founders, including Thomas Jefferson, warned us about this, even calling for revolution every decade or two. Imagine how the tunnel would work if the mountainside didn't want it to work.
    If Trump wins, the bigots and big corporate powers will feel even more empowered. I believe that at present American life as we've generally known it is about as stable as that hillside, which seems to be beyond the angle of repose. (Now, don't you engineers go all academic and precise on me; it's the concept in both hillsides and the body politic I'm referring to.)
    If Hillary wins, things will be much better, but only because I don't think her capable of or interested in such massive destruction. She may be an egotist, but she isn't an egomaniac, as Trump is.

    1. Thanks for reminding us of Jefferson's admonition and your analogy of the tunnel engineering and political mechanics. The Hillary-Trump comparison is spot on.